Summary: When Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) accidentally unleash the evil that is Ultron (James Spader) onto the world it is up to themselves, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to re-group and once again try to save the world.
But as Ultron’s extra-intelligence helps him stay ahead of The Avengers as he prepares to destroy them and then mankind, he is also aided by the mysterious powers of newcomers Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).
Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd April, 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Joss Whedon
Screenwriter: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee (comics), Jack Kirby (comics)
Cast: Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Paul Bettany (Jarvis/The Vision), Linda Cardellini (Laura), Don Cheadle (Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine), Robert Downey Jnr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Lou Ferrigno (Hulk (voice)), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Anthony Henry (Charlie Nash), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Samuel L/ Jackson (Nick Fury), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Claudia Kim (Dr. Helen Cho), Thomas Kretschmann (Baron Wolfgang von Strucker), Stan Lee (Veteran), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Nick W. Nicholson (Dr. Taryl Jenkins), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Dominique Provost-Chalkley (Zrinka), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/The Hulk), Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaw), Stellan Skarsgard (Erik Selvig), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), James Spader (Ultron (voice)), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver)
Runtime: 141 mins
OUR AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Joss Whedon finds himself in an unusual predicament with Avengers: Age Of Ultron. When he took the helm of the franchise with The Avengers he created an action film so perfect that many were labeling the best action film ever made. Now Whedon has the hard task of trying to match that with his latest Avengers installment… only one poor man can relate, poor Christopher Nolan who had to back up the Oscar winning The Dark Knight with The Dark Knight Rises. Adding more problems for Whedon was the fact that the Russo’s further enhanced the franchise with the epically wonderful Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Whedon hits the ground running with Avengers: Age Of Ultron starting the film mid battle which amazingly enough creatively gives each Avenger their own piece of screen time to show exactly what they are capable of. To Whedon’s credit he doesn’t muck around re-introducing the members of the Avengers, no if you haven’t seen the other films in the franchise… tough!!! From there the film is topsy-turvy though. Once again Whedon’s special effects team goes into overdrive with some amazing sequences, although he should probably hold back so many slo-mo shots though as they become tedious after awhile. Surely such a creative director could have thought of some other kinds of shots, especially seeing at times Whedon manages to take his audience right inside the battle with some pretty creative directional moves.
While Whedon does at least create a very creative way to place the Earth in peril and some of the film’s deep points on those who set out to bring peace to this world, the politics of war or those with a God-complex are quite thought provoking, other parts of the films will let down their audience. The mind-bending scenes that come as a result of Scarlet Witch messing with the brains of The Avengers seem to lack the certain something they need to really standout. The attempts of Whedon to make them artsy certainly didn’t work and many audience members will find themselves tuning out during them.
Also missing this time around is a lot of the humor that made the first Avengers movie so memorable. Yes there are the occasional funny moments and lines (thanks largely to Tony Stark) but nothing as good as the Hulk smashing Loki moment from Avengers. Now talking about Loki, that also raises the biggest fault with Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Loki was everything that you want in a bad guy – evil, cheeky and strong but here you’ll quickly find that Ultron is a little bit of a bland villain. Yes he is formidable and he is strong, but instead of making you chuckle his ‘pearls of wisdom’ threaten to make your brain explode as you try to think about. The logic behind Ultron is also strangely like the internet demon that Willow created in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the giant robot that Spike and Angel tried to build in the strange series… at least Mr. Whedon is borrowing from his own material.
The other thing that is going to peeve off comic book fans as well is the treatment of Quicksilver. Now I know that X-Men is currently owned by a different company but it does seem a little weird that the Quicksilver here in Avengers: Age Of Ultron has a very different back story to the Quicksilver we now know in the X-Men franchise. Sadly, I can’t tell you though why the two different Quicksilvers in the two different franchise is going to mess with the minds of fans even more because sadly that would be giving away a major plot point of this film… all I will say though is it will completely mess with you and have you tearing your hair out.
The one thing though that does prevent Avengers: Age Of Ultron from becoming a really bland comic book movie is that this is a movie that does have some heart. Yes it lacks the storylines that have been so strong in the pervious films in this franchise but at least it has heart. The hidden family of one the Avengers that is revealed and also the budding relationship between two Avengers almost makes up for the ludicrous lines uttered to cover up the fact that neither Gwenyth Paltrow or Natalie Portman wanted to return this time around.
It is easy to see that Avengers: Age Of Ultron will frustrate many of its fans. While Joss Whedon does need to be congratulated on the epic scale of this film (although it does pale when put alongside Captain America: Winter Solider) this film simply just doesn’t front up to the brilliance of the original The Avengers. Yes the film contains love, death and violence but you won’t be remembering this film for years to come like you did Whedon’s first journey into the Marvel universe. Oh and be prepared for a bit of a morose finale that leaves the audience with more questions than it answers, keeping in mind that it has already been announced that this is the last film that will contain this line-up of the Avengers. There might be some weeping amongst true fans of the franchise.
