Saturday, May 2, 2015

Movie Review -- Avengers: Age of Ultron

Today we have the latest Marvel movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron. Once again directed by Joss Whedon, is it as good as the first?

The movie begins with the Avengers attacking a fortified Hydra base to recover Loki's scepter. Hydra responds by unleashing the super-powered Maximoff twins, Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olson). Pietro has super speed and Wanda can manipulate matter and has psychic abilities. The two groups tussle briefly before the Maximoffs make their escape. 

Later, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) decides to go ahead with a plan to create a peace-keeping force using the scepter's mysterious intelligence. However, things quickly go awry when the intelligence, known as Ultron (James Spader), awakens and begins downloading his consciousness into multiple robot bodies. Having received his mission of world peace from Stark, he quickly twists it into something perverse and decides to do away with the Avengers which he views as a threat to said mission.

Ultron soon recruits the Maximoffs to his cause, and the trio gets to work dismantling Earth's mightiest heroes. The Avengers find themselves at a severe disadvantage against Pietro's speed and Wanda's mind games. Even worse, Wanda manipulates the Hulk into going on a rampage, and Iron Man must don his most powerful armor to stop the green goliath. The ensuing battle accumulates a crapload of collateral damage, threatening the Avenger's reputation. But Ultron is just getting started, and he has a plan to usher in the apocalypse. Can our heroes rally themselves and save the day?

The first Avenger's movie remains a favorite of mine, and I'm happy to say the sequel does not disappoint. It's got comedy, tons of great action and stylish visuals. If it weren't for the screaming kids in the theater and my mounting headache, I would have had a total blast. A mark of a good movie is if I can say I want to eventually get it on home video, and with this movie I can say that. I definitely enjoyed it more than Guardians of the Galaxy which I liked but viewed as Avengers Lite.

I also like that they updated the Maximoffs' wardrobe for the modern generation. The Scarlet Witch's comic book outfit in particular has not aged well, and thankfully Joss Whedon's version is much more sensible and fashionable.

In addition, the chemistry between the cast members is as strong as ever, and you really get a sense they had a blast working together and making this film. 

If there is a downside to this movie, it's that the villain's minions aren't that much different than the aliens from the first Avengers. However, that really doesn't bother me and I think Ultron is a compelling antagonist.

Bottom line: Go see Avengers: Age of Ultron. Now.

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