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'Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron'
(Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, et al / Blu ray / PG-13 / 2015 / BVHE)

Overview: Marvel Studios unleashes the next global phenomenon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - 'MARVEL'S AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON'. Good intentions wreak havoc when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) unwittingly creates Ultron (James Spader), a terrifying A.I. monster who vows to achieve "world peace" via mass extinction!

Blu ray Verdict: OK, telling it like it is, what bothers me most about 'Age of Ultron' is that it can't decide on what kind of tone it wants to set. Some of the old Marvel spirit that balances fun with character arcs and themes is struck here, but a lot of the time, this film is just depressing too. The themes get quite dark, almost DC dark at times, and that worries me, 'cause I think the Marvel movies have done a better job with the whole comic-book movie thing than DC have. Wow, I truly hope this is not a sign of things to come.

Furthermore, all plot and character development seems to have been thrown out the window. The first Avengers worked because it was the perfect melting pot for all of these characters' stories and character development at the time. Captain America was still getting used to life in the 21st century, and of course Loki and Thor's story was in direct continuation to the movie Thor. In 'Age of Ultron', the same attempt at character and story unity is just messy. I thought Steve Rogers (and Falcon) was going to search for Bucky Barnes, did he just put that on hold?

On the whole, the Cap was underused in this movie, as was Thor (my two faves). And the whole romance thing with Natasha and Bruce only works because of the wonderful performances by Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo. These characters have never shown the slightest bit of chemistry together before, now suddenly we're told that they have a crush on each other. After a movie where the Cap and Romanoff had a lot of chemistry together. Sure. Why not.

Also, maybe it's just me, but I just didn't care as much about the fictional city, because, well, it's fictional. We've already established that these characters live in a world tangent to our own, and Loki's invasion on Manhattan felt far more visceral to the audience 'cause we could relate to it. Not setting the final battle in an actual Eastern European location really damaged my investment in it. I really, really like Ultron as a character, though, and his personality kept me excited. But how he and Jarvis were connected might've gone over the heads of many avid watchers, one imagines.

You will not walk away from this film all energized, like after the first Avengers. Instead, you'll feel like this is the end of an era. Props to Elizabeth Olsen for a great character, but as a Marvel movie, 'Age of Ultron' is messy, to say the least. FYI - Falcon's costume, as seen at the end of the film, is slightly different from Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). While it is still based primarily on his Ultimate Marvel counterpart, it now has a little bit red and white coloring added to his flight suit as a nod to his original red and white Falcon-themed costume from the mainstream comics. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

From The Inside Out Making Of The Avengers: Age Of Ultron
The Infinite Six
Global Adventure
Deleted & Extended Scenes [With Audio Commentary By Joss Whedon]
Gag Reel
Audio Commentary With Director Joss Whedon

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