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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Avengers: Age of Ultron is the sequel to 2012's epic adventure The Avengers. Fans will love the mix of over-the-top action and humor as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) reteam to defeat Ultron (James Spader), an intelligent robot determined to wipe out humanity. The biggest issue, of course, is the explosive, comic book-style violence, which includes nonstop destruction, fighting, weapons, flipping cars, imploding buildings, citywide devastation, and massive civilian casualties implied. There's also one sad death, as well as some kissing/flirting/innuendo/cleavage, swearing ("s--t," "son of a bitch," etc.), and celebratory drinking. But as always with the Avengers, the ultimate message is that teamwork and loyalty will always save the day.
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What's the story?
In AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, genius inventor Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), inadvertently creates a form of artificial intelligence that comes to the conclusion that the world's problems are all self-inflicted. Ultron (voiced by James Spader), as the super-smart android is known, comes up with a simple solution: Destroy humanity. It's up to the the original Avengers -- Iron Man, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) -- along with a few new recruits, to stop Ultron and save the world.
Is it any good?
Blessed with a star-studded cast, this sequel makes sure that each of the bold-faced names gets his or her moment in the sun, resulting in a film that's sure to satisfy Marvel fanatics. And director Joss Whedon makes sure the action is as big as its stars: Androids do battle in breathtaking scenes, worlds literally fall apart, and superheroes rescue and do good from one breathless moment to the next. The dialogue moves pretty quickly, too, inflected with humor.
But this many important characters makes for a crowded movie, with little time to allow a complicated storyline actual room to unfurl. The plot feels secondary in Avengers: Age of Ultron, with the film mostly just careening from one battle scene to the next. There's little sense of real storytelling, mostly grandstanding. Still, there's definitely enough here to please fans of the movies and the original comic books.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what keeps the Avengers together -- and what tears them apart -- in Avengers: Age of Ultron. How do they manage to work as a team despite all of their conflicts? What message does that send viewers?
What do you think about the way that superhero movies portray violence? Does any of it seem realistic? Is it intended to? Does it glorify fighting? How does the fact that much of it is larger than life affect its impact? How is it different watching robots get hurt than human characters? Does exposure to violent movies make kids more aggressive?
Are the Avengers role models? Are some of them "worthier" than others? Why or why not?
- In theaters: May 1, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: October 2, 2015
- Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
- Director: Joss Whedon
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures
- Character strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 142 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction, and for some suggestive moments
- Last updated: December 4, 2019
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