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Review: Avengers – Age of Ultron


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The most awaited sequel to mega blockbuster of 2012, Age of Ultron hit the theaters last week in theaters worldwide. Creating a sequel to a blockbuster as beloved and successful as The Avengers is something big for anyone to live upto. One of the reasons the film became such a massive hit because of the novelty of seeing these characters on screen for the first time ever on the big screen; something that was long thought to be impossible. After massive success of the first movie, the sequel would have to shake things up. Age of Ultron feels like writer/director Joss Whedon is constantly trying to outdo himself. For the most part, he is succeeds. The film is more ambitious, emotional, funnier, and darker than its predecessor. However, it’s also less coherent and streamlined. In an attempt to juggle so many characters and subplots, the film loses that magic of simplicity that made the first film so appealing.  Despite those misgivings, the film manages to still be a fun and engaging superhero epic that serves to kick off the summer movie season and serves as a proper farewell to Whedon from Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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For me Age of Ultron is a massive success but it fails to pull off everything with the grace and synergy. The movie is on a different scale unlike Avengers was. The movie is a massive balancing act, pulling in about a dozen important characters and trying to give them all something to do while also telling a cohesive, succinct narrative. The movie is a juggling act that Joss Whedon tries to maintain fairly well. While I was fairly satisfied while walking out of the theater the feeling was not as great as the first movie and there is where the problem is.

Most of the reviews are made comparing it with the first movie when they should not. Most of the reviews have complained about new characters, if there was a sequel without new characters there would still be complains. The movie outdoes the expectations that fans had after the announcement.

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Age of Ultron proves to be a massive entertainer from the beginning. It opens with an exciting, and an entertaining action sequence that reintroduces all of the characters and the dynamic they share as a team. The opening is right on point in nearly all aspects, and creates a sense of high energy and pacing that is never really lost. While there are slower moments in the movie (such as a mid-movie sequence at the Barton farm) the sense of energy is never halted because there’s always something happening that propels the story forward. Unlike with the opening act of the first Avengers film, which tended to lull in some segments as the team was pulled together, Age of Ultron quickly establishes an excellent sense of narrative pacing, and this is arguably one of the film’s greatest strengths.

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The movie shows a great pacing apart from action sequences. Joss Whedon and his team does their best to manage their time amongst the numerous threads that the plot weaves along with the way characters connect with each other. As a writer, Whedon manages to find a great way of doing this, incorporating minor details from previous Phase Two films to show that, yes, they were relevant, while also keeping the focus where it needs to be: the matters at hand, how the team operates, and how the characters evolve because of the ordeals they undergo.

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If The Avengers was about assembly, Avengers: Age of Ultron is about disassembly. The former played on their conflicting personalities while the latter plays on their fears and insecurities. Though Ultron may be the main antagonist of the picture, it’s our heroes who have themselves to fear. How can these people save the world when they can’t even save themselves? The internal struggle of these characters is trying to overcome their mistakes and pain. That is what raises the stakes in this film. The entire world is jeopardy, but it’s also a battle for the Avengers to save their souls.

The film is loaded with terrific action sequences. The Hulk vs Hulkbuster scene is everything you hoped it would be and more. Though there is a lot to take in from the set pieces, they never feel exhausting or overwhelming, despite it being clear Whedon is always trying to top what he accomplish in the first film. Though admittedly, it’s hard to feel sense of danger when you know these characters are going to be back for their individual movies including more Avengers sequels. As usual, each character gets their shining moment. The principal cast has grown into these roles to the point where they could pull them off in their sleep. A most notable improvement is Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who after being relegated to Loki’s henchman for most of the first film, gets an integral and dynamic role among the team. Not to mention that he gets some of the best lines in the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if he emerged as fan-favorite after all is said and done.

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New additions to the cast vary. Thankfully, Ultron works for the most part and is miles ahead of just about all of the villains in Marvel films so far (which isn’t that hard when you look at how these villains were written). He’s surprisingly more snarky than people would expect an angry, maniacal robot to be. But that imbues the character with a personality that is sorely lacking from the rogue gallery in MCU. Joss Whedon admitted that the initial cut of the film was much longer. It comes out clear at many places as origin story for Quicksilver and Wanda comes out in a very rushed manner. Their origin is touched upon but in a very rushed manner. The Maximoff twins begin to work as characters as the film progresses, but there were missed opportunities to get audiences behind them early on. The breakout character of the film is hands down the Vision (Paul Bettany). While I won’t spoil his origin here, the film will leave you wanting to see more of especially since he does a fantastic job of making an impact in his first appearance.

