Saturday, May 2, 2015
Cindy Prascik's Review of Avengers: Age of Ultron
Dearest Blog, yesterday it was off to the cinema for THE FIRST TIME IN A MONTH. I know, right? Nearly forgot what the place looked like. At any rate, a new superhero blockbuster was just the ticket for drawing me out of retirement, so I ditched the office a bit early to see Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Spoiler level here will be mild, unless you consider starry-eyed, non-plot-related commentary on Jeremy Renner's arms, wardrobe, and screen time spoilerey. If that's the case, then read no more 'til you've seen the movie!
Earth's mightiest protectors face their most frightful foe yet. (I should just save that synopsis for every super-hero review ever.)
I presently harbor a simmering resentment towards Marvel for extorting fans into watching their crap product (*cough* Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. *cough*) just to be sure we can keep up with their good product (pretty much everything else...so far).
Having said that, nobody enjoys a dude in a cape quite like I do, so I don't think that had undue influence on my opinion of Ultron.
What does negatively impact the movie right out of the box is some ridiculously terrible CGI in the opening sequence.
For such a big-budget picture, it would have been inexcusable wherever it fell, but when it's the first thing you see it doesn't set a very good tone.
The movie also overstays its welcome by a good 20-30 minutes, and feels every minute of WAY TOO LONG. Having said that, it rebounds rather nicely from a sketchy start, spelling great action with some quieter personal moments among the heroes. If the wisecracking wears a bit thin, it also made me laugh out loud at times.
New good guys and new bad guys and new somewhere-in-betweens are smartly cast and fit well enough that you almost forget they ever WEREN'T there. As is always the case with a cast this size, some are a bit underused, but since it's not Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) this time, I'll not be complaining!
And how about Hawkeye? The only Avenger who didn't get a Doritos flavor OR a Dr. Pepper can in the promo buildup is actually sort-of featured this go-round, and even gets a back-story. A BACK STORY! Concerns about the new costume proved unfounded, as his lovely arms are frequently on display. The Renner prominence more than made up for any small disappointments I had with the picture.
The rest of the cast is expectedly terrific and, by this point, feels like a bunch of old friends. Various folks from the stand-alone movies turn up in what amount to little more than cameos, but it's still great to see them. Even with a bunch of Oscar nominees among the primary cast, though, there's no one else who is even in James Spader's orbit.
One of only two actors who has ever made me stand up and applaud in my own living room (the other is Peter MacNicol if anyone's asking...and I'm pretty sure they're not), the guy is simply incomparable. Ultron is a good enough movie, but overall nothing special; Spader makes it great.
Avengers: Age of Ultron clocks in at a bloated 141 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence, and destruction, and for some suggestive comments.
A big, loud, fun bit of brain candy, it's the perfect kickoff to summer blockbuster season.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Avengers: Age of Ultron gets seven and a half.
Until the Hawkeye standalone movie...erm...I mean, until next time...