Age of Ultron is about bringing the team back together once more that made history in cinema making from their last outing and for the Director, everything in the landscape has to be better, faster, stronger, grittier and louder! But was it necessary?
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and Marvel Studios present…
The sequel to the blockbuster summer hit “The Avengers”! Directed and written by Joss Whedon (Much Ado About Nothing) and Produced by Marvel’s head honcho Kevin Feige. After Loki tried to conquer Midgard with an army of extra-terrestrial beings, we turn our heads now to Ultron a sentient robot that wants to eradicate humanity for non-conformance to evolution! The maniacal metal menace debuted on August 1968 via Avengers No. 54-55, its real creators are Roy Thomas and John Buscema while according to comic book lore the actual fictional guy who made him was Dr. Henry “Hank” Pym also known as Ant-Man! (and Giant Man, Goliath, Yellow Jacket, Wasp etc.)
The mind-set for the superheroes who gave an impression to all viewers is to see them save the world from a global threat which gives the precipice an undeniable outcome. However well intended, it becomes a scratch in the head to see the same thing done over again wherein a peril, specifically in a grander scale will need these individuals for our salvation.
AVENGERS ON PAYBACK ATTACKS!
Steve Rogers revving his motorcycle is now field commander (front and center) and bantering with team mates about bad words (naughty Tony) as they raid a castle of HYDRA headed by Thomas Kretschmann (Downfall) and Henry Goodman (Yes, Prime Minister) as Baron Von Strucker and Dr. List respectively in a fictional country named Sokovia. When the team enters enemy territory, we can see how big was the set to give The Avengers the introduction they needed! Cohesive, fast paced and intense as The Captain gives orders and runs the show while the heavy hitters dismantle tanks, bunkers and soldiers! For Chris Evans (Snowpiercer) we see him develop his stature as he lives up to the title not just playing a soldier following orders but as the man on point while even earning the respect of the Thunder God and the Mechanic Genius.
But the question is who captured the bigger fish was it Cap or Iron Man? Robert Downey Jr. (Due Date) sets aside his ego and decides to be a team player. He shares his building with the team complete with a research facility, a science lab, a bar and a VTOL garage! As Tony states that he pays, designs, provides for everything, he still raises his chair with text book narcissism but given the groundwork, he did serve the team through his well-intended function which is to “shake” things up!
ANTHONY STARK’s MECHANICAL MONSTER (IT’S ALIVE, IT’S ALIVE!!!)
“I got no strings to hold me down to make me fret, to make me frown. I had strings but now I’m free, there are no more strings on me!”
The Iron Legion returning home with damages specifically on its face says: “honey we’re home!” and Tony replies “have you been fighting again and what’s wrong with your face!?!”
Discussing the potential of the sceptre with fellow nerd Dr. Bruce Banner reprising his role is Mark Ruffalo (Where the Wild Things Are), he was very eager and pedantic to jump start the Ultron Program using the said premise but with given caution! As J.A.R.V.I.S tries to integrate his programming with the said A.I. suddenly everything becomes a clusterfuck! By the way don’t make too much noise or you’ll wake it up…shhhh!!!
Asleep, Awakened, Assimilate and Assassinate!
James Spader (Shadow of Fear) lends his voice to the ultimate baddie! He was creepy, enigmatic and sounded like a deranged psychopath! The way he said those lines gave me goose bumps. Repeating what his “Father” implied regarding his mission, the peace of our times when in truth you don’t want to evolve and you are not worthy gives its actual intentions…
James killed it as an actor but Ultron might have been overshadowed by too much people standing around to share the spotlight! Its program is absolute, its goals are clear as day and it definitely has the messiah complex to boot! But the screen time made it farfetched when either it shows up out of nowhere to set-up his plans or it is seen battling the Avengers just to compliment fan service!
THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY SUPPLIER
Upon this rock I will build my church! Ulysses Klaue portrayed by Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is an arms dealer formerly in ties with Tony back in the day. His part was brief but gave a diving platform for the desperate “despot” to acquire a very rare metal called vibranium which he steals from Wakanda, introduced as a fictional nation in South Africa.
Elements that gives preview to an upcoming film where the former smuggler aptly named Klaw who debuted in Marvel Comics on Stan Lee and Jack Kirby on August 1966 in Fantastic Four No. 53 is being set-up to become the main villain for Black Panther!
MONSTERS HAVE PROBLEMS TOO!
The film is all about “monsters” both literally and figuratively!
The dialogue keeps on ringing like a broken down record player taking to account that they have known each other since they have fought the Chitauri years back, but the one liners were too conventional as it keeps them moving along to get to the punch line!
I think what they are trying to make, inculcate for the viewing public is to not get stuck up with one objective of telling the story of the diabolical robot but to give life, meaning to the team’s developing relationships of course not just between Natasha and Bruce (ehem Hulk is here too!) which some of us find unique but also eccentric. They maybe gave this a try for reasons of developing more the characters and making them story centric while the Russian Spy Scarlett Johansson (Lucy) never got the chance to resign her feelings seeing that she went through a harsh kind of childhood from her mind set as an assassin, when all she just ever needed was someone to belong too!
Whereas her supposed lover, has been trying to consider if this thing can work out but unfortunately his overbearing half has given him the reason to be selfless in spite the pain. Mark came through with his reflections on both Bruce and Hulk. The passive, introvert man that makes the behemoth look even more brutal from the other swing of the pendulum.
