Thursday, 23 April 2015
REVIEW: AVENGERS-AGE OF ULTRON
141 Minutes. Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Ebla, Stellan Skarsgard, Andy Serkis, James Spader & Samuel. L. Jackson. Director: Joss Whedon.
Reassemble Avengers! We need you! Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Incredible Hulk this Summer season of scorching, big and bold blockbusters isn't the same without you! Sure the 'Fast and Furious' franchise put the key in the ignition to start this years popcorn movie campaign of 'Jurassic Park' and 'Terminator' franchise monsters and machines, but you always have to make way for Marvel. Just like last years 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier' early year de-icer, 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' web wonder, 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' and its quantum, mutant mix and 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' and its whole new universe of comic-book dimensions which was arguably the franchises best 12 months on screen yet. Leading to one, in this 2015 that might beat it, by way of the Disney crossover animated beginnings of 'Big Hero 6', a critically acclaimed, highly popular exclusive Netflix series of lawyer/vigilante 'Daredevil', taking Marvel to darker places and instant, binge watching establishment of new, popular, rebooted core characters and now this. This being the big one, before the seemingly unstoppable franchise stretches itself to the gambles of the 'Fantastic Four' first family reintroduction and the shrink or swim stakes for the franchise leaf-carrier 'Ant-Man'. Judging from what we've seen however all looks perfectly timed and set up for the ultimate Hollywood sequel machine by the comic book. And even if they where against it all, they have something that could even avenge the awakening forceful popularity contest of the new 'Star Wars' and 'Batman V Superman-Dawn Of Justice' trailers. This isn't just the 'Age Of Ultron'. This is the age of the Avengers, the magic of Marvel, complete with classic Stan Lee cameo. Who knew all these iconic characters he sketched generations ago would still stand the testament test of time in this modern, mainstream movie market?
Artificial intelligence!? If that isn't, this is. The 'Ultron Programme' to those not familiar with the legendary Marvel comic book-that sees this anarchic android standing over a broken shield and most of Marvel's most popular characters down-trodden-was a tin can of worms project opened up by Tony Stark, who wanted to use self-sufficient A.I.'s to guard the world from alien attacks. Still, here's guessing 'Bicentennial Man' is missing from his DVD collection, because this robot goes all 'I, I, I' and 'Ex Machina', looking for his own open minded way to rule the world his way...through its destruction. This isn't BayMax people. This is Iron Man's Frankenstein monster! Its alive...IT'S ALIVE! Stand aside Loki your sneaky, charming, devilish villain has been replaced with a more advanced machine that is still chrome and automatic charismatic. Voiced by 'Stargate's' James Spader, who plays his 'Blacklist' bad hand perfectly and takes us through a portal to a whole new dimension of bad guy, duality all the way down to the rooted for circuits. Its his metropolis now! Bringing in some European imports to ally by his side on the form of the "fast and weird" Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, our Avengers better keep up and keep their heads. Roaring from partners in 'Godzilla' last year to siblings here new blockbuster duo of the fast/furious Aaron Taylor-Johnson and truly hypnotic Elizabeth Olsen are on fire and magic. Even if you may prefer Evan Peters' fun Quicksilver in the new 'X-Men' this one is just as fast and formidable. Seeing him punch Cap in slow mo is worthy of an instant replay. SNAP! Whichever one you see coming may come down to a photo finish! Add newcomer, Korean model Claudia Kim and 'E.R.' vet Linda Cardellini to this beautiful mix and then you have quite the cast of characters all the way down to Marvel family cameos from the lovable likes of machine gunning Don Cheadle, American bird flying Anthony Mackie (its awesome to see the Falcon of Mackie alongside the Hawk of Renner for a 'Hurt Locker' reunion we should have seen in 'The Winter Soldier', in what sounds like a classic, cut scene), amazing agents Cobie Smulders and Hayley Atwell, the keeper of gates Idris Elba and Asgard ally Stellan Skarsgard and even Gollum and Ceaser himself Andy Serkis, showing he doesn't only need white spots and green screen to add colour to his silver screen shine. Still the extras that gives you exactly that-even next to Samuel L. Jackson's almost as legendary at Stan Lee's cameos-is Paul Bettany's JARVIS vocal and visual upgrade. Playing the iconic comic book character Vision, this behind the scenes star sees some much deserved light, illuminating this superhero and picture with a performance Daredevil blinding.
'Ultron' goes ultra however thanks to its main feature presentations. From the outstanding origin movies to their superior sequels, 'The Avengers' are still earths mightiest heroes. Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark's Iron Man leads the way with his classic charm and charisma. He's got jokes, but he's got depth too. Showing yet again the tragedy behind the comedy as this time our creator faces annihilation from his own invention. After his sequel became, the best stand alone Avenger film last year, Chris Evans is perfect as the stars and stripes of patriotism; Captain America. Complete with a better, brand new suit, but still trying to find an identity in this world of this man out of time, challenging what is right and wrong. The matter of mere mortals even concerns our God's as Chris Hemsworth gives us another thunderous performance as Thor. Whilst firmly setting into his green skin like envious actors before him, Mark Ruffalo brings more emotion and empathy to this inspired Hulk...and just wait until you see him rage against the machine that is Iron Man's huge, "Hulk Buster". Incredible! Add these amazing set pieces with some love bites with the red flame of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow (who amazingly performed in this action movie whilst pregnant) then this movie has everything. Even a straight shooting performance from Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye that meets more than one mark. Bullseye! Sure, more required assembly could have put this movie over the top of the first movie mountain, but it was always going to be an almost impossible bar to clear. Still director Joss Whedon slays it like Buffy, from hilarious sword in the stone style hammer worthiness and some real dramatic depth that dares you to call this superhero genre shallow. Its a shame this is Whedon's last waltz, but its a beautiful one at that, even if a 'Daredevil' shade darker than Marvel is used to. Still the Russo brothers of 'Winter' are coming and their classic 'Civil War' between Steve Rodgers and Tony Stark is what everyone is waiting for like a 'Fear Itself' movie one day. Along with the assembling of more iconic heroes from Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther and Benedict Cumberbatch's Dr. Strange to whoever finally has the rights to play Spider-Man. It's all so spectacular and will all assemble together with the brothers twin movies against the gauntlet of the titan enemy Thanos. In an even greater war you might need some 'Guardians' and now Marvel are out of this galaxy, they are heading towards assembling phase 'Infinity'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.