Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
defending the innocent with courage and bravery
importance of having true love for others and self-sacrifice
importance of teamwork—setting aside differences
humility versus pride
God calls us to serve.
man’s desire to create Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)
fear of the future possibility of evil robots
|Featuring:|| Scarlett Johansson … Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Robert Downey Jr. … Tony Stark / Iron Man
Chris Hemsworth … Thor
Chris Evans … Steve Rogers / Captain America
Cobie Smulders … Maria Hill
Idris Elba … Heimdall
Samuel L. Jackson … Nick Fury
Mark Ruffalo … Bruce Banner / The Hulk
Jeremy Renner … Clint Barton / Hawkeye
Paul Bettany … J.A.R.V.I.S. (Jarvis) / The Vision (an android)
Stellan Skarsgård … Erik Selvig
Andy Serkis … Ulysses Klaw
Don Cheadle … Colonel James Rhodes / War Machine
Tom Hiddleston … Loki
Elizabeth Olsen … Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Aaron Taylor-Johnson … Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver
Linda Cardellini … Laura Barton
Hayley Atwell … Peggy Carter
James Spader … Ultron (voice)
Lou Ferrigno … Hulk (voice)
Anthony Mackie … Sam Wilson / Falcon
|Director:||Joss Whedon—“Marvel’s The Avengers” (2012)|
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
Prequel: “Marvel’s The Avengers” (2012)
Review updated 5.5.2015
Earth’s mightiest heroes, The Avengers, are back! Led in battle by Captain America (Chris Evans), they are now a finely honed team, and begin the film waging an attack on one of Hydra’s (see “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) last strongholds in order to recapture Loki’s scepter (“Marvel’s The Avengers” 2012). However, nothing that has come before can prepare them for what they find in Baron Strucker’s base—two enhanced beings, one of whom will shake the team to its core, and the makings of what will be Earth’s greatest threat yet.
Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), the scientists of the group, are working together on the scepter to realize Stark’s dream of artificial intelligence, but, instead of bringing about Earth’s ultimate protector, they give birth to humanity’s sworn enemy, Ultron. Voiced with a writhing almost palpable evil by James Spader, Ultron, along with his allies Wanda/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro/Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) prove to be almost unbeatable foes against The Avengers. Despite their best efforts, The Avengers always seem one step behind Ultron and his global machinations.
As exciting, if not more thrilling than its predecessor, “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” has both more and less content that will be of concern to many.
The violence is very heavy, but this is a mostly bloodless film, with the exception of some serious, as well as fatal, wounds, it is none-the-less very weighted in the violence department. A villain, who has been killed earlier (unseen), has his own blood used to write a message to The Avengers. During a hex induced nightmare scene, all the heroes see their worst nightmares or memories come to life including: revelry that is said to be happening in Hell, The Avengers dead or dying, mouthless girls, murder, torture, planetary destruction, invading alien armadas and long lost loves.
In battle, people are shot at with bullets/lasers/arrows, run over, crushed and have their necks broken, though this last incident is evidenced more by sound effects than visually. There is rampant destruction in cities and villages, and people are presumably crushed or killed by falling buildings, tossed cars and debris. Ultron breaks a man’s arm completely off in one scene that is as abrupt as it is brutal. The threat of peril is frequent, and the viciousness of Ultron is sure to frighten younger children who should not be subject to this.
Language—There are relatively few curse words for a PG-13 movie. They include sh** (1), damn (1), as* (2), hell (2), d**k (1), bast**d (2), piss (1), and son-of-a-b**** (1). However, more disturbing are the 3 times God’s name is taken in vain, including “for G*d’s sakes,” one reference to The Avengers as gods, as well as numerous references to the Holy Scripture in a perverted, twisted way by Ultron, as well as an artificial lifeform introduced later. In the later instance, a newly created android, in describing who or what he is, says, “I am. I AM.” The first utterance is a whisper, and the second more of a confirmation, but this is a definite, though sneakingly subtle reference to how God described himself to Moses, as well as what His only begotten Son Jesus said centuries later in clarifying his authority and his true nature.
What is blasphemy?
Additionally, there are 5 instances of sexual innuendo, some being obscure (“prima nocta”) to the more obvious (get ** up, hold it for you, hide the zucchini) and including one proposition to join someone in the shower. Young children will most likely only understand the last, but the audience attending my viewing understood and laughed at all the others.
Sex/Nudity—Natasha/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) wears a body suit with occasional cleavage displayed, and the film focuses several times on one villager with an ample bosom. The kissing in this film is rare, light, loving and short and did not appear lustful in any way.
Occult—The Scarlet Witch displays powers that in the beginning of the film seem particularly suggestive of occult evil, such as when she has red glowing eyes and exhibits rapid physical displacement similar to the demon in the horror film “The Ring.” Since the most effective part of her repertoire against The Avengers involves manipulating their minds with fear and despair, this makes her seem even more witch-like in nature, than a product of genetic manipulation. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) turns to his scientist/astrophysicist friend to find a pool of enchanted waters to help him divine the truth of his Scarlet Witch hex-induced dreams. Needless to say, these practices are condemned by the God’s Word.
Alcohol is present throughout a party of Tony Stark’s, and one patron, Marvel’s own Stan Lee, is shown visibly drunk, due to the strength of Asgardian liquor.
