The Avengers: Age of Ultron movie poster
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The Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Avengers: Age of Ultron movie poster

The Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t jump the shark, but it comes perilously close at times as the sequel offers plenty of action--but at the expense of quality storytelling and cohesive direction.

The movie is a largely fun affair that never takes itself too seriously, but it’s also a big step backward from the last Avengers movie, in which everything from the characters to set pieces gelled amazingly well. With even more characters and a lot of plot points to cover this go-around, returning writer/director Joss Whedon bites off more than he can chew--Avengers: Age of Ultron is a little too chaotic and messy for its own good.

There is plenty of action and the visual effects are generally top notch, except in the awkward CGI-clogged opening sequence. If all you want is mindless fun, this second Avengers movie offers plenty of it; the characters still banter endlessly, the action comes often, and Hawkeye even admits how ludicrous his character is. The climax has a few good money shots.

But during its two-and-a-half-hour running time, I couldn’t help but be annoyed at how underdeveloped certain characters are. The villain Ultron, voiced by James Spader, is a weak link--his creation and immediate emergence as a major threat are rushed, and his snarky attitude doesn’t match with what he is supposed to be--an artificial intelligence that was “born” just a few days earlier. Other threats come and go, lost in a blur of fisticuffs, gunfights, and explosions. And then there’s the character Vision (Paul Bettany), who is even more underdeveloped than Ultron and seems shoved into a story already bloated with characters. The additions of Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) are handled better, but they too are introduced in a rushed manner.

All in all, Ultron isn’t as menacing as Whedon intended him to be, and as a result there doesn’t seem to be a lot at stake for the heroes.

Also, when is Tony Stark going to stop making Iron Man “drones” that get turned into bad guys? Seeing his creations serve as CGI-driven henchman is getting old real fast.

Despite the movie’s issues, Avengers: Age of Ultron is fast-paced and entertaining. But there’s no denying that shoving a bunch of fantastical characters together and striving to give each of them adequate screen time is no easy task, and that Age of Ultron doesn’t entirely pull it off.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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