by Ken Levine
There was a story arc in a Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon adventure where they encounter an island that hovers in the sky. This is explained by the ground infused with Upsidaisium, an anti-gravity metal. I’ve also just explained the basic plot for THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.
And the similarities continue. One of the heroes of each can fly. In the cartoon you have Badenov. In the movie you have Romanoff. Both sets of heroes need assistance from an outside authority figure; be it Nick Fury or Captain “Wrong Way” Peachfuzz.
I won’t spoil the ending. You’ll have to see for yourself how Rocky saves the day. But the point is, we often watch dramatic works that remind of us past masters – Shakespeare, Chekhov, Dickens, Moose & Squirrel. THE AVENGERS: THE AGE OF ULTRON falls into that category.
On its own, written and directed by Joss Whedon, AVENGERS AND HIS FRIENDS is a rip-roaring film filled with dazzling special effects and our favorite characters from the Marvel Universe. In a nod to Mr. Peabody they even go to the Wayback Machine to fetch us Captain America. There are also the customary one liners although no one in the movie has the comic timing of Natasha Fatale (who does?).
And here’s the best part of the new AVENGERS movie. You can play the reels in any random order and the movie will make just as much sense. Don't worry about arriving late, or ducking out for ten minutes in the middle to take a leak, or catching the second half first when it eventually comes to HBO. The fight scenes will be just as thrilling. Cobie Smulders will be just as hot (and superfluous), and Samuel L. Jackson’s arrival with Capital One cards will be just as timely.
AVENGERS is entertaining (not as entertaining as the first), but I would still have to give the Rocky cartoon the edge. They had all those great episode titles. To put AVENGERS over the top they needed a narrator to day, “Stay tuned for our next episode: “With Thor you get eggroll” or “A Hulk-a Hulk-a burning love.”