Friday, May 1, 2015
Avengers: Age of Ultron - Spoiler Free Review!
Last night, I peaked at the Rotten Tomatoes rating and was a bit discouraged to see it at 84%, a respectable score, but a bit lower than I expected (the 2012 Avengers scored 92%). And now I'm startled to see it drop down to 75%.
The movie opens at a breakneck pace and only slows down a bit in the middle for some great character moments before rushing headlong into the climatic confrontation. The film's strength centers on the characters and Whedon leverages that to insert some clever, strong original bits, like Natasha and Bruce's relationship and Hawkeye's backstory. The relationship between Natasha and Bruce was a nice development that had a lot of weight in the story. Nice to see something that originated from the movies that hasn't already been done in the comics.
The story's main premise revolves around artificial intelligence and the role the Avengers play in the world. The execution of it works well and the character angles Whedon chose to focus on was really effective. He dissects the team's chemistry and really puts a lot pressure on specific points that take the team to the brink of despair, but then rebuilds it even stronger.
Spader was good as Ultron. I wasn't bothered by his voice as others were, but I would have liked to have heard a bit more of a metallic sound. What did bother me was that his motivation for such a megalomaniacal course was weak. I would have liked to have seen a deterioration of the relationship between Ultron and Stark.
Whedon adeptly handled the abundance of characters and his dialog was dead-on as usual. The Scarlet Witch surprised me although her powers were a little undefined. Looking forward to seeing more of her and it was nice to see some hints at her relationship with the Vision. Quicksilver was also a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed Evan Peters' portrayal of the speedster in X-Men: Days of Future Past and didn't expect to like Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but I did.
The Vision was impressive on all levels. Beautiful CGI captured his look and Paul Bettany nailed his character, both voice and presence. The only thing I could complain about was that he didn't have trademark collar on his cape.
The Hulkbuster vs Hulk battle was one hell of a brawl. There's also one great scene in the climax where the heroes have all gathered to make a final stand that explodes from a comic book in a sequence that's frame like comic panels. You'll know it when you see it.
Sadly there's no 2nd teaser as the end of the film. The first one's great, but there's nothing after that.
Avengers: Age of Ultron was a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying film that builds on the Marvel movie franchise, specifically Whedon's 2012 Avengers. A fun blockbuster movie to kick off the summer! Glad I'm going to see this one again on Saturday with the kids.