Film Review: Avengers Age of Ultron


Rated: PG-13

Running time: 142 minutes

Rating ««« out of 4 stars

You will no doubt find Avengers Age of Ultron delivers the rush and rampage of a typical mega-massive-blockbuster. This is celluloid that is stuffed with stupendous spectacle, every second of action obviously costing millions of dollars to render and will easily gather a cool couple of billions worldwide.

Yet while the film provides proper entertainment there is something a bit flat about the second installment of everyone’s favorite clump of champions. It’s more than a genre getting too much attention. Let’s call it Superhero Saturation.

Even though there are a little quality issues, this marks the 11th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has been shot out of the Hollywood cannon since 2008. That is crazy pace to keep up and fatigue is inevitable. Not all of these films have been fantastic but Marvel has been stunningly successful at producing quality films during this run. But Age of Ultron has an unwelcomed repetitive quality and the freshness has waned. This is not the end of the Cinematic Universe but there is a crack in the veneer.

The repetition comes from visiting the same themes, the same conflicts. We find our heroes are still battling the evil Hydra which is now S.H.I.E.L.D if you haven’t been keeping up. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) decides that they will never win the war unless they can provide the world with an undefeatable defender. Without the knowledge of the rest of the team (here comes more trust issues) Stark and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) create an artificially intelligent being named Ultron (James Spader). Have they not read Frankenstein? This never goes well.

As Ultron decides that the only way to save the world is to rid it of mankind, the team has its normal internal struggles and has to decide-again-if they are able to work together for the greater good. They do add a little love interest action between Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Banner but it doesn’t quite gel. We also learn a little more about the “real” Hawkeye (Jeremey Renner) which provides the movie with its most boring, lifeless moments.

Now some positive because there are plenty of reasons to like this movie once you get past the rust. Writer/Director Joss Whedon once again captures the chemistry of the crew which is no small feat considering there are six main characters. He also introduces even MORE villains and superheroes and is able to balance the storytelling where you still feel connected to everyone on screen. There is plenty of humor in the film and you will laugh just as much as you gasp from the explosions. In fact it is this humor that gives the film heart and keeps you invested despite the flaws.

In Ultron, Spader gives us a layered and hilarious villain. The robot provides many of the best one-liners while capturing a sense of innocence of a child with too much power. Imagine a monster with the sensibility of a pubescent teenager. Wicked stuff. There are little in the way of surprises that we have grown accustomed to with these films and while there is a brief scene right after the beginning of the credits, THERE IS NOT A SCENE AT THE END OF THE CREDITS SO DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME.

So everyone is a little tired at this point. A little lazy. In nearly all the coverage of the film, director Whedon has really said nothing more than after working on these two Avengers films for the past four years he is done and needs a break. That comes across in the final product. The worry is they have these movies slated out until 2020 (!) and they need to breathe some new life into it or the bubble will burst. If you are a fan, you will cheer and get your money’s worth. But you may also feel just a little duped.

David Pinson writes for the entertainment website www.cinemastance.com. Go check it out!