Avengers: Age of Ultron centers around the assemblage of Earth's mightiest heroes as they try and fend off a global assault from a self-aware computer program called Ultron. The program itself is accidentally created by Dr. Bruce Banner and Tony Stark. The team must fight for their lives and fight to stay together while the world is on the brink of total annihilation. But I don't want to really talk about that. I want to talk about the real reason why this film works and why it will continue to work going forward.
What is the best parts of any Tarantino movie? Is it the ultra violent action scenes? Is it the cool soundtrack? Is it the story? Not for my money. It is the scenes where characters are talking to one another. Their witty verbiage in their interactions. What was the best parts of the new Star Trek films? Was it the space battles? Was it the phaser shootouts? Was it the lens flares? Not for my money. It was the scenes where characters are talking to one another. Their palpable chemistry. Their understanding of who each of their characters are. The same can be said of the first Avengers and thankfully of Age of Ultron. Don't get me wrong, the action scenes and set pieces in all these films are crazy good. However, these team-up Marvel films go as far and will continue to go as far as the characters' chemistry and interactive dialogue will take them. Action scenes are easy to pull off compared to the task of assembling a large cast of characters that you have to make lovable in different ways and believable in their conversations with one another. Special effects are a cinch compared to writing a character so well that fan boys geek out about them as much when they are out of their super suit having a normal conversation as they would seeing them in their super suit battling murderous megalomaniacal robots. Avengers: Age of Ultron's chemistry is its superpower. The story has its flaws, but you are willing to forgive them because you love these characters and you love to be a fly on the wall in their superhero lives.
The original players that return...Tony, Cap', Thor, Widow, Banner, Hawkeye...are just as good if not better than before. Robert Downey Jr. is the rockstar of the group without managing to overshadow the others. Chris Evans' ability to be honest and vulnerable as Steve Rogers yet stern and leader-like as Captain America is a marvel to watch. (See what I did there?) Hemsworth's Thor seems to work best when he is allowed to be humorous and play up the fish out of water trope, which he does again here. Hawkeye gets a much talked about backstory, but in my opinion, he also gets much better material to work with as a team member. The Banner/Widow "thang" does take some getting used to, but ScarJo and Ruffalo make it feel genuine. Scarlett Johansson is also given a scene in the middle of this film that was almost out of place in its subject matter and the dramatic power in which she plays it. Kudos and whoa.
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Quicksilver is the new player that I had the most issues with. The largest praise I can offer Aaron Taylor-Johnson's performance is that it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. He and Olsen's accents are not even as bad as I thought they were going to be. Taylor-Johnson is not really bad at all. It is just a bit of a low-key performance for a character that had so much more personality in X-Men: Days of Future Past. And I freely admit that I thought Taylor-Johnson would be the superior Pietro Maximoff. However, Evan Peters, much like what his character would do, steals Taylor-Johnson's lunch in comparison.
Here I've been waxing poetic about character and dialogue and chemistry and I have neglected to talk about the popcorn action moments in this film. I apologize. Rest easy. There are many.
|PUNY AFFORDABLE SEDAN!|
Avengers: Age of Ultron is probably the best summer popcorn flick you're going to see this year...the best you've had in two years...and the most fun you'll have in the theater until the end of the year. No, I don't think it surpasses its predecessor on a comic book movie level, but that should not prevent you from CELEBRATING it or the fact that we got TWO of these films that were an unrealistically optimistic fantasy in our minds a little under a decade ago...with TWO MORE on the way! Have some Vision...get tangled in strings...don't drink from Thor's flask...watch it...then tell me I'm wrong.