Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth
Written By: Joss Whedon
Directed By: Joss Whedon
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) inadvertently create a homicidal, sentient A.I. known as Ultron (James Spader) who is hell bent on the destruction of humanity to create peace.
Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t waste any time bombarding you with an insane action scene, using said scene to set up it’s characters. Of course, if you’ve been following the Marvel films, you know and love them already. This bombastic action scene sets up the entire film, which is even more action packed than the first. Despite the action, though, director Joss Whedon still manages to find time to give every character their moment, and this time out, gives Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye time to shine. No, Hawkeye is not relegated to being a mindless slave. In fact, he is the glue that holds the team together. The human heart to a bunch of godlike characters. In my opinion, this gives the film that little oomph that elevates it to at least as good as the first film, if not even a little better.
Spoilers from this point on. You’ve been warned!
The best thing about this film is the fleshed out back story of Hawkeye. In the film it is revealed that he is actually married with two kids and a third on the way. Despite being included in The Avengers, he is a family man. Black Widow knows this secret. None of the others do. The fact that he is a family man was erased from his record by Nick Fury. It is during this scene at his farm that it becomes clear how important he is to the team. He has been doubting himself, being in the company of super heroes. As a mortal man, what can he do amidst gods? He is the heart and soul of the team. His wife knows it. He just doesn’t believe it. It is a powerful, quiet moment that adds so much to a movie that is packed with amazing action scenes. It makes the entire team seem more human by lending a human heart to the proceedings. It is a fabulous part of the film and it is my favorite moment in the film.
The divide between Tony Stark/Iron Man and Steve Rogers/Captain America starts rearing it’s ugly head in this film as well. Hawkeye may hold the team together, but it is tenuous, at best. This is clearly evident after Stark and Banner inadvertently create Ultron. Banner rolls over, knowing he messed up. Stark, on the other hand, stands up and confronts the Star Spangled Avenger. Despite knowing the damage he may have caused, Stark is unwilling to admit that he screwed up big time. You can see a rift forming between the two, Captain America and Iron Man, and you can see where this will lead in Captain America: Civil War. The seeds have been planted in this film.
Despite all of the characters from the initial film, this takes the time to introduce us to a couple more. Yes, we get a bit of War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie), but the star pupils are Quicksilver (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) and Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), neither of which is called by those names. They begin as the underlings of Baron Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), then join forces with Ultron before realizing his master plans and joining with The Avengers.
Once again, as is par for the course, Elizabeth Olsen almost steals the the show. Despite being extremely stunning, she has acting abilities far beyond her years. While her role is somewhat small, she steals every scene she is in. She has done this in every film she has been in to this point. This is no exception.
Another surprise is James Spader as the eerie and creepy Ultron. Funny and terrifying at the same time, this is one of those performances that is simply stunning. I have never been a fan of Spader, but let him mo cap a mad, vibranium covered robot and well, I think I may almost be a fan. His performance as well as his vocal work is nothing short of staggering. This is another villain performance that will be remembered.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is a thrilling ride that I cannot wait to see again. Much like the original film, it is smart, funny, and wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve. Once again, Joss Whedon has knocked it out of the park. This is a crowd pleaser, a fan pleaser, and another feather in Marvel’s cinematic cap. I know you will see this. The sooner the better, though.
***1/2 out of ****
BIZZAM!! Fun Facts!
- Vision (Paul Bettany) makes his appearance in this film.
- There is no Agent Coulson. As far as The Avengers know, he is still dead.
- Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) returns.
- Vibranium makes it’s appearance as the worlds strongest metal. Wakanda is also mentioned. Wakanda is the home of Black Panther.