SBox Recommends: Avengers 2: Age of Ultron

This was my most anticipated film of 2015. In a year that is chock filled with highly anticipated films- from Star Wars to Jurassic World to Fast and Furious– this was the movie I had my eye on. That’s because I’m a huge fan of Marvel’s line of movies and the first Avengers film. But with great hype comes a great amount of skepticism. The first Avengers film is a hard act to follow, let alone attempt to overtake. People still say that it’s the greatest comic book film ever. And that’s the chief question this time around: Is it better than the first one? As debatable as it is to say, I would say “yes”.

Avengers: Age of Ultron takes place three years (and three films) after the first Avengers. The team reassembles in order to retrieve the stolen scepter of Loki. After doing that, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner begin work on an artificial intelligence named Ultron which will protect the world from other future threats. However, the Ultron unit goes haywire, deciding that the one true way to protect humanity is to destroy the Avengers. Ultron befriends two superpowered threats to aid his cause: Quicksilver and Scarlet Which.

As I said before, the first film is a difficult movie to follow. Actually this film had a lot of things going against it. Not only is Avengers a new franchise with no established formula, but the first movie benefited from the fact that we have never seen these characters come together before. Now that the shock is gone, where do you go from there? The answer is that you build on it.

The Marvel line of movies is very complex in nature as it is film’s greatest crossover series. A crossover’s most important aspect is chemistry among characters, which this film continues to pull off incredibly. The character interactions make this movie as effective and as awesome as it is. It’s never forced or unnatural. Take any two of these characters, leave them in one scene, and I promise you that scene will be hilarious and/or epic. Character interactions are great both in dialogue and in combat.

Beginning with the writing, Joss Whedon delivers some of the greatest dialogue in 21st century action movies. Every character is well written, well represented, and genuinely funny. Yes, these characters have awesome amounts of wit to them. I dare you not to laugh at least once. Even Ultron, the movie’s villain is humorous as can be. Fortunately the jokes never come off as unnatural. Each character has a slightly different humor style that goes with the character. There are some jokes that only work for Thor, some jokes that only work for Hawkeye, and so on.

Even so, a lot of the comedy stems from the way the characters bounce off of each other. The first scene in the movie has them all talking while in battle, and it’s really funny.

The action in this film is the second major reason to see an Avengers film, and this film delivers one hell of an awesome time in the theater. Never once is the action dull or unnecessary. The film’s flow and placement of action scenes are ideal. You get a lot of the team kicking serious ass whether it’s solo or together.

Oftentimes, those scenes are nods to the fans of the first film. There’s this one scene where a wave of enemy soldiers are coming at Captain America and Thor. Cap raises his hammer while Thor rings it like a bell with his hammer and wipes out the entire fleet. (This revisits the scene where Thor fights Cap in the woods).

The story this time around is nothing technically new, but it’s new within this certain franchise. Trailers show this film out to be the one that tests the Avengers’ stability as a team even more so than the first film. While that subplot does exist, that’s only part of what makes up this story. It tackles the Avengers’ negative effect on humanity, overcoming your fears, balancing professional life with personal life, and even love. These are all things that are new to Avenger movies and never cease to be captivating.

That being said, a slightly prevalent criticism of the film has been the rushing of Ultron’s formation. I personally didn’t find too much issue with it, but I agree it could’ve been handled a bit better. I give this aspect a pass because this originally three hour film was edited down to meet standard length. I expect that the extended edition on Blu-Ray will explain this better.

The performances in this film are fantastic. I’ll save you the trouble of running down each character as you probably already know how great these actors portray their characters. This is a proven all-star cast that have practically become the quint essential portrayal for these beloved characters. The only one I feel the need to elaborate on is Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. This time around he is given much more screen time as a hero and much more development. Renner takes advantage of this opportunity and runs with it. He has improved dramatically from the first film.

Of course we also have new characters to address. We have the mutants twins Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Which (Elizabeth Olsen). These are great characters that do a good job at presenting a threat to our heroes before they inevitably join sides. You can they’re doing all they possibly can to bring personality and likability to these characters. Unfortunately, they aren’t given enough screen time to allow that to happen. They grow some semblance of personality toward the very end, but I feel they suffer because of time constraints.

There’s James Spader as Ultron, who is an excellent villain. His appearance is, first of all, intimidating, but not nearly as much as his personality. Spader’s delivery makes this character. He is capable of making anything threatening. Very few can make a line like “Thor, you’re bothering me!” or songs from Pinocchio sound menacing, but he does. Plus, he’s actually pretty funny.

Lastly, we have Iron Man alumni Paul Bettany, who goes from JARVIS to Vision. There’s no denying that JARVIS was completely awesome, but as Vision he takes that awesomeness to a whole new level. Vision is as rational and likable as he is all-powerful and threatening. There’s one moment in the movie that I won’t spoil that made the audience gasp at how powerful he is. (By the way, cutos for making his design non-CGI).

This film has a similar style of score to the first Avengers. The main difference is in tone of music. This film is much less up-beat than the first Avengers, which given the nature of the film and the direction they’re going makes sense. That same main theme is just as powerful and epic as always, though.

Avengers Age of Ulton was the best action film I’ve seen in 2015 so far. This film successfully rose to the occasion as far as making an excellent successor to one of the best comic book films of all time. Even if you don’t think this film is better than the original, be assured at the very least that this film matched the original in terms of fun and is well worth your time and money.

9.5/10

I recommend this movie to all Marvel film fans who are probably going to see this movie anyway. If you’re skeptical in any way, be assured that this is a must-see for any action movie fan. If you haven’t seen the first Avengers or any other Marvel film in the last seven years (like some of the people I saw this movie with), I feel confident in your ability to moderately enjoy this movie. I would recommend at least seeing the first Avengers before this one.

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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