The Avengers make their re­turn in block­buster se­quel

The China Post - - ARTS - BY SARA PUIG

Three years af­ter sav­ing the Earth — and break­ing a few box of­fice records — The Avengers are back with a pow­er­packed punch this week with their lat­est block­buster adventure.

Iron Man, Cap­tain Amer­ica, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk and Hawk­eye take on a new bad­die who wants to wipe out Hu­man­ity, in “Avengers: Age of Ul­tron,” out from Tues­day in much of the world.

Re­turn­ing direc­tor Joss Whe­don pits the su­per­hero gang against their own short­com­ings as they take on their ul­ti­mate en­emy — but also plays with the chem­istry that de­vel­oped be­tween them in their first run-out.

The orig­i­nal 2012 “The Avengers” be­came the third-high­est gross­ing movie in cinema his­tory, tak­ing over US$1.5 bil­lion (NT$46.5 bil­lion) at the box of­fice, only beaten by “Avatar” (2009) and “Ti­tanic” (1997).

The pres­sure on Whe­don was there- fore enor­mous — but the 50-year-old said he drew the most in­spi­ra­tion from amidst the first film’s very suc­cess, and from the in­ter­play be­tween the main char­ac­ters.

He looked for “what lit­tle mo­ments are there be­tween th­ese char­ac­ters that I haven’t got­ten to do yet, what con­ver­sa­tions they haven’t had yet, what haven’t I shown?” Whe­don told re­porters in Los An­ge­les.

Re­la­tion­ships are in­deed richer be­tween Iron Man/Tony Stark ( Robert Downey Jr.), Cap­tain Amer­ica (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scar­lett Jo­hans­son), Hulk (Mark Ruf­falo) and Hawk­eye (Jeremy Ren­ner).

There is also more hu­mor to tem­per film­go­ers’ pure adrenalin rush.

The main thing was “to make sure that every­body had their mo­ment, that it’s all con­nected to the movie, to the main thing,” said the film­maker, who spent hun­dreds of hours edit­ing the movie.

The re­sult is two hours of turbo- driven ac­tion, su­per­hero fist-fights and tech­nol­ogy at the ser­vice of a story full of sur­prises, which U.S. crit­ics have al­ready hailed as a huge hit.

In­dus­try jour­nal Va­ri­ety called it 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.”

New Hori­zons

James Spader, known for his roles in TV shows “Bos­ton Legal” and “The Black­list,” plays ul­ti­mate bad­die Ul­tron, a ro­botic as­sas­sin able to re­pro­duce him­self and who is determined to an­ni­hi­late “The Avengers.”

He wins the un­ex­pected back­ing of twins Wanda and Pi­etro Max­i­moff, also known as Scar­lett Witch and Quick­sil­ver and played by El­iz­a­beth Olsen and Aaron Tay­lorJohn­son).

Jarvis/The Vi­sion (played by Paul Bet­tany) makes his en­try as a coun­ter­weight to the power of Ul­tron, who emerges as a kind of ghost in the Stark In­dus­tries ma­chine.

“They em­body a lit­tle bit of him (Tony Stark),” said Whe­don.

“But I do see them as both sides of the same coin, sort of a core be­tween the two of them. There’s some­thing beau­ti­ful about the fact that they see the same thing and re­act dif­fer­ently.”

The cli­max of the film closes cer­tain sto­ry­lines from the first film, and opens new hori­zons for those to come: “The Avengers: In­fin­ity War,” the third part of the saga that Marvel is di­vid­ing into two movies.

The first part is due out on May 4, 2018, fol­lowed by the sec­ond on May 3, 2019. Both will be di­rected by film­mak­ing broth­ers An­thony and Joe Russo.

But it is un­known what role new Marvel char­ac­ters could play.

“There are so many dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions to go,” said Jo­hans­son. “We’ll see.”

“Avengers: Age of Ul­tron” will be re­leased in the United States on May 1, a week or two af­ter it is out around much of the rest of the planet.

AP

Scar­lett Jo­hans­son waves to fans upon ar­rival at the pre­miere of the film “The Avengers: Age of Ul­tron,” in Lon­don on Tues­day, April 21.

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