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'Age of Ultron' is entertaining despite overload
What's in with Justin
Comic book characters come to life in "The Avengers: Age of Ultron." - photo by Studio photo

“The Avengers: Age of Ultron” is the end of Phase Two in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the sequel to the most successful superhero movie ever. So does this sequel live up to the hype? Not quite. Equally entertaining, but not nearly as satisfying.
How could it be, right?

The usual suspects from the original have returned. Director/co-writer Joss Whedon is back for another supercharged extravaganza and brings back his high-powered cast: Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man/Tony Stark, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Mark Ruffalo’s Incredible Hulk, Scarlett Johannson’s Black Widow and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye.

This sequel finds Marvel’s finest once again teaming up against a deadly threat known as Ultron (James Spader), a robot created by Stark that develops artificial intelligence and would look right at home in the “Terminator” movies. Ultron’s goal, other than destroying the world, is turning the Avengers against one another by forcing visions and hallucinations on them.

This sequel continues to have witty banter amongst the characters and even provides intrigue in the romance department, particularly between the Hulk and Black Widow as they ambiguously flirt for half their screen time.

Like the first movie, “Age of Ultron” supplies plenty of spectacular special-effects sequences (the last 30 minutes is unparalleled in sheer visceral excitement, even for a Marvel movie) and enough one-liners to rival an “Expendables” film. The problem here is too much of a convoluted, meandering storyline and overabundance of characters. Some only have one or two scenes, like Samuel L. Jackson’s one-eyed Nick Fury. His character really isn’t used to his importance, and Jackson doesn’t showcase his typical charisma.

Despite its overload, “Age of Ultron” manages to keep itself on its toes by having a wallop of spectacle, and the characters’ exchanges, both physical and verbal, are always an extra boost.

Grade: A-

(Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction, and for some suggestive comments.)

Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.

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