The movie works and proves that Marvel Cinematic Universe is not going anywhere. Age of Ultron succeeds in teasing future movies with its supporting cast. The movie is entertaining but at the same time worries me about execution of future Marvel movies. It sets up Civil War, Wakanda and most importantly Infinity War and suffers with the same problem that Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man 2 suffered but on a very small scale. The summer has started with a bang and Marvel is going to rule.

Rating 8.5/10

Trailer Analysis – Avengers: Age of Ultron


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After a long wait and being teased again and again at different expos and comic con finally we got to see the much awaited sequel of Avengers and the trailer was mind blowing. Certain bits and pieces in the trailer although unclear were worth noticing. I have watched the trailer again and again and finally here is a trailer analysis about how and what the movie is going to be.

Is there a superhero movie these days whose trailer doesn’t starts with a monologue. This is something that separates Comic Book movies different from other movies. Weather it is Zor’El monologue from Man of Steel or Steve Rogers and Alexander Pierce pep talk in The Winter Soldier it has been part of the comic books who the story shapes out. Here in Age of Ultron we get a similar monologue by our Villain Ultron voiced by the legendary James Spader whose voice sounds absolutely terrifying.

The monologue contains a number of moments, New York City in destruction and chaos and people running away from something (guess what). The clip soon cuts to another group of people who are standing protesting about something, I feel that the trailer sows the seeds for Civil War and these people are the ones demanding a registration act or something similar. Interesting part is that both Quicksilver and Scarlet witch are in this crowd of protesters. So again I am not sure whats going on.

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The clip moves to show Ultron’s hand being covered in something metallic (Vibranium may be?) this happens somewhere in between of the film when Ultron finally arranges Vibranium and upgrades himself. We see more people shouting and then we see Captain America in between of a battlefield. He looks tired and broken followed by quick shot of Hawkeye. He seems he is back on evacuating duty like last time and then Thor’s hammer.

The shot cuts to the scene where a terrified Bruce Banner is sitting with Thor and Widow both of them look broken and tensed. But why is Dr. Banner so terrified that will make him crawl in his own space. This may be after his fight with Hulkbuster and he does something unfortunate that he is not supposed to. Anyways the whole trailer makes a point clear that Dr. Banner is in pain, he is terrified and running away from something.

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Scene cuts to Ultron Mark 1 walking inside Avengers mansion that he seems to build himself from scraps of pervious Iron Man suits, he is such a party pooper. There are two unknown women in the party, one of them is Maria Hill, the other one I am not sure about though.

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The interesting part is that no one seemed to notice is that there is already an Ultron Bot fallen on the floor that Ultron lifts and breaks it apart. Ultron has some major daddy issues, furious against his creator with a belief that Humanity is flawed and he can achieve perfection by killing them all. I am still not sure that what this bot is doing on the floor, maybe there was an attack by one of the Ultron Bots that Avengers or one of them took him down after which Ultron made an appearance or someone simple sucker punched one of the Starks personal security bots to show their might.

Marvel logo flashes on the screen while the creepy version of Pinocchio’s I’ve got no strings on me starts playing in background. We see Iron Man in a new suit in between of mountains, a fort that seems like a new Hydra base and Captain Rogers breaking a door and entering.

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These army guys never understand, they have to open fire at every alien or robot that descends and attack the city doesn’t matter if their bullets are not even going to touch them. We see army deployed in a city most probably NYC followed by more innocent civilians, a tank and then Bruce Banner running and falling on the snow, he is terrified and in pain. Is he having trouble controlling the monster inside him? May be.

From here we get our first introduction to the twins, it seems at some moment they’ll be working with Ultron before becoming the good guys.

A number of Ultron Bots appear from sea and make their way for the battle. I personally feel that these Ultron bots are not a part of Ultron’s army but the private security created by Tony Stark and SHIELD. They assist Avengers during the fight against HYDRA after which they become fully aware and it might be a result of Loki’s mind gem that is with Baron Stucker in the beginning of the film.

