AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
A slowly paced pseudo-epic that unnecessarily deviates from the comic book origin.
Film Review © 2015 by Trip Reynolds
Science-Fiction / Comicbook Super-Hero / Drama
STARRING PRODUCED BY DIRECTED / WRITTEN / EDITED BY Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye
James Spader as Ultron
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Don Cheadle as James Rhodes / War Machine
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Paul Bettany as Jarvis / Vision
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon
Hayley Atwell Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
Victoria Alonso - Executive Producer
Louis D'Esposito - Executive Producer
Jon Favreau - Executive Producer
Jeremy Latcham - Executive Producer
Stan Lee - Executive Producer
Alan Fine - Executive Producer
Patricia Whitcher - Executive Producer
Kevin Feige - Producer
Mitchell Bell - Co-Producer
Jamie Christopher - Associate Producer
Daniel S. Kaminsky - Associate Producer
Diego Loreggian - Line Producer: Italy
Angela Phillips - Line Producer: South Africa
Nicholas Simon - Line Producer: Bangladesh
Screenplay Written by
Original Marvel Comics
Characters and Story Created by
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Film Editing by
Jeffrey Ford and Lisa Lassek
This is not a bad film; it's a very good film, not a great film, but it should have been a great film. At fault is the script. The centerpiece of the story is a battle between The Avengers versus an extremely powerful robotic artifical intelligence, Ultron, who seeks his own evolution concurrent with his unilateral dominance over humanity. Unfortunately, instead of being faithful to the source material from the comic book this film "re-imagined" the creation of Ultron and "re-imagined" the creation of "The Vision" with a convoluted gobbledygook of boring pseudo-drama. In the alternate reality created in this "Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)," Ultron is created through the genius of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. The MCU reeks of continuity problems with timelines and character origins because it fails to consistently reconcile source material with screenplays and with the production schedules for the entire slate of MCU films.
Conversely, in the original reality of the "Marvel Comic Book Universe (MCBU)," Ultron was created through the singular genius of Dr. Henry Pym (a.k.a. Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Wasp). You might recall legendary actor Michael Douglas portrayed Dr. Hank Pym in the 2015 theatrical film, "Ant-Man," which featured actor Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Pym's authorized successor to wear the Ant-Man suit. The MCU screenplay for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" should have included Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym, and the $250 million blockbuster budget for this film should/could have been adjusted to accommodate Douglas. The conflicting genius of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) would have been the perfect protagonist against the duel antagonistic genius of Tony "Iron Man" Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce "The Incredible Hulk" Banner (Mark Ruffalo). In fact, film could have raised the "genius bar" even more by rebooting the Fantastic Four franchise by re-introducing the genius of Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) in a cameo role in this film instead of that lousy 2015 FF reboot, but film lost out on this golden opportunity. Bummer.
Emotional struggles have always been the centerpiece of all plots and characters in the MCBU, and the life of Dr. Hank Pym (with the death of both of his wives, and the psychological battles associated with his character change to and from Ant-Man to Giant-Man to Goliath to Yellowjacket, etc.) has always been a phenomenal oasis of drama in the MCBU. The overall dramatic tone of this film is given great depth with the voice talent of James Spader as Ultron; he made Ulton truly menacing.
The acting by all players was top notch. Direction by Joss Whedon is solid. As expected, the production values (art direction, set design, special effects, sound, editing, etc.) are exceptional. The look and feel of the film including all action sequences were top notch.
Recommendation: Of course, see this movie. Watching it a second time will enhance your appreciation; but as with the character development of The Vision, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch, you'll likely question why the script deviated from their comic book origins.