I’m Still Not Clear What They’re Avenging: Review of “The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron”

You know you've arrived when you even have to put the name of your movie on your poster.

You know you’ve arrived when you even have to put the name of your movie on your poster; half of a letter will do!

Rated PG-13, 141 minutes (watched 5/8/15)

There’s a moment of capital-T Truth in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Allow me to set the scene:  Two of our heroes are trapped in a crumbling church in a city that is levitating miles above the ground (yes, the entire city). A newcomer to the Avengers’ ranks is Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson), and she is nervous. But hey, a swarm of homicidal, Pinocchio-quoting robots generally has that effect on me too. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) pauses from taking out said killer robots with Robin Hood kit,looks down at her, and grins:

“The whole city is flying. I have a bow-and-arrow. None of this makes any sense!”

Truer words have never been spoken, Hawkeye. He may as well have finished his thought: “Don’t think too much. Just go with it!”

The sequel to The Avengers is ludicrous. But it’s also glorious, stupendous, marvelous, and about 35 or 40 other words that end in -ous. The plot – such as it is –  is patently absurd. A self-aware, rogue robot named Ultron (James Spader) is bent not on world domination, but on world peace. Of course, with pesky human beings around, destroying all life on the planet is the best idea he can come up with for achieving peace. Give him credit, it WOULD create world peace.  The Avengers – Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Captain America assemble and blow up a whole bunch of stuff. But when the tone of the script and performances are so care-free and fun, it’s hard to not grin right along with Hawkeye and just go with it.

Ultron/James Spader – is the best example of this. Part of what made Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator so iconic is the pithy one-liners no robot should ever have occasion to say (“Hasta la vista, baby.”) Spader dials this up to 11 and every line is pure gold, including his rendition of Pinocchio’s classic: “I’ve got no strings to hold me down / to make me fret, or make me frown / I had strings, but now I’m free / There are no strings on me!” I’ve never been too big a fan of Spader on TV or in movies – he’s just too creepy. But as the voice of Ultron, he’s a slam dunk.

It would be super easy for a script to get bogged down with so many stars, but for the most part, Joss Whedon executes perfectly. Each character gets to shine, including Hawkeye, who was mostly worthless in the first movie. That’s a big feat in and of itself! Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) gets a romantic plot I won’t spoil, but she also gets some fun lines. As she rides a motorcycle through traffic dodging Ultron’s minions, she actually yells “Beep beep!” as if she were the Road Runner. I’m smiling just remembering it. Explosions, macguffins and dei ex machina* abound, but it’s just so gosh darned fun!

I can’t comment on its faithfulness to the comics, but I have to imagine that die-hard fans of the source material would be able to lighten up and – again – just go with it.

*I had to look it up, but the plural of deus ex machina is indeed dei ex machine. Just go with it!

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All that’s wonderful, but what’s the movie’s grade? I’m in a hurry here, buddy.
It was a very fun 141 minutes and I’d love to see it again! 5/5!

Where do I know that guy from?
Linda Cardellini plays a character I won’t spoil, but it drove me nuts that I couldn’t figure out where I’d seen her before. After checking IMDB, it dawned on me: she played Sylvia Rosen in Mad Men.

What is the star’s spirit animal?
This is a toughie. Maybe a… sugar glider? Sure. We’lll go with that.

What color socks are you wearing right now?
I just got some new socks and I’m super excited to be wearing them!

burger socks Spoiler alert!
They don’t avenge anything. Shhh!!

Megan’s Take:
She gives it a 5/5. She enjoys a good Stan Lee cameo and was grinning from ear to ear as we left the theater.

Heard any good jokes lately?
Why couldn’t the dinosaur break through the brick wall? I don’t know, I’m the one asking you the question!

Snacks eaten:
I honest don’t remember. I probably had a Diet Pepsi.

Unrelated Word of the Day:
Fictioneer \fik-shuh-NEER\ noun: someone who writes fiction especially in quantity and without high standards.

Would the movie have been any better with the addition of Morgan Freeman as narrator?
Nope. It was pretty perfect without him.

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