Avengers: Age of Ultron (d. Joss Whedon USA 2015)

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis at the bottom for any who wish to see one.

Entertainment:

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Performances:

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Predictability:

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Technical:

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We’re definitely in the age of super heroes. What seemed to begin with Spider-Man (d. Sam Raimi USA 2002), or perhaps earlier with Blade (d. Stephen Norrington USA 1998) (arguably, the new age of super heroes started here), just seemed to keep growing. It seemed evident that Marvel had begun to combine its stories fairly quickly, and thus The Avengers (d. Joss Whedon  USA 2012) took off! The Avengers met with success Marvel was only going to grow, more and more and more. So Age of Ultron was not just coming it was expected. The hype around this film was huge and only strengthened by the continuing stories of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor (why was the Hulk the only one that didn’t?). So Age of Ultron has a fairly huge back story being at least the tenth film in the series. (I hear Hulk (d. Ang Lee USA 2003) was considered non-canon?) The back story of each character is fairly well known but it’s easy enough to pick up from any point. The film boasts a good start, good budget, good cast. Each cast member reprising his role from The Avengers. However, we’re now in the realm of James Bond, Dracula, Zatoichi, etc. etc. There is a recognisable formula. We’re expecting action, story and character – oh and CGI can’t forget that! How does it continue successfully and not fall into self-parody

Let’s talk characters and story. There are new characters, old, all performed by a good cast. If you dislike the characters you should know to expect that by now. The Avengers established how they all interact, pros and cons, flaws and struggles as a group. Key thing is that they are connected and disconnected. They work but not perfectly. The back and forth between them is entertaining and funny but runs the risk of self-parody. Hard line. However, the group dynamic helps for a flavour-full storyline. The villains premise is no surprise. But, what about the villain? He’s kind of entertaining and kind of bland. his story is a bit two dimensional and he doesn’t carry all that menace. He’s threatening but as a main villain? Oh dear. Other characters may well have served better as main villains than the main villain. Storyline is entertaining but there’s no big sense of danger.

 

Effects? Well we know CGI… It’s ok, it has problems. There are some interesting uses of cinematography and particularly in the depiction of super powers but again this is it. We know this. We’ve seen it. As criticisms go this is crude and/or harsh. If something works there’s no huge reason for stopping it (shot, reverse shot, establishing shot, eye-line match, 180 degree rule are all staples of cinematography going back 100 ish years!) It is all just what you’d expect which is good but not necessarily amazing. Again not a huge point. If Age of Ultron started to hold back on its effects it might have been more likely a self parody. It’s all part of the formula.

So how was it? In three words: good, not amazing. It entertains and is a good addition and I imagine for those who absolutely love the character it was a very good film. Many of the problems are more in how far in the series it is. Main criticisms is in the rather generic, surprisingly un-menacing villain. It kind of has the same problem as Iron Man 3 (d. Shane Black USA/China 2013). How do you up the ante?

Synopsis

In an attempt to keep the planet safe from alien threats accidentally create a new enemy who sees humanity itself as a threat, once again it is up to the Avengers to keep the planet safe.

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Interview with Robert Downey Jr.

Interview with Joss Whedon

Interview with Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth

Marvel is Killing the Popcorn Movie

Age of Ultron may be Marvel’s most spiritual movie

Marvel and it’s Sexist Movies hit a new low

Age of Ultron Analysis

Avengers: Age of Ultron (d. Joss Whedon USA 2015)



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