“I’m going to tear you apart… from the inside!” said Ultron to the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Since the first Avengers (2012) being the quintessence of Phase One, Marvel Cinematic Universe had gone wilder in all following standalone films in Phase Two. Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World were all grittier but deceiving, Captain America: The Winter Soldier brought conspiracies involving S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA into spotlight, then the penultimate, Guardians of the Galaxy was the wild horse; enough to call them the grittiest phase so far in the shared universe. Avengers: Age of Ultron, posing as a climax to the second phase, reassembled all the heroes from its predecessor, added a little reinforcement, and lived up the hype in a darker, pop corn bravura.
Taking off immediately after moments from the second Captain America, Age of Ultron started off without preface but a money shot full of exuberant action set pieces instead. The Earth’s Mightiest Heroes confronted HYDRA in the first hand, before Stark (Downey Jr.) and Banner (Ruffalo) went berserk in their attempt to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program—creating the nemesis, Ultron (voiced by James Spader). Chemistry among the heroes was terrific as usual paving warmth among them, yet, seeds of latent schism were in the thick air; thanks to Ultron proved to be the worthiest villain in Marvel Cinematic Universe so far.
The additions were effectively placed in the plot structure; Quicksilver (Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Olsen) immediately clicked to the narrative and added more colors to this already-extravagant action bonanza. Some backgrounds added to some characters with no standalone films were quite impressing as well—the amorous escape of Romanoff and Banner was one example, yet, Barton’s family issue provided sentimental layers to the plot. However, abundant of perplexing additions to the characters and plot-arch also took its toll—‘causing some important conflicts went under-developed and the narrative, seemingly, went to some wrong ways in a simultaneous rush. Only the over-the-top action spectacles overrode it from not being a fantastic voyage.
While the first Avengers seemed somewhat a climax to some films preceding it, Age of Ultron took a different approach. As for me, this one took a penultimate approach rather than being a climactic quintessence. It has more shade of The Two Towers in Lord of the Rings trilogy than of The Dark Knight in The Dark Knight trilogy; rather than giving resolution to the build-ups, Age of Ultron melted them together to build a base for more conflicts in following features (most obviously, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as Black Panther, perhaps). Some might find it dissatisfying, but I took this as a stepping stone for the franchise’s future as long as Marvel keep thinking of adding more standalone films or spin-offs to keep it real.
With ample of action bravura that gone too thick and solid, Age of Ultron still found it hard to breathe for itself even for its lengthy duration. Yet, the action packs were never disappointing as much as they were groundbreaking; although Marvel had teased us so many times with clips on the internet, the film’s still very confident in being action-packed. One thing that Marvel never forgets is the sense of humor, only this time those jokes went darker and bleaker inasmuch as they were more clever than any humor in superhero films. In the end, Age of Ultron felt very Marvel and nothing could stop it for being an extravagant superhero assemble that might top its predecessor.
VERDICT: Not merely a climax to the second phase, yet, served more as a basis to the third phase and beyond, Age of Ultron still reassembled all the heroes from its predecessor, added a little reinforcement, and lived up the hype in a darker, pop corn bravura that had gone wilder with the worthiest nemesis in Marvel Cinematic Universe so far.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Adaptation, Sequel, Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Written & Directed by: Joss Whedon based on comic books by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby Starred by: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, James Spader Running Time: 141 mins Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction, and for some suggestive comments.
Semenjak Avengers (2012) yang pertama menjadi intisari Phase One, Marvel Cinematic Universe menggila di Phase keduanya. Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, bahkan Guardians of the Galaxy sama menggilanya (di box office maupun di dalam filmnya). Avengers: Age of Ultron, sebagai klimaksnya Phase Two, kembali menyatukan para superheronya dengan beberapa tambahan untuk memenuhi hype yang terlanjur besar.
Berangkat dari Captain America kedua, Age of Ultron langsung menggebrak tanpa preambul namun justru dengan money-shot yang gila-gilaan. Para Avengers menghadapi HYDRA awalnya, sebelum kolaborasi Stark and Banner malah menciptakan musuh bengis—Ultron. Chemistry antar para superheronya tetap keren—memancarkan kehangatan sekaligus menyingkapkan tanda-tanda perpecahan yang laten. Semuanya karena ulah Ultron, yang ternyata bisa menjadi musuh paling bahaya dalam MCU sejauh ini.
Beberapa tambahan karakter cukup efektif—si kembar Maximoff klik begitu saja dengan kisahnya sekaligus menambah warna baru dalam bonanza penuh aksi ini. Beberapa karakter tanpa film sendiri juga mendapat background cerita yang cukup efektif. Namun, banyaknya tambahan karakter dan arc berefek samping juga—menyebabkan beberapa konflik tidak berkembang sempurna dan plotnya terasa sangat terburu-buru. Kalau bukan karena adegan aksinya yang over-the-top, mungkin hal tersebut bisa jadi masalah.
Yang perlu diingat, Age of Ultron punya pendekatan yang berbeda dari prekuelnya. Bukannya menjadi klimaks, namun film ini malah memiliki cita rasa ‘film tengah’ dalam sebuah trilogi; tidak banyak memberi resolusi, namun malah menambah pondasi untuk film epik selanjutnya. Sedikit mengecewakan memang, namun itu penting.
VERDICT: Tidak seperti klimaks, namun Age of Ultron adalah pondasi yang solid. Sekali lagi ia sukses memenuhi hype yang luar biasa dengan aksi gila-gilaan melawan musuh paling bengis dalam MCU sejauh ini.