The Avengers have assembled again, and we didn’t even need Ikea instructions to figure out this clean-cut superhero movie. Joss Whedon delivers an (expectedly) action-packed, witty, philosophical movie that leaves all moviegoers satisfied. Perhaps, if possible, a little too satisfied.
The plot ranges from existential quandaries, such as the ever-popular question of humanity’s evolution versus extinction, to the unlikely development of Hawkeye as a loving father figure that holds the foundation of The Avengers together. I gasped, I cried, I laughed (even once or twice slapping a knee) and I left the theater feeling like I’d just gotten off of an over-stimulated emotional roller coaster. I loved it.
The entire team returns in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” to battle a nemesis of their own design. Ultron is the result of Ironman (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Dr. Bruce Banner a.k.a The Hulk’s (Mark Ruffalo) attempt to create an unbeatable defense for the Earth: a defense program that could think and act for itself. Artificial intelligence is an understandably controversial subject, presenting a question of humanity’s evolution and survival and what steps are necessary versus what crosses the line.
The experimentally enhanced twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff join Ultron. Their personal vendetta against Ironman delivers a softer and more vulnerable side compared to Ultron’s systematic destruction of the Avengers. Ultron, the sentient machine, proclaims himself judge, jury and executioner of Earth’s potential enemies, which appears to be all of humanity: “There is only one path to peace…your extermination.”
The Avengers themselves are back in this movie as more seasoned, more hardened and more jaded heroes. They are constantly searching for the next threat to eliminate in order to preventatively save the world. Captain America (Chris Evans) maintains his Boy Scout belief that every life is worth being saved, no matter personal cost.
Ironman and Dr. Banner have adopted a more cautious view of the world, looking for plans of optimal prevention and personal distance, including from potential relationships. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) maintains her icy exterior, although finally we get to see her warm up a bit more.
And, thankfully, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) keeps everyone lighthearted, passionate and determined. Hawkeye turns out to be the Papa Bear of the group that everyone wishes they had. Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) casual arrogance and jovial demeanor creates a warm happy place in the viewer’s mind, which is wonderful to have while sitting on the edge of your seat to five bloody, intense and destructive battle scenes.
Ah, yes, the “action” of this action/adventure movie. The battle scenes are exquisite to watch; every actor works like a savage, deadly, beautiful dancer — the scenes are fluid and harmonious, juxtaposed with exciting stunts and explosions.
What I appreciated most was that Whedon spends a large amount of time filling out each individual’s character, and what it is about their mind and experiences that lead them to become Avengers.
This point is shown in the pinnacle battle scene when the camera is not focused on the massive army surrounding the Avengers, but instead shows the battle scene up close, moving from hero to hero, watching them as they risk everything to save the world. The heroes are at the top of their game, while simultaneously being at their most vulnerable states personally.
The icing on this very delicious cake of a movie is our introduction to The Vision, a supreme moral being wthat is constructed in the psyche of JARVIS (Paul Bettany), Tony Stark’s personal aid and computer. His moral pacifism and serene ability to distinguish between ego and just cause is a breath of fresh air amidst the demolition and wit in the movie. Bettany, as always, delivers a superb performance that is simultaneously personable, yet understated as a supreme power of the universe.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” has something for everyone. It has action, comedy, romance, philosophical dilemmas and a little bit of tragedy. It’s somewhat overwhelming to experience all of these emotions and genres so distinctly in a single movie, yet Whedon does so in a nice and tidy little package. So grab your favorite flagon of ale and toast to The Avengers, for delivering a thrilling and truly interesting summer blockbuster.