Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Remo D
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Avengers: Age of Ultron

Post by Remo D »

And so the long-awaited second Marvel Universe big-ticket "ensemble" film hits theatres. And I couldn't help but feel... underwhelmed. Is it just me? I don't think so. Was I in a bad or non-receptive mood? Hmm... no, it was Mother's Day and we were enjoying a family outing--I was open-minded and ready for fun. Was it AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 awful? Absolutely not. It's not a "bad" film at all. Maybe I've reached a saturation point... or maybe the second AVENGERS team-up just failed to recapture the spark.

So. We start with an abrupt and rather anti-climactic wrap-up of the "Hydra" storyline established in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER and we recapture Loki's scepter. And here's where the truly interesting stuff starts. Tony Stark wants to use the power of the scepter to rashly create an instant "world peace" program and he puts the heavy pressure on Bruce Banner (not to mention the "Jarvis" computer program to make it happen. Tony wants to move right away without telling anybody else because he has neither time nor patience for the "man wasn't meant to meddle medley." And thus is created Ultron (voice of James Spader) who quickly turns out to be less than a key to global benevolence.

It's the Frankenstein story in its purest form and it's a great idea. But, well, just like Shelley's original creation, Ultron loves to wax philosophic (there's a reason people tend to shy away from filming a word-for-word adaptation of FRANKENSTEIN). When it gets out what has transpired, we DO get the "man wasn't meant to meddle medley" and then some anyway. There's no shortage of political and philosophical debate as we learn why we can't have peace in our time and why a non-human program won't be inclined to serve humanity without invoking "evolution" (read: the extermination of mankind). Those who complain that the new AVENGERS features non-stop CGI carnage at the expense of plot and character are certainly wrong... there are plenty of characters, and they DO talk. A lot.

Now, there's a lot to enjoy with our regulars as they banter (the "Thor's hammer" challenge is a good running theme, though the "language!" chiding wears thin after a while). The relationship between Banner and the Black Widow is provocatively explored and (wisely) not definitively played out. On the other hand, I grew restless with Hawkeye's family and the multiple dream sequence which (finally) culminate in the creation of the Vision. He's quite the impressive presence, but he, too, likes to explore philosophy with our heroes AND with Ultron. Oh--we also get Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, and they're certainly enjoyable enough when deployed.

I've got nothing against character development, but in this case, there's so much that it tends to bog the film down--because the action scenes, featuring the latest and greatest dazzling special effects though they might, never quite capture the excitement or intensity seen in previous Marvel films (for the record, WINTER SOLDIER gave us the elevator fight and the attack on Nick Fury's car, and either one of these scenes carried more authentic thrills and suspense). Oh, and speaking of Nick Fury? His long-delayed appearance raised hopes considerably--and then he proceeded to do virtually nothing except help save the day via remote.

As for the climactic action? Remember the 1960s SPIDER-MAN cartoon series and the episode "Swing City" (which they loved so much they rehashed it twice) in which Manhattan Island was levitated in its entirety? They use the same device here (but of course, with far more realistic effects) for the showstopper, with countless innocent lives hanging in the balance. But... well... since they'd already given us a potentially catastrophic Hulk rampage but still contrived to pull it off without a single civilian casualty (yeah, right), I never felt the urgency (obligatory "Bambi" moment notwithstanding). And meanwhile, attempt after attempt is made to score another crowd-pleasing moment along the lines of "Puny god!," and not one of them comes close to the magic.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON wraps up with a promise of fresh air and one of the most disappointing credit cookies yet (Oh, just HIM again?)--and that's the only one, so don't feel compelled to sit through the entire end crawl hoping for more.

Again, it's not a bad film. But "just okay" doesn't cut it for this. Is it just me? Feel free to let me have it.

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Chris Slack
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Re: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Post by Chris Slack »

I decided to wait for the blu on this one. Ant-Man was worth the cinema though!
"Regrettable... I was hoping for a colleague, but at least we have
another experimental subject..." -Mesa of Lost Women

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