“Avengers: Age of Ultron” – Explosive & visually extravagant

When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it’s up to Earth’s mightiest heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plan.

Given how teeming with multiple awkwardly-diverse characters the AVENGERS franchise is, you can imagine how difficult and mentally-exhausting it is to gather all these uniquely vivid plot lines, with all their interspersing expositories and asides, and still be able to form one coherent and fluidly-constructed narrative. The first Avengers movie proved itself able to carry the weight of such challenge, and came out successful in delivering one the most poignant superheroic tales ever told. This year, AGE of ULTRON blasts into cinemas carrying the load of mammoth anticipation. While it is expected to perform better—if not as well as the previous release—it will not be totally surprising, and will still be forgivable, if it falls just a feet beneath the staggering anticipation. Well, you can thank Joss Whedon for helming this projec. This movie soars past expectations.

In AGE OF ULTRON, as the characters further expand, new names join the team, proving how much more difficult it must be for the screenwriters to still cling to their material’s soundness, and make that further engaging and compelling. Nevertheless, Whedon and his prolific team of scriptwriters, come out triumphant over these apparent hurdles, managing again to weave all the heroes’ divergent story lines and confine them together into one solid plot. Whedon effectively mines the capacities of these individuals and turns them into the very foundation of his epic superhero saga.

Robert Downey’s Iron Man/Tony Stark remains as a formidable figurehead in spite of his ever cynical and highly confident posture, while Chris Evans provides a dependable alternative with Captain America’s leadership. There’s an implicit undertone playing beneath the trajectory of these two leaders’ relationship, and that might serve as an indirect catalyst to what is set to unfold in Captain America: Civil War. Chris Hemsworth’s guileless ‘Thor’ is ever militant, yet innocent. This movie also draws more of the previous installment’s less-utilized characters, into the scopes of its spotlight. Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, enjoys his expanded character whose interaction with other avengers, has immensely improved, and he also has some of the best jaw-dropping action sequences here. Mark Ruffalo as Hulk still smashes, he’s as diffident as he is dangerous, and yet still charmingly funny. Scarlett Johanson’s character, Black Widow, has been treated with bigger attention, and her presence is never less if not as strong as her male counterparts. To forget the newcomers, Taylor Johnson’s Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, is totally unfair too, as these two cemented their fiery presence right at the very first battle sequence of the movie. Same can be said with Paul Bettany’s Vision, whose mysterious power might be the very weapon that could propel the Avengers to winning their battle against their biggest enemy: ULTRON. James Spader’s voice strikes as the perfect embodiment of the indomitable android ULTRON who is hellbent to rendering the planet to extinction. Spader has the utmost command of the character and has fueled it with utter rage and bitterness, and calm and ease when needed. You’re not going to forget Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury too, and the rest of his team, including Falcon. He’s as effectively leading his team here when he is needed to be as he was, the first time Avengers were called to assemble. It features Andy Serkis’ entry to the franchise too, and while it’s brief, he manages to established a commanding presence in the movie. The film grants everybody the right amount of exposure to shine, letting both their inner fragilities and physical prowess speak volumes for who they are. Their imperfections claim pivotal share in their greatest undertaking—winning their very own internal battles so they could emerge able to save the world from the wrecking weights of annihilation.

Straightaway at the beginning, Age of Ultron throws our heroes into roaring action, drawing us immediately into a surfeit of explosive and visually-omnipotent action extravaganzas that allow every smashing, pounding, flash of beams, flight, and basically everything, assume near-impossible forms of eye-squashing spectacles. It is when all these heroes engage together in combat against their enemies, that the movie subjugates all those hungry eyes, and grasps total domination over the audience’s attention, letting the awestruck reception hum along the visual drama as it extends its reach beyond imagination. It is also when all the death-defying sequences and breathtakingly choreographed action set-pieces, spin out to full throttle, that the underlying cause why this band of superheroes fight with their lives, becomes blindingly evident—humanity. This is what had put them into this circle, in the first place, and it’s what they are now aiming to preserve even when they have to wrestle with death. Whedon has never deprived these characters of humanity, making each of them similar, albeit their much readily-perceived differences. This summons affection for these characters, which right away the film gathers, whenever it puts the narrative’s soul into the spotlight.

AVENGERS: Age of Ultron is without fault, but too few and little that they’re not even worth-noting. To be able to gather all these radical personas and bring their different worlds into one concrete universe, is already a colossal feat. Whedon proves to be capable of pushing the limits of the movie’s accomplishments past that milestone, and the result is never less than monumental. The whole experience imparts an overwhelming sense of satisfaction, yet it also makes the audience hunger for more. Well, the movie lays ground-works and unleashes potential backdoors for the franchise’s next chapters, and that makes everything that follows something to look forward to.

AVENGERS: AGE of ULTRON is visually enthralling as it is emotionally profound, a cinematic achievement soaring above the previously reached heights in the ever expanding universe of superhero movies.

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