Man of Steel from my backlog last month in prep for Dawn of Justice. Now it is a month later and Captain America: Civil War is about to hit theaters so the perfect way to prep up for that is by devouring last year’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron (trailer) BluRay out of my backlog box for today’s entry.
I loved the first Avengers film. It was everything I wanted it to be and it easily lived up to anticipation of the several previous Marvel movies leading up to having Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Mark Ruffalo) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) teaming up for the ultimate superhero team. Age of Ultron opens up in the best possible way with the team kicking ass in a marvelous CG/action showpiece on a routine mission in the fictional eastern-bloc country of Sokovia.
The mind control trope was one of the few nitpicks I had with the first Avengers movie, and it was unfortunate to see it revisited here in an even bigger format. There is at least some plot payoffs behind it though, because it influences Tony Stark to unintentionally create an AI based from the object they hunted down in Sokovia under the guise of a world peace protector thinking nothing can possibly go wrong. Sure enough, the AI becomes self aware and runs rampant, and takes over one of Stark’s spare suits of armor to become this film’s primary antagonist, Ultron (James Spader).
smashing the shit out of Loki in the previous film, but rest assured there are plenty of fun moments for every character here.
One of the many reasons the first Avengers film worked so well is because they somehow found a way for the star-studded cast to all have seemingly equal scene time with each character having their own major moment throughout the film. The only hero that got somewhat short-shrifted was Hawkeye because he was a mind-control lackey to Loki in most of the film, to which there is an awesome payoff reference to in Age of Ultron. Hawkeye gets redeemed in this film with a couple scenes where we find out a lot more about his background in a nice palette cleanser scene that allowed the movie to breathe between big battles. Without going into too many details, I was not a big fan of it when I originally saw it at the theater, probably because it caught me off guard a little too much, but on second viewing it resonated with me a lot more and I was able to reset and get amped up for the film’s big final act.
The film wraps up nicely with a fun tease of a new roster shake-up for the Avengers for next year’s two-part sequel, and the requisite, post-credits stinger contains another sequel teaser to keep us talking until it hits. It would have been a tall order to have Age of Ultron to be on par with the first Avengers movie, but it aged better than I originally thought a year later. There are still some qualms I have with the film like the aforementioned reliance of the mind-control trope, not buying into Ultron as the major be-all villain that Loki was last time around, and this sudden romance emphasis between Banner and Widow that seemingly happened from out of nowhere and was not alluded to at all in the first film. While these are still nitpicks of mine with Age of Ultron, they did not weigh down as hard on me they did the first time around resulting in a far more enjoyable film.
Next up is three behind-the-scenes features totaling a half hour. Global Adventure is a skip-able three minute piece on how they shot scenes around the world that I would have loved to see them expand on a lot more other than “yeah, it was really cool to shoot in Korea.” Infinite Six is a must watch seven minute piece on the importance of the Infinite Gems/Stones and how they have been building up over the last few films to the big payoff in next year’s Avengers films. From the Inside Out is a 20 minute general overview of Age of Ultron where it interview and introduces the new characters, and goes into detail on set designs and some of the CG special effects implemented in the film . The extras round off with a commentary from Joss Whedon. I usually prefer multi-person commentaries for better flow of discussion, but Whedon has a lot to say on topics like enjoying not being forced to accommodate 3D this time around, character cameos, religious/cosmic ideologies and fighting to keep Hawkeye’s big scene in the film.
Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs
12 Angry Men (1957)
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
Field of Dreams
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Man of Steel
Marine 3 & 4
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Star Trek I-XII
Take Me Home Tonight
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
The Wrestler (2008)