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One Movie Punch

Mar 13, 2018

Okay, so here’s part two of our special double up this week on the Road To Infinity War. We’re back on track to review “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017) on April 23rd, just four days before “Avengers: Infinity War” debuts on April 27th. If you want my thoughts on “Black Panther”, dial back to Episode 050 on February 19th.

Spoiler alert: I loved it.

So, for Marvel Muesday, today’s film is “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015), the second team-up film, written and directed by Joss Whedon. The film follows up with the Avengers re-assembling to take out the secret Hydra strongholds revealed in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014), in particular, a research lab in Sokovia experimenting with Loki’s scepter, which contains one of the Infinity Stones, and two mysterious powered individuals.

And then things get really weird. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) discover an artificial intelligence protocol while examining the stone, and decide to try integrating the Ultron Protocol, a worldwide network that could meet cosmic threats. And so is birthed Ultron (James Spader), who heads to Sokovia and teams up with Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) to take down the Avengers.

And then. And then. And then. So much story. All beautifully rendered with excellent costumes, and nearly everyone in the previous movies showing up to battle Ultron in the end. It feels like three hours of story crammed into two hours and twenty minutes, with some mashed in backstory for Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and a lot of steps to introduce Phase 3.

Some parts read very different after seeing Phase 3. It is a major setup for “Captain America: Civil War” (2016) and by extension “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017), but it also contains seeds for “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017) and “Black Panther” (2018). Watching it this time around, large and small details would trigger little epiphanies, and this effect is one of the massive strengths of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) is still a great film, but unfortunately falls slightly short of nearly impossibly high standards the MCU has created for themselves, and everyone else. It is overloaded with story, but also chock full of easter eggs that come alive on the way to “Avengers: Infinity War”. It can be criticized, but it is still wonderful and well worth the time investment, even for repeated viewings.

Rotten Tomatoes: 75% (CERTIFIED)

Metacritic: 66

One Movie Punch: 8.2/10

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) is rated PG-13 and is available wherever you enjoy movies.