By Dalton Carver
It isn’t better than the first one.
Escalation is the name of the game as members of the Avengers create something that they believe will prevent another alien invasion of Earth, much to the chagrin of the rest of the team. But is being too cautious better protection than taking risks?
“Age of Ultron” builds upon the team that was introduced in the first film. Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner is shown to be easily persuaded. Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark is portrayed as having good intentions, but willing to take dangerous risks to achieve his goals. Scarlett Jonhanssen’s Natasha Romanov loosens up considerably and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye is revealed as a family man.
Only Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor don’t change much. However, audience members will be able to tell that Captain America is reaching a breaking point, something that may be realized in his next movie, “Captain America: Civil War.”
A failed artificial intelligence experiment isn’t a new concept in fiction, but few attempts have been made with the superhero genre. The result is Ultron, the best villain that the Marvel universe has put onscreen thus far.
James Spader’s voice work with the character is fantastic. The nuances, pauses and inflections make the character come alive. Coupled with the CGI gestures and facial expressions that Avengers’ foe makes, Ultron appears all too real. He may be the second-best superhero movie villain, right behind Heath Ledger’s Joker in “The Dark Knight.”
Expect more stress than fun in the follow-up. “Age of Ultron” deals with darker issues, which result in darker outcomes. Innocents are hurt and people die. The stakes are higher than the first Avengers, as Ultron isn’t a character that has some troubled good in him, as Loki does. The high intensity makes the two-hour movie worth almost every minute.
Even with the excellent character casting and development, some of the interaction between them feels forced. Some scenes between Banner and Romanov feel a bit awkward, despite being an important plot detail. Aside from this, “Age of Ultron” does an excellent job of juggling a ton of characters, each with their own backstory, personality and future.
Like usual, Marvel does an amazing job of piecing all of its other films together. “Age of Ultron” is a huge turning point for that story continuation. With the previous films, it was all introductions and small-scale conflicts. The upcoming movies will make those battles seem trivial.
Comic crazies should accept the latest Marvel masterpiece, as most of the characters are true to the original works. Ultron’s origin and appearance may be the most questioned by comic veterans, but the viewer must remember that with any Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, the stories and characters follow their own tangent and are only based on the comic books.
“Age of Ultron” isn’t better than the original Avengers, but it’s difficult to compare the two superhero features. The first felt more like an introduction to the idea of having several high-profile characters on the same screen. The sequel is an advancement into darker, more difficult territory for the characters.
You don’t need to be a comic book nerd and you don’t need to see every other movie in the MCU to enjoy “Age of Ultron.” It’s an excellent turning point in the Marvel movie series with larger-than-life characters that will have viewers picking favorites. If you only see one superhero movie this summer, make sure it’s “Age of Ultron.”
Dalton Carver is a senior majoring in communication. You can email him at email@example.com or tweet him @dalty_james.