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Avengers: Age of Ultron

Ros Hull

When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for a global adventure. Marvel Studios

 

Pfwaw!

I want to just type row upon row of ‘wow’s, ‘awesome’s and exclamation marks. I really do. I loved it. However, it is a sequel. Will everyone feel the same way?

I am so deeply into the Marvel universe that it is second nature to me. My husband, on the other hand, is more of a Captain America (‘I got that reference’ – The Avengers). He didn’t even recognise half the characters in the cocktail party scene (gasp). So he is the perfect foil for my intense enthusiasm. And he liked it. Enjoyed it, didn’t love it as much as the first though.

So that’s the review … but before I sign off, just a few thoughts: Joss Whedon is a genius, I understand the obsession with Hawkeye and James Spader has the BEST voice in movies. Ever.

If you are a teeny bit obsessed with these movies you may have seen a meme on the ‘Marvel Bodybuilding Plan’ – with photos of all the actors before they became superheroes, and after. If you haven’t, Google it – you won’t be disappointed. Another Phwaw is called for, I feel. But there is more to this formula than just wonderful scenery.

There are the strong women – at least equal to and sometimes in charge of the men. Black Widow so, so deserves her own movie just for her back story, glimpsed here when The Olsen Twins little sister Elizabeth takes on the Avengers as the Red Witch and messes with everyone’s minds. Then Black Widow needs a sequel that explores her friendship with Hawkeye and her nascent ‘thing’ with the Hulk and Bruce Banner. Then there is Thor and Iron Man’s little spat about whose girl is more important to the planet – Pepper or Jane – both sadly absent this time, but still there thanks to their boys.

We also get hints at the next (even darker) Thor film and Tony Stark’s darker side, thanks to the Red Witch – who incidentally has Kick Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) playing her swift, sleek twin Quicksilver. We also get back story for Heather’s favourite hero, Hawkeye, and it is about as far from what his onscreen personality has been so as it is possible to get. However, like everything else, it makes sense.

And there’s the rub.

There are wonderful sets, alarming stunts, astounding battles and seamless CGI, thousands of extras, a stellar quality of production and the traditional cameo from the man who started it all, Stan Lee.

But that is not the spark, the lightning in a bottle, the incredible heart of these films.

I think it is down to two things – the first is that Kenneth Branagh created the evil yet attractive (even sympathetic) villain for our age, Loki, in the first Thor movie. Not just because everyone loves a bad boy, but because this sort of villain counterbalances the heroes. He is a worthy opponent.

And so is Ultron, the wrinkle this time is that he is a computer program and his mission is peace – but at what cost? He may be a metal man but he has so much life, thanks to great motion capture acting and fantastic voice acting of James Spader. When Ultron quotes Pinocchio’s innocent song about puppet strings, it is chilling.

The second essential part of the recipe is the director, who is also the co-writer, student of human and heroic behavior and the ultimate nerd – Joss Whedon. He has been quoted as saying this film is:

“smaller. More personal. More painful. The next thing that should happen to these characters, and not just a rehash of what worked the first time. A theme that is completely fresh and organic to itself.”

Brilliant. We get characters from all the separate story arcs mixing in to what I think of as the Avenger family scenes. We get intimate with our heroes, get glimpses of even Thor’s uncertainties and then we get not just a physical battle where each and every one is tested to their last ounce of strength but where they must pit their wits against a superior being.

And a very cool new superhero called The Vision, played by my favourite ginge, Paul Bettany.

So good I might go see it again.

Ros Hull

Ros saw Star Wars and immediately wanted to fly the Millenium Falcon. Unable to do that she became a Jill-of-all-trades as her army husband whirled her around the world – and back to Canberra 10 years ago. She has worked in public programs and museum education ever since. She gained an MA in writing whilst getting two daughters through high school - both are now at university and undeniably fabulous (according to her). She can worry as an Olympic sport so she sees lots of movies instead. More about the Author

  • Heather

    “I understand the obsession with Hawkeye”, Ros could that POSSIBLY be a reference to the time you and I saw Avengers in 3D, and I reached out to grab Hawkeye as he repelled down a rope?

    There are great moments in the film and the 2.45 hours went by quickly, never seemed to lag. I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it like the first Avengers. I do want to see more of Hawkeye/Black Widow’s friendship, if only to account for that great exchange ” ‘It’s just like Budapest all over again!’ ‘Ah, you and I remember Budapest VERY differently’ ”

    This is a great weekend to see it, it’s Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, so make it a geek weekend!

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