Avengers: Age of Ultron Review
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Three years ago, director Joss Whedon assembled some of Marvel’s most beloved heroes for The Avengers. Now, for the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, the gang is back together again—ready to take on evil robots, genetically-altered twins, and anyone who tries to stand in the way of their total box office domination.

The Avengers reunion finds the superhero ensemble battling a villain of their own creation. After retrieving Loki’s scepter from a HYDRA research base, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) discovers that he can use its powers to resurrect a global peacekeeping program called Ultron (voiced by James Spader). But his top-secret plan backfires, instead unleashing a robotic villain who’s determined to defeat the Avengers. And as Ultron attempts to tear the team apart, the heroes must set aside their differences and work together to save the planet once again.

Leave it to Marvel to kick off yet another action-packed summer with a bang. Avengers: Age of Ultron is everything that Marvel fans have spent the last three years anticipating: an explosive adventure that reunites the beloved band of superheroes for more eye-popping action sequences and plenty of laughs, too.

Of course, with so many larger-than-life stars sharing the screen, it should come as no surprise that there’s a lot going on here. Every minute of this super-sized adventure is crammed full of heroes and villains and interconnected storylines. And though, at times, the details of the story may be more complicated than necessary, it’s so easy to sit back and simply enjoy the ride.

What truly makes the film, however, is its widely varied cast of heroic characters. Whether you prefer Tony Stark’s sharp wit, Thor’s otherworldly confidence, or Bruce Banner’s cautious strength, you’ll be satisfied by each member’s involvement in the film. This time, even Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow—who were mostly overlooked in the original—get a bigger piece of the action as even more new characters find their way onto the team. And despite their often clashing personalities, these big, bold, and generally badass heroes play off each other in a way that works remarkably well.

While the characters all get a chance to shine during their battles, though, their best moments often take place during their downtime—whether they’re facing their worst fears or joking around together after a night of partying. Now that audiences have gotten to know and love the key characters, their second adventure goes a little deeper, giving them just a little more depth and personality (and even a bit of vulnerability) while showing that they’re more than just heroes; they’re also humans (and one Asgardian).

Of course, that’s not to say that the latest Avengers movie is a serious exploration of the heroic psyche. It’s still a fun-filled romp, packed with action and adventure and liberally seasoned with Stark-style sarcasm. But, in order to succeed, a sequel needs to be more than just a rehashing of the original—and Avengers: Age of Ultron successfully takes the heroes and their story to the next level.

With its non-stop action and overloaded cast, this superhero sequel ushers in another blockbuster-filled summer in the most over-the-top way imaginable. It’s everything that audiences loved about the original—just more of it. And that makes it well worth seeing—maybe even more than once.

Blu-ray Review:
Just as Avengers: Age of Ultron built on the action and story of The Avengers, so the film’s Blu-ray and digital release builds on the theatrical release.

If you’ve been wondering how all of the Marvel movies fit together, you’ll want to check out the digital exclusive, Connecting the Universe, which connects Age of Ultron to various plotlines in other movies and TV shows. Even if you’ve been paying close attention, it’s still a handy refresher—and it hints at what’s to come.

For more on the connections, though, there’s also The Infinite Six, which offers a look at the six Infinity Stones, tracing their stories both through the movies and the original comics. Not only does it look back at earlier movies, but it also looks ahead to what’s next for the Avengers.

Global Adventure is a short featurette that shows all of the locations around the world where the latest Avengers movie was filmed. But, for more extensive behind-the-scenes footage, there’s From the Inside Out – Making of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which explores the sets, the locations, the story, the characters, and even the on-set fun. It’s a fascinating, entertaining, and comprehensive feature, offering insights into all aspects of the massive production.

And, finally, the release also includes a few of the standard extras—like a fun-filled blooper reel and a handful of deleted scenes (including more of that perplexing scene with Thor in the cave).

Together, these extras make for a big, noisy, entertaining release that’s fitting for such a big, noisy, entertaining action movie. So after you finish replaying the adventure in the comfort of your own home, be sure to take some time to check out the special features menu, too.

Listen to the review on Reel Discovery:

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