Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron ★★★★

Avengers: Age of Ultron, otherwise known as Avengers: Age of Ultron Or (How I Learned To Stopped Nitpicking and Love the Explosions), is a triumphant pop-extravaganza. Laden with consistently eye-obliterating action sequences of flourishing delight and potent doses of character development, Joss Whedon's final sendoff to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a dizzying and breathtaking vision of geeky euphoria. Fasten your seat-belts, you won't know what hit ya.

Beginning with not just a bang but with a massive release of Superhero energy, Age of Ultron showcases its quality action early and often. With the novelty (well not for me honestly) of seeing every heroic character in existence on screen slightly wearing thin, Whedon's film expands its canvas to display a sense of serene chaos in a way that the first installment only hinted at. As a result, the film constructs scenes of breathtaking destruction, but none of it is poorly-framed or dangerously shaky. The climax to this behemoth of a movie is so massive that I thought my theater auditorium was going to simultaneously lift into the heights of the clouds.

And yet, the characters are why we go to these right? Don't worry, Joss Whedon has given them one helluva script, and every hero and villain gets a chance to shine. Some moments do feel a little overstuffed, but that's immediately counterbalanced by the emotional calmness offered by the multitude of quieter character interactions. Particularly with the heartbreaking scenes between Bruce Banner and Black Widow, Whedon's knack for sincerity within a vibrant universe culminates in a deeper and more searching sequel.

Joss Whedon's direction, while more visceral and expansive than the first installment, is as entrancing as ever. Right from the opening, Whedon showcases his ability to frame these larger-than-life characters into an incredibly layered and busy (but never cluttered) canvas. Almost every shot, and this is VERY important in my eyes, feels directly lifted from a comic-book. It's beautiful, endearing, and at many points; awe-inspiring. The kinetic force and the joyful glee that results in a packed theater is simply movie magic. Young kids, families, older couples, and everyone in between was watching in a state of complete attention. It was wonderful.

Honestly, at this point, I can hardly tell the difference between the opening Marvel Logo and the frames of the film itself. Everything is so well realized in its scope and its attention to detail. Future films are set up, but never to the point of distraction. Every location is interesting visually, thanks to Ben Davis' striking cinematography. And most of all, the entire universe is utterly convincing and brought to life in a vitally operatic way.

The last piece of the puzzle is Ultron, the main villain voiced by James Spader. Simply put, Marvel has finally gotten another bad guy to stand up to the likes of Loki, and in my eyes, he surpasses Hiddleston's devious creation. Happily sarcastic, supremely evil, and consistently showcasing a wonderful sense of playfulness; James Spader brings Ultron to life in a truly sinister way. The image of him sitting in a massive throne in an abandoned church will probably haunt me for the rest of the year. Chilling stuff.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is Marvel at its finest, breaking away from the casual TV aesthetics and the weak plot-lines. It joins The Avengers, Iron Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy in succeeding to fully commit to the C in the MCU. It's a giant spectacle, full of heartfelt and applause-worthy moments, and if you sit back with the ride, I hope you get just as swept up with it as I did.

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