Avengers: Age of Ultron

With technology catching up with fantasy, comic book movies have been increasingly prolific.  Each month a new one surfaces to rake in more box office dollars.  Since its predecessor was one of the biggest money-spinners ever, it was a given ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ would be made.  Thankfully the producers haven’t gone for the half-baked cheap sequel route but instead provide a mega-budgeted spectacle.  Dazzling in action and story, it is fun ride sure to fuel the thirst for more super-heroic escapism.


Re-starting a dormant peacekeeping program, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr) creates Ultron.  An android of immeasurable power, it quickly over-whelms Stark’s efforts in making it a harbinger for peace.  Becoming an indestructible prophet of doom, only earth’s mightiest heroes can stop it.  Among them are Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).  Joining forces to combat this new evil, the world’s fate hangs perilously in the balance.


As a high-octane popcorn blockbuster, ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ is a success.  Utilising its enormous budget to grand effect, the characters leap from their comic book pages in glorious colour.  Director Joss Whedon knows how to craft an engaging narrative which he does well.  Making things interesting is the conflict between the heroes.  Whilst Ultron is the central villain, Iron Man and friends have their own personal demons threatening team unity.  This adds another intriguing story layer with the sort of character development rarely seen in similar films.


The script’s twists are successfully interwoven into the amazing action scenes.  This is what fans want to see and none should be disappointed.  Whilst perhaps the energy is less spirited than before, the thought gone into crafting interesting action sequences is evident.  The cast know their roles well by now and dive into the fun adventure with gusto.  Occasionally ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ suffers from CGI overload although you can’t fault the enthusiasm which the production team display in creating this gargantuan spectacle.


Escapist nonsense doesn’t get much higher than ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’.  Careful not to be too silly or morose, it strikes the right balance in capturing what has made the 50 year old comic book series enduring.


Rating out of 10:  7




It Follows

‘It Follows’ takes a leaf from several classic horror movies.  Capturing the feel of a 1970’s/80’s film, the cheap budget doesn’t equate to cheap thrills.  Crafted with ghoulish care, ‘It Follows’ discards the easy CGI option by aiming for unsettling scares.  It is a testament to the spooky quality for which it strives that it does so well.  The genre has its detractors but kudos has to be given to films that mostly get it right.  ‘It Follows’ more than fits the bill for chillingly good viewing.


Teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) enjoys life and a good relationship with her boyfriend.  After having sex, he reveals a dark secret.  Shocked by his revelation, Jay is soon plagued by strange visions and a feeling someone is following her.   Helped by her friends, she determines to uncover the mystery.  Soon her world descends into a horrific spiral with death’s door looming large on her horizon.


Free of endless blood and gore, ‘It Follows’ relies on authentic eeriness.  Although not consistently scary, it has an undercurrent of true tension refusing to subside.  Exploiting the ‘have sex and die’ motif from many horror movies, the script cleverly uses the teenager’s sexual natures against them.  The stalking menace they face serves as a warning of impending doom.  Much can be read into what the screenplay is saying, making the viewer think as well as being on the edge of their seat.


David Robert Mitchell directs with confident assurance, milking much from the somewhat thin premise. Whilst enjoyably creepy, ‘It Follows’ could have used more exposition.  Some moments don’t quite fit into the narrative which could have helped in making ‘It Follows’ a more rounded experience.  Coupled with generally excellent performances, the cinematography and thumping synth-based score aid immeasurably to the atmosphere of pure dread.


‘It Follows’ is a satisfying spooky movie mostly delivering on its promise.  Almost like a breath of fresh air after the glut of excessive techno-infused scary flicks, the low-tech feel it embraces gives hope more will follow its foreboding lead.


Rating out of 10:  7