Summary: The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 15th May, 2014
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: USA, Japan
Director: Gareth Edwards
Screenwriter: Max Borenstein, Dave Callaham (story)
Cast: CJ Adams (Young Ford), Juliette Binoche (Sandra Brody), Carson Bolde (Sam Brody), Garry Chalk (Stan Walsh), Bryan Cranston (Joe Brody), Jake Cunanan (Akio), James D. Dever (Captain Freeman), Catherine Lough Haggquist (PO #1 Martinez), Sally Hawkins (Vivienne Graham), Richard T. Jones (Captain Russell Hampton), Hiro Kanagawa (Hayato), Eric Keenleyside (Boyd), Anthony Konechny (Thach), Brian Markinson (Whelan), Gardiner Millar (Fitzgerald), Elizabeth Olsen (Elle Brody), Ty Olsson (Jainway), Victor Rasuk (Sergeant Tre Morales), Patrick Sabongui (Lieutenant Commander Marcus Waltz), Al Sapienza (Huddleston), David Strathairn (Admiral William Stenz), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ford Brody), Ken Watanabe (Dr. Ichiro Serizawa), Ken Yamamura (Takashi)
Fans of Godzilla films want and deserve a good Godzilla film, after all the poor suffering souls have nothing but a bad taste in their mouth after the 1998 Matthew Broderick led disaster. Well now comes the 2014 update and on the surface it seems that in a rare oddity Hollywood has finally picked the right director to be at the helm of a major project. Anyone that can remember just how good Monsters was will attest to the fact that Gareth Edwards knows how to make a damn fine ‘monster flick.’
This time around we find Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston – Get A Job, Cold Comes The Night) alarmed at the seismic activity going on around the Japanese nuclear power plant where he works. To his surprise nobody seems to take him seriously and the result is a catastrophe that results in the death of many other workers including his wife.
Flash-forward to fifteen years later and Joe’s son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Kick-Ass 2, Anna Karenina) is now a bomb expert in the military. He is also married to emergency room nurse, Elle (Elizabeth Olsen – Oldboy, In Secret) and has a young son that his military service takes him away from far to often. It is therefore understandable that he is frustrated when on a rare time at home he receives a call from Japanese authorities informing him that Joe has been arrested entering into a quarantined zone.
After bailing his father out Ford learns that his father believes that the authorities are keeping something secret inside the ‘zone’ and he wants to get inside to find his old data and to see what is going on. Reluctantly Ford follows his father and soon learns that experts, including Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins – The Double, Blue Jasmine) and Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe – Unforgiven, Inception) have been keeping a very large secret that is about to unleash itself onto the world.
It is easy to see Edwards’ handy work all over Godzilla. His monster sequences are well worth the price of admission, especially the ‘monster fights’ and at times he isn’t afraid to pull the focus away from these battles to show what the humans such as Ford are doing at that time. However while these sequences do look impressive as a whole Godzilla is held back from becoming a great film because of several reasons.
One of the major flaws of Godzilla is the characterisation. While you hardly go into a ‘monster flick’ expecting an epic back story for each character it is disappointing to find that a lot of the characters here in Godzilla are dangerously one dimensional. For example Dr. Serizawa is one of the more interesting characters although very little is learnt about him, then there is the massive under use of Elle, which results in the crime of seeing an award winning actress like Elizabeth Olsen become little more than scenery as she simple watches monsters go by with her mouth open like a Laughing Clown. The lack of characterization causes a problem later on in the film when the audience begins to realise that they really don’t care whether some characters survive the slaughter or not.
Of course though one of the most important things for a film like Godzilla however is what do the monsters actually look? Well Godzilla himself looks fine, Edwards’ team has actually done a pretty good throw back to the Godzilla of old. The same however cannot be said for the other Kaiju monsters that appear in the film, call me an old-fogey but somehow they seem just a little bit too metallic and robotic like for me. Their look makes them look very fake while on the other hand Godzilla’s natural look makes it almost believable that such creatures do live somewhere out there under the sea.
The decent storyline however does allow some of the actors to show their worth though. Bryan Cranston is given some moments to show his dramatic range, a welcome relief after the teaser footage they showed us a couple of months ago made it look like he might have been going for a comedic portrayal of his character, while Aaron Taylor-Johnson pulls on a serious face and actually shows that he may have what it takes to become an action hero in the future. As previously mentioned though some of the cast – especially Elizabeth Olsen and Ken Watanabe – are completely wasted in their one dimensional roles.
Godzilla is certainly far from a bad film. The good storyline and decent action sequences make it a worthy watch and Gareth Edwards should be congratulated for that, but sadly some elements of the script will still leave some serious film lovers wanting more.