Age of Ultron avengers

Some Movies to See This Weekend, May 1, 2015

Friday, May 01, 2015 Rob Samuelson

There is no reason to bother to highlight anything else this weekend, because there's only one game in town. One massively popular, possibly Avatar-busting game. If this week's new release has the same legs as even, say, Furious Seven – winning the box office for a month straight – we could see it displace James Cameron's 2009 blue alien people movie in a hurry. If not, it'll still make a boatload of money, and fans will rejoice.



Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, James Spader, Scarlett Johansson



The big one hits early this summer, folks. In this direct sequel to 2012's Avengers, and indirect sequel to nine other recent blockbusters, Earth's Mightiest Heroes are back at it, but this time with a more thematically hefty nemesis: the evil robot Ultron (Spader). Ultron is created by Iron Man as a peacekeeping device and gains sentience. Add a pinch of hatred for the human race, and mechanical fire and brimstone start falling from the sky mighty quickly.

Everyone from the first movie is back, and this time we won't have to spend an interminable 20-25 minutes explaining to any audience members who didn't see the other movies in the series who each character is and what they can do. Writer-director Joss Whedon already did the heavy lifting there, so the Avengers are primed to begin this film with a sense of familiarity that allows for Whedon's real strength, character building, to shine.

But that's where Whedon always shines. He's a writerly guy, which is great. He gets movies most of the way there to greatness by that understanding of the people who populate his stories. What most excites me, personally, about Age of Ultron – in the trailers, at least – is that Whedon seems to have taken the leap from competent blockbuster director to good blockbuster director. The colors pop and alternate, representing the internal feelings of the characters. The action setpieces hinted at look intricate but structured and choreographed in a way that makes sense – no Michael Bay cocaine cutting in the editing room.


But in a larger sense, what amazes me about these movies – and indications point to this one being the most distilled form of what I mean here – is that the characters I grew up with, the ones who are responsible for me learning to read – and therefore inspired my writing career – are now such an important part of the culture as a whole. Now everyone seems to get what I got as a seven-year-old curled up in my bed with a stack of Hulk, Spidey, and Captain America comics. These characters teach us important lessons about the world, honor, duty, and having fun while doing so. That translates just fine for 26-year-old me, too.

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