I'm still fascinated by the trend of comic book movies. People are trying to make two-and-a-half hour movies that focus on characters who have decades of stories to tell. The Avengers have been around since the '60s, so there are generations of fans who have lived, grown old, died, been born, and followed every detail along the way. It puts writers and actors in a weird situation to stay true to the die-hard fans, but remain accessible to the casual fans, and somehow bring in new ones. I have bought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a big way. I've totally fallen for the huge interconnecting storylines, connecting different franchises into one massive one. I keep expecting things to implode, and there is still a definite chance, seeing as how Marvel has already announced their lineup through 2020, but for now, I'm all in.

"Age of Ultron" follows the events of the third Iron Man, the second Thor, and the second Captain America movies. The world has dramatically changed after the alien invasion of "The Avengers", the alien invasion of "The Dark World", and the collapse of SHIELD in "The Winter Soldier", leaving the Avengers trying to prevent further attacks. In his attempt to create a world of pure peace, Tony Stark accidentally creates an artificial intelligence that is so intelligent, it becomes nearly unstoppable. Ultron wants to save the humanity, but believes the only way to do so is to eliminate it.

The movie lives up to the summer blockbuster expectations, with huge fight scenes, epic destruction, suffering and redemption. The team fight with each other, endure setbacks and regroup to fight together. My biggest complaint comes down to the camera work, and the need for these comic book movies to have such a small attention span when it comes to editing. The shaky-cam, rapid-fire cuts, switching angles, frenetic camera work drives me crazy. I would much rather watch a well-choreographed fight scene with minimal camera work than have so many cuts and edits that I start to lose track of what exactly is happening. I understand that it's a crutch that directors use to hide some CGI or stunt work, so I can accept it, but I still don't have to like it.

I really enjoy the way these characters are being developed. We've seen Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Cap, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nick Fury, and even Agent Hill and Agent Coulson grow into fleshed-out people, instead of two-dimensional ones. Since we've spent so many hours watching them, it gives them all more humanity. The introduction of Vision, Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch kept things from getting stale, too.

Even though it was mostly predictable, in normal summer blockbuster fashion, it was still a totally enjoyable experience. I admit that sometimes following each of these movies, along with the Agents of SHIELD television show, can sometimes feel like homework; I get worried that if I miss an installment I'll be behind the rest of the class until I catch up. Despite that, I'm still going to keep seeing these movies until I hit my breaking point, whenever that may be.



On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" gets an 8 out of 10.


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