October 20, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Joss Whedon, 2015
The Avengers sequel aims to fulfill the obligation or hope of every sequel: to build upon the first film and to raise the stakes. The early moments of the film find The Avengers in a more vulnerable state. Questioning their value as the saviors and guardians of Earth's inhabitants. They are aware of some of the collateral damage sustained. They are aware of the fact that maybe their high profile is drawing more attention than they would like. And when Tony Stark inadvertently gives birth to a highly functioning AI form named Ultron, they realize that they have another opposing force that seems to make Loki look like an amateur even with his army of flying worms.

Whedon has proven at this point that he is capable of managing a big budget superhero film and he delivers a satisfying sequel to the rather good first Avengers film. If anything, the film is probably a half hour too long, perhaps some of the fat could have been trimmed. With it's 141 minute running time, there is a such an overstimulation of computer generated action that it becomes almost numbing. It seems as though you can only watch the CGI Hulk destroy a handful of buildings before it becomes a bit redundant.

One other blemish with Ultron is consistent with the Superhero / Marvel movies as a whole; the obvious franchise building that goes on. Marvel is now owned by the Disney Empire. With that comes substantial financing for geeky content but they also have board-members they need to please every quarter when they report earnings. That whole element feels calculating, and it takes some of the romance away from the movies knowing that the studios intention is to hook you in so they can count on your next $9. The Superhero bubble will burst at some point down the road. Until then, there are films like The Avengers films that can appeal to a broad audience and entertain the masses, even if it is just a showcase of special effects.

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