AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Robert Downey Jr. as TONY STARK / IRON MAN
Chris Hemsworth as THOR
Mark Ruffalo as BRUCE BANNER / HULK
Chris Evans as STEVE ROGERS / CAPTAIN AMERICA
Scarlett Johansson as NATASHA ROMANOFF / BLACK WIDOW
Jeremy Renner as CLINT BARTON / HAWKEYE
James Spader as ULTRON
Samuel L. Jackson as NICK FURY
Don Cheadle as JAMES RHODES / WAR MACHINE
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as PIETRO MAXIMOFF / QUICKSILVER
Elizabeth Olsen as WANDA MAXIMOFF / SCARLET WITCH
Paul Bettany as JARVIS / VISION
Cobie Smulders as MARIA HILL
Directed by: Joss Whedon
BY KEVIN CARR
I generally really enjoy the movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (For those who don’t know the full distinction, these are the movies connected to the Avengers, including the superheroes Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk. Please don’t assume my affinity for these films to be an endorsement of all the X-Men or Spider-Man movies or other incarnations like the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie or the Ghost Rider films.)
However, even my favorite cinematic franchise are allowed a stumble now and then. I’m not saying that “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a huge stumble in the process of bringing these comic book heroes to the big screen, but it is certainly a bounce-back from the first superior movie “The Avengers.”
This massive sequel features the superhero team working together to root out the last vestiges of Hydra from power. In the process of taking down a Hydra base, they get their hands on Loki’s scepter, which Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) uses the powerful stone in its center to interface with his artificial intelligence known as Jarvis. Stark plans to use this power to protect the world, but soon it becomes self aware and decides that the best way to save the world is to rid it of all those pesky humans.
To say “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a big movie is an understatement. After the first film made an unprecedented $1.5 billion at the box office last year, Marvel could make this movie as big as they could… and they did.
In the process, we get some great action sequences, some kick-ass special effects and an on-screen spectacle unlike anything you’ve ever seen. However, we also got a lot of screen time devoted to setting up a slew of other movies – from “Black Panther” to “Captain America: Civil War” – and a huge cast roster that included pretty much any character audiences like in the previous ten movies (except for Pepper Pots, Jane Foster and the Guardians of the Galaxy).
So, like “Iron Man 2,” we get a movie that is still a lot of fun and enjoyable to watch but doesn’t fit completely together in the most organic way because it’s trying to do too much in order to set up other films. Still, on home video, the movie plays much smoother, and it doesn’t feel like we’re stuck in a never-ending loop as it did in the theaters. In the end, I enjoyed “Avengers: Age of Ultron” much more on Blu-ray than I did in theaters. It’s still better than “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” just a bit of a regression from “The Avengers” and many of the sequels in Phase Two.
For the single-disc Blu-ray, there’s some bonus content, but most would be available on the multi-disc set. What was made available to me includes a commentary track with director Joss Whedon as well as a slate of featurettes. The 20-minute “From the Inside Out – Making Of Avengers: Age of Ultron” takes an overall look at the production. The 7-minute “The Infinite Six” offers a quick tutorial of the Infinity Stones and how they will continue to play into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” Finally, the 3-minute “Global Adventure” gives a quick look at the international locations of the film.
There’s also four deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary, as well as the original theatrical trailer. Finally, for those who like the tongue-in-cheek manner of these films and their actors, there’s a cute gag reel to round out the special features.