Title: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, Elisabeth Olson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, James Spader
Seen on: April 23, 2015
I was lucky enough to be able to attended the European premiere at Westfield London on April 21 (fun times!!) of Avengers: Age of Ultron and the energy and buzz only made me see this film even more. Midnight screening tickets in hand, I decided to brave the 3am London night buses on my way back home for the chance to see the film as one of the first “regular” people in the world. And boy, was it worth it! 🙂
Age of Ultron is big, it’s loud, it’s funny and most of all it is the Avengers as we like them; snarky (Tony Stark), sassy (Steve Rogers), a little bit mysterious (Natasha Romanov), big and green (Bruce Banner) and not quite a team. And the big bad is equally impressive: Ultron seems almost invincible, upping the game throughout the whole movie.
The storyline for AOU is this: The Avengers are gathered at Tony Stark’s tower in New York after a mission against Baron Strucker (fantastic opening sequence in one long take culminating in a classic comic book superhero group pose). They have Loki’s scepter and have a little celebration because of it, when Ultron decides to crash the party. Tony and Bruce didn’t think they were close to functional AI, but the souped-up robot proves differently. He is angry and murderous and extremely powerful. Cue the team chasing him across the globe to fight him, until they encounter the Maximoff twins; Pietro and Wanda. They join Ultron in hopes of destroying The Avengers, but when it turns out they can’t trust the maniacal robot (who would have thought?!), they join forces with The Avengers and help bring down Ultron instead. It all comes to a head when Tony and Bruce (with a little help from Thor) manage to get Jarvis a body (a.k.a. The Vision) powered by the infinity stone that was hiding in Loki’s scepter all along. The Vision is then finally able to beat Ultron, together with Thor’s hammer Mjolnir and Iron man’s suit.
It sounds very complicated, layered, intricate, and it is. But come on, it’s Joss Whedon, he can handle it. And he does, very well. But he also manages to get a more human side to the team inserted into the film. We get a lot more backstory on Clint Barton, who has a whole ‘nother life besides being the world’s best bowman, Natasha Romanov and her upbringing in the Red Room, and Joss Whedon has added a butt load of little insights into everyone’s personal side. The way he shows them to us is not always as fun for the character as it is for us, as we see them through painful dreams courtesy of Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch and her mind-bending powers. But AOU is as much a film about the team being superheroes as it is about the people behind the superheroes.
That combination-a solid story with an interesting plot and bad guy, and a real connection to the people on the screen-is what makes AOU a strong, solid film that captivates and entertains. And it is surprisingly funny! So, so many little in-jokes, one-liners and humorous moments keep the balance between the hard action and the levity; both serving the action fans and the casual cinema goer. There are a million little nods to the entire MCU in the film too; Sam Wilson and the search for Bucky from Cap2, War Machine from IM2, Wakanda for the upcoming Black Panther movie, and many more. I for one can’t wait to see what they do from here on out.
There are a few moments and things I want to briefly touch on that stood out: The Vision and Thor’s hammer (audible gasps from the entire audience), Pietro’s first line (and Hawkeye’s return of it later on) and ultimate death (more audible gasps), Ultron’s humanity brought to you mostly by James Spader’s fantastic voice, the Hulk Buster and Veronica, the incredibly CGI for Ultron, Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaw (MOOOOOORE!!) and Clint’s family and “auntie Tasha”. Also, the end. All I’ll say is AVENGERS….
After all of this praise and fangirling, there is one reason I am not giving this a 10/10. Well two, because Captain America: The Winter Soldier was better than this film, but the other reason is more important: the party at Stark Tower. Every single one of them felt out of character to me, except for Tony Stark. Steve, Maria Hill, Natasha, Bruce, Thor, Sam; they all felt out of place, out of character and odd. It might be because we’ve never seen them as a bunch of relaxed people just hanging out, it might be because they simply were behaving out of character. Either way it felt forced to me, so early on in the film it felt like Joss Whedon was trying to shove their humanity and team bonding in my face. Not to mention the Natasha/Bruce connection…
If you’re still with me at this point, well done to you! Now go out and see it because it really is a fun, entertaining and strong film that deserves the price of a cinema ticket. I promise you won’t be bored once!