Year Released: 2015
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner
(PG-13, 141 min.)
Genre: Action and Adventure, Science Fiction and Fantasy
“There is only one path to peace... your extinction.” Ultron
The kids will love the action, glitz, and glamor, but Tony Stark and his crew seem to have left the grownups behind in this latest razzle-dazzle feature.
It’s been one giant Happy Meal for the movie going public, who gave The Avengers: Age of Ultron the second biggest domestic opening in history last weekend. To this critic, however, this time around the series seems a little like warmed over leftovers.
Not to say that loyal fans of the franchise have become as inured to quality performances in the way of Bob Dylan followers, one music critic comparing them to battered wives who throng to his concerts even as his voice rasps its way onto oblivion.
But this film does seem to take its fans for granted, or at least panders to the younger set with lots of computer generated action, special effects, and a burgeoning cast of characters that almost makes everyone’s role a cameo.
Just take a look at the picture above to see how chocked full the cast is. And that does not even include our new villain Ultron or the eye-patched puppet master Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
Yes, the single character set pieces have worked well, such as 2008’s introduction to America’s version of 007, the insouciant, bold, and brash Iron Man (Ulimate Cheeseburger Recipe), who soared into the box office not only saving the residents of planet earth but the movie going public as well. Even when they were a bit overstuffed, such as 2010’s Iron Man 2 (Ice Cream Tiramisu Cake Recipe) our arrogantly charming man-child won hearts and kicked butt in equal measure. Not quite so much 2013’s more sensitive, caring, and committed Tony Stark of Iron Man 3 (Swiss Potatoes Au Gratin Recipe), but he managed to recover his acerbic wit when he crash-landed in Tennessee.
Captain America (2011) Brooklyn Cocktail Recipe reminded us of our better angels, while the 2013 sequel Captain American: the Winter Soldier (Conspiracy Cocktail Recipe) actually broke tradition and outdid its original, the characters going beyond cardboard comics with depth and introspection.
The closest we ever get to that in the new Avengers is a talk between Black Widow (ScarlettJohannson) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) where they each lament their dark histories and compulsions.
But that is just a short section. The franchise seems to be going for the young popcorn crowd here, as was evident in the rather exuberant crowd of youngsters sharing the theater with us. They devoured the eye candy as quickly and mechanically as they chucked the buttered kernels down their throats.
Even the witty humor seems a little in short supply with an overdependence on a single joke concerning Captain America’s rather prudish language standards. (I’m on his side, by the way.)
Most of the other Marvel films have transcended their comic book roots, but this one, despite the flying machines and creatures, seems bound to the graphic pages and their limited appeal.
What with the CGI battles between our heroic crew and Ultron’s endless mechanical army, this film seems almost like a video game brought to the big screen, which may account for its preeminent popularity in our increasing dumbed down society addicted to superficial thrills.
In between battles with the villainous rogue Ultron, the Avengers take a respite at a safe house. But this safe house isn’t the anonymous non descript residence we might expect. It is actually a down home sanctuary Nick Fury has set up for Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and his completely adorable family – a beautiful wife, 2 great children and another on the way.
Of course, all of this is a surprise to the Avengers, except for Hawkeye’s best friend Black Widow (Scarlett Johasson). No wonder we haven’t seen hide nor hair of him for a while. It seems the intrepid archer is also quite the amateur home remodeler, too, and dreams of his new addition keep him cool and calm in the heat of battle.
For their part, the boys (Iron Man, Captain American, and Thor) in true macho tradition settle down to splitting wood outside, each one eyeing the other’s pile warily.
Our country breakfast is perfect for feeding the unwieldy crew, and it even can be assembled the night before, giving you some morning shut-eye the day you bake it.
Not a bad idea to make it for Mother’s Day this weekend, don’t you think?
Sausage Egg Country Casserole
Assemble the ingredients the night before, and bake this casserole in the morning. Stand back and wait for the compliments. I've made it with fat free cottage cheese, egg substitute, and reduced fat sausage; the taste is still wonderful!
Original recipe makes 12 servings
3/4 pound ground pork sausage
1 tablespoon butter
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
10 eggs, beaten
1 (16 ounce) container low-fat cottage cheese
1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chile peppers, drained
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, melted
Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, and set aside. Melt butter in skillet, and cook and stir the green onions and mushrooms until tender.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, cottage cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and chiles. Stir in the sausage, green onions, and mushrooms. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the melted butter. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
Bake 40 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.