Monday, April 30, 2018

Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron

The heroes of the Marvel universe reunite for a second fight, this time against a murderous artificial intelligence created by one of their own members. The epic superhero blockbuster begins with a wild battle at a Hydra base where the scepter was hidden and used for advanced experiments. The weaponry allows the Hydra soldiers to fly and shoot lasers but they are no match for the Avengers. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) makes it inside but he is given a vision by Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) who has been enhanced along with her brother Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is able to calm down the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) so he turns back into Bruce Banner. Captain America (Chris Evans) takes out Baron Von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) plans to return the scepter to Asgard, but not before a party.

Tony Stark has created a group of robots to help them fight and they are controlled by Jarvis (Paul Bettany) so he noticed a similarity in the scepter. Stark and Banner experiment with the scepter but can't figure it out before the party starts. Ultron (James Spader) wakes up and destroys Jarvis. As the Avengers party and try to lift Thor's hammers, Ultron takes control of Stark's robots. The Avengers fight the robots until Ultron flees with the scepter back to the Hydra base where he begins to build an army. The Avengers search for a clue as to Ultron's next move and learn of Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) and his hidden stash of Vibranium near Wakanda. Wanda and Pietro Maximoff confront Klaue who is unintimidated until Ultron shows up and cuts off his arm. The Avengers show up to fight Ultron but Scarlet Witch hypnotizes several of them including the Hulk.

Iron Man uses his Hulkbuster army to fight the enraged and out of control Hulk through the streets and buildings of an African city until he finally renders him unconscious. Defeated, the Avengers head to the home of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Thor recalls his vision and soars off to find Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) where he has a vision of the Infinity Stones. As Tony and Steve Rogers debate what to do next, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) shows up to help them come up with a plan. The Avengers figure out that Ultron hopes to build a body with Vibranium and something is stopping him from getting to the missile launch codes. Wanda and Pietro learn that Ultron plans worldwide destruction. Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Widow head to South Korea to stop Ultron from uploading his body. Cap fights Ultron atop a truck through the streets. Their fight is moved to a train that Ultron sets on a destructive path until Scarlet Witch manages to stop it and Quicksilver pulls people out of the way.

Hawkeye receives the cradle containing the Vibranium body but Black Widow is captured by Ultron. Stark convinces Banner to put Jarvis into the Vibranium body to create Vision. Captain American has teamed up with Wanda and Pyotr. They try to prevent Tony from doing it but then they see the result is not as dangerous. The Avengers learn of Ultron's plan and head to Sokovia to fight him and his army of robots. Ultron has put a drill into the ground and plans to lift it up into the air only to drop it back down as a meteor and destroy the Earth. The Avengers work together to protect the drill though they don't save everyone as witnessed in future installments. 

Avengers: Age of Ultron is a step down from the first Avengers film but still has plenty of great superhero action and benefits from a cool villain. Seeing the Avengers back together is pretty cool but this film feels like it is biding its time for something bigger. There is a lot of set up still going into this film and it kills off Quicksilver before he gets through one film, mostly I think because of rights with another superhero franchise. The film is improved by what comes after as the finale proves to be a pivotal moment in the relationship of the superheroes. I enjoyed Age of Ultron but I suspect this is when many people became bored with the franchise and wanted something else to dominate theaters. 

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