Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, and Samuel L. Jackson
Avengers: Age of Ultron is one of the most highly anticipated films of the year. With each Marvel film and show building upon this massive franchise, fans have been eager to finally see the next installment of the Avengers, which seems to be the climax of the collective single superhero movies before it. At long last the wait is over.
After discovering an artificial intelligence embedded inside Loki’s scepter, Tony Stark decides to harness this cryptic entity for good, but matters quickly go wrong when this new creature called Ultron decides that saving the world means destroying it. After Tony’s mistake, the team is in disarray and must deal with their own personal demons to be able to reunite once again and stop this homicidal AI that can possess multiple robotic forms.
Violence/Scary Images: Since this is an action film there is a lot of fighting mostly against robots, but in several instances people are hurt. Various gunshot wounds, cuts, and scratches are shown. Nothing extremely graphic, but there is blood nonetheless. The worst act of violence is when Ultron “accidentally” breaks off a guy’s arm. The scene is in the dark so it is obscured and the severed arm isn’t shown. In one of Natasha’s flashbacks some children with no mouths are shown that may be frightening to some people. It did make me flinch.
Language/Crude Humor: Sh**, d***, a** are used maybe two times each and d**k and b**** once. One character asked if she could have showered with a male character.
Spiritual Content: Ultron believes he is like a god so he makes some warped Biblical references, and the Scarlet Witch aka Wanda Maximoff uses hexes, telekinesis, and telepathy to fight. This could be vaguely associated with witchcraft, but she doesn’t chant any spells nor are occult symbols used.
Sexual Content: There is some kissing, but it is only between husband and wife. When Vision is first created he has a very sculpted form. I wouldn’t call him nude, because he has red skin and quickly makes clothing, though it is still skin tight.
Drug/Alcohol Reference: The characters have a party and consume alcohol during it.
Other Negative Content: From a writing stand point, I had issue with the beginning. You’re jerked immediately into the action, but it wasn’t until ten minutes or more into the film do you find out what exactly the characters are doing on this treacherous mission against Hydra. I wish they stated their goal earlier or had them start out in a helicopter or something of that sort.
I know Fox has the rights to the mutants and blah blah blah, but come on, this is Pietro and Wanda, Magneto’s kids. Why can’t they be called mutants instead of “enhanced humans?”
Positive Content: The biggest theme is fear and overcoming it. Fear of the future and fear of the past. What motivated Tony to create Ultron was fear of the future from a vision Wanda implanted into him. Later on, Wanda traps Natasha, Steve, and Thor in their own minds, forcing them to confront fears from their pasts. Bruce is afraid of what he will do to people in his Hulk form. Each of these characters have to overcome fear in their own ways. Steve accepts what has happened in his past, Bruce and Natasha take comfort with each other, Thor seeks to remedy his failures by changing the future, and Tony I believe didn’t quite move on from his fears and that will come into play in the later films.
Each of us has our own demons. Each of us has regrets and dread for what is to come, but through God He can help us overcome our fears.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6
Though the plot was very similar to a typical superhero movie, I loved how personal it got. Tony created this villain and now he has to fix his mistakes so there is the element of Frankenstein and his monster. I felt more emotionally engaged in this movie, and I knew the characters more personally than before therefore I cared more about what happened to them. The action sequences got so intense that I destroyed my popcorn bucket. It was two dimensional when I threw it in the trash on the way out of the theater.
As typical for a Joss Whedon film, he sprinkled a lot of humor in that had me laughing. Yet despite the humor, he took care to let the emotional times jerk you in. Several instances almost brought me to tears. For fans of the comics, little hints for Black Panther, Civil War, and possibly more mutant inclusion were dropped in there.
The characters really come out in this film. You get to know them at a deep, personal level, you never have in any other film they’ve been in. You see bits of their pasts that have been a mystery and this bonds you to them so closely. I also liked that each Avenger had their own motivations and how they wanted to handle the situation. This led into some dramatic clashes. There’s also a very unexpected romance included I really enjoyed.
Ultron was the best villain since Loki, because you really saw into his goal of wanting to fulfill Tony’s desires but in a distorted way. He even took after Tony in several aspects which gave this odd element like he was Tony’s child like Gepetto and Pinocchio, giving this neat parallel. Furthermore Ultron was one of the more formidable Marvel opponents because he can put his consciousness into any robot army minion he wants, plus he had the ability to access the internet and learn instantly giving him this eerie omniscience. His ability to be the entire army was a new twist on the villainous army trope.
Though the costumes were very similar to the Avengers, some new casual wear were added that changed things up a bit. Thor in a hoodie was definitely a sight. Vision’s costume was fantastic. It transitioned well from the comics to live action with only a few changes, but still with the original cape and head jewel intact.
One of the coolest things about this film is that the characters traveled out of the USA. Though they are in New York for a brief time, they also venture to South Africa; Seoul, South Korea; and Eastern Europe. This expanded universe and added some new combat elements with the foreign environments.
The score was well-done with the original Avengers theme along with some fresh ones added. It was very grand and epic, but with a few soft sections that really wrenched your emotions. I was a bit disappointed they didn’t use “I’ve Got No Strings” for Ultron’s theme like in the trailer. He referenced it a few times in the movie vocally, but I would have liked it woven into the score.
Probably the most impressive part of the film were the visuals. Oh my goodness. They wowed me. Besides the explosions and destruction of skyscrapers, the movements of the robots, Vision, and the Hulk were flawless. The Hulk looked the best than I have ever seen him. They incorporated Mark Ruffalo’s facial features with the form of the Hulk and it looked so real down to the skin textures. Many times my eyes went wide, at the massive scale visuals down to the fine details.
As always make sure to wait a little into the credits to see a sneak peek for the next films, but don’t wait until the very end, because you’ll experience the same disappointment I did.
I very much enjoyed this film, even more so than the first Avengers. Avengers: Age of Ultron took superhero films to a new level and paved the way for the upcoming movies. You care about the characters more, the villain is a truly intimidating opponent, and the plot has some twists and turns you won’t see coming. So grab your hammer, fire up the suit, fasten your cape, and AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!
+ Impressive Visual Effects + Ultron is the best Marvel villain since Loki + The story goes more in depth with each Avenger + Story was very engaging + Film paves the way for the upcoming MCU movies
- The beginning was a bit confusing - Pietro and Wanda should be mutants not "enhanced humans" - Score didn't have the Pinocchio theme like I had expected
The Bottom Line
This is a must-see Marvel film. I believe it is even better than the first Avengers. You will not be disappointed.