There is a threat, that is true but how they solve it, how do they manage to survive this will be critical to each and every character. Like Jeremy Renner’s (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) character Clint Barton leads a double life, he has his obligations to his country and to the world as a S.H.I.E.L.D agent and as an Avenger but more importantly he has a family to protect first hand!
He was given a breath of fresh air here noting that he does provide a sense of humanity to make this unit that comprises an egotistic genius, a lost in time super soldier, a weather deity, a living engine of destruction and another monster who wants to be loved and accepted to be cohesive despite not having super powers but he has a gift and it will be the catalyst to stand up once more to face the their problems together as one!
The sacrifice comes with the vulnerability of being human and although we are not perfect and have tendencies to be destructive, we do have a sense of morality and an unfathomable faith deep inside in each and everyone one of us.
SO WHAT MAKES YOU AN AVENGER?
Some would like to take a break as Tony heads off to contemplate on his actions, Thor seeks more answers in his vision, Bruce is gone to find his personal lullaby and Clint goes back home to take care of his family! As Steve and Natasha are now bestowed with a new roster!
Don Cheadle (Traitor) serves as War Machine who debuted in “Iron Man 2” as a weapons military contractor, an Officer of the U.S. Air Force and Tony’s sparring partner. Paul Bettany (Firewall) was just a rather intelligent system but now plays with the big boys personally as Vision a synthetic humanoid harnessing the powers of the mind gem and was crucial to the recent victory of the team, Anthony Mackie (Gangster Squad) is Sam Wilson also known as Falcon, a pararescueman who was trained to take flight with a special wing pack by the military plus he is a close “running” mate of Steve and last but not the least the only rose among thorns Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy and May) Wanda Maximoff, is the surviving twin codenamed Scarlet Witch, with powers like telekinesis, hypnosis and reality manipulation. Should have been included in the roster, her fallen brother Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kck-Ass) Pietro Maximoff, was Quicksilver an Avenger by heart and now it stopped due to rescuing another guy who was needed more in the ending sequence!
Finally some changes, I’m not saying the original was done it’s just that as far as the story is concerned everyone should need to move on, step aside or disappear if they want and come back when everything is in chaos again. Fresh faces, abilities and competencies give them a reason to continue their gung-ho Avengers Assemble!
Well actually there’s already an elephant in the room! Seeing Stan Lee cameo once more as a war veteran and says Excelsior! Hayley Atwell (Cassandra’s Dream) is Peggy Carter who shows up in Steve’s hallucination of a war that does not end even if he wanted peace. Idris Elba (Pacific Rim) conveys to Thor about the prejudice of Hel and the collection of the Infinity Stones. Julie Delpy (Sunset) is Madame B, head mistress of the Black Widow program who supervises Natasha to become an elite killing machine.
On the side note since there were too many characters in the film certain participants had to just squeeze in to voice out their lines like Cobie Smulders (The Long Weekend) as Maria Hill, a former high ranking officer of S.H.I.E.L.D. have with so much work with little or no help to find out what’s actually going on. Samuel L. Jackson (Shaft) is Nick Fury says he’s getting old for this and his role was just plain redundant seeing that he was only there to rally the team get them into shape to beat the aggressor once more, they should have left him out just this once!
Claudia Kim (7th Grade Civil Servant) as Dr. Helen Cho a world renowned geneticist and the mother of the boy genius Amadeus Cho who is also a member of the Avengers in the comic book who we hope in seeing or be part of the team as well in the coming installments. Stellan Skarsgard (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) plays Erik Selvig, Thor’s drinking buddy and an astrophysicist who was summoned to know more about his dreams. Here is the funny part, Chris Hemsworth (Rush) is really leaving left and right in a “rush” because he does not have anything to do anymore except to flex his biceps, pummel the bad robots or be in time to resurrect an android!
This is the part that has to be looked into seriously since there was a need to give all these characters a part not that Clint’s family was important but if they could have given it to someone who needs a little more background. Dr. Cho’s part as well, she could have been mentioned only or even contacted just like Pepper Potts and Jane Foster since Tony does have a state of the art facility. Plus, the Maximoff twins were underwhelming from their accents, their origins and the use of their powers. There was nothing spectacular about them or made at least some of the viewer’s feel that they were indeed special! ILM and Double Negative were the frontrunners in the visual effects department including new comer Method Studios who helped digitally design the Avengers training facility.
Those who stood out were Chris for the script and delivery of his character and who got more ways than one to utilize his shield, strength and his leadership skills, finally stepping into the big shoes of leading the team without any contradictions. Jeremy for providing some conscience to not just for his posse but also the new recruits, Mark on tackling two embodiments of an emotionally troubled man and of course Ultron’s voice acting through James! This is definitely an age to change, to evolve not by skin but rather of heart!
Unforgettable scenes were the opening battlefront, the introduction of the robot, Tony’s R&D Center that can put Batman’s Batcave to shame, the stand-off from the Big Three against Ultron with the Twins on a walk way bridge, the slugfest between “Veronica” and Betty (sorry Bruce) and when Hulk was saying goodbye for the last time. Joss even made emphasis on the globetrotting exploits of our heroes which includes Italy, South Korea, England and Bangladesh and not just being dormant on domestic soil.
In closing (finally), if you want to do something right, do it yourself! Josh Brolin (Men in Black III) as Thanos is seen to have a gauntlet and states that he’ll find the stones by himself. But why were you just sitting all this time man?