Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Movie Night – 'Age of Ultron' delivers (May 6, 2015 issue)

The whole gang is back. Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and more return for “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the sequel to end all sequels.
“Age of Ultron” starts with a bang. The action starts in the middle of a battle to capture and secure a hidden research station of Hydra, one of many such stations the Avengers had discovered and destroyed since “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” the last movie in the Marvel universe that ties into this storyline.
For this mission the gang is in Sokovia, a fictional Eastern European country, to root out the evil that is Hydra and locate Loki’s scepter. As Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is about to take the scepter he encounters the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), a human enhanced by Hydra. Among other abilities, Scarlet Witch can mess with your mind, causing hallucinations and fears. That is exactly what she does to Iron Man. Her twin brother, Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), is also enhanced with superhuman speed. He attacks the other Avengers as they attempt to raid the compound to support Iron Man.
After securing Loki’s scepter Stark and Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) perform experiments to determine what makes the scepter so special. Stark convinces Banner to help him use the power of the scepter to help them create true artificial intelligence, a created being that has the ability to think and reason. A being that will bring about peace and eliminate the need for the Avengers. From this experiment Ultron (voiced by James Spader) is born.
While Ultron can think and make decisions on his own, he does not operate using only logic and reason, but bases them as humans often do on emotion. A prejudice clouds his artificial mind and affects his decision making. Contrary to the vision of Stark and Banner, Ultron wants to achieve peace on Earth in a more unconventional manner. He plans to destroy humankind. Ultron believes that humans are the cause of Earth’s troubles and only the Avengers stand in the way of achieving his goal of the end of humanity.
All of the same elements of the original Avenger’s movie are present in the sequel. There are plenty of explosions, superheroes flying to the rescue, laughter, witty banter among friends, and there’s even some romance thrown in for good measure. Of course, there’s also Hulk being Hulk and smashing everything in sight. (The fight between Hulk and an enhanced Iron Man is worth the price of admission.) The formula that made the original Avengers movie the highest grossing movie of all time is successfully used again in the sequel. If fact, “Age of Ultron” feels very much like a slightly different version of the original.
So what’s different about the sequel? In a movie where the novelty of many superheroes sharing the same screen has faded since the original “The Avengers,” Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch provide much-needed new blood. A surprising aspect of the movie involving Hawkeye and the addition of a romantic component also bring a new dimension to “Age of Ultron.”
“Age of Ultron” is a very good movie, one of the top ten superhero movies of all time. But, it’s so similar to the first movie that it can’t quite crack the top five in that category. It’s not as good as the original “The Avengers,” but “The Dark Knight” is the only superhero movie that can make that claim.
“Age of Ultron” is a wild, roller-coaster ride that’s not to be missed. If you loved the action, superhero fights, explosions, and comedy from the first movie (really, who didn’t?), drop what you’re doing right now and go see “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Grade: A
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction, and for some suggestive comments.