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[Joint Review] – ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’

 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: 1st May 2015 [USA]
 
Director: Joss Whedon
 
Writer: Joss Whedon [Screenplay] - Stan Lee - Jack Kirby [Comic Book]
 
Cast: Chris Evans - Robert Downey Jr. - Chris Hemsworth - Mark Ruffalo - Scarlett Johansson - Jeremy Renner - Samuel L. Jackson - James Spader - Aaron Taylor-Johnson - Elizabeth Olsen - Don Cheadle - Paul Bettany
 


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Posted April 27, 2015 by

 
Full Article
 
 

Nick’s Perspective:

Just when you think that Marvel can do no more to improve on the likes of Avengers: Assemble (2012), Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), they go and do just that! Joss Whedon, I have two words for you… Mind Blown!

Avengers: Age of Ultron brings back the team following their previous battles and triumphs, still threatened and conscious of what stands against them. Perhaps the most paranoid of the bunch is Tony Stark who is convinced that a higher-level of artificial intelligence is their only potential solution to prevent future wars. This is what leads to the creation of Ultron, which goes on to shape the story of the film. As this is a strictly NO SPOILER review, I will say no more about the plot!

What I can say though is that once again Whedon creates his own cinematic universe which serves as a two and a half hour form of escapism, which, if assisted by IMAX 3D, truly makes you feel as though you are a part of the Avengers.

The astounding cast of Chris Evans (Captain America), Robert Downey-Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), alongside recurring actors like Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and newcomers Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver) is breath-taking enough. Yet, when you match this with incredible special effects and battle scenes, infectious comedy and the exploration of more characters’ backstories, you cannot get enough of this film.

What perhaps Whedon was unable to generate in the first film, in terms of character development and story detail, he makes up for in this one! Avengers: Assemble (2012) was understandably more about merging the initial films together and creating one super-team. However, this resulted in it appearing that only two or three characters were being focused on, with the others being simply soldiers following orders, belittling the status of characters like Thor and Hulk in particular. In Age of Ultron on the other hand, all characters’ journeys were explored equally, which was heavily influenced by the introduction of Scarlet Witch and the powers which she possesses. Personally, it was great to see the development in the ‘story arcs’ of Hawkeye and Hulk in this film.

Another thing which Whedon is incredible at is inter-linking his films and preparing his audience for the following instalments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Bring on Ant-Man (July 2015) and BRING ON Captain America: Civil War (May 2016)!

Newcomers Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were brilliantly cast as the mutant twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, and although I did prefer Evan Peters’ Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past, the character’s story was stronger in Avengers. Additionally, credit must be given to Ultron (voiced by James Spaden), a villain with the wit and frustration of Tony Stark, the intelligence of Jarvis, and the strength of Thor, which keeps the viewer wondering throughout, just how will they defeat him?!

This was the first of many eagerly anticipated blockbusters of 2015, and it certainly lived up to the excitement. It packed non-stop, and, at times, overwhelming action scenes, comedy brilliance from the likes of Thor and Iron Man, and an IMAX experience which I will cherish for a long time (or maybe until the next big blockbuster!).

The only negative thing I can possibly say about my experience is that there were not any superhero movie previews, and when you have the likes of Ant-Man, Fantastic Four and Batman V Superman coming up over the next year, you have to ask WHY?!

Finally, if you’re a Marvel film fan, I shouldn’t need to say this by now, but please do not leave your seat as soon as the credits start rolling. Once again… Wait for half-way through the credits. Do not wait for an after-credits scene though as Joss Whedon has especially mentioned this time to avoid sitting through “40 minutes of credits!”

We’ll be seeing the majority of this cast again in Captain America: Civil War in 2016. But until then, it’s time to hang up those uniforms…

Written By:

2b2b770

Nick Price
@RTWriteUps
Real-Time Write-Ups!
Freelance Contributor

 

Theo’s Perspective:

Here we are again, with the newest Marvel/Disney production around these heroes that introducing you to would be a waste of both time and breath. Between productions that would focus more on this character or this one, Marvel also made his logical choice to narrate the adventures of the Avengers group as a whole : first in 2012, under the direction and according to the script of Joss Whedon, and second today, with the same implications from Joss Whedon…

The movie opens up on the last assault launched by the Avengers on von Strucker’s lair, in order to get their hands upon Loki’s Scepter once and for all. Although Strucker is defeated, and the Scepter put to safety, the group faced for the first time two new adversaries, the Maximoff Twins, also known as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. It is her that would seed mayhem and doubt in the minds of almost every member of the group, leading them to make the worst possible decisions ever, such as using the Scepter to create the Ultron army, the very army that was supposed to ensure Earth’s safety against any kind of threat, such as the one witnessed in the first Avengers movie (the Black Hole in the middle of the sky, the Aliens from another dimension, etc.)

