Avengers Age Of Ultron

UK Release Date 1st May 2015
Director Joss Whedon
Starring Loads of famous actors
Runtime 141 Minutes
Certificate PG
Reviewer Jo
Reviewed 19th April 2015

Avengers fans are pretty obsessive aren’t they? For this reason the idea of writing this review has terrified me for some time. I am not a huge fan of superhero movies (except Iron Man) and I am not really a fan of The Avengers movies (*ducks hail of bullets and rocks being thrown by angry mob in Avengers costumes). In the name of Broken Shark research I did watch Avengers Assemble and of course it’s great fun and one can’t help but be impressed by what is clearly a very, very expensive movie. The action scenes are impressive and it’s got a cohesive and interesting story at its core – more than can be said for many superhero films. On the other hand it was VERY long and I don’t ever feel the need to watch it again. So here we are again on the Avengers-go-round with Avengers Age Of Ultron. Positioning the zeitgeist subject of Artificial Intelligence at its heart, Age of Ultron is an intelligent ambitious, kinetic and implacable action film that is certain to thrill its already captive and committed audience.   

Our Avengers are no longer under the supervision of S.H.I.E.L.D; they are flying and fighting solo, bankrolled by gazillionaire Iron Man Tony Stark. Stark isn’t heading up the unit though (not his style), we find all round (dull) good guy Captain America in charge and still being mocked, mostly by Stark for, amongst other things his aversion to swearing. Whedon throws us straight into the action as our Avengers are in Russia trying to recover Loki’s sceptre that has fallen into evil hands. It seems like an easy job for our super superheroes until The Twins appear – a boy and girl who have been manipulated by the Russians to become superheroes – Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch - Quicksilver is quick and Scarlett witch has powers of telekinesis and mind manipulation. Scarlett Witch plays havoc with Stark’s brain (Quicksilver and SW have misappropriated hatred towards Tony Stark). This mind manipulation leads Stark done a woefully misguided path, bringing Banner along for the ride, and unleashes a power that threatens to destroy The Avengers with the only chink in their armour – their minds and their fears.

The Avengers is probably the most highly anticipated film of the summer. A HUGE mega budget coupled with a HUGE star cast and the mighty Joss Whedon in charge of writing and directing duties. As Peter Parker’s gramps said – with great power with comes great responsibility. More appropriately, with big fat profits comes Hollywood’s beloved formula: film+success=repeat. Avengers Assemble grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide, and became the third-highest-grossing film of all time. That amount of money is almost offensive in a time of so much debt and inequality but hey, that’s show business. There are a apparently a record breaking 3000+ VFX shots in AAOU and it doesn’t surprise me one bit. Poor old Whedon, imagine trying to manage over 3000 VFX shots? It’s a wonder he’s hasn’t ended up in the home for burnt out superhero directors. 

There is no doubt, this film looks simply amazing. Whedon has spent his reported $250,000,000 budget well (I bet craft services were AMAZING). As for action, it does not disappoint, it hits the ground running and it does not let up for the entire 109 minutes. Whedon used drones in filming and the expansive swooping shot that these helped achieve give the movie an impressive, vast cinematic film. The 3D is seamless and some of the best I’ve ever seen, it didn’t impede on my enjoyment of the movie as it usually does. The glasses did leave a rather heavy indent on my nose though so I am still anti 3D in general. Whedon is most definitely ticking all the necessary action boxes including a huge climatic fight scene that will leave audiences open mouthed for sure. Ultron is one of the best realisations of a CGI villain I’ve ever seen, it is beautiful work and imagery that will stay me for a while. The pace of the film is non-stop, despite tonally being lighter in places it still doesn’t let up. I felt physically and emotionally exhausted post movie.

We all know the cast line up is stellar to say the least. Every single one of these men and women are respected and successful. Even Jeremy Renner. There are varying degrees of success of course, Robert Downey Jnr is far more famous than Chris Evans but each one holds their own well. Whedon has pulled off the masterstroke of not neglecting any one character, they all get their shot in this movie and the balance is something of a master class. It’s impressive storytelling - Age of Ultron is all about showing a more human side of the characters and we get to see some intimate moments with some of the main characters. Whedon is definitely trying to give us a more personalised insight into these giants and it’s a nice change from the norm.

Entering the universe are Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor Johnson as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver respectively and they are great additions. Scarlett Witch is the first Avenger that we’ve seen on the big screen that has ‘magical’ powers and is potentially the most powerful of all of them so it will be interesting to see how her role progresses in the franchise. The wonderful James Spader’s rich voice and mannerisms make Ultron fascinatingly terrifying.

Now let’s move onto my favourite subject, especially in films like these: female involvement. Actually Age of Ultron may just about to slip past the Bechdel test and we can’t doubt that the man who invented Buffy is not pro strong females. So yes on one hand Johansson is wearing a tight revealing outfit and Olsen is dressed pretty much like the stereotype of a Russian prostitute, however on the other hand they ARE strong female characters. Natasha kicks butt and Scarlet Witch is pretty much the most powerful one of all of them so they may be scantily clad at times but they are strong and kicking ass. I think Whedon may have just pulled this one off. 

In Short:

Joss Whedon has publically said that this movie nearly broke him and I am not surprised. It is such an ambitious film for this genre and hats off to Whedon for trying to make a movie of this type with intelligence, cohesive story telling, strong and complex characters (of both sexes), whilst also pleasing the Marvel universe, and making something that will make at least a gazillion dollars at the box office. Most films are chastised for being greedy and splitting finales into two segments (yes you Twilight and Hunger Games) but in this instance I actually feel like Age of Ultron might have benefited from having a larger canvas to work on. It’s clear that Whedon is working his ass off to fit everything in and make it all work but for me it just all felt a bit overwhelming and some elements can’t help but have fallen by the wayside. That said there is no doubt this movie is going to delight the fans and those like me who are ‘side-line’ fans. Whedon can take his final bow basking in what is sure to be the glow of another huge success, the next writer/director will have a lot to live up to. Now excuse me whilst I go have a lay down.    

*Also just need to add I missed the APPARENTLY VERY IMPORTANT credit sequence bit as I was about to wet myself. Sorry.  

Special Avengers bonus section! We take a look at the team as husband material. Right here.

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