Avengers: Age of Ultron 3D
Out Now On-Demand
Writer-director Joss Whedon returns to helm this sequel to Marvel's mega-hit, 2011's The Avengers. The 11th Marvel film, this time our heroes battle the sentient robot Ultron (James Spader).
When Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Ultron emerges with terrible plans. The Avengers' uneasey alliance must reassemble to restore balance.
Says Whedon: "I have to make my movie assuming that people will only have seen the first one, or possibly not even seen the first one. I can't assume that everybody went to see Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man in-between. I have to go from one movie to the next and be true to what's happened, but not be slavish to it... The model I'm always trying to build from, my guiding star, is The Godfather Part II where a ton has happened in-between... but you don't need any information: it's there in the film."
- Trailer 3
- Trailer 2
- Extended Trailer 1
- Trailer 1
- US TV Spot
- Super Bowl TV Spot
- Featurette: No Strings
- Featurette: Super Siblings
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, 3D, Blockbuster
Rating: M Violence
Joss Whedon’s challenge with the first Avengers film was to deliver a watchable, broad appeal superhero team-up film, something he managed in spades. With this sequel, the expected outcome is a little different, with the surprise factor of his superlative prior effort being near-impossible to recapture. Although Age of Ultron is at times awkwardly shoehorned into the timeline of the larger Marvel film universe, Whedon is able to build upon the strong foundation he’s already put in place, laying down a challenge to DC’s upcoming Justice League films as well as his successors in the Avengers franchise moving forward.
With the team already established, no time's wasted before showing off their combined combat and quips in an opening action sequence that quickly summons a grin as well as showing that Whedon’s got a firmer grasp on how to deliver the big CGI that’s required. His trademark zingers are in full effect, peppering the film from start to finish, and he once again shows his knack for ensemble casts, with the film’s characters existing in harmonious balance (at least in storytelling terms).
Like most modern blockbusters, Age of Ultron runs a little long, but fortunately there’s not too much padding and its new characters grab shares of screen time in direct proportion to how entertaining they are. It’s always a pleasure whenever principal villain, the hilarious anger-bot Ultron, voiced by James Spader shows up, while siblings Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are best-served by mostly staying in the wings until it’s time to show off their powers.
As Age of Ultron enters its latter stages, a welcome visual spectacle helps enliven what’s becoming a bit of an over-familiar end-of-the-world action movie scenario. Familiarity shouldn’t be a dirty word though, since the film hits all the right notes, serving as a welcome return of the Avengers amusing team dynamic and essentially asking “what more could you want?”
Time Out London
Film Ink (Australia)
Sydney Morning Herald
Total Film (UK)
Avengers2 : Age of Awesome
Right up there with he first ‘Avengers’, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, ‘Captain America’, ‘Thor’ and the like. Good one liners and satire that a comical group that works well together can have, no matter how dysfunctional they are. Funny focusing on Thor’s Meow-meow again, like the beginning of ‘Thor'. Enjoyable to a fault and many will like some of the cross over elements. -ps, stay till the credits start rolling up, there’s a little extra (nothing at the end).
Gerne : Adventure, Marvel/DC, Graphic Novel to big screen, Sci-fi
4/5 : This is a spectacular movie in “becoming” all that someone/thing can be.
Mr. Whedon’s Opus
Joss Whedon has gone on record to say that Avengers: Age Of Ultron almost killed him.
And it shows.
With a grandiosity to it that you can’t really place on a scale, Whedon takes the workings of Phase 2’s films to bring together a greater tale of a group of people that can finally call themselves “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), wanting to wrap the world in armour after the events of New York (Avengers), creates a sentient program that executes his request to the Nth degree.
His creation, Ultron (James Spader), sets upon his “programming” which calls upon the Avengers to come together and stop him.
With Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) all returning, they each bring with them the changes enforced from their previous outings.
The Winter Soldier makes the largest mark on the universe, yet the effects of each characters story resonates and helps to build upon the stepping-stones for what-comes-next.
As the main characters have had their intentions explained with their films, we see a dynamic shift for our other Avengers.
Black Widow and Hulk have their past and fears laid out on the table, helping us see more to their ‘civilian’ side, which in-turn plays out with the Hawkeye character, who is finally developed into the hero the Avengers deserve.
New characters Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor Johnson) are used effectively in representing not only the arrival of new heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but as a moral compass for not only the battle between the Avengers and Ultron, but between the team themselves.
Amounting in a crescendo of action that surpasses the teased ‘Hulkbuster vs. Hulk’ footage, Whedon has the film dance itself to a 10 from the Judge’s, with a sequel that takes the magic of the first film and matures it by raising the stakes for a team that ‘Assembles’ once more to showcase the unstoppable might that is Marvel and the Box Office.
