Spoiler Free Plot Synopsis
When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it's up to The Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.-via IMDB
The endless trailers, featurettes, and press are over and done with. Now it's time to break down what many feel is the official movie of the summer season and gift to comic fans the world over. I'd like to start by acknowledging the various other reviews that state that Avengers: Age of Ultron is, and I quote, “not as good as the first one” or that “Whedon tried to cram too much into the film with mixed results”. I feel that while comic fans may have their fair share of gripes, at the end of that day they will need to realize that this isn't Shakespeare or some high-end Oscar worthy film. This film is what it is – which is a film about extraordinary human beings fighting a robot bent on world domination that was created from a dormant software that resided in a gem that was inside a mind control scepter. Now that we got that out of the way, I will break down Avengers: Age of Ultron in portions versus the usual “My Take” review portion. So let's start with the most obvious point of discussion which is…
The plot for Avengers: Age of Ultron was debated at length because comic purists know that Ultron's creation came at the hands of Hank Pym and not Tony Stark. I saw no issue with this change because of the way Marvel Studios handles Tony Stark, and to some degree Bruce Banner as well. Stark and Banner's intelligence is more than enough to make the creation of Ultron feasible – but most importantly, it makes sense for the cinematic universe. I will say that Thor's side quest derailed the film a smidge, but was needed to bring together the climax. Joss Whedon has said in interviews that the extended cut of the film makes that part more meaningful and fleshes it out better. I am hoping when the film arrives on Blu-ray/DVD we can see what he meant.
The current cast continues to exhibit amazing chemistry on and off camera and while some took issue with the expanded Hawkeye story, I think it was good for the character as it showed that he takes being the guy with no powers with just a bow and arrow in stride, and also shows how being a hero affects families as well. It also shows that the Avengers are a family to each other even if it times they don't see eye to eye. I feel Hawkeye's expanded role, courtesy of Whedon, allowed him to steal the show from his super-powered teammates. I also have to commend James Spader for his amazing work as Ultron, not only because he gave Ultron “character”, but because Ultron embodies all the qualities that people fear Tony Stark may one day have. His motivations and exchanges with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were well done and created a dynamic almost on par with the Avengers themselves. Lastly, I want to also acknowledge the great performance by Paul Bettany as Jarvis (and later Vision) as he not only made the Vision's on screen presence one of the film's more memorable moments but also allowed Ultron to face an entity on par with him, albeit with a more even-tempered mind.
I wanted to touch on the film's 3D presentation because there were many threads on Reddit asking if the film was worth seeing in IMAX 3D. The 3D for this film was done in post-production and while it was well done in most of the major battle sequences, I will say it was not needed in my opinion. The main issue nowadays is that the IMAX presentation is bundled with 3D and not just stand alone IMAX. I think if the film was just in IMAX without 3D it would be just as enjoyable. I'd like to see the film in a large format like RPX to truly compare and see if the 3D would be missed. We'll see if I do that.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is a must see film for comic fans because it sets the stage for so many other stories both intentionally and in a more subtle manner. Seeing Ulysses Klaw on screen and knowing he is a villain of Black Panther was one of those things that as a comic fan I appreciated. I also liked all the breadcrumbs leading towards films like Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok and of course Infinity War.
If you've read reviews stating this film is inferior to the first film I recommend you watch it for yourself as the film does so many things right with so many moving parts to address. It truly does feel like a comic book come to life and that is what its all about. It has its fair share of cheesy goodness, but that's what makes Marvel films so awesome. Sit back for 141 minutes and just enjoy seeing the heroes you read about kicking ass. You'll be glad you did!