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Well, here it is, arguably the most anticipated movie of the year.  But does it live up to all the hype?

Avengers: Age of Ultron starts with a bang, as it picks up not too long after where Captain America: The Winter Soldier left us.  Cap, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, have been raiding Hydra bases looking for Loki’s scepter from the first Avengers movie.  Given the events of the most recent Captain America film, the scepter has fallen into Hydra’s hands, and the good guys suspect they’re up to no good with it.  From there, the movie essentially becomes a non-stop, action thrill ride, with bits of plot mixed in here and there, and the introduction of a few new characters, and of course the titular villain, Ultron.

Speaking of Ultron, let’s start there.  James Spader owned the role.  He doesn’t have the standard maniacal robot voice one might expect from a comic book character.  He almost makes Ultron sound like something that could be reasoned with, and something that might convince you that he’s right, and for a majority of the movie, he delivers his lines in a soft-spoken manner that gives off an incredibly menacing quality to everything he says.  Unfortunately, for as great as the voice acting was, I do feel like the character looked a little silly, particularly when viewed from afar.  Up close, the image matches the menace of the voice well, but from a distance, the character looks oddly disproportionate, and I did find it kind of distracting, but that’s a minor gripe.

The rest of the cast gives solid performances, particularly from Downey, Jr. as Iron Man, and Evans as Captain America.  These two emerge as the main players on opposite ideological sides in what is undoubtedly a lead up to next year’s Captain America: Civil War.  I was pleased to see Jeremy Renner get a chance to better explore the character of Hawkeye in this movie.  We really don’t learn much about the character in The Avengers, but here he becomes far more fleshed out, which definitely added a human element to the team and the movie as a whole.  Hemsworth does his Thor thing as well as he always does, and there are some interesting moments between Scarlett Johannson’s Black widow and Mark Ruffalo’s Banner/Hulk.  Now for the new additions.  Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen perform reasonably well as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, respectively, and they make interesting new character additions, but their performances are by far the weakest in the entire movie.  They are intended to be vaguely Eastern European and for most of the movie, they pull the accent off well enough, but during other times, it seems to fade, or even disappear completely.  I would have expected more from Disney and Marvel.  And finally, without delving too deep into spoiler territory, I’ll just say that Paul Bettany’s first on-screen role in a Marvel movie is fantastic.

The overall plot in this movie is, to put it lightly, somewhat convoluted.  At this point it’s become blatantly clear that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is less a group of related films all happening in the same universe, and more like a TV series that focuses on a different character every week, and then has a special two-hour long TV movie once a month where all the characters come together.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it certainly makes for an enjoyable model for die-hard followers, but it also means that there is a definite and established continuity at this point and it would be quite difficult for someone who had never previously seen a Marvel movie to walk into this and be able to understand what’s going on.  Also, when The Avengers was released in 2012, there was a certain magical quality to seeing all of the characters on the screen at the same time.  With Age of Ultron, even though these same characters have done their solo adventuring for the past couple of years, I was hoping that same magic would return, but it just wasn’t there this time.  In some ways it seemed to act more like a setup for what was to come rather than focusing and digging deep into its own story.  However, all gripes aside, it was still an entertaining and fun movie to see, just not quite what I’ve come to expect from Marvel.

The Verdict for Avengers: Age of Ultron:
I can dig it

Upcoming reviews:
East of West, Volume 3: There Is No Us TPB
The October Faction #1-#6
Wytches #1-#6
Secret Wars #1
Mad Max: Fury Road

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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Comments
  1. Really great review! I agree with a lot of what you said! Although I thought Elizabeth Olsen gave a pretty strong performance as Scarlett Witch. You are right about the accent though!

    Like

  2. kdwalls0 says:

    Thanks. I feel like she did well enough, and I definitely started to like her character more as the movie went on, but looking at the cast as a whole, she and Taylor-Johnson were the weak links in my opinion.

    Like

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