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Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

May 7, 2015

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, James Spader
Director: Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Serenity)

Bottom Line: Few would envy Joss Whedon’s task of following up the mega blockbuster and critical darling that was the original The Avengers movie, but his Age Of Ultron manages to deliver the kind of popcorn fun we’ve come to expect from the high quality Marvel/Disney films.

Age Of Ultron starts off fast and furious – with The Avengers fighting their way through a snow-thick forest towards the base of the last known HYDRA agent, a man that has Loki’s scepter from the last film. Whedon gives us a single shot highlight of all The Avengers causing damage much like he did in the finale of the original film. It’s a quick call back that reminds us how and why we love these heroes. Yes folks, he still remembers how to do this. The team secures the scepter, Tony Stark ponders the idea of using it to create an AI as a means of protection against future threats from space, and soon the conscience of Ultron is born… and he doesn’t share the same values as The Avengers. He’s a little more into human annihilation and world domination.

Age Of Ultron is a fun movie. For summer blockbuster fare, it’s top notch, but I didn’t leave the theater feeling giddy like I did after watching the first one. Still, there is plenty of high level action, humor, and, somehow, Whedon is able to find a way to give all the players involved their moment to shine – a remarkable feat considering the core team now consists of nine members with the addition of Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and The Vision. For a movie that could easily feel bloated, Whedon displays a tremendous amount of balance.

The returning cast is solid as usual, but James Spader steals the show as Ultron, whose wit and sense of humor unsurprisingly mirrors that of his creator, Tony Stark. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen are a bit jolting as the Russian Maximoff twins – the accents are pretty ehh… – but Olsen at least proves to be a capable actress.

Age Of Ultron is a satisfying follow-up to The Avengers. Fans of the genre will no doubt be satisfied. I don’t think it is as good as the original, but I may change my mind upon multiple viewings.

Replay Value: These kind of movies tend to be best the first time around, but I will almost certainly see this again in theaters.
Sequel Potential: Marvel has solo Avenger movies lined up for the next several years before culminating with the Avengers: Infinity War two part finale. I am particularly looking forward to Captain America: Civil War which will pit Cap against Iron Man and introduce Black Panther and Spider-Man into the fold.
Oscar Potential: This may get some visual effects and sound nominations, but that’s probably it.

Grade: 7/10 (Must See)

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