Avengers: Age of Ultron Theatrical Review
The studio to finally take stock and possibly figure out that Marvel worked a lot better when it was the director making the decisions for the creative path of the film, and not executives wondering which power tie looks best at a meetings.
If the story is unknown to you, it's pretty simple. "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" assemble to defend the world from utter destruction. This time around, that destruction is caused by an Artificial Intelligence named Ultron, who was created with good intentions by Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo).
All of the original characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe that you know and love are back. The actors have become so synonymous with their roles it is hard to image that these are actors and not actually the characters they play. The addition of Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson; Godzilla, Kick-Ass) and The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen; Godzilla, Oldboy) was a nice touch and their characters fit perfectly into the film. However, the actor that overpowers everyone with every scene he is in is James Spader (Less Than Zero, Stargate) as the voice of Ultron. His melodic voice delivers all his dialog with perfection. Through him the animated Ultron truly came to life as a true threat to the Avengers. I can honestly not image a more perfect person to flesh out this role.
Unfortunately, the overuse of CGI in this film certainly takes you out of this alternate reality. While The Hulk looked amazing in the 2008 Incredible Hulk stand-alone film, and at least tolerable in the original Avengers film, this time around they made him look like a cartoon character placed over film stock. In addition to that, many of the fight scenes now look like there was no attempt to use any live action, but let the computer artists render the main characters on the screen. Maybe the Marvel division needs to talk to J.J. Abrams and his decision to go back to tangible action and props on the new Star Wars film.
After letting director Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly) have creative freedom with the original Avengers film, it appears the executives are calling all the shots here. The film is a mess and it doesn't know if it wants to take itself seriously with the nightmare dreamscapes created by the Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), or be a cheesy comic book movie with generic shots of the Avengers posing before they go into battle. There has been a lot of press lately about directors walking off the sets of Marvel films over creative differences, and with Joss retiring from the Marvel Cinematic Universe of films, it appears to be just more cannon fodder to support this theory.
There were some humorous moments that really made the film more enjoyable and, as mentioned earlier, some very cheesy moments that made the audience want to groan. The action sequences were what you would expect from Marvel but the dialogue left much to be desired at times. Even with it's flaws, though, Avengers is still good entertainment.
This film is essentially critic proof; however, I believe Marvel fans might want the studio to finally take stock and possibly figure out that Marvel worked a lot better when it was the director making the decisions for the creative path of the film, and not executives wondering which power tie looks best at a meetings. B
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 141 minutes
Distributed By: Walt Disney Pictures
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- Allison Hazlett-Rose (B) (Digital HD Review)
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