Joss Whedon once again masterfully juggled an ensemble cast, conversely balancing the tones as they swung from either side of the emotional pendulum.
AGE OF ULTRON had it all – pure fun with tons of action and even some compelling philosophy.
The sequel kicks off with our team running on all cylinders in an action-packed opening.
I loved how ridiculous and over the top this sequence was. There was no set-up. We’re just instantly launched into the thick of it. I’ve been waiting a while to see these guys bash it up. Once the movies starts, it definitely didn’t take long.
My favourite totally comic book moment was when Cap flipped his motorcycle into some baddies. Sure, the trailer highlighted a lot of the best moments of this sequence. Don’t worry, this crazy action flick delivered much more than the trailer.
Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch are AGE OF ULTRON’s “MacGuffin”. Film nerds will know what that term means. I didn’t expect the Maximoff twins to drive the entire plot like they were the MALTESE FALCON or something.
Whedon crafted a brilliant arc for these new characters.
SPOILER ALERT… Seriously, don’t ruin the movie… Skip ahead to the next segment.
The Twins start of as Ultron’s henchman. After they confront the Avengers their ethics shift. By the end, Quicksilver makes a noble sacrifice. These moments landed with weight.
Thematically, these events will tie in nicely with CIVIL WAR – as evidence that not all super powered people are dangerous; furthermore, so-called villains can turn heroes. By the end, the Twins were true Avengers.
…..and END SPOILERS…
Sure the Quicksilver super-speed stuff didn’t look as cool as in X-MEN, but I think we were all expecting that.
‘Silver also had one of the best physical jokes, as he sped ahead to catch Thor’s hammer and was unwillingly taken for a rocket ride.
The Scarlet Witch had some of the best action moments.
Her powers are inventive and varied – she can manipulate a person’s will and launch lethal energy from by Avatar Air-Bending a bunch of swirly hand motions.
It looks a lot cooler than it sounds.
JAMES SPADER’s performance captured role as Ultron was worth the hype. Not only was he physically imposing, but his intellect also felt just as lethal.
Right from the introduction, I was frightened by this artificial intelligence – as he has a sit and chat with Jarvis.
The numerous battle sequences also demonstrated his abundant power. This robot is one bad dude, nearly impossible to defeat. Along with the cool menacing stuff, Ultron also provided a few solid laughs.
My favourite fight sequence against Ultron was the street chase with Captain America and Black Widow. Both of these Avengers had some truly exciting moments of attack.
NERD ALERT 2000: Joss Whedon definitely knows how to write a delicious villain, stretching back to his days of BUFFY – and I even stretch way way back to the movie – with Pee Wee Herman as a hilarious vampire baddie.
At one point in that movie, Herman’s arm is cut off, this doesn’t hinder his drive or ego, he says, “I can do anything?” Buffy’s witty retort, “Oh yeah… Clap.”
Whedon has always been so funny. He emphasizes character, and stages impressive action sequences, while never missing and opportunity to make us laugh. AVENGERS fan seek out BUFFY. Alas, I digress…
I didn’t expect the relationship development between HULK and BLACK WIDOW. My favourite moment was their ritual to calm the monster. This gentle moment added a lot quiet emotion to a super hero movie.
I also appreciated learning more about Widow’s backstory. Whedon continues to fully explore numerous dimensions of his x-chromosome ass-kickers. These scenes may require a little more patience, but are much more rewarding, somehow grounding a movie about a massive green beast and flying superheroes.
HULK had a great attack moment during the opening action set-piece, running straight through the enemy’s bunker like he was the KOOL-AID mascot from 1986. I really liked when THOR Babe Ruth-ed Cap’s shield, pinballing off of several robots.
Every hero had their moment, or actually moments, plural.
But the HULK-BUSTER fight really took the cake. IRON MAN called in Veronica – a hovering battle ship that assembles the Buster armour, even sending extra parts when one gets damaged or severed.
This was what I paid for. I wanted to see these two duke it out – Goliath vs Goliath style. And it did not disappoint. This insane balls-to-the-walls fight even took to the air, shattering the sides of giant skyscrapers.
Wow. What a great night at the movies!
I’ll weigh AGE OF ULTRON against the first AVENGERS and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. I’d rank this sequel behind those two mentioned Marvel mega-blockbusters.
I’m a fan of world building, especially when multiple characters are set up. First acts in movies are so enjoyable because the stage gets set. With the first AVENGERS and GUARDIANS we get several first act stagings in a row with multiple characters. It’s almost like two act movies versus three. It’s the set-up and the conflict solved.
I have to mention one of the other new characters here: THE VISION. This guy was mysterious and powerful. I can’t wait to learn more about him in upcoming movies. His story was compelling, but so were his powers. I thought it was really cool watching him sort of phase through his robotic opponents – reaching into their chest and destroying their insides by reaching right through them.
Oh, and that moment with the Vision and the Hammer?! Hilarious! This was a long payoff punchline from an earlier scene full of laughs.
My favourite overall moment was a battle. Duh, right? Well, it’s for an artsy fartsy nerdy reason. During a late battle, our heroes battle numerous waves of swarming robots. The footage slows down as we watch choice moments of attack.
It reminded me of old oil paintings on canvas. The ones that would showcase Greek Gods battling in the skies. In a way, those old paintings were the first comic books – an epic moment of battle framed as art. Kids can read comic and imagine them in motion, much like ancient viewers of classical paintings.
I wonder if Whedon was commenting on the legitimacy of the comic book art form and its counterpart: the cinematic experience. For further evidence to my strange and curious theory I will point my nerdy little finger to the closing credits. What do we see but classical marble statues of our favourite AVENGERS.
Ancient statues, hieroglyphs, and cave wall art were the first comics – Joss Whedon, and his contemporaries are continuing an immortal tradition.
SPOILERS ahead… Proceed with Caution…
Wakanda? WAKANDA?! We got teased big time about the strange precious metal vibranium and its country of origin: Wakanda – home of BLACK PANTHER.
The biggest future storyline hinted at was the INFINITY GAUNTLET. The end credits sequence with THANOS let us know the big bad purple one is going to get these gems himself.
I think THOR is in trouble.
Marvel wisely sprinkles tasty bits of info setting up the future INFINITY WAR films – part 3 and 4 of THE AVENGERS.
— END SPOILERS —
AGE OF ULTRON was thoroughly enjoyable. From the hilarity of everyone trying to pick up Thor’s hammer, to unexpected character development (like Hawkeye’s family life and Widow’s backstory), to the nearly limitless totally rad action moments…
AVENGERS 2 is the summer movie we’ve all been waiting for.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
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