AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
Starring Robert Downey, Jr.,
Samuel L. Jackson
Written and directed by Joss Whedon
Based on the Marvel comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Runtime 141 mins.
If you liked the first one, you’ll like this sequel, too.
Avengers: Age of Ultron—wisely not called Avengers 2—kicks off the summer movie season yet again in the mighty Marvel manner.
This time Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Downey, Jr.), persuades Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk (Ruffalo), to help activate a secret defense system called Ultron. Problem is, Stark doesn’t consult the rest of the Avengers—or the people of the world—and his inexplicable rushed blunder immediately goes awry.
Ultron, excellently voiced by James Spader, is as human an artificial intelligence as we’ve ever seen, while yet remaining clearly non-human. The result is the interesting villain we need to offset the vast might of the Avengers.
Part of the appeal with this franchise is that with so many characters, there’s pretty much something for everyone. And the humor in the way the clearly delineated characters interrelate sustains interest. It’s entirely in keeping with the comics when, chillaxin’ in uber-rich Stark’s uptown digs after a hard day’s superheroing, all the dudes try to lift Thor’s hammer, but can’t even budge it.
Chief among the film’s soap opera-ish subplots: Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow (Johansson) pursues an interest in Bruce Banner. This is sort of requisite and forgettable. What amazes is the successful casting of Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch. She does not seem like an Olsen twin, although she plays a twin. I think it’s a breakthrough role for her.
Equally so, in a weird way, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, as Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch’s twin brother, has also found a breakthrough role. This is the same guy who stars in the aptly named film Kick Ass, which is about a young guy with no superpowers who wants to be a superhero. Here he really is a superhero—he’s got super-speed—and I love that he’s practically unrecognizable in the role.
The special effects never stop. Gobs of action with oodles of robots for seemingly endless beatings. Factor in British dialect from a Norse god (Hemsworth), plus Captain America (Evans) getting razzed for being a language prude, and you can see why it’s all good times.
Even so, one experiences mixed feelings when the big, big movie is yet another comic book. True, the inner child revels…yet one can’t help but wonder: Story-wise, culturally, in the larger picture, are we kind of getting a little bit gypped?
Stewart Kirby writes for