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    Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Movie Review

    The Avengers made history in 2012 as it united some of our well-loved superheroes in one live action movie. It was a huge commercial and critical success. With Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and other strings of blockbuster superhero films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, how does Avengers: Age of Ultron measure up to? Does it step up to the legacy of the first Avengers film? Or does it fall short of our expectations? 

    Avengers: Age of Ultron opens with one of the most, if not the most, cinematic fight scenes in modern cinema. The world’s mightiest superheroes are all in the midst of a heart-pumping fight. Through all this explosions and confusion, my mind was screaming “What the hell is going on?” As it appears, Captain America and his team are raiding a Hydra outpost in the Eastern European country of Sokovia. Using a scepter previously welded by Loki, Hydra’s commander Baron Wolfgang von Strucker has been experimenting on humans. Among them are twins Pietro who possesses superhuman speed and Wanda Maximoff who can throw energy blasts and manipulate and read minds. Despite the twin’s intervention, the Avengers successfully retrieve the scepter. 

    After the initial high, the movie enters a lethargic and lazy phase. With the artificial intelligence found within the scepter’s gem, Stark and Banner secretly use it to complete the former’s “Ultron” global defense program. However, this action backfires and for unclear reasons, Ultron believes he must annihilate humanity to save Earth. And so our heroes rush in to save the day….

    In Avengers: Age of Ultron, we finally learn the backstory of some of the characters, particularly those who have no titular movies. Thanks to Wanda or the Scarlet Witch for letting us see part of their memories. With this, Natasha Romanoff or the Black Widow steps up as a vital member of the team, with her espionage skills, ruthless fighting moves, and even ability to pacify Hulk. Sadly, Natasha feels like a desperate temptress chasing after Hulk. Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner must have referred to this when they called Black Widow as whore and slut during the movie’s premiere. Still, Black Widow remains a solid character and along with the appearance of Scarlet Widow, there is girl power in the movie as these two figures are game-changers.

    The movie also provided a graceful exit for Clint Barton or Hawkeye. Yes, it is his last mission as he prefers to stay with his family and be a present husband and father to his three children. Both he and Black Widow are the stars of this second Avengers film. Conversely, Tony Starks and Bruce Banner have less elegant retirement. Just as we thought that he retired in Iron-Man 3, Stark resurfaces, but here, he appears as a dumbass eccentric nerd who created their own enemy. There is peace, until he acts like an idiot. Thankfully, there is redemption for him in the end, unlike Hulk who has to choose a life of hiding. After Scarlet Witch messed into his head, Hulk goes into a mad frenzy and unintentionally hurts countless civilians. He then second guesses himself as he sees the monster he unleashed. Not even Natasha can appease him and after the epic battle at the risen land of Sokovia, he cuts communication with his team and gets lost in the aftermath. Much as he was overshadowed by Iron-Man in the first film, the same happens for Captain America in this movie – by Black Widow in the car chase in Korea, and by Thor and everyone else in the final battle. As for Thor, with his bursting muscles and thunder-deep voice, he is an excellent accessory to the team.

    With his lack of motivation and capable physical body, Ultron is also a less convincing enemy compared to Loki in the first Avengers. Thanks to the Maximoff twins for being the more exciting enemies at the start of the movie, and to the drones of robot at the end. Without them, the movie would have been down to just few minutes, as Hulk and Scarlet Witch easily crush Ultron.

    With the others gone, New Avengers are introduced at the end of the movie. Led by Captain America and Black Widow, the team composes of James Rhodes, Sam Wilson (Falcon), and newcomers Wanda Maximoff and the Vision (embodiment of Stark’s A.I. Jarvis). Pietro as Quicksilver would have been a great addition but he was killed during the battle (which no one had seen coming).

    In the end, Avengers: Age of Ultron is not as thrilling as expected. There are incredible jaw-dropping scenes in the movie but its intermittent moments of highs and lows kill the excitement and fun. There are attempts for humor; in some, it is spot-on with a great punch (literally), but in most cases, it feels forced and obligatory (Thor for one). If 2012’s The Avengers is a firework, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a firecracker. It is explosive but not that loud. It still shines but not that bright. For this, three stars out of five for the movie.  



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