‘Age of Ultron’ stuffs too much on the screen
By Bob Bloom
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is everything that fans expect — which plays to the film’s strengths as well as spotlighting its shortcomings.
The movie is like one of those overstuffed hamburgers loaded with everything: It may taste good, but it’s not a healthy meal.
“Age of Ultron” has many good points, including bringing to the foreground such characters as Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk.
And the developing romance between Scarlet Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Banner is touching and displays both their vulnerabilities.
The usual witty banter also helps liven the feature as does the CGI effects.
The movie’s major asset is the motion-capture performance of James Spader as Ultron. The actor brings a psychotic malevolence, as well as a deadly wit, to his portrayal of a robot created to protect the world that ultimately decides the best way to protect the planet and allow Earth to evolve is to exterminate mankind.
Spader creates a rebellious robot with daddy issues, who wants nothing more than to destroy his programmer, Tony Stark/Iron Man.
His malicious view of the world does prove that Ultron has a chip loose somewhere beside his shoulder.
It is Stark’s hubris that begets all the chaos in the first place. Without consulting any of the Avengers, he launches the Ultron initiative, which he formulated to protect the planet and bring “peace in our time.”
Now he, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and two new members, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, must contain the menace he has unwittingly unleashed.
While Chris Evans’ Captain America takes the nominal lead as the head of the Avengers, it is Renner’s Hawkeye who is the team’s glue and heart.
We learn he is a family man, a husband and father with two kids and a third on the way. He shows the others that there can be life outside of continually saving the Earth.
Where the film falters is the action sequences, which are exciting and boost the adrenaline, but they have a repetitious, been-there-seen-that vibe. Plus, the addition of 3-D fails to upgrade the enjoyment quotient.
The movie, at about 141 minutes, also has a few dead spots that director Joss Whedon could have trimmed.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a tiny step forward — instead of a leap — in the Marvel cinematic universe. It introduces new superheroes and does offer audiences a glimpse of where the franchise is headed.
Perhaps, instead of sensory overload, a bit more restraint from Whedon, who also wrote the script, could have elevated the movie, which at times, plays like a carbon copy of the original — but simply overdosed on steroids.
Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at Reel Bob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
3 stars out of 4
(PG-13), action and fantasy violence and destruction, adult themes, sexually suggestive moments