Age of Ultron: A Cinematic Review

Photo from saltandsandals.com

Photo from saltandsandals.com

With the international blockbuster sensation of Director Joss Whedon’s first Marvel movie, The Avengers captivated the audience with its witty characters, great action sequences and generally merging several genres together to create an all-star movie. It was an international sensation across the globe and drove further interests towards other Marvel movie titles such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier.

As such, it was only logical that Marvel would come up with a sequel following the first film’s success but with even bigger ideas overall. Noticeably, the cast is larger with new characters, the story takes on several subplots setting up events for future movie sequel and it aims to further develop the Avengers with interesting twists and turns. But, can this sequel be a worthy follow-up to the first film, or does it fall short for having too many elements than it could possibly handle?

Just like the first film, the main story from Age of Ultron is fairly simple, as the heroes unite to battle with a common enemy. However, this time, the second film tries to tackle several plotlines to set up future movies (Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnorak and Black Panther.) For the most part, these subplots usually do not take away from the main movie.

A strong aspect in the movie were the characters dynamics that were widely loved in the first film, and Age of Ultron takes these dynamics to further and deeper levels. The second movie showed different sides that we did not see from the first film, such as Bruce Banner’s (Mark Ruffalo) relationship with Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson.)

A particularly surprising performance was Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, who showed more emotional range, humor and compassion, unlike in his portrayal of the first film. And of course, old icons such as Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey) are always entertaining to see on the big screen.

On the technical side, Age of Ultron is a marvelous delight to see on the big screen and a massive improvement went to the choreography for the shots and action sequences. The scope of the movie is far larger than the first Avengers as well. Several scenes were shot in many different countries, which gives the film a more worldly presence. A golden example would be the entire sequence of the Avengers battling a horde of robots swarming over them at the city of Sokovia.

The use of CGI is particularly impressive, namely in the technological sci-fi elements of the film, especially in the animation to Ultron’s facial expressions. The Hulk’s agile yet destructive movements were smooth and fluid as well.

Of course, a superhero movie does not do without a supervillain and that would be Ultron himself, played by James Spader, known for his chilling yet magnetic voice that draws in the audiences’ attention. Ultron is an interesting villain as he averts the usual archetypes of robots being cold and stoic. Here, Ultron is filled with human emotions, and his strange quirks actually make him scarier as his temperament is unpredictable—he can go from cracking jokes to tearing someone’s limb off on his childish temper tantrums.

The Maximoff twins, Pietro (Aaron Johnson) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) also serve as antagonistic forces and their backstory ties in well to one of the heroes, Iron Man.  Pietro is likable and funny whereas Wanda gives off an elegant if not dangerous character who should not be messed with.

Unfortunately, as a bigger sequel, Age of Ultron also suffers some problems unlike its predecessor. The editing here seems somewhat choppy, as several scenes were cut and some scenes almost don’t seem to flow well.

The 3D seemed somewhat unnecessary and sometimes worsened the fight scenes as the movements became too blurry for people to see.  The subplot involving Thor comes off weak and uninteresting, and more time could be spent developing on the general plot of the story. The Black Widow and Hulk relationship seemed to blossom out of nowhere, though it was interesting in its execution. On the brighter side, a lot of these faults could be easily forgiven during the Blu-ray DVD release.

Overall, the Avengers: Age of Ultron is an absolute must-see and fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be absolutely delighted to see their favorite heroes back and together again for the second time in this great sequel.

By: Leslie Lo

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