Slate The Silver Screen presents: Avenger’s:Age Of Ultron
Following on from what was not just one of the most commercially successful films of all time but also a critical hit was never going to be easy. This was the task laid at the feet of our Aveneger’s for round two. For those living under a rock here is the trailer:
My initial reaction to seeing the film was (as eloquently put by a Marvel fanboy in the same theatre as me) ‘Holy Shit. This is awesome!’. My next reaction was the following equation which DC and Zack Snyder have clearly used for the new Batman voice: (Bale + Batvoice)(Spader + Ultron) – Nolan(DC) = BATFLECK
The film opens with a stylish battle sequence of the Avengers attempting to receive Loki’s (read Tom Hiddlestone’s) Sceptre. This sets the tone for the movie with a great balance between inspiring action set pieces, witty one-liners and dark apocalyptic overtones. Here we meet our new mutants superhereos; The Maximoff Twins. Pietro and Wanda, aka Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, are described best by Agent Hill, ‘One’s fast and one’s weird’. Early on we see snippets of their powers and they are pretty incredible. This is especially impressive given the scene stealing role of Quicksilver in the rival series X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
Following the recovery of the sceptre is a well-directed, funny and thrilling journey all around the Earth and back again as a result of Stark’s completion of the peacekeeping Ultron programme. Filled with expertly crafted, if a little CGI-heavy, action pieces to keep momentum going throughout the film. However, what makes this film great is the punctuating scenes of real character interaction, reaction and above all humanity. A subject core to the movies idea. The best parts of this movie are when the heroes are at their worst; downtrodden, beaten, scared and unsure, in essence human.
The new additions to the cast do a wonderful job especially James Spader who delivers an entertaining performance as, the equal parts malevolent and compassionate, Ultron. I also realised that my ideal woman would be Scarlett Witch, a red headed woman in a red leather jacket with a heavy eastern European accent and adept at mind control. I feel this should surprise me more than it does.
This film is alas not perfect. The first half of the film thrives on its intensity spearheaded by the fact that the Avengers have met their match and are in genuine danger. This a stark contrast to most modern action films where the protagonist is nearly invincible! However, the final confrontation sees our heroes vastly outnumbered against an army of robots. Robots who earlier in the film were difficult to disarm and destroy. During this climax the Avengers start dispatching there enemies with such ease it dissipates much of the suspense built during the first half. Nevertheless, it is shot so thoughtfully and originally that I quickly forgave this and lost myself in the action. My one other complaint would be the Shield Airship Ex Machina coming along to save the day.
This addition to the Marvel canon did excel in bringing together lots of different plot elements from stand-alone character films and really helped begin to connect this huge sprawling universe that is Marvel. But… they excelled a little too much. So far beyond your usual Stan Lee Cameo it is hard to keep track. I don’t want to spoil things so for anyone who wants a list of cameos please read on past the verdict.
VERDICT: ‘’I can’t wait for the next one… 2018? You’ve got to be kidding me…. Two parts!?!… Fuck you Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows’’
Captain Cameo: A list of all Marvel characters mentioned/seen in the film
Captain America/Captain Spandex
Thor – God of Biceps and Thunder
Hawkeye’s Child 1
Hawkeye’s Child 2
Scarlet Witch aka the Olsen Triplet
Kiss Ass Quicksilver
Stan Lee’s War veteran friends
Captain Rhodes aka War Hammer
Captain Rhodes again
Capt.. oh wait this time he is War Hammer
The guy with wings we didn’t care about from Captain America 2
Peggy Carter aka Caps love interest whose been dead 75 years
Mariah Hill in both tight party dresses and a tight catsuit
Andy Serkis as Gollom as Arms Dealer No1
Fictional African Country No1
Scandinavian Scientist No1
Paul Bettany as Jarvis/ Dead Jarvis/ Beyond the grave Jarvis/ Vision aka Marvel fanboy fever dream
Pepper Potts and Jane Foster by name (both of whom are stated to be very significant to Iron Man and Thor yet weren’t deemed significant enough to make an appearance. If I were them I’d be pissed! I mean come on Falcon was in it. Twice.)