Studio: Disney/Marvel Studios (2 hr. 21 min.)
Plot: Using the Infinity stone from Loki’s scepter, Tony Stark jumpstarts a peacekeeping program that goes awry.
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, James Spader
Rating: PG 13
Bottom Line: ***
By Laurence Washington
Captain American (Chris Evans) and his “colorful friends,” Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) take on a homicidal robot bent on exterminating the human race in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” this summer’s first big blockbuster movie.
The second installment of the “Avengers” is a specular hard-charging comic book fare from the opening credits as the team storm a Hydra hideout located in the fictional Eastern European nation of Sokovia, to the end of the film where they battle an army of metal Mini-Mes. It’s worth mentioning that during the Hydra assault, the Avengers face a pair of troublesome genetically altered twins Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch who give the world’s mightiest heroes fits.
The third act covers a lot of familiar territory, reminiscent of the first Avenger’s film. However, hardcore Marvel fans will find the retreaded material forgivable. After all, what’s better that fighting an army of killer robots? Let’s hope the next Avenger film (teased in the traditional after credit scene) will show us something new.
But I digress.
Picking up from where “The Winter Soldier” left off, the Avengers retrieve Loki’s scepter from Commander Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), inside the Hydra lair. Stark (Iron Man) convinces Thor to let him examine the Infinity stone that powers the scepter, before returning the gem to Thor’s home in Asgard.
With the help of Dr. Bruce Banner (The Hulk), Stark sets forth working on his dream, building robotic peacekeepers patrolling the Earth bringing “peace in our time.” However, the pair unwitting creates artificial intelligence in a robot named Ultron (voice of James Spader) who decides to eradicate humanity. Of course the Avengers will have none of that, or there would be not point in having this 2-hour CGI-filled movie.
Director Joss Whedon does a good job organizing the film with so many characters and back-stories woven together. Whedon juggles the characters so that they all get ample screen time. That’s no mere feat with all those superheroes in the same movie.
A word of warning: IMAX and 3D are just revenue makers for the studio. 3D should be treated like fine silverware and brought out on special occasions, and not every time there’s a summer blockbuster like this one. Be pennywise and see the movie in the afternoon and in 2D, unless you’re “stupid rich.” You’ll thank me later.
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This column was printed May 17, 2015 - May 30, 2015