We see Avengers in the battlefield, Thor’s hammer falling on the ground that I believe is just a metaphor for defeat and he is not going to become unworthy so soon. Although I feel that Thor might die in this movie sowing seeds for Ragnarok where he has to escape Hel in order to protect Asgard.

We see couple of shots of Tony Stark, looking at a damaged Ultron Bot and then regretting about all the decision and the path he took. Stark always wanted to privatize world piece and Ultron might be his biggest mistake.

We soon move to what for me is most anticipated parts about this movie that is Hulk vs Hulkbuster. Hulk seems to be possessed, his eyes are red and nerves show up all around his arms and shoulders. He is angry and doing what is does the best, destroying a city until Stark intervenes.

Black widow jumps out of a quinjet riding a badass motorcycle followed by Quicksilver in a slo-mo scene fighting Ultron or a bot and saves Captain America. Even Scarlet Witch looks angry and all hexy (you see what I did there?)

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There are a few scenes that I am yet not able to understand. Steve Rogers is in some 1940 setting with a part going on, is there time travel involved? Is this one of the Ultron Visions or an illusion created by Scarlet Witch. We see water all dried up as ships stands still that seems like another distant future vision and what is Andy Serkis doing here? He might be playing Ulysses Klaw who’ll arrange for Vibranium for Ultron. This opens doors for Black Panther movie as the Serkis can play the Klaw’s sound version excellently in Black Panther movie with the mo-cap technology.

Even Thor seems deranged as he comes out of the water, I feel that Thor dies at some point and this is either Hel or Valhalla where he recovers in afterlife.

There is something going on between Black Widow and Hulk. May be she turns out to be his new calm down agent.

The death and destruction follows by a bunch of Ballerinas and then more death and destruction. We see Hawkeye in his Ronin suit running in the same snowy setting. In the next clip Thor lifts Stark by his neck, he probably doesn’t know that Destroyer armor is still in SHIELD custody and Thorbuster might be on the way.

We see the heroes fallen with Captain America’s shield broken in pieces and Thor’s hand next to it. Again this could be vision. Finally we see the Upgraded version of Ultron who declares that there are no strings on him.

If you look at the trailers closely the numbers and street signs vary from European to Asian that makes sure that the danger this time is worldwide rather than only NYC being in attack.

In short there is a lot going on in the movie, I wonder how Whedon will manage all of this. But I have my full faith in him.

Marvel Cinematic Universe on two parallel storylines


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MCU’s Phase 1 introduced the major and key players from Marvel Universe on Screen set of events that brought them together by the time Avengers ended.
A common assumption is that phase 2 will follow events from ‘The Avengers’. But somehow from the set of releases it sounds like from here storyline is going to be split in two parts and that will build plot towards Avengers 3 as well.

First storyline continues the from first Avengers movie that we already know it and will consist of the following films;
The Avengers /
Iron Man 3 /
Captain America: The Winter Soldier /
The Avengers: Age of Ultron /
Ant-Man

This storyline is based on Earth, led by Science related events, will feature S.H.I.E.L.D and ultimately lead to the Ultron threat in ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’

The main characters are Tony Stark, Captain America, Black Widow, Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.

Although it is released after ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’, I think the Ant-Man film may be part of this storyline, especially if the 1960/70’s setting is retained;

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I will call Storyline 2 the Marvel Cosmic Universe, and it will consist of the following films;

The Avengers /
Thor: The Dark World /
Guardians of the Galaxy /
Dr Strange /
(Thor 3?)
(As yet unknown films; Ms Marvel, Nova etc?)
The Avengers 3

This storyline will be set in space and/or on different worlds, expanding the cosmic side of the Universe. It will introduce lots of new concepts, technologies and species and ultimately lead to ‘The Avengers 3’. I assume Avengers 3 will have Thanos as the main villain, and perhaps be a version of The Infinity Gauntlet comic.

The main characters will be Thor, Dr. Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, with spin off aliens likely to be introduced.

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So, in summary;

Phase 1 – introduce new characters, show shared universe, lead to Avengers
Phase 2 – Finish Iron Man’s story arc, continue Thor and Cap’s arc, introduce new characters, lead to Avengers 2 and 3.
Phase 3 – Finish Thor and Cap’s arc, introduce new characters, lead to Avengers 3.

Marvel Studios is doing a marvelous job with it characters and recent plots and this is a brilliant way not to make things monotonous for audience. Lets see what is in the store.