Journey 137: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers poster

I was thrilled to see this movie this evening with my sister Linda. It’s been a while since I’ve sat in a darkened theater and lost myself in a larger than life story, full of heroes and villains, adventure and angst. Marvel movies always deliver. I’ve been a Marvel and DC comic fan all my life. For this amazing series of movies, I’ve faithfully followed each of the individual character stories…Iron Man, Captain America, Thor…and thoroughly enjoyed the first Avengers film.

Avengers: Age of Ultron has a huge all star cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and the distinctive voice of James Spader. Directed by Joss Whedon, this action/adventure/sci-fi is rated PG-13, for action, violence and destruction, and some suggestive comments. The film has a run time of 2 hours and 21 minutes.

Taking place after Captain America: Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron finds the heroes together in the Eastern Europe country of Sokovia, raiding a Hydra Outpost. Experiments on humans have been carried out there, using the scepter previously wielded by Loki, Thor’s (Hemsworth) brother. The Avengers encounter a set of twins with special gifts. Pietro (Taylor-Johnson) has superhuman speed and his sister, Wanda (Olsen), can manipulate minds and matter.

Escaping with the scepter, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey Jr.) and Dr. Banner/Hulk (Ruffalo) discover an artificial intelligence within it, encapsulated within a gem stone. With the desire to see peace around the world, the pair seeks to complete Stark’s creation, the Ultron Global Defense Program. It appears their efforts are unsuccessful and they leave to gather with friends and colleagues for a party. The artificial intelligence becomes sentient, twisting the directive to bring peace to the planet. Ultron (voiced by Spader) sees his mission as one of bringing peace by eradicating human life from earth. His first objective: eliminate the Avengers.

Fleeing with the scepter, Ultron uses the resources at the Sokovia lab to upgrade his metal body and build an army of robots. He enlists the help of the twins, who blame Stark for their parents’ deaths. The Avengers pursue Ultron but Wanda confuses their minds by implanting deams, and Hulk goes on a rampage. Forced to retreat to recover, the group hides out at the remote house of Hawkeye (Renner). Each member of the team seems focused inwardly, still sorting through the visions that they had, with the exception of Natasha/Black Widow (Johansson) and Dr. Banner, who suddenly seem to have noticed each other. Steve Rogers/Captain America (Evans) and Stark bicker about what needs to be done and whose fault it is that Ultron exists.

Avengers Ultron

Nick Fury (Jackson), from SHEILD shows up, urging the Avengers to unite and stop Ultron. In Seoul, Ultron is creating a new body for himself, using the scepter’s gem and synthesized tissue. Before the download of his mind is completed, Wanda senses Ultron’s intentions for destroying humanity and she and her brother turn on Ultron. The Avengers capture the synthetic body and Stark downloads JARVIS into the body, creating an entity called Vision (Bettany, who also voices JARVIS). Thor helps to activate Vision, explaining that the gem on the being’s brow is an Infinity Stone, one of the most powerful objects in the universe.

The battle for humanity ensues, the Avengers joined by Pietro and Wanda and Vision, while Ultron fights with his army of drones. The battlefield is Sokovia. The outcome determines the fate of the earth.

This was, as I anticipated, a very fun, high energy, action packed movie. The heroes were, indeed, all larger than life, with special abilities, big personalities and sometimes, big egos to match. There was intrigue and human drama, interspersed with humor, thwarted desire and overall, the intention to serve and protect mankind.  I think what I love most about the Avengers films is that these individuals, with their own sets of quirks and gifts, struggle most of the time to work together as a team, getting in each other’s way and in their own way. And yet, when they put aside their egos and their differences, and come together as a powerful, smoothly functioning team, they are astounding.

I know it may sound silly, but when these heroes formed a circle, backs together, facing outward, ready to slay the enemy, as a team, it brought tears to my eyes. Each brought his or her gift to the group, and didn’t worry about what the others were doing. They trusted each other, trusted themselves, to work as one. And of course, in that space of unity, they were unstoppable. What a great life lesson, to bring my gifts and abilities, unique to me, to stand with others, trusting them to bring their bests as well, all of us offering to the world.

This was an exciting, fun to watch, cheer worthy movie. The stage is set for another Avengers film and at least another Thor adventure. I’m glad. I’ll be there, ready for those larger than life heroes again, when the next villain threatens the world!

Avengers hero shot