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Sunday, 26 April 2015
Review: Avengers - Age of Ultron (spoiler free)
Robert Downey Jr. ... Tony Stark / Iron Man
Chris Hemsworth ... Thor
Mark Ruffalo ... Bruce Banner / Hulk
Chris Evans ... Steve Rogers / Captain America
Scarlett Johansson ... Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Jeremy Renner ... Clint Barton / Hawkeye
James Spader ... Ultron (voice)
Samuel L. Jackson ... Nick Fury
Don Cheadle ... James Rhodes / War Machine
Aaron Taylor-Johnson ... Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver
Elizabeth Olsen ... Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Paul Bettany ... Jarvis / Vision
Cobie Smulders ... Maria Hill
Summary (IMDB): When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.
First off let me say I really enjoyed the movie. I was entertained the whole way through and it didn't screw up as far as my head canons go, which is always nice :). However, I wasn't blown away. With every MCU movie including and since Avengers, I have walked out of the cinema wanting to walk right back in and watch it again - not so with Age of Ultron. Oh, I have it on pre-order, but I was not overtaken with the desire to see it again immediately.
The dialogue is brilliant, the characters are superb, the action is well done, the special effects are awesome, however, for me, the plot falls down.
First of all the good stuff. The dialogue in this film is magnificent. It is, in places, hilarious. The timing is perfect and the one liners are brilliant. You can tell this cast know each other well and get on like a house on fire, even when they are in conflict. The script, when it comes to interactions between the characters, is flawless.
I love the characters and where they have been taken. They are all a little bit broken, and that is very important and yet they are strong. The interpersonal relationships really come through and where they took some of the characters was awesome. I really liked all the directions Joss took it in. They were unexpected and, for me, perfectly done, but I suspect some people are grinding their teeth :). The reveals that happen were great and the reactions of the other characters to certain reveals was really nicely done. I also loved the new characters.
The action sequences are exciting and engaging. I've seen some films recently (Jupiter Ascending for example) where I thought some of the chase scenes etc were too long, not in Ultron. I thought everything was put together very well. The film starts with a bang and keeps going.
The special effects are wonderful, as we have come to expect. They defy reality and make you believe what is going on.
The cast is marvellous. I love, love, love seeing Paul Bettany rather than just hearing him. James Spader had the sexiest voice ever, even when he is being a psychotic machine. Everyone else is brilliant. They all pulled off what they were asked to and I love them all.
The plot was messy, bits just didn't make sense and it felt to me as if the film should have been another hour longer to make sense of everything. Thor has his own little part, that just felt silly, Yes, thank you for the gratuitous shirtless scene, but that whole sub-plot needs at least another half hour to make sense. I suspect if you are familiar with the comics it's fine, not so for me. There are also things that happens to several characters where it felt very meh.
Unfortunately, to me, this felt like a fill in film, one that is a bridge rather than being utterly wonderful in it's own right. I never had that sense with the Avengers - yes it was all about bringing the team together, but it was still an awesome story all of it's own. This had Ultron, but it still felt like a stepping stone to The Infinity War arc, not it's own entity. I think that's because it tried to cram in too much.
Don't get me wrong, I honestly, really, really enjoyed it and I recommend it to all fans of the MCU, but I don't think it's as good as those that have gone before.