Starring: Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk/Bruce Banner), Chris Evans (Captain America/Steve Rogers), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye/Clint Barton), James Spader (Ultron), and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury)
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Film length: 2hrs, 22mins
Theatrical Release: April 13, 2015
Blu-ray release: Oct 2nd, 2015
The film (4/5)
“Clearly you’ve never made an omelet”
Avengers: Age of Ultron follows the events of… a comic book?
Yeah, somehow Hydra gets their hands on Loki’s scepter, the one he was using to control minds in Marvel’s The Avengers. Marvel put out a comic book called Avengers-Age of Ultron Prelude-The Sceptre’d Isle to fill the gap between the two films, but I’m here to watch a movie dang it! Not read.
Well, thankfully you don’t really NEED to know how Hydra got their hands on the most important item in the custody of The Avengers, but just know that they somehow got it. They are led by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker who is using the scepter to experiment on humans, namely a set of twins – Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who has superhuman speed (Quicksilver), and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), who can manipulate minds (Scarlett Witch).
After the Avengers retrieve the scepter, Thor allows Tony Stark to examine it before returning it to Asgard. After running a few tests Tony discovers the stone inside of the scepter contains an artificial intelligence. Tony convinces Bruce Banner to help him use the AI to complete his “Ultron defense program” without the rest of the team knowing. Unexpectedly, Ultron becomes a sentient being believing he must eradicate humanity to save Earth. He escapes The Avengers Tower base and quickly becomes a power foe that will take the combined powers of the Avengers team to stop him!
I know a few Marvel nerds who didn’t care for James Spader’s take on Ultron but I thought he did a solid job. I will admit that Ultron’s motivation was a little clumsy. He can only save Earth by wiping out humanity? And this idea originated from Tony’s mind? I think this was done to get the ball rolling for the inevitable feud between Iron Man and Cap for the upcoming Civil War. So there were too many ideas at play and the concept of Ultron maybe didn’t come across as smoothly as it should have. Motivation aside, his unpredictable/sociopathic nature combined with unlimited resources made for a fun villain for the team to go up against.
Memorable Moments / What Stood Out to Me
Dug the locales in this one
The movie takes us all over the globe. Italy, South Africa, and South Korea among others. The found some truly visually striking areas in these locations too.
Again, this budding relationship was something for the Marvel nerds to bitch about, but I’m rooting for these two kids to make it. I look forward to seeing how/if this goes anywhere.
Admittedly, Age of Ultron is a bit on the long side. Some have suggested that the battle between Hulk and Tony in the Hulkbuster suit should have been cut for time. Nah, this was a fun moment and I’m glad it stayed.
Bonus: Stan Lee cameo review! (5/5)
Stan-The-Man plays a World War II vet in this one! He is invited to Stark’s party and samples some of Thor’s strong alcohol from Asgard. He has to be carried out from the party soon after while letting out a weak “Excelsior”. Perfect.
Special Features (2/5)
The Featurettes are the meat of the special features on this disc and they’re actually pretty good. From the Inside Out – Making of Avengers: Age of Ultron is a press kit that runs about 20 mins in full HD, with the actors and film makers chatting a bit about their experience working on the film instead of the usual oversell shtick. The Infinite Six is about 7 minutes and talks about some of the material the film derived from the comic books. Mostly how the infinity stones (gems) tie into the other films and is part of a large story arc that will payoff in next Avengers film. Finally, Global Adventure is a short one about the filming locations used in the UK, Italy, South Korea, and South Africa.
The Deleted and Extended Scenes run about 12 minutes and are kind of meh. The movie is almost 2.5 hrs long and not much was left on the cutting room floor. What is here is more closer to extended takes. Not missing out on much here. The Gag Reel is alright. A few laughs here and there. And the Audio Commentary is a solo job with director Joss Whedon. Informative at times but with most of the effects being CG there really wasn’t too much behind the curtain stuff let us in on.
TL;DR: The disc contains about 30ish minutes of worthwhile bonus stuff. Just don’t expect to learn much more than how everyone had fun making the film.
This was my second viewing of Age of Ultron and both times I have come away with good vibes. I’m not usually one for the Whedon-y humour, but it all fits well in this film. The characters fall into place from the first scene on and compliment each other well. So, I say let the nerds stew in their anger over how “authentic” Ultron is or isn’t. At the end of the day this is a well-paced action film about a bunch of witty superheroes fighting a slick robot. Grab the popcorn and have fun.
How I would rank The MCU movies from best to worse so far:
Thor: The Dark World
Guardians of the Galaxy
Captain America: The First Avenger
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Iron Man 2
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 3