The ways of the righteous—Ultron greets only one of our heroes with sarcastic disdain when he says, “Captain America-God’s righteous man.” Ultron means this as an insult, but he is in fact correct. From the beginning, the Captain is wary of foul language, and, because of his example, he has a positive affect on his teammates, though they are reluctant to admit it. He embodies many of the positive qualities of a Christian including that of being an inspiration to others.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. —Philippians 2:14-15
God’s Word is Holy—Ultron repeatedly references the Christian faith in a mocking tone, saying things such as, “Are you here to confess your sins” and “Upon this rock I will build my church” (referring to a metal, not the apostles). Ultron’s fast and loose way with verses from the Bible bespeaks of his lack of respect for the Word of God and is strangely out of place for an inorganic lifeform that admits to understanding the difference between good and evil, yet chooses the latter. We are all warned in the final book of the Bible the consequences of this.
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. —Revelation 22:18-19
Love—Clint/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) shows great affection for his wife and children. Surprisingly, Natasha/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Banner also care for each other as it shows in the self-sacrifice they display to each other. Together, these two couples are a positive reminder of how the Word of God, the one true authority for our lives, defines love.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. —1 Corinthians 13:4-6
We are called to SERVE—Ultron, derides both Tony Stark’s original intent for the Ultron program and its successor when he says, “Stark asked for a savior and settled for a slave.” The New Testament is replete with the value of serving God and of being a slave for Christ, and this profound truth was fully realized in the way Jesus Christ humbly lived and then died for all of mankind.
“The Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a far cry from the comic book where Ultron suffered his most memorable defeat (The Mighty Avengers, Vol. 1, No. 68), brought about by the Word of God, seriously! This film is a more action packed, visually stunning and humorous telling than the first Avengers film. The Heroes are now visibly comfortable with each other, and the camaraderie, late to bloom in the first, is prevalent from the start of this film, making the longer run time hardly noticeable.
That being said, Ultron is frankly a weak and not credibly written villain, in contrast to The Vision (Paul Bettany) who behaves exactly as one would expect a newly created artificial lifeform to act. This does not detract from any of the battles, which are as exciting as any in action films today, but if a film is to rise above ‘exciting and good’ to ‘compelling and great’ it needs more than what was presented here. Finally, the irreverent slant that director [and outspoken atheist] Joss Whedon took makes this a cinematic assault on Christian sensibilities that I cannot wholeheartedly recommend.
Violence: Very Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…Sequel not so super… The film feels overstuffed… how many times have we seen this movie before? How many more times are we going to have to see it? …it’s getting time to move beyond the expected, and explore some truly brave new worlds. 
—Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)
…Superhero fatigue sets in with “Avengers: Age of Ultron”… Gratitude is offered for Tony Stark’s quips, which serve as a kind of apologetic commentary for the movie’s abounding excess. …For degree of difficulty, Whedon’s accomplishments earn respect. …
—Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail
…surprising amounts of soul… a super-sized spandex soap opera that’s heavy on catastrophic action but surprisingly light on its feet, and rich in the human-scale emotion that can cut even a raging Hulk down to size. …
—Scott Foundas, Variety
…Slam, bam and the same ending, man… Thin on story, crowded with characters and padded with extraneous action. …[2/4]
—Rafer Guzmán, Long Island Newsday
…bigger, shakier sequel. …there’s still a great deal to like here. …
—Kristian Lin, Fort Worth Weekly
…an ultra-average blockbuster… It has enough whammo-kerblammo, high-stakes standoffs and breezy banter that, if you work really hard to fool yourself, you might mistake it for a pleasing blockbuster… [2/4]
—Kyle Smith, New York Post
…an old-school comic book showdown that ultimately feels, well, like an old-school comic book, strongly emphasizing the superhero values of humility, teamwork, forgiveness, trust and, of course, sacrifice. That makes the sporadic foul language and sexual innuendo frustrating for me…
—Adam R. Holz, Plugged In
…it’s the, shhh, quieter moments in Joss Whedon’s $279 million superhero extravaganza that stand out. … It’s the between-the-mayhem moments that work best, that bring out the humor in Whedon’s screenplay, even if some of Downey’s deadpan asides are as predictable as Ultron’s evildoing pronouncements. …[2½/4]
—Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
…a spectacular treat from beginning to end with a strong moral worldview and inspiring biblical allusions, but caution is advised for some action violence and brief foul language…
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…Explosive “Avengers” falls short of heroic… immensely enjoyable, but overstuffed film that overstays its welcome by 30 minutes or so… [3/4]
—Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
…all this action overloads the senses… “Age of Ultron” is effective moment to moment, but very little lingers in the mind afterward…
—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
…After revisiting 2012’s “The Avengers” and screening “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” earlier this week, I actually enjoyed the second chapter so much more than its predecessor…
—Christa Banister, Crosswalk
…Inevitably for a blockbuster sequel of this sort, it’s a little darker. …it’s only Whedon’s gift for character that holds it together. He doesn’t abandon nuance in the middle of a firefight… Whedon does so much right, and injects such a powerful blend of humour and high-stakes into each scene, that we can’t pick too many holes. … [4/5]
—Helen O'Hara, Empire [UK]