Avengers Assemble Again
At the outset let me state that I am not a fan of the Marvel comics. This is not to say that I do not like Marvel, I have just never read any of the comics, outside a few X-Men in the mid 90’s. My knowledge of, and involvement with Marvel has come through the form of Saturday morning cartoons, computer games and the recent series of movies. While I am a fan of the shared universe being created by Marvel, there have definitely been highs and lows along the way. ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, directed by Joss Whedon, is another strong entry into this universe, a lot to like about it, and also a few surprises for those who think they already know what is going to happen.
The Age of Ultron is the climax of phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is the second time that the Avengers have assembled to overcome a threat that faced the world. For fans of the comics the changes to the origin of Ultron were heavily debated prior to the release of the film. There were concerns that by removing Hank Pym as Ultron’s creator the story would be weakened in some way. This was not the case at all and the development of Ultron came across as a very plausible event within the world created by the movies.
As to Ultron himself, this was actually an area I felt could have been improved a little. As brilliantly as James Spader is as the voice of Ultron, the character was very reminiscent of Raymond Reddington, from ‘The Blacklist’. At certain moments when you could hear his voice, but not see the character, I almost expected Reddington to step on screen. This particularly came across in the scene where Ultron first meets the Maximoff twins. The animation of Ultron was also off-putting at times. Ultron’s face, while clearly made of metal, would move in a flesh like manner while he was talking, which gave a very uncanny feeling.
After his success with the first Avengers film, Joss Whedon had a lot to live up to. In speaking about the process Whedon said, “The first rule of making a sequel is take the best moments and do something else. Don't do the Indiana Jones gun trick again differently. Just go somewhere else. Don't try to hit the same highs, because people will sense it." (Entertainment Weekly, April 7, 2015). This was apparent in the end result. The film has a quite a different feel to the first one. While ‘The Avengers’ (2012) was very much an over-the-top action spectacle, Age of Ultron brought some needed heart and soul to the mix. I was pleasantly surprised by how much the film focuses on the human story of these characters. It helps us see the Avengers as more than just caricatures, but as real people with concerns, loves, fears, and lives outside of the Avengers Tower. It would take a TV series to explore each of the characters in detail however, so we only get this extra insight into a few of the characters. This is a way the Whedon was able to explore and utilize characters who previously have been under-developed. I was pleased to see a lot of focus on Hawkeye, a character who was short changed in the Avengers first outing. Also moments like trying to lift Thor’s hammer, and James Rhodes party stories were very humanizing. As with ‘The Avengers’ there were also unexpected moments of humour, which had the theatre laughing out loud.
Even with the focus on humanizing the Avengers, there was still plenty of time for action. Unlike Thor’s appearance in ‘The Avenger’s’, none of the action scene seemed without purpose. They were a great way to explore abilities of new characters, new relationships and to highlight the stakes involved in the situation. There were also moments in the final battle where the framing and composition of the shots looked like they could have been panels ripped straight out of a comic book. The only concern I had about the fight scenes were that the scenes fighting Ultron at times felt very reminiscent of both the final fight in Iron Man 2, where Iron Man and War Machine must fight off legions of drones & Iron Man 3, where multiple versions of his suit are involved in the final fight. This idea of overcoming armies of robots, especially ones which look so similar, is becoming old and needs to move on to its next evolution.
My biggest concern however is that the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to grow, the films become more inaccessible to new viewers. This is definitely a film that I would recommend seeing at least ‘The Avengers’ and possibly even ‘Iron Man 2’ and ‘Winter Soldier’ before viewing. There is a lot of knowledge about previous events and characters which is taken for granted in this film. This allows the movie to move along at a good pace and get into what is important for this story.
This last section is very difficult to write without spoiling elements of the film, so I apologize in advance for the vague nature of my comments. I was a little disappointed by the underutilisation of some of the secondary characters who were discussed online. Age of Ultron is not a film for the minor villains, and they could almost have been done away with completely. Also there were rumours circulating the web that we would see one of the Avengers die. Knowing this going into the movie I could see how this was being built up, and suspected I knew what was going to happen. Unlike Coulson’s death, which came out of the blue, Whedon does a great job at building to this moment, creating an emotional bond with the characters involved and getting us invested in their story. When it occurred though I was still surprised and unprepared for my reaction. Was this moment necessary? I don’t think so. The story would have worked just fine without it, and the future of the Avengers as a team potentially suffers. The moment though felt entirely appropriate, and helped to push characters in new directions.
The last thing, as with any film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is the closing credits. The closing credits themselves are gorgeous. The cinematography as the names of the main actors appear is beautiful and does a great job tying the names back to the characters and moments in the film, without recycling material from the movie. Also the tag scene, directly following this was Whedon’s final surprise. Yes it sets up future films in the franchise, but not the one I thought it would. Joss Whedon revealed that there would be no post credits moment to hang around for. I can confirm that this is true. When the lights go up feel free to leave the theatre, unless you want to stay and acknowledge the hundreds of people involved in making this film.