Avengers: Age of Ultron
We’re living in an age of gluttony when it comes to great live-action superhero projects, so I feel a bit spoiled in saying that I wasn’t terribly excited to rewatch Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, now available on home video. While the idea of a combined, over-arching Marvel universe was exciting and astounding when it came to the original Avengers movie, now, it feels like a driving force that made this film less than it could have been.
Between introducing Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and their own Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), needing plot pieces to set up the next Civil War and Black Panther movies, each star getting enough focus, and having to make action sequences that are bigger and badder than the expectations set in previous films (and every week on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) — there’s not a lot of room for characterization and memorable moments that don’t involve explosions. In short, it’s too much action and distraction, not enough focus on the team. But as I said, that’s as much a reflection on the ever-more-demanding audience as it is on the film, which goes through its paces as expected.
It’s neat to see, for example, the Hulk fighting a giant suit of Iron Man armor, but that’s a very slight, short pop of interest (in a scene that, like many here, I thought went on too long). For rewatching, the more important elements for me are the small moments between the superheroes as people and the introduction of the Vision (Paul Bettany), a character I want to spend more time with. Plus, James Spader does a terrific job as the inhumanly insane Ultron, as you can see in this clip about how the motion capture worked:
That question, about what you do if someone powerful — in this case, Tony Stark — makes a really bad choice with good intentions, was given short shrift here. But this film is about spectacle, not theme.
In addition to the 3-D Blu-ray combo pack linked here, there’s a single-disc Blu-ray or a solo DVD. The combo pack is mostly a thing of the past, it seems, with digital copies now being sold separately through Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) instead of included with the film.
The Blu-ray special features are
- Three featurettes, total of 13 minutes:
- From the Inside Out: Making of Avengers: Age of Ultron (21 minutes) — a typical promotion piece about how hard everyone worked on sets and effects and how happy everyone was to be working together again.
- The Infinite Six (7 1/2 minutes) — clips from the movies and comics referencing Thanos and the mystical artifacts the Infinity Stones, or as executive producer Jeremy Latcham calls them, “this huge, incredibly powerful set of Maguffins“.
- Global Adventure (3 minutes) — about filming all over the world, in Italy, Seoul, South Africa, and the UK, to better make an international blockbuster with “epic scope”.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes — four scenes, total of 12 minutes, with or without commentary by director Joss Whedon, who also provides commentary on the film overall. One of them involves Thor and the cave.
- A four-minute gag reel that reveals Stellan Skarsgård is the funniest, although the animated Hulk missing his mark is pretty amusing, too. Parts of it are online: part one and part two.
DMA customers get an exclusive extra, “Connecting the Universe”, about “the epic intertwining story lines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe”, part of which is shown here:
DMA is now available via Roku, Android TV, iTunes, Google Play, Walmart’s VUDU, Amazon Video, and Microsoft Movies & TV, covering just about all bases. (The studio provided a physical review copy.)