Movie Review: “Avengers: Age of Ultron” – Vision of Things to Come

Written by Jesse Gelinas May 01, 2015

Age of Ultron

“I had strings, but now I’m free. There are no strings on me.”

Marvel Studios continues to dominate the visual medium. With their overarching deal with Netflix last year, and the recent success of “Daredevil,” their stranglehold on Hollywood is only tightening. Luckily, this means we are to be bombarded with 2-hours of awesomeness every few months for the next decade. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” brings our team of mismatched heroes together for the second time to battle a memorable new foe who threatens the world. Meanwhile, it also sets up future solo-films and sets in motion the endgame, which is still a couple years off, The Infinity Wars.

Picking up some time after “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Age of Ultron” finds the Avengers raiding Hydra bases around the world, dismantling the evil organization while hunting for Loki’s powerful sceptre. They meet new enemies, the Maximoff twins, who have been enhanced and granted superhuman powers (mad speed and telepathy/telekinesis, respectively). After retrieving the sceptre, Tony Stark uses it to create a new protector for Earth, Ultron, the ultimate AI weapon. Unfortunately, Ultron’s ideas for peace on Earth doesn’t jive with his creator, and he soon vows to destroy Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and rid the world of the plague that is mankind.

“I see a suit of armour around the world.”

As with all superhero follow-ups, there is an obligation to up the ‘wow’ factor. So “Age of Ultron” has almost twice as much city-destroying action as its predecessor. Thankfully it’s not New York again. Instead, Russia and South Korea both get urban makeovers courtesy of our heroic team and their new nemesis. The action is over the top, bright, loud, and frantic as ever, just as a marvel movie should be. Director Joss Whedon does manage to maintain some of the wonder by treating us to a few noteworthy battle scenes. Iron Man finally gets to whip out his Hulkbuster suit, which comic fans have been screaming for since “Iron Man 2.” As Stark and the Hulk duke it out in Seoul, nerds everywhere squeal in glee. It’s a high point as far as action goes, and will likely stand out as the film’s most memorable sequence (like “Iron Man 3’s” barrel of monkeys, and “The Winter Soldier’s” elevator fight).

Stark's Hulkbuster armor, aptly named "Veronica"

Stark’s patented Hulkbuster armour, aptly named “Veronica”

“Age of Ultron” does find time to remind us that these heroes are human (mostly), and manages to bring some rather human moments in the midst of the chaos. Renner’s Hawkeye is given some much needed focus, and his scenes detailing his personal life, and insecurity as the team’s most underpowered Avenger are both touching and relatable. Ultron himself is an interesting villain mainly because under his maniacal personality, he truly believes he is doing the right thing. And being a freshly-born being, despite his intelligence, he is young, brash, and almost childlike at times. At one point, when compared unfavorably to his creator, Ultron inadvertently rips off his insulter’s arm only to apologize moments later.

The secondary driving force behind the film is the growing rift between Stark and Cap. As Stark constantly reminds us that he will not settle for anything less than world peace, seemingly regardless of cost or means. This strife, which leads to the creation of Ultron also sets the ground work for the upcoming “Civil War,” which is looking to be quite the game changer for the series, especially with Marvel’s reacquiring of Spider-Man for the film.

“The city is flying. We’re fighting robots… and I’ve got a bow and arrow. Nothing makes sense.”

Keeping in the vein of upping the stakes, “Age of Ultron” introduces some fresh faces for the Avengers team. War Machine and Falcon are back for brief scenes and teased for future films. The Maximoff twins, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, are given heavy focus and actually manage to hold their own against their star-studded counterparts. The sibling relationship is mostly wordless, with them sharing very little dialogue together, but the bond is clear, and well-presented. The best kept secret of the film is the Vision. Marvel teased his appearance in the film, but thankfully kept him out of the trailers and other media. His introduction into the film is the one absolutely perfect thing about it, and also delivers probably the biggest surprise and biggest laugh in the same scene.

Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Not as flashy as the X-Men version, but this Quicksilver serves his purpose and deliverss some cool moments.

It’s easy to criticize these big blockbusters as all style, no substance, but that is kind of beside the point. It’s spectacle. We’re being given the chance to see these icons from print up on the big screen, larger than life. The credit sequence appropriately features the Avengers carved from marble, like the Greek (or Nordic) gods they are. I found it quite a fitting end to the epic-poem level heroism I’d just watched.

“Everyone creates what they fear. Men of peace create engines of war. Invaders create Avengers. People create… smaller people? Children!”

In the end, “Age of Ultron” serves up new thrills, snappy dialogue, and a lot of fun visuals crammed around a (relatively) faithful comic adaptation. It doesn’t break much new ground, and truth be told, it almost collapses under its own weight like the Russian city featured in the climax. But it maintains its charm, delivers on the best villain in the series since Loki, and revs up the hype train for future films (“Civil War” and “Thor: Ragnarok” in particular). If you’re at all a fan of the MCU, “Age of Ultron” will satisfy and excite, and hopefully tide you over until the next world-ending crisis.

My Rating: 8/10

Poster for Avengers: Age of Ultron

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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