by T. Mack
The Avengers are back together and on a world tour to take down Hydra. Along the way, they meet a set of twins who rock their world. Then, as is fairly common in movies, someone tries to stop a bad thing from happening, but in do so, creates the catalyst that actually sets said bad thing in motion. So begins Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The ostentatious Stark Tower from the first Avengers movie is now an ostentatious Avengers Tower that acts a base of operations and party central for the group. Once the guests have left, the after party is interrupted by a surprise guest and the real adventure starts.
The humor and camaraderie you enjoyed in the previous Avengers movie is here. The coolness of the Avengers working together as a team is also nice to see. There is the added benefit of this team dynamic being in place from the beginning of the film instead of only coalescing at the end as it did previously. However, these are not exactly the same Avengers we’ve seen before. And that’s a good thing! This movie pulls back the curtain and lets us see a whole new side to each of the heroes. For some, we learn more about their past. We’re granted greater insight into the present circumstances of others. Best of all, we find out what some of Earth’s mightiest heroes are afraid to hope for regarding the future.
As if that wasn’t good enough, we meet the not-mutant-but-totally-mutant (yes, X-Men mutant) Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, though neither title is actually uttered in the film. Both roles are wonderfully played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson (the guy who was KickAss in, well, KickAss) and Elizabeth Olsen (little sister and superior actress to the adorable-turned-kinda-scary Olsen twins you remember from Full House). These characters are a nice addition. They create some significant new challenges and at least one epic surprise for the titular team. And while they are “enhanced” humans, they are human first and fore-most. You might just find yourself feeling some serious feels once you get to know them.
In case you were wondering, Ultron is amazing! He looks beyond great and James Spader’s voice work brings him to life in a very real and terrifying way. He’s not a man, but more than machine. It’s great to watch that come across on the screen.
If you’ve heard of Vision, you won’t wonder quite as much what’s going on when a new fellow arrives 2/3 of the way through the film. If you haven’t, you might be confused for a minute but just go with it. You’ll pick up on the general idea soon enough. I, personally, have never been a particularly huge fan of Vision. I was excited about his appearance, though, as he’s played by Paul Bettany. It was great to finally see Bettany’s face instead of simply hearing him as the voice of Tony Stark’s electronic sidekick, Jarvis. He’s been around since the Marvel Cinematic Universe began with the first Iron Man in 2008 and he’s lent his voice to five of these movies (all three Iron Mans and both Avengers). It was terrific to see him finally get some screen time.
THINGS TO LOVE ABOUT THIS MOVIE: 1) Thor, uncharacteristically, is a source of reason and logic when everyone else is wallowing in their emotions. It was nice to see. After all, you have to admit that fellow tends to lead with his temper and follow with all his other emotions. 2) It wasn’t completely predictable. I thought I saw what was coming. Boy, I didn’t. 3) The lines of villains and heroes is crossed. I always love that. 4) Hulk smash! 5) Hulk gets smashed. 6) A few things in this movie are heartfelt and quite emotional. My heart cried out. 7) Black Widow, as always, holds her own with the boys. I heart her. 8) There is a moment that proves even homicidal robots get lonely. 9) War Machine and Falcon are around. 10) Shirtless Chris Hemsworth!
THINGS TO HATE ABOUT THIS MOVIE: 1) Nothing. I suppose could nitpick my way through and come up with something to gripe about. But why bother? This movie was great. It included a stellar cast of terrific actors, excellent writing, an amazing director who happens to be a personal favorite of mine, plenty of laughs, dynamic character development, a few chances to get emotional and a budget big enough to make everything look so, so pretty. Also, it’s worth mentioning again that there is a half naked Chris Hemsworth. What’s not to love?
Rating: 5 SHIELDS!
TIPS FOR SEEING THIS MOVIE: There is only one post-credits scene. It actually happens during the credits. After you watch it, you may go. There is no additional scene at the very end.