Sunday 3 May 2015

Today's Review: Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Well folks, it's the superhero movie we've all been waiting for, at least since that last superhero movie we were all waiting for. This is the second cinematic outing for The Avengers, the culmination of phase two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I may have been a little skeptical about the onslaught of movies that have come under that umbrella, but overall I've been pretty damn impressed, and I was certainly excited for this one.

After the events of the first Avengers movie, and their own individual outings (apart from Hulk, poor guy), we find our heroes Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye teaming up again to take on a new threat. But this time it isn't alien, but an attempt by Tony Stark to create a humanity-protecting artificial intelligence named Ultron. Unfortunately, Ultron decides that the biggest threat to humanity is itself, and sets out to destroy it.

One thing I like about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that a lot of the character progression is saved for individual movies, meaning that in big team up events like this, the main focus is on the action. Sure, there's a certain amount of story progression and wavering team dynamics, but from the get go this movie packs in the fighting and explosions, setting up magnificent team shots that we had to wait over an hour for in the first Avengers movie. This movie starts with a bang, and certainly goes out with one, there's elaborate fight scene after fight scene, and they're all wonderfully put together with spectacular special effects. This is how superhero movies should be.

Supporting the action is a great cast of characters. All the favourites return and do outstanding jobs, especially Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo, and there are some surprising emotional turns from Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson. James Spader really does steal the show though, portraying a relentlessly calculating and evil Ultron, giving previous villain Loki a run for his money. I really couldn't find flaws with the cast, they all work together really well, building on the rapport that's built up between them over the years. These guys really do act like quite the team.

I did find myself analysing the movie quite heavily at the start. I was focusing quite a lot on the inconsistencies between where we left the characters last and where they were now, and exploring potential plot holes as they came up. But as time went on I really couldn't have cared less about nitpicking, I was totally drawn into the action. Normally a plot hole or two would ruin the experience for me, and sure, Age Of Ultron has a couple of glaring ones, but they didn't matter in the grand scheme of things. This movie does dance on the over the top, silly side, but we're talking about several franchises that take place throughout time and space colliding and constantly expanding, a suspension of disbelief is absolutely necessary for these movies and the ones to come.

Avenger: Age Of Ultron is a great movie. It's packed full of action, great characters, and neatly pulls together the previous ten movies in the Cinematic Universe, as well as setting up for the many more to come in phase three. There are exciting things to come in the next few years, and Age Of Ultron is essential viewing if you're coming along for the ride.

My rating: 5/5

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