Posts Tagged ‘ Mark Ruffalo ’

Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Avengers: Age of Ultron
Release date: April 24, 2015
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Cobie Smulders, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Andy Serkis, Claudia Kim, James Spader, Julie Delpy

To rehash the opening lines of my Avengers review from 2012, a superhero film is nothing but people dying, buildings crumbling, the heroes rising and the villains falling. It is the same and will continue to remain the same. Avengers have a certain air of magnanimous extravagance around them, because you get six nine saviors in cloaks and costumes, and a few more waiting to climb the ranks.

Also, what separates this collection of superheroes from X-Men is the lack of a common lineage shared between the unearthly egos. Every Avenger has a different story to tell, and some of their respective pasts are touched upon in this installment of a most certain trilogy. These flashbacks and peeks into their psyches are assisted by the introduction of Pietro/Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) as the American hating or rather Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) hating twins from Sokovia.

Joss Whedon tries to recreate either the origins–like in case of Black Widow–or a vantage point of the superhero characters’ demons and fears. Stark and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) get their hands on the scepter which was previously wielded by Loki, and start deciphering what exactly it holds. They realize there’s an artificial AI in the scepter, and in an amusing scene, JARVIS and ULTRON, two AIs hold a conversation between them. And they are perfectly sentient and verbal, unlike C3PO and R2D2.

In an Empire Strikes Back-esque turn of events, the ULTRON raises an army of innumerable other flying androids or robot drones to cause human extinction and to neutralize the greatest force which could stop them i.e. the Avengers. What ensues is an exhilaratingly long battle and the Avengers falter, only to regroup and fight the robotic armies. Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) gets the due attention which his character was deprived of in the last film. Not just attention, he also gets a fun chemistry with another sharp and agile team member.

Age of Ultron successfully charmed me with all its wit, even in the scenes where the supposed world-saviors are getting their ass handed to them on a platter. The film retains the zany nature of the earlier film and goes on to build an unbelievably relatable universe. It’s not relatable in terms of the destruction and aerial-duels between flying harnesses, it’s relatable with respect to a feeling of familiarity where the silly one-liners never run out.

Unlike last time, the heroes have more subtext in the current film, as against requiring the viewer to be completely abreast with the individual films of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. The premise for a dark film on the origins of Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is finally laid in place. Again, unlike Empire Strikes Back, there is never a dearth of emerging helping hands for the floundering A-team. The suspension of disbelief hardly ever kicks in.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is an escapist’s paradise with incredible technical finesse. Every frame is almost a feat of technological wonder and sheerly spectacular. If you want to live in a dystopian universe, witness to superhumans guarding it from extraterrestrial and inhuman villains, substantial destruction and civilian deaths are minor casualties you’ll have to live with.

My rating: ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5) 

Now You See Me

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Now You See Me
Release date: May 31, 2013
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Common, David Warshofsky

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t. This line had to fit somewhere. (I missed the start, so I give them the benefit of doubt.)
Forget that you ever read those two lines.

The summer film is a semi-thriller-cum-whodunit with the exception of the actual murder. A group of four performers: Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) and Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) are assembled by an anonymous benefactor, claiming to be a member of the mystical lineage of The Eye. They find a rich sponsor in the form of insurance magnate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) who pits them as the next big thing in the world of magic.

After they manage to perform a heist on camera, also going against the conventions of the trade. FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) is assigned to be the lead investigator along with Interpol Agent Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent) on the whole magic fiasco. Agent Vargas is intrigued by the history aspect of their tricks and does her research 24 x 7. Literally. Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) is a retired magician who makes money by exposing other magicians’ tricks on his TV show. Rhodes and Bradley try tracing the self proclaimed Four Horsemen’s steps.

The characters that are on the run aren’t given much footage, neither their reasons are well-established, except for a few confessions about not knowing what could happen next. The major focus is on the interpretation of their techniques by the people trying to nail them down. Jesse Eisenberg  does his usual fast-talking shtick which very much fits in with the arrogant air around his persona. Isla Fisher plays up the eye-candy quotient with spunk. The tricks and script devices are pretty slick and you are gripped until the intermission.

Mark Ruffalo is tenacious on the job, while Mélanie Laurent has the French accent and all the um, Omelette Du Fromage wonder to her character. The climax is laced with hiccups, it leaves with some questions unanswered and the rest overtly answered. Safe to say, the film disintegrates after the halfway mark. But the disintegration isn’t particularly jarring. The film leaves you half an ounce smarter about a few more magic tricks too!

My review: *** (3 stars out of 5)

The Avengers Review



The Avengers
Release Date: April 27, 2012
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Cobie Smulders

A superhero film is buildings crumbling, people flying and dying, heroes rising and the bad guys falling. Not much of a thesis that, but you don’t need to be a whiz kid to figure it out. AWESOME graphics, the original franchise fan boys & kids make the job easier for the movie to reach out. Avengers is a superhero film multiplied by 6.

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) builds a team of unearthly egos & transforms them into an unbreakable force of colliding natural and technological energies. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is here from the outer spaces to assert his supremacy and enslave the citizens of Earth, he captures a few major resources working with Fury’s S.H.I.E.L.D. and what carries on from there is the stuff superhero films are made of. 

No point in dissecting the plot any further, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) wears a Black Sabbath shirt throughout the course of the film. A major pop for that. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) looks incredibly sexy with her leather suit tucked on.  Mark Ruffalo who plays Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk is one of the standouts along with Downey in their performances.

Avengers has its set of fallacies in the detailing department, but once the war between the two sides ensues everything can be forgotten. There’s no specific reason why you would want to see this CGI extravaganza, but there isn’t a major reason why you wouldn’t. And there’s a Stan Lee guest appearance too, stay Hawkeye-d (all the pun in the world intended)

My rating: ***(3 out of 5) 

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