By Sean Burtt (Chippenham)
avengers-age-of-ultron-20

 

So…After…How long has it been? I can’t think how long I have been waiting for this movie. I don’t think I can remember a time when I wasn’t thinking about it. So, yeah. Avenger: Age of Ultron came out this week, well in the UK, sorry America (not really sorry!). Maybe I went into this with a biased mind because absolutely everything that comes out of Marvel Studios, in my view, is completely awesome. Except The Incredible Hulk, we don’t talk about The Incredible Hulk. But all of that put to one side this film is epic. That is one of the many words that comes to mind after you watch all 150 minutes of magnificence.

I think I’ll start from the first Avengers film that also came from the forever underappreciated Joss Whedon. Now, I don’t know whether I am the only one who thinks that the first one was kind of meh. I feel like everyone tells you it’s good and we all think it’s good. But then you watch and it’s a bit average. I know it’s hard when all the films are is fight scene followed by some talking repeated for two hours but they could have made the transitions between these scenes a bit smoother. However, you cannot take away the fact that it was the highest grossing film of 2012. It is also the highest-grossing comic book adaptation, the highest grossing superhero film and the highest-grossing film ever released by the Walt Disney Studios. So I guess no everyone agrees with my theory. Of course we had the four films in-between the two Avengers films which got better every time. But the time did come… Ultron was finally released!

Talking about this film I think it’s better to start from where it became good. In this films case, the first second. What a way to start a film. If you have seen it then you must agree. Of course I do not want to ruin anything about this film or give any spoiler but I ‘ll just say that not many films can get the opening scene just right I mean look at Alien 3 they barely get in to the film before they destroy the hearts of millions of Alien fans, But in the flip side there is the opening sequence to Alien which is a masterwork or the start of The Dark Knight Rises just earlier this week I saw an article where Christopher Nolan said “it was an incredible sort of coming together of months and months of planning”.

Age of Ultron is definitely that caliber. It just sets up the movie beautifully and carries on from Captain America: The Winter Soldier brilliantly. This is also where we are introduced to the Russian miracle twins. Of course I am talking about Wanda and Pietro Maximoff a.k.a Scarlet witch and Quicksilver and they do make a big splash in the flowing river of the Avengers plan. But in the end the Avengers do recover the object that they were after, which shall remain undisclosed. This object allows the film to happen basically.

When the Avengers return there is maybe 10 minutes or so of just the Avengers throwing a party and messing around with each other. The humour and character relationships that they manage to convey to the audience is unbelievable and it has got to be down to the offset relationship the actors with each other. If you are working with the same people day in, day out then it is inevitable that a bond will form. These actors are not just colleagues they are friends and Whedon uses this to his full advantage. Although this is only a short scene, I could have watched 2 hours of just this that is how good it was.

But of course the sinister voice of James Spader, who by the way managed to act brilliantly whilst just providing the voice, had to show up and ruin the party. This scene really makes all the Avengers think about who they really are. Ultron has only been around for about half an hour and he already manages to get under the skin of every single member of the team. This is when you know that you’re witnessing the birth of the greatest and most sinister villain we have had the pleasure of meeting in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The reason this villain is one of the best is because you get the sense that he genuinely thinks that he is doing good, of course he is deluded but that just makes it more fun!

We then get dragged across the earth searching for Ultron. Where we are introduced to Andy Serkis, a man who will have a massive part to play in the coming years of the Marvel Universe. Ultron is there as well looking first the same metal that built Captain America’s “Frisbee” (as Ultron calls it). This is the first time we see Ultron’s psychopathic tendencies explode when he is compared to his creator, Tony Stark. We see Ultron’s hate for Iron Man. Even though they seem to be on the same mission, just taking different routes (well that is how crazy Ultron sees it). Then The Maximoff twins get their big break. Pietro gets a punch on Cap but then falters when he takes on Thor’s hammer. Wanda then uses her powers to concoct visions in the Avengers minds, this bit will probably destroy a lot of people’s theories made from the trailers. But they don’t stop there, they go on to the ‘big guy’. This leads to the highly anticipated fight between the Hulk and The Hulk Buster, Veronica. Which is filled with possibly overdramatic destruction and a few laughs.

One of the best things at Marvel must be the casting. We already know and have seen that they have been pretty must right about every actor they have got. Mark Ruffalo, a revelation. Possibly the actor with the most ‘acting’ to do. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. once again steal the show. However, don’t think that Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner are left out (once again). They both are huge players in this game and both go through quite cathartic experiences I would say. “The city’s flying; we’re fighting an army of robots; I have a bow and arrow” Hawkeye may be telling the truth here, I’m sure the Hawkeye hate club will love this line.

Me on the other hand, I am part of the Hawkeye fan club I love the humanity he brings to the table, especially in this film where we learn a lot about his personal life. With all these gods, super soldiers and brainwashed assassins running around it’s nice to know there is just a man who is good with a bow and arrow mixed in with this all. I love Black Widow’s and Banner’s ongoing love affair in this film I think it really shows how the relationship of the team has flourished. I also like Johansson’s role of Hulk whisperer, which is kind of confusing but cool at the same time.

The final 20 minutes, for me, are a truly wonderful. We still are getting the odd witty wise crack, with Nick Fury even weighing in on the banter. Samuel L. Jackson definitely lives up to his promise of doing “something dramatic”. But what really impresses me is all the CGI and effects that this film brings. Ultron himself is a wonder to behold. And when Paul Bettany finally gets to put some flesh on his silver-tongued operating system he also looks fantastic. In the final major battle scene we see all the Avengers including the new recruit, Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, battling it out against Ultron and his hoard of robots. With some pretty impressive slow motion sequences, which again are probably over dramatic. Throughout the film we see the relationship of the Avengers in the way the fight together. There’s Hawkeye throwing Cap’s shield, Thor smashing it at some robots and even someone using Thor’s hammer. This is again evident in this final battle. And of course Hulk is doing a ‘smashing’ job.

After Ultron is inevitably defeated and peace restored we are shown the new ‘Avengers institute’. We also see Tony Stark leave the world of Avenging (again!). No one knows where the Hulk is. Nick Fury is well and truly back. Thor has got to do some setting up for Ragnorok in 2017. And Cap and the suddenly and somewhat awkwardly named Nat, Black Widow, start training their new additions to the team. This marks the end of the original Avengers and the dawn of something new and brilliant on the horizon. Of course we still have Ant-Man in July to ‘look forward to’ and then phase 2 will be at its conclusion.

BRING ON PHASE 3!!!

This film is a wonderful spectacle for all the family, you’re not buying tickets to a masterpiece of cinema but that is because these films stand alone in their own little world of brilliance. You shouldn’t go into the film expecting Citizen Kane because you will be inevitably disappointed. But on the other hand, it is not just lots of fighting with 10 minutes of talking, the whole film has meaning. Every fight scene, every conversation means something. It’s not just Thor bashing Hulk about for the sake of it. This also marks Whedon’s end to directing Avengers films, which is quite sad in my view. But Marvel have signed up the masterminds that brought us Winter Soldier to direct the Infinity War double.

I would love to see Whedon back in the directing chair of another Marvel film because he has really out done himself here. It is sophisticated in its own way and everyone should embrace it. The people who call superhero films ‘cultural genocide’ should really have a reality check and accept that with 25 of them over the next 4 years means that they are here to stay and they are just going to get bigger and better.

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