Avengers: Age of Ultron

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For many people, Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t just a movie, It’s an event. And why shouldn’t it be? The first Avengers film was somewhat of a movie miracle. There were many ways that film could’ve failed, but the finished product ended up being one of the greatest superhero films of all time. So as you can imagine, there’s alot of expectations for Age of Ultron to not only live up to it’s predecessor, but to surpass it. As huge fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, me and a few friends arrived at theatre on opening day with dozens of other fans to see the long awaited sequel. Now if you’re anything like me, I’m sure only one question matters to you. Did Age of Ultron achieve the impossible? In other words; Did it live up to the hype?

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In many respects, Age of Ultron delivers exactly what it promises. Tons of action, wonderful chemistry from the mane cast and a memorable villain. The fact that writer and director Joss Whedon, as well as the entire creative team at Marvel studios, were able to pull off a movie of this scale again is quite impressive.  However if I’m being honest, I do have a few problems with it that I’d like to get out of the way first. My biggest problem with the movie is the editing. The best way I can describe the editing is that it just feels a little loose, particularly whenever one scene would transition to another, at times it felt jarring, and I’m not sure why. However It’s not distracting enough for the average moviegoer to complain, and I have a suspicion some of this may’ve been intentional to emphasize just how insane and crazy some of the events that take place in the film are. One of the film’s key characters even gives the Avengers hallucinations, resulting in some pretty effective nightmare sequences. I grew to really enjoy the soundtrack for the first Avengers, but the sequel’s soundtrack is a little bland by comparison. That’s about all I have for the complaints, now onto the good, the great and the exceptional.

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As far as the characters are concerned, it’s a safe bet that you won’t find a more entertaining group than the Avengers. The team is just a joy to watch, thanks to their great chemistry. Each Avenger has a moment to shine, and I can almost guarantee that no two people will have the same favourite character (My personal favourites were The Vision and Ultron) Each of the recurring Avengers, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk and Hawkeye all play important roles in the story. I’d say the two most prominent members this time around are Iron Man and Hulk, since they’re the ones that really get the plot started. Despite that, It’s Hawkeye who really steals the show here. (Yes, you read that right) Without giving too much away, Hawkeye becomes the heart of the movie, and his character is much more compelling here then he was in the first Avengers. There’s even a few moments where the film pokes fun at his minimal role in the first movie, which should please skeptics and also make fans happy, considering that Hawkeye is a fan favourite in the comics. The new characters are also handled very well. Two new Avengers, Quicksilver and Scarlet Whitch, make for welcome new additions to the team, even if they are a little underdeveloped by comparison to some of the other characters. Having said that, they still offer interesting arcs and their relationship with the heroes and villains is very interesting to watch. Joss Weadon is a very talented writer, and one of the areas he excels at is his comedy. Despite the darker tone, this movie can be no less then hysterical when it wants to be

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The one character I was most interested in seeing was Ultron himself. Ultron makes for a fantastic villain, and is so far the best that 2015 has to offer. He’s scary, smart, charming, and even humorous and manipulative. Just about everything you want in a villain, (much like Loki from the first film). You just can’t take your eyes off him when he’s on screen, and I’d definitely rank him as the second best villain featured in this franchise so far, right after Loki. And then there’s The Vision. The less I say about him the better, but trust me when I say he’s one of the film’s highlights, and Paul Bettany does a tremendous job with the role. (I’m also happy to report that the character is not entirely CGI, but is rather achieved with the actor wearing an extensive costume makeup. Some might not care either way, but I thought it was nice to have such a fantastical character be portrayed in a very old-school way.) There’s alot of cameos from the series that show up here, like War Machine and Falcon, and while the film doesn’t include every single character from the franchise, they were pretty close. The action featured is very good, and while it may not be as memorable as in the first film, there are still some stand out sequences that’ll thrill audiences, most notably the opening sequence where the Avengers storm a Hydra base on a snowy mountain and the Hulk vs Hulkbuster showdown around the middle of the film. Much like the first film, the action is well choreographed and exciting. There is a moment where the movie takes a break from all the fighting (When the Avengers go to their “Safe-house”) and becomes more quiet, allowing for some great character development as well. I’d say that’s where Age of Ultron improves upon it’s predecessor. It’s character development is much more engaging this time around, and I really cared for all the characters.

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Age of Ultron is probably Marvel’s most ambitious film to date. I laughed, I cheered and I had a great time watching the long awaited sequel. There were more than a few times where me and my friends (along with the rest of the audience) laughed and applauded throughout the movie. Does it have flaws? Yes. Is it better than the first Avengers? It doesn’t QUITE reach those heights. (in my opinion of course). But are any of the problems big enough to distract from the fun? Certainly not. Age of Ultron is a tremendously great time at the cinema and a satisfying new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic universe. This film gets a high recommendation from me and I’m already looking forward to seeing it again.

(SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: And one last thing; if you stick around through the credits, there is a mid credits scene that features a certain mad Titan that fans won’t want to miss. but there is no post credit scene.)

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