AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
US, 2015, 141 minutes, Colour.
Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel L.Jackson, Don Cheadle,
Aaron Taylor-Johnson?, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgaard, Linda Cardellini, Claudia Kim, Thomas Kretschman, Aney Serkis, Julie Delpy, Stan Lee, Henry Goodman.
Directed Joss Whedon.
Some films are issues-driven. Some films are character-driven, out of which conflicts emerge. Some films are conflict-driven, out of which some character qualities emerge. Avengers is the latter kind of film, exceedingly conflict-driven. The characters we already know and there is little character-development – but a bit.
The initial Avengers film took in almost $2 billion around the world. It seems to be the most financially successful film of all time. Obviously, it has a built-in audience and so there is very little need for publicity or for review or critical comment. If you screen it, they will come! In fact, all the Avengers come and so will large audiences. Part of the enjoyment is to see one’s favourite avenger(s), meet them again, see them in action, all-conquering.
Robert Downey Jr is there once again as Tony Stark, Iron Man, working initially in his laboratories to create artificial intelligence, realising that he has created a cyber-monster, Ultron, who wishes to destroy him. He has to don his Iron Man suit to go into combat. In the laboratory he is assisted by Dr Banner (Mark Ruffalo), making every effort not to turn green, not to be angry and become The Hulk (which, of course, he does several times). In one character development, he is attracted to Natasha (Scarlett Johansson), the reformed assassin, and she to him. She is not particularly enamoured of The Hulk, but finally admits that this transformation is necessary if the Avengers are to win their battles.
Captain America (Chris Evans), the all-American, upright character, no swearing allowed, who belonged back in the 1940s before he was frozen enters into the spirit of things. Then there is the family man, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) who with his arrows is a useful backup to the principal avengers, but he is always wanting to go home to his wife and family.
And, from another time, from another planet, there is Thor. And Chris Hemsworth is a big and brawny warrior but with perfect English articulation, deep voice and precision as if he was speaking the classics. He gives himself over to fight all these earthly battles that the avengers are involved in.
In the initial Eastern European siege, brother and sister with ultra-human powers, (Aaron Johnson-Taylor? and Elizabeth Olsen) are linked in with Ultron but ultimately join the Avengers – and so, more fights.
Ultron (voiced by James Spader) immediately goes into hostile action, absorbing Jarvis (voiced by Paul Bethany who, later in the film, is seen in human, well cyber-human, form as yet another Avenger.
Which means than the screenplay is crowded, or, really, over-crowded, with each of the Avengers looking for screen time as well as finding various opportunities for combat. Which also means that the film is battles and confrontations, with a little spacing between for some human drama.
1. A popular film? Super heroes? Superheroes together?
2. The financial set successively regional film? An enormous world fan base for the film? The appeal of superheroes, comic style, the visuals, the characters, dialogue, deadpan humour?
3. The world to be saved, evil, Nick Fury and his character, his role, assembling the avengers?
4. The cast, there are established characters, audience familiarity and wanting to see them? The new avengers?
5. Special effects, action, the many many battles? The musical score?
6. Plausibility and implausibility? Audiences accepting this kind of fantasy? The blockbuster mentality?
7. The developments in the plot, artificial intelligence, the emergence of evil, the need for confrontation, each of the characters, the perspective on the crisis, their individual skills in contributions, United?
8. The title, the focus on Ultron, Tony Stark and his experiments, the creation of the artificial intelligence, its becoming incarnate? Immediately turning against the creator? Evil? Dr Banner and his presence, amazement? Jarvis as Tony Stark’s helper, robot? Ultron absorbing Jarvis? Multiplying, prior, control and confrontation?
9. The avengers, audiences familiar with them? Iron Man and his suit? Hulk and his rage? Natasha, the reformed assassin and her working with Dr Banner and The Hulk? Captain America, the nice guy from the 1940s? Thor, articulate, the clashes with low key, everybody trying to lift his hammer? Hawkeye and his family?
10. The opening siege, the castle, the avengers and the action? The two new characters, brother and sister, the powers, their being demonstrated, their personalities, with Ultron, on the side of evil? The change? Each of them in action?
11. Each of the avengers, each having their own battle? Jarvis becoming an avenger? The film crowded with avengers, each getting their own space, each wanting their own battle?
12. The city, the evacuation, protection, the fights?
13. The humans touches? The quiet with Hawkeye and his family? Natasha and her attraction to Dr Banner, elements of romance?
14. The avengers fighting and living to fight another day?