Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron - A Stepping Stone (English)

Ever since "The Avengers" was released three years back in 2012 we've been waiting for the sequel. Sure, there's been a lot of other MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) stuff released since then, a lot of better MCU stuff, but it's never been anything like what "The Avengers" was. Now, finally, we get to see what the guys have been up to.

"Age of Ultron" takes place roughly three years after the events of "The Avengers" from what I can gather, but quite a few things have changed. What was once the Tony Stark Tower is now the Avengers Tower, where the members of the Avengers group before and after their missions. Their missions from last time seem to be mostly rounding up stray Hydra bases, all in their bigger search for Loki's scepter. The film starts with one of the last of these missions, they have finally found the scepter. And I have to say, it was kind of weird. They had the full team of superheroes out to get this scepter. I get why it's important, but if they all have the time to team up for this I start to wonder why they didn't have time to team up during "Iron Man 3" or "Winter Soldier". I can still make excuses in my mind, like that they never had any time to warn or call one another, but it is one of the overbearing problems with this franchise. And it needs to be addressed. Why aren't they helping each other out in each other's films? Luckily this segment of the film ends soon enough for me not to think about it too much.

At that last Hydra base they raided on the mission to find the scepter, they discovered a powerful AI. Artificial Intelligence. Way more complex than what Stark's JARVIS has ever been. Stark and Banner start to rework this AI to build Ultron. A program they have long dreamed will be able to keep the world safe without the Avengers. A program that can control squadrons of Iron Man suits around the world, always on guard. This is what of course kickstarts the main plot of "Age of Ultron". So from here on out I'll avoid specific plot points.

The most interesting thing about this film is how funny it is. It's been a while since I last watched "Guardians of the Galaxy", but this just might be Marvel's funniest film so far. It's definitely funnier in a different way than "Guardians of the Galaxy". It's the kind of humour you have with your friends. Friendly banter and quips. They've managed to balance it very well, so you never forget that the film is in fact a fun entertainment piece, and not a huge dramatic epic. It keeps the film very efficiently grounded.

The most disappointing part of the film is perhaps the CG. There is a lot of very excellent CG, as always, and the most important parts are well produced. But often does a shot come along where you start to wonder how late it was added to the film. They look rushed, they look like they were a last minute idea, and they just don't have the same quality as the rest of the scenes. There was one very quick shot of Thor flying that almost looked like something from a low-budget television show.

But all in all this is a solid, and amazingly entertaining film. It is not Marvel's best, I can't say that. I still think that "Winter Solider" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" might be a few spots better, but this is so different that it's kind of hard to compare. "Winter Soldier" was a spy thriller, "Guardians of the Galaxy" a comedic space opera, and "Age of Ultron" is a real action blockbuster.  But it feels a bit like a stepping stone between "The Avengers" and the obvious huge event that will be "Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 & 2".

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