The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Nothing signals the beginning of the summer like a new Marvel movie, and the movie in question being the sequel to 2012’s The Avengers no less.
Age of Ultron starts off with a bang as the Avengers fight their way through hordes of soldiers in order to catch a criminal. Once inside the fortress, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) discovers a crystal containing an advanced artificial intelligence which he uses to develop an advanced robotic defense force for the Earth. Naturally, things don’t go quite as planned as this force goes amok and decides to eliminate the human race entirely.
Ultron, the titular villain, was what made this movie. Despite being an artificial intelligence encased in robotic bodies, Ultron had oodles of personality, thanks in no small part to James Spader’s performance. Ultron was equally capable of being menacing, charismatic, and funny.
Admittedly, I wish I could say the same for the rest of the cast. As the Avengers have now been pretty firmly established in the Marvel cinematic universe, Age of Ultron wastes no time with reintroducing them. What was most problematic with Age of Ultron was it simply having more characters than it could handle in its two-and-a-half hour runtime. Among other things, we see an awkwardly forced romance between two of the Avengers, one Avenger is discovered to have a family, and a new addition to the team who did little beyond being a deus ex machina despite the movie having built him up to be a bigger deal than he ultimately turned out to be.
Disney ordered director Joss Whedon to trim the length of Age of Ultron down to a more manageable length. While it is understandable why Disney would want such a thing (namely so theaters could show the movie more times in one day and thus rake in more ticket sales), Age of Ultron had a lot left on the cutting room floor and it shows. The movie wound up feeling like it was trying to do too much given how long it was as most of them didn’t turn out very well.
What did come out well was the action. I saw the movie in IMAX 3D, and the visuals more than justified the ticket price.
Overall, I did have fun with the movie. The action and characters were a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the movie stumbled in areas where I thought Age of Ultron’s predecessor did better. While I know it to be true of movies like this in general, there were times when I was watching Age of Ultron and I just couldn’t shake the feeling the whole point of the movie was to sell toys as opposed to being a strong film on its own two feet.
Score: A weak 3/4