Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Based on the Marvel comic books by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Written and directed by Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader
When Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Ruffalo) inadvertently awaken a dangerous entity known as Ultron (Spader) the Avengers are called into action. Now they’re fighting against a powerful and intelligent enemy bent on destroying the human race.
(As of writing this post) this is the latest installment of films in the Marvel universe. Once again the story brings back characters from The Avengers and adds in some new faces as well. The screenplay was written by Joss Whedon (Much Ado About Nothing), who also directed the film. Most of the characters are based on the comic books created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The familiar faces of the Avengers include Robert Downey Jr. (The Judge), Chris Hemsworth (Thor: The Dark World), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), and Chris Evans (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Also returning are Scarlett Johansson (Scoop) and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker). This time Elizabeth Olsen (Godzilla (2014)) and James Spader (Lincoln) join the cast as well.
The story does all the right things for a sequel. With this many big characters in one film there is pressure to provide satisfaction to the fans of each big name. The writing does just that, allowing the characters to stand out in their own moments while keeping the ensemble intact. The setup in the film is relatively quick, allowing the action to step up early and dominate the later parts of the film. There are also a number of references made to the other films in this Marvel universe. These references are well-placed and add something fun for fans of those movies.
The dialogue in this one is the best I’ve seen in a comic book film. The writing especially works well in giving Spader a ton of great lines to work with. The humanization of Ultron is so important to the tension and terrifying nature of the role. The writing understood that and it’s awesome. The rest of the story covers all the right angles of the plot, leaving a satisfying experience for audiences with enough closure to tide audiences over until the next film comes out.
The acting in this movie brings back all of the talent that made the first Avengers film work. Each of the stars brings their own touch to the film through unique portrayals of their very unique characters. One of the strengths of the movie is the chemistry between these stars. The connects they make between their roles carries over from the other films in the series. This helps to meet the expectations of the audience and allows for some fun running gags and humorous moments. This time the addition of James Spader goes a long way in enhancing the acting in this one. His delivery as Ultron adds a sinister quality to the film and really carries much of the film. Another nice addition to the movie is Elizabeth Olsen. Her performance creates a great character that plays well in the story. The rest of the cast, which is huge, do great work in their roles.
The action in this movie could be talked about for hours. The visuals in this film are incredible. Like the story and the acting, the visuals had a lot to live up to. The work done by Industrial Light & Magic was extensive enough to create the need for an expansion within the company. Their technological efforts for the film pay off nicely. The fighting and action all truly bring these characters to life. The advances made since The Avengers are definitely noticed in the calmer moments featuring characters like the Hulk or Ultron. Overall, this film is a visual spectacular that won’t disappoint.
The sound work for this film is equally awesome. The work seemed to balance the sound in a way that adds to the intensity without becoming a constant barrage on the ears. The score was also nicely composed by Bryan Tyler (Iron Man 3), with help from Danny Elfman (Big Eyes). The music also connects with the scores for some of the film series that were written by Alan Silvestri (Captain America: The First Avenger). This connection is another nice piece of the attention to detail that this film got.
This is a great addition to the world of the Avengers and the Marvel universe. Fans of the franchise will be more than satisfied with the great story and excellent presentation in this one. If you’ve avoided the series this might be worth waiting on until you’ve seen a few of the earlier movies. I would certainly suggest this to anyone who’s enjoyed any of those films. I give this one 4.8 out of 5 stars.