Sunday, September 27, 2015

Video review: "Avengers: Age of Ultron"

As sequels go, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” delivered everything it had to.

It brought the gang of Marvel superheroes back together for another round of computer-generated mayhem and quips. It added some new wrinkles to the characters’ background stories and continuing evolution. A few new key super-powered folk were added to the mix. And a really crafty and charismatic villain emerged to steal the show.

The heavy here is Ultron, an artificial intelligence program created by Tony Stark aka Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to protect the world, since they’re each anxious to get out of the caped crusader game. (Yes, I know neither one actually wears a cape; work with me, people!)

Ultron, menacingly voiced and motion-captured by James Spader, quickly decides that the Avengers themselves are the biggest thread to Earth. Thus their battle is joined, with Ultron jumping from robot body to body, like a virus that’s impossible to care.

Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor, (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) are here, too. The new kids are mutant siblings Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who have mind powers and super-speed, respectively.

The supes race about the world trying to contain Ultron’s misdeeds, with a few character-driven subplots to keep the human angle fresh. We learn Hawkeye isn’t just a deadeye loner, and that Banner and Widow have feelings for each other.

It’s a rip-roaring time, not quite as good as the original, but what is?

Extras include deleted scenes, several making-of featurettes, feature-length audio commentary track and a gag reel.



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