Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Phil sees THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON at the AMC Showplace Manteca 16-May 16, 2015

Since the release of IRON MAN in 2008, Marvel Studios has been releasing blockbuster after blockbuster in their shared cinematic universe like clockwork. Their "First Phase" of films led to the 2012 runway hit THE AVENGERS that united their superheroes in one film. Comic book fans and film buffs came out in droves to witness history in the making. After my initial review of it I thought to myself, "Boy, I can't wait to see how they top this!" Fast forward to this past weekend and I am sitting with my family to witness the next chapter of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Thus, here I am reviewing THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.

The film's official synopsis: When Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth's Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron (James Spader) emerges, it is up to the Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for a global adventure.

Also appearing in the film are newbies Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch),  Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), and MCU regulars Don Cheadle (James Rhodes aka War Machine), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson aka Falcon), Paul Bettany (Jarvis/Vision), and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury).

Once again writer/director Joss Whedon (THE AVENGERS, FIREFLY, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) pulls out all the stops with this, his best film to date. Unlike its predecessor, Whedon abandons his traditional style of filmmaking and takes it to the next level. The look is far more cinematic, flowing and grander. It reminds me of the old style of Hollywood filmmaking, much like John Ford or Billy Wilder; taking something simple (like the old west or, in this case, superheroes) and having it reflect the filmmaker himself: his personality, eccentricities, and vision. The first film Whedon was criticized that the look and his directing style was more towards looking like a television episode rather a movie, Here, he silences his critics and creates a cinematic work of art that reflects his vision in its purist form. Dare I say that Joss Whedon has taken his first steps of becoming an auteur.

Also worth noting that not only his directing, Whedon's script bring to light more of the charaters backgrounds and what makes them tick. From Captain America's longing for his lost love Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell making a brief cameo) to Black Widow's brainwashing and training to become a lethal assassin, we the audience is given a very special treat: character development, which something rarely seen in sequels. The last time we saw this kind of crafted screenwriting was in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLIDER. Whedon proves that, without a shadow of a doubt, he has the capability to produce some amazing and outstanding films.

The cast is reunited to combat a deadly foe, and who else could've pulled of Ultron beside James Spader? No one, that's who! Spader (who is phenomenal on the hit television show Blacklist) portrays one of the most iconic villains in the Marvel Comics Universe and is just one of the most intelligent, evil beings that has ever graced the silver screen. The rest of the cast does a fantastic job once again and newcomers Olsen and Taylor-Johnson give it all and then some. 

Overall THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON is one of Marvel's biggest and most ambitious film yet and it pays off in spades! This is one summer blockbuster that really deserves to be seen on the big screen! So beat the heat and check out this outstanding chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON is currently playing in both 2-D and 3-D in theaters nationwide, including at the AMC Showplace Manteca 16. To view showtimes, visit their website at ww.amctheatres.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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