The U.S. opening for the Avengers Age of Ultron, has arrived and many have yet to see the movie. I went to see it on opening day. I won’t include any spoilers for this movie.
First impressions, a solid action movie with a significant plot line and several back stories. Those who like the comic, fantasy, with lots of CGI action won’t be disappointed. The Marvel / Disney partnership is off to a good start with this likely being a huge money maker. Clearly the actors and production values in this film bring home the bacon.
The high points for me may differ from your opinion if you watch this film. I saw a few reviews of it and I wondered if they saw the same film as I did, so opinions will vary.
The “marvel” of this film is how with so many characters and individual stories, that the writers are able to weave a cohesive story together. The other aspect of this film which stood out for me, was the voicing of James Spader as Ultron. When you consider the actor must balance ominous, bad boy behavior, humor and time it with live as well as CGI action, and never be in the scene other than a graphic image, I have high praise for his abilities. His “evil nemesis” weighs in against a team of “super heroes” and does so while making it sound easy. The one criticism, not significant but amusing when I watched the android / robot mouth move its lips while speaking. It reminded me of the old claymation, usually shown in kids shows around Christmas.
My other small criticism for action in this movie was the obvious but well done fan boy visuals, where every one is in the frame for action fight sequences. This shows well on large screens, probably enhanced if viewed in IMax. Clearly this is as close to the old comics where they show well drawn major fight action sequences designed to enhance the graphic novel aspect. They went all in on this a couple of times in the film. The only drawback for me is there’s no computer image that completely imitates and appears the same to the human eye as an actor. This has always been a negative for film goers, except the most ardent comic book geek, who just enjoys it, no matter how good or bad. Don’t misunderstand, the CGI in this film is excellent and has come a long way since the first Hulk movie helmed by Ang Lee. I still can’t get past the part where the giant poodles were fighting the Hulk. How that segment along with the way the image was drawn still haunts my visual memory.
The Marvel super hero franchise got a serious kick in the butt with Iron Man. Spiderman got things going as a blockbuster, however these action hero movies were enhanced by Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. is so capable of an actor combined with good story telling and solid production values, the Avengers became a viable enterprise. These two Avengers films not only are compelling, but they completely underpin the whole Marvel franchise. This movie along with the Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America films throw down the gauntlet to DC Comics. Certainly Christopher Nolan brought Batman to the forefront of super hero movies, but Man of Steel, the most recent iteration of Superman did nothing to help raise the bar. The only thing I can suggest as a mild criticism for the Marvel franchise at this point, is the music. Yes, the Marvel films have music scores that bring a sense of drama and danger to the visuals, but can you recall one theme from any of them in your mind? Superman, like Star Wars, has a theme recognizable on the level of James Bond, not so with any of the Marvel films. Perhaps this is their last challenge, because so far, they have all the other boxes checked in the fantasy action hero movie category.
If you are someone that doesn’t over analyze a fictional film, isn’t concerned about how well each actor performs, just wants to be entertained, then this is good value for the time spent. Sit back, and enjoy the ride.