“Age Of Ultron” The Grittiest Marvel Film of The Series

By Scott Kurland

Film: Avengers-Age Of Ultron
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffala, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and James Spader.
Rated PG-13
Director: Joss Whedon

    The Whedon-verse is vast with so many popculture shows, comics, and films. For the longest time Whedon was like that last kid picked for dodgeball who grew up to be starting quarterback. You know that if your project has Whedon attached, he’ll deliver. This is a man who turned his own poorly made 90s horror comedy “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, into a cult classic empire, with a television series and graphic novel catalogue. When the almighty Joss was signed to Marvel for a two picture deal, fanboys across the globe lost their minds. “The Avengers” is considered to be one of the greatest superhero films of all time, if not the best. This week’s film “The Avengers: Age Of Ultron” returns Whedon to the helm, but is it as good as the first film? Lets find out, shall we?

    “The Avengers: Age Of Ultron” opens with Iron Man (Downey Jr.), Captain America (Evans), Thor (Hemsworth), Hulk (Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Renner), and Black Widow (Johannson) still working as a team trying to retrieve items lost from the first “Avengers” film. When Tony Stark realizes that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, he decides to make an army of A.I. robots called Ultron (James Spader) as a way to shield the world from danger. As we’ve all learned from films about artificial intelligence, Ultron goes crazy and tries to destroy the world. Now the Avengers must work together to stop Ultron and his army. Yet there’s one thing they didn’t expect, Ultron is aided by the Maximoff twins also known as Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver. All “The Avengers” are compromised when Scarlett Witch brings their inner turmoil bubbling to the surface of their minds; causing the team to split at the seams. Can Hawkeye become the most unlikely leader and reunite this team? Or are they all doomed?

    I just want to start off by thanking Joss Whedon for making Clint Barton aka Hawkeye aka Jeremy Renner amazing in this film. The first film saw Hawkeye as a slave to Loki, and in this film he’s basically calling the shots when Captain America and Tony Stark are at odds. Hawkeye has always been an under-utilized hero. I think people don’t care for him as much due to the lack of powers and gadgets. However, this version of Hawkeye is amazing. He’s witty, strong, and has secrets of his own that he hides from the rest of the group. Renner brings all these characteristics to life, and he really knows how to deliver that Whedon dialog. 

    This films is packed with stellar performances and amazing actors. After I saw this film I instantly thought, “This is like a mixed tape”. It really is. You have the best thing about the 80’s (James Spader), the 90s (Joss Whedon), and the early 2000s (“Freaks and Geek’s” Linda Cardellini) all in one film. I must say, Spader is incredible as Ultron. Imagine one of the fast taking salesmen from “Glenngarry Glen Ross” trapped in the body of a robot; that’s Ultron. He’s a highly intelligent being that’s half visionary and half sociopath, complete with the chilling docile voice of Spader. What I love about Ultron is how, like everyone, he has things that worry and trouble him. Ultron has a fear of death. Come to think of it, Ava from “Ex Machina” had the same concern. Both their plights for world domination and free will stems from that fear of the unknown.  It’s strange that two movies about artificial intelligence are released just weeks apart. With that plot device in place, it allows Spader to become one of the greatest villains in the Marvel Universe.

    What makes “Avengers: Age of Ultron” work is not the performances from its stars, nor is it the special effects. Although I will admit, the Hulk buster battle is one of the greatest ten minutes you’ll see on screen. The heart and soul of this film lies in the script. Whedon’s script ups the game for this franchise, making for a dark movie with a lot more grit and hidden undertones. A lot of people are complaining that even though this film is good, it’s no where near the caliber of “The Avengers.” I disagree with that statement. The first film was like Whedon’s “Firefly” it was campy, witty, and incredibly funny. “Age of Ultron” is more like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” There’s some humor, but as a whole this is a film about destruction and the group of people who must stop it.  Honestly, like all of Whedon’s filmography, it is best not to compare them together. Some people will like “The Avengers” others “Age Of Ultron”, but what matters is both film are excellent.

    “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” is the perfect film to kickstart the summer. The cast is fantastic as usual, the story works, and what might surprise people the most is how much heart it has. This is a film with a lot of stories occurring all at once, there’s Tony’s story, Barton’s Story, and Thor has his morality tale. At times it felt a bit much, until the Vision entered the film, and you realized all of that exposition was to set up an amazing character. This film is like a fanboy’s dream come true. I must warn you though, if you aren’t a Marvel fan or know anything about the Avengers series you may get lost. You will enjoy the movie, but you might feel left out.

    I have seen every superhero comic book movie there is including “Steele” with Shaq and the awful “Black Mask” film starring Jet Li. All those awful films make it even better when a movie like “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” comes out. Sure, I would have liked more character development for the Maximoff twins, but what we’re given is enough. This pulse pounding comic book movie is more proof that “Marvel” holds its title as King in the cinematic world. See this film.