The theater darkens and on the screen, comic book pages begin to turn at an ever-increasing pace. Soon the Marvel Studios logo appears.
Okay, stop right there.
Surely by now, as soon as you see the Marvel Studio logo, you know what's gonna happen -- what follows will be a comic book story about comic book characters from the comic book universe created by Marvel. You will probably react to that in one of three ways: first, you might say "meh," and go on about your life; or second, perhaps you will watch it with a jaundiced eye, believing that no comic book story ever told could ever be adequately recreated in a live-action motion picture, at least not so's to satisfy you; or third, you will clutch your tub of popcorn and eagerly await being swept away into the fantasy that is Marvel.
In Avengers:Age of Ultron, Tony "Ironman" Stark, Bruce "The Hulk" Banner, Natasha "The Black Widow" Romanoff, Clint "Hawkeye" Barton, Steve "Captain America" Rogers, and Thor (who not being human does not feel the need for a nickname) are reunited, this time to battle Ultron, a Stark invention that was intended to be a means to achieve world peace. It soon becomes apparent that Ultron, like Windows Vista, is seriously flawed. It believes that making the world a better place necessitates the elimination of mankind and sets about the task.
Can the Avengers stop Ultron in time?
Of course they can, and they will do so with the usual humor, and in the process, blow up or smash large portions of towns in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and of course, Stark headquarters in New York.
This film is classic Marvel, which is to say, it is slick, visually stunning, Sci-Fi meat and potatoes. If that makes you say "meh," oh well, you are entitled to your opinion. If you watch this movie and come away saying that it was nothing new, or poorly done, then I think you are like Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life, a warped and frustrated old man.
But for the rest of us, this movie is a two hour roller coaster ride of movie magic and fun.
Go see it. You won't be disappointed.
I watched one trailer for this film, and it creeped me out so much that I wouldn't watch any others. (Unlike Guardians of the Galaxy, the trailers of which I couldn't see enough.) It was as though the Scarlet Witch messed with my mind and my greatest fears for my superheroes -- just like she did in Age of Ultron: to my superheroes.
Fear is the unifying theme in this action extravaganza -- not fear of death, though, but the deepest, most crippling fears that people have that make them do stupid things, crazy things, destructive things ... fears that take the heart right out of a person and leave them empty and despairing.
Ultron is one of those stupid things, and Tony Stark builds him after the Scarlet Witch gets inside his head, past the genius, past the bravado, past the obnoxious attitude, all the way into his psyche, convincing him that he has to do something to make up for all the weapons and bad guys in the whole world. After all, if Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D hadn't been screwing around with the Tesseract, would the Chitauri and Loki have been able to breach the space between the dimensions and get to Earth? (That's the first Avengers movie, in case you have been living on another planet for the past three years.) And in building Ultron, Stark gives him artificial intelligence -- which includes some of Tony's sparky, disfunctional nature. "Does not play well with others" could describe both the creator and the creation; indeed, some of Tony Stark's deepest fears bleed over into Ultron's seemingly unbeatable frame.
We didn't go to see Avengers: Age of Ultron at its first showings Thursday evening (April 30) but went to a 9:30 am showing on Friday. In spite of it being a work day and a school day, and early in the day to boot, the theater was quite full. During the course of the film the audience gasped loudly, laughed hard at times, and applauded more than once.
Can't wait for the next few films and the next stories, with my favorite superheroes.