Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

*. Why the “Age of Ultron”? Is the implication that we’re already living in such an age? That Ultron is just the physical manifestation of our connected world and advanced technopoly? Why am I even asking questions like this about MarvelCrap’s flagship franchise?
*. There’s little to add here to what I said about The Avengers. This one cost even more to make. Nearly $100 million more. But I doubt any one was counting. Box office was a billion and a half.
*. “Everyone creates the thing they dread.” Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay so that’s his line as much as it is Ultron’s. At least that’s what I like to think.
*. Avengers assembled: Robert Downey, Jr. is clearly bored and one can sense him driving off into the sunset with a sigh of relief. Chris Hemsworth is very blonde and beefy. Mark Ruffalo got paid . . . for what? Showing up? Scarlett Johansson looks fetching in her tight leathers and gamefully maintains a straight face throughout all of her beauty-and-the-beast scenes with the Hulk. Chris Evans just plays the uniform. Jeremy Renner actually does flooring. That was the one laugh I got out of the movie. James Spader isn’t nearly as fascinating as critics made him out to be. Ultron isn’t much of a villain, and his funniest line comes when he says he’s going to destroy the world in response to having his Internet privileges revoked. Samuel Jackson is comfortable now being little more than a cameo.
*. There you have it. The magic wand known as the Tesseract is back as an all-purpose plot device. It can apparently do anything. Several cities are ripped up. An army of bad guys is dispatched. There are a number of long, dragged-out slugfests between heroes and between heroes and villains. Civilians cower and gape. Women and children are rescued. There’s a bit of light, witty dialogue and interplay among the team, but less than you might expect. Profound points about what it means to be human and how best to do good are superficially mentioned. A sequel is announced in the end credits.

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