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Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

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I’d like to start this review with a question: Can an Avengers film be bad? Marvel Studios has set the bar so high with the last Avengers film and all it’s previous comic book adaptations that it seems impossible to not let people down with round two of this super hero slugfest. Marvel has managed to give us both quantity AND quality with each of it’s films, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron looks to continue this trend. How did it do? Damn good, if you ask me. Read on:

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Joss Whedon, returning to the directors chair from the first Avengers, starts this flick off by giving us exactly what we want. We catch the Avengers mid mission kicking all kinds of ass on the hunt for the remnants of Hydra. From there we head off to Avengers Tower (formerly Stark Tower) where Tony Stark decides the Avengers aren’t enough to keep the world safe. He needs to act now to shield the world from all threats permanently. With the help of Bruce Banner he creates Ultron. Unfortunately Ultron’s peacekeeping protocols work a little too well. He decides the only way to make the world safe is with humanities extinction. You could see how that’d rub the Avengers the wrong way. The rest of the flick is spent watching the team chase down Ultron and save the world from his heinous schemes. That’s not to say, however, that things get predictable or boring as with so many other films with heavy chase elements. Along the way we get exciting action set pieces, witty and clever dialogue, and character moments that allow each Avenger to shine in ways they never did even in their solo films. All that builds up to the introduction of the newest Avenger, The Vision (Paul Bettany) and a final action extravaganza that’s so exciting I found myself nearly jumping out of my seat in a giddy, childlike fit of joy. This film is truly a comic book come to life.

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While this film has action in spades I found myself most content whenever the characters were able to just co-exist in more dialogue, quieter moments. There’s a scene where, while sitting around a table enjoying a few drinks, each member attempts to lift Thor’s hammer. In those moments we get to see the camaraderie between the Avengers without a single punch needing to be thrown. This, along with a small number of scenes like it, allow for each character to have a depth of being that would be missing if this was only a series of big action moments sewn together. Oh and speaking of character Hawkeye is finally a fully fledged character this time around. In the first film Clint Barton was little more than set decoration. In Age of Ultron he is, perhaps, one of the most important members of the team. It’s very refreshing to see a background character imbued with the same three dimensionality as every other member on the team. Now rather than being indifferent to the character I genuinely look forward to his next outing with the team.

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As this is a film review and critique I can’t simply be overly gushing with my praise. This isn’t a perfect film. It’s a very full film. There’s a lot going on, maybe even too much at times. The build up and introduction to Ultron does feel rushed and while James Spader gives an eye popping performance as the mechanical menace I never felt like the character got a full enough character arc. There were hints and moments where you could read into something more from Ultron, but as you’ve got so many things going at the same time somethings gotta fall through the cracks. Same could be said of the Twins, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). I would have liked to have gotten to know who they were more. Their dialogue and interactions with the other characters in the film were great, and any time they got to show off their powers was exciting, but we didn’t get to really know them. I guess that’s what sequels are for.

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As I said earlier in this review Marvel gives us both quantity and quality and this film fits right in with all the rest of their output. I can’t recommend this film highly enough. The entertainment value in this film is relentless. I had fun start to finish and could have happily sat through the whole thing over again immediately after the credits started rolling. In a film like the Avengers fun is what you want, and fun is most definitely what you’re going to get.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer Exposed

There was more than one reason to watch the National College Championship the other night as Marvel Studios premiered the second trailer for their upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer. And unlike their recent Ant-Man trailer it did not disappoint. Age of Ultron is still a decent ways away as the film releases May 1, 2015 world wide, but it will be a long wait when the film looks as amazing as it does in this trailer. Some information about the film is already known, while there is still a lot that isn’t. Luckily, trailers are a good place to speculate about the upcoming as their job is to tease and entice with little snippets from the film. Little snippets that we can analyze for potential clues about the film’s plot based on what we already know.

So let’s take a look at the new Avengers trailer and see what we can learn about the new film. That said, there are some mighty big spoilers ahead so if you want to go into the film with knowing nothing at all then you best be on your way. This information isn’t for you. You’ve been warned.

 

SPOLERS AHEAD

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 1. The Great Escape

A haunting rendition of Pinocchio’s “No Strings on Me” is played out on the piano as the trailer opens amid Hawkeye leading what appears to be a prison escape. The song is important for a number of reasons. It was used more fully in the first trailer as a sly metaphor for Ultron himself. In the film Ultron is an advanced AI partially created by Tony Stark who is capable of learning on it’s own. However as the film progresses Ultron is able to break free of Tony’s initial programming, become self aware, and begin his murderous rampage to take over the world. No longer Tony’s puppet, Ultron directly quotes the song in the first trailer when he exclaims there are no longer any strings on him rather chillingly to show nobody has control over him anymore. The other reason this song is important is at the end of the day it’s a Disney song, from a popular Disney movie. It cannot be understated what a shrewd move it was by Disney execs to buy Marvel Comics years ago and the use of this song in the film shows how seamlessly the merger of the House of Ideas and the House of Mouse has truly been.

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Back to the prison escape, a lot of ragged people are fleeing through rubble towards a hole in the wall. Hawkeye waves them through to a waiting cargo or transport vessel it looks like. It could be a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship or it could be one of Stark’s ships as the Avengers may not be directly related to S.H.I.E.L.D. anymore after the HYDRA infiltration in Captain America: the Winter Solider. A girl in a black leather jacket falls down and though it’s hard to tell, this looks like the Scarlet Witch.. During the end credits of The Winter Soldier it was revealed a HYDRA leader by the name of Baron Von Strucker had captured young Wanda (Scarlet Witch) and Peter Maximoff (Quicksilver) and given them “miracle” powers. Early leaks from the Avengers script suggest the film begins with the team leading an assault on Von Strucker’s HQ and this looks to be the case here. Why wouldn’t you start the trailer with the beginning of your movie anyways? What would be better? To begin it with the end? Nope. This is the opening attack on the major HYDRA stronghold.

Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer ONLINE NOW!

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UPDATE: The trailer hit early and is already online here! And it looks awesome! Ultron? Check! Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch? Check! Hulkbuster armor? Sold!

 

The long awaited first trailer for Marvel’s upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron is set to debut next week on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. A brief glimpse of footage was shown as the San Diego comic con but the majority of the public has yet to see anything more than concept art, posters and released stills of the next installment of the Marvel movie juggernaut. The announcement was made at the end of yesterday’s episode, followed quickly by an Avengers tweet making it official.

 

Hopefully more light will be shown on the film as a result of the trailer but we do know a good amount about the movie already. Retired from the superhero gig, Tony Stark creates a robotic peace keeping force in the form of a new artificial intelligence named Ultron. When Ultron goes beyond it’s programming and threatens the globe it’s up to the Avengers to stop it and save the world. New team members to help in the fight include the speedy Quicksilver, the reality warping Scarlet Witch and the android Vision.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in theaters May 1, 2015.