Film Review: Mixed Bag of Marvel Tricks in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

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CHICAGO – Whew. There is so much going on in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” that you practically need a program to keep up with the players. This mixed bag has overwrought comic book action, head shaking plot points, and the usual Marvel angst that includes some riveting scenes.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) is the writer and director on this chapter, and adds layer upon layer to the copious amount of superheroes. Relying on the insight that the audience is fully invested in the Avengers – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow – Whedon piles on some new super faces and a prickly villain named Ultron. The story is comic book epic, but depends on the audience to keep up with it, while throwing in the usual titanic battle sequences. These confrontations are vast in scale, sometimes reducing the heroes to acrobatic CGI cartoon figures. You get everything you pay for when plunking it down for the Avengers, including more than you might possibly want.

The Avengers – Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) – begin the film by raiding the terrorist group Hydra, where experiments are being done on artificial intelligence, and twins Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) Maximoff. The power source is in a magic scepter by Thor’s archenemy Loki, and the Avengers confiscate it for Tony Stark’s lab.

This raid opens up the plot of the film, which involves Stark’s use of the scepter to finish his “Ultron” (voice of James Spader) project, a global defense system. Ultron turns rogue, and battles the Avengers at their own headquarters, destroying Stark’s robotics and reclaiming the scepter. Ultron retreats back to Hydra headquarters, builds a army of robots to use against the Avengers, and recruits the twins’ powers of super speed (Pietro) and mind control (Wanda). This establishes the main conflict, and the Avengers are going to need a little help from their friends, including Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and some newly minted robot and mutant Avengers.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” opens everywhere on May 1st, in 3D, IMAX and regular screenings. See local listings for 3D and IMAX theaters. Featuring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie and Jeremy Renner. Written and directed by Joss Whedon. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

Avengers
The Gang’s All Here in ‘Avengers, Age of Ultron’
Photo credit: Walt Disney Motion Picture Studios

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

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