I won’t go any further on the story, mainly because there’s quite not any. The movie is a classic “effects over script” movie, like Marvel/Disney is feeding us with for the past couple of years. I don’t say that it’s a waste of time, I just say that it is only supposed to be ‘funtertaining’ but to the extent that even the characters are brought aside of the massive visual effects. There’s actually no character design at all, if you don’t take under consideration the pseudo-romance between Hulk and Romanoff, and the fact that some members of the crew are facing some of their most dreaded fears, nightmares, or memories (which, in total, counts for about 2 minutes out of the 145 of the whole movie – whoah!). In my point of view, the only character worthy of interest is, ironically enough, Ultron himself. First, because the choice of casting James Spader to do his voice is the best idea the production ever had : this dude has a terrific voice, and I would strongly recommend, if you enjoyed his “vocal” performance, that you watch the TV Show “The Blacklist” that he is currently starring into, he is truly perfect. Second, Ultron seems to be the only one struggling on a moral point of view, and I find it really hard not to agree on his conclusions (but not his ways of putting up a solution, obviously). Besides the lack of a good idea to stand as a scenario, I also would be tempted to say that one of the major flaws here is the editing : fast, way too fast… We are in front of a visually intense piece of movie, but a vast majority of the sequences is shredded –not edited, shredded! – for a purpose I really don’t get, but that gave me a lot of frustration, in not being able to appreciate a sequence as a smooth, well-paced, whole.

Needless to say that this new Avengers opus is far from being the last of the Marvels productions : ahead of us lays the Civil War, the Infinity War, Ant-Man, the Spider-Man reboot, the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, Captain America 3, enough to give me nausea… and we’re up like this at least for five more years ! It’s a good thing they can handle 3D in a good way, otherwise it would have been really boring…

Written By:

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 15.21.38

Theo Tessa
@Theo_Tessa
Full Contributor

 

Edward’s Perspective:

I was worried about this film. I walked into the theatre, took my seat and shut off my phone all the while repressing a sense of dread that clouded my excitement. The trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron was great – awesome even and that worried me. Marvel had hardly set a foot wrong in its’ cinematic universe and again, that worried me. The cast was filled with a menagerie of stars ranging from heartthrobs to Hollywood royalty, and yet again, that worried me. This uneasiness ultimately stems from the fact that, even though Marvel seems to have the formula sorted, at some point this superhero bubble must burst. Marvel hasn’t put a foot wrong so far (where the box office is concerned) which constantly makes you think that the next film must fail – it has too! How could they keep going upwards? The film started and I held my breath…

They have bloody well done it again! I don’t know how long this bubble will last but this film has not only avoided pricking the sides, but has seemingly strengthened the soapy substance that keeps it intact. (I think this analogy may have run its course!) I enjoyed the first Avengers but this felt like a more controlled, balanced film than its predecessor. Age of Ultron belts along at an incredible pace yet, unlike other action-y franchises of late (*cough* Fast and Furious *cough*), gives the slower, emotional moments purpose and weight, which stops the audience from being overwhelmed. Visually there is only one word for the film: epic. Buildings collapsing here, Hulks smashing there, each moment has a kinetic feel that draws the viewer into the scene. The 3D, for those who choose it, by my standards works (as in it doesn’t distract me from the film as it has in past experiences).

The star-stuffed cast works very nicely – everyone gets their moment, no one lets the side down. Robert Downey Jr. is in fine form and, even if we feel like there is an Iron Man over saturation in the MCU, we are happy to see him back. The two Chris’s (Hemsworth and Evans) give life to, what could otherwise be, bland characters and Mark Ruffalo is still charming as the “big guy”. An issue with the first Avengers film I had was that some characters felt under developed, however that has been fixed in this iteration with Hawkeye finally given something to do and new characters explored, in my mind, sufficiently. On that subject, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver (Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) are welcome additions to this film and feel substantial enough to have a place in this dense cast. Also, providing some much needed female kick-assery in an otherwise testosterone fuelled film is Scarlett Johansson, who performs admirably. The stand out, however, is James Spader. The visual Ultron is unsettling enough, but his vocal performance lifts this from being a robotic (pun!) character to a real threat to this team of superheroes.

This film has its flaws. There are some conveniences of plot and there are some moments that don’t entirely sell but this film is so funny enjoyable and kicks enough cliché’s to the curb that it makes these things almost unnoticeable in the scheme of the awesomeness.

Fast, fun and flippant; Avengers: Age of Ultron delivers on all fronts. I was worried that this would dwarf in comparison to its original, but it meets, and in certain respects, overtakes the level set by Avengers. If Marvel continues on like this, that bubble may never burst!

Written By:

Portrait Film Debate

Edward Shaw
@wiredfishbowl
Freelance Contributor

 

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