Avengers Age of Ultron ✮1/2

Hulkanized

by Glenn Lovell

We have seen the future of the CG-saturated action opus and ‒ upon emerging bruised and battered from the local megaplex ‒ can say with certitude that it isn’t pretty.

Like Hulk after one of his transformative hissy fits, Marvel’s $250-million “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is the superhero fantasy hopped up on adrenaline and HGHs, a frenetic parody of every comic book adventure ‒ bloated, garbled, crammed to bursting with series in-jokes and digitized dust-ups.

This installment opens in medias res as the Avengers ‒ Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye ‒ lay Avenger2siege to old nemesis Wolfgang von Strucker’s castle-cum-lab in Sokovia, East Europe. The team’s mission: to decommission Strucker and his robot army and make off with the all-powerful scepter, which, when last utilized by Thor’s evil brother, Loki, blasted a hole in the heavens for an invading army.

This time around said scepter is used by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) to secretly activate what they think is a global defense system. Instead, it unleashes Ultron (voiced with ominous glee by James Spader), a “murder-bot” AI, which, when it isn’t quoting “Pinocchio,” pits the superheroes against one another and contemplates the extinction of mankind.

Oh, dear ‒

Directed and written by Joss Whedon, “Avengers 2” reverses audiences expectations: Instead of expository timeouts from the knock-downs-drag-outs, the action sequences this time provide much-needed respites from the clichéd comebacks and poorly integrated subplots, one of which introduces Hawkeye’s secret family, another the initially nasty sibs Petro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). How do you tell the twins apart? “He’s fast, she’s weird.”

Giddy from his newly minted box-office clout, Whedon high-fives his core constituency with winking asides and belabored cameos (Stan Lee does his obligatory walk-on). Careful not to mess with a winning formula, his comic-book heroes are, if possible, even more one-note than before: Iron Man/Stark is all smirking superiority as he makes funny with references to “Moby Dick” and Eugene O’Neill; the shield-slinging Captain America (Chris Evans) remains the square-jawed Dudley Do-Right of the team; Thor (Chris Hemsworth) once again is, by turns, brooding and sheepishly Old World; lovebirds Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Banner/Hulk are distinguished, respectively, by their selflessness and self-loathing. Archer Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) makes so little impression he might as well be firing rubber suction-cup arrows. Where’s Katniss Everdeen when you need her?

Not to worry, however. Marvel and Disney have released “Avengers 2” in five formats — flat, IMAX, 3D, IMAX 3D, seat-quaking 4DX — thereby assuring the faithful ample opportunity to riffle through the tangled scrapheap passing for plot.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON ✮1/2 With Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Elizabeth Olsen, Don Cheadle. Directed, written by Joss Whedon. 141 min. Rated PG-13 (for slight profanity, hyperbolic comic-book violence)

13 Responses to “Avengers Age of Ultron ✮1/2”

  1. spencer Says:

    Judge the movie, not the theater. HOW ARE YOU A CRITIC?

    Like

  2. canniboy Says:

    Cinema dope indeed…. The movie was fun from top to bottom. Just because you feel the need for something more doesn’t mean there needs to be something more. Stop superimposing your search for whatever upon the screen you are supposed to be watching.

    Like

  3. SteveDInos Says:

    You just kept saying things were bad and don’t take much time at all to explain why. Any average person could have walked out of a theatre and said the same things you said, not a very useful critique.

    Like

  4. LC Says:

    Great review. I was getting worried that the world has gone mad, but this gave me hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. William Naughton Says:

    1-1/2 Stars? Compared to the first installment of the Avengers, this, undoubtably covered too much ground. That said, it was a lot of fun. This begs the question of why the abysmal score? (Not a Bad score mind you, but an abysmal one.)

    You suggested that the original wasn’t good either – clearly you don’t care for the genre as you seem to be out of step with the vast majority of the global population (based on the ticket sales and meta scores). It might be instructive to note what you Do like… perhaps The Metamorphosis (fun for the whole family) or something politically correct with a “meaningful”, desperately condescending message for the unwashed masses…. maybe something unrelentingly depressing and cynical? (For those days when the straight razor just “calls out” to you.)

    You know…. like the news but more expensive.

    So tell us what you like.

    Then we will know that we can ignore you and get another opinion somewhere else.

    Like

  6. Dejio Says:

    This guy kept rambling on for several paragraphs but never got anywhere. Here’s a tip; have a point! At least explain, instead of bombarding your review full of adjectives.

    This feels like what a high school student would write if his teacher asked him to write an essay about a book (that he never got to read) in 200 words or more. Stretch….

    Like

  7. AP Says:

    1 1/2 stars aside – Glenn this is just a bad review, written as though you’ve only just read a synopsis of the film, providing no insight or value to your negative tone.

    I will not keep reading. Nor should anyone see if you continue to write without substance.

    Like

  8. CSD Says:

    SPOILER ALERT

    Completely agree with this review. Movie was nonsensical and a big let down from the first. The funny parts were not funny, the action parts were boring, the evil villain turns out to be a creampuff, and the heartstring parts were flat. The real superhero of the movie was Hawkeye’s wife; stuck in the middle of a corn field pregnant and raising two kids while her husbands drops by apparently long enough to make another child before leaving to “Avenge” with “Nat” and the boys. She is the most kind and understanding entity in the Universe.

    And how many scenes do we need to suffer through of our heroes tossing around armies of aliens/GMOHydrasoldiers/mini-IronMen as if they were raggedy Ann dolls? Ultron created some mile long centrifuge thing that rips an entire city out of the earth and levitates it up to the stratosphere (when did he have time to build this??) but his army of thousands pose no real threat to anybody or anything?? C’mon.

    Ultron uses the strongest metal ever to build himself a new super duper body and the only real damage he does is after he hi-jacks the Avenger jet and mans the machine gun?? Who wrote this stuff?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jeff conn Says:

    what a lame asss movie! dont waste your time or money on just crap movie. for all you fan boys, you are pathetic losers! get over it

    Like

  10. lyndon Says:

    1 1/2 stars is 1 too many. This was a bloated video game, with too much money spent on CG and nothing spent on a script. I hope that we have not seen the future of cinema action films. The characters were cardboard thin and as the Great Bard once said there was Much Ado About Nothing. Good news though 007 and Star Wars are on the way. We can live in hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dirk Says:

      Nice comparison with Star Wars – yes it will be much better when we can see real spaceships with real aliens duking it out in space rather than that CGI crap. Oh, and yes, I look forward to another cringeworthy Star Wars script. At least this time George will not be writing it. Averngers: Ultron was far more enjoyable than 4 of the Star War movies and I would say the same thing about 6 of the most recent 007 movies. And I am a fan of all three franchises. It’s not a perfect movie but as if anyone criticizing it had a hope of producing anything remotely as entertaining for the majority of people.

      Like

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