Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

avengers-age-of-ultron

A super giddy and fun sequel to the box office record breaking 2012 film ‘Avengers’, this follow up is more of the same but that’s no huge matter. Joss Whedon and the Marvel-lous team return to the usual MCU formula to squeeze in a few more characters, a darker narrative and a bigger threat. It isn’t perfect but boy is it ever a joyous watch.

Attempting to get Loki’s scepter, the Avengers raid Sokovia where two new super-powered figures come into play. Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) begin their twin terror on the hero team and aid Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to work on his Ultron plans. Though Ultron (James Spader) wants to extinguish human life and he rises as a menacing and powerful A.I to challenge the Avengers.

I don’t want to go any further into other little plot points as it ruins the splendid fun of watching the movie unravel. Sufficed to say this barnstorming blockbuster will Hulk-smash even more box office records before we know it. It’s deserving of the audiences as it racks up the action and considering the amount in the first that does speak volumes. It’s spilling over with explosions, battles and CGI sequences but not so much that it’s dumb and loud for the sake of it. The film still greatly balances the amount of action to slower played scenes exploring character motivations.

Pausing briefly on the CGI, a lot of it is fantastic, the design and fluidity of Ultron and his minions are threatening, sleek and brilliant. The last round up of the mighty heroes warring many robots is awesome and pumps you up and the little touches of computer magic concerning character touches or background wizardry is not in any way faulty. The one sore thumb is the opening which isn’t great considering that’s the first scene you see. The raid on the base feels jolted and stuffed with too much CGI that the movements feel fake and really look that way too, which is a shame to raise the curtain on.

Also, not trying to be negative considering how much I loved the film, it doesn’t stray too far away from the feel of the original. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ was ace because it broke the mould in style and content, this sequel could have done something different to keep the Marvel Universe updating but aside from giving it a darker tone it didn’t feel overly original. Also the fondness of the Marvel witticisms I have, is slowly being tested as more jokes and lines fell flat in their attempt to be funny.

I must applaud the step up in the foe facing Iron Man and the team. The Chitauri were a suitable alien problem but weren’t dealt with overly well whereas Ultron’s birth, motive and personality are unnerving and believable. The evilness of the Maximoff siblings tinged with the playfulness of their abilities is another fine addition to the villain side of proceedings. This is met with a neat rise in the further exploration of the Avengers as people. A series of flashes into their lives are handled stylistically and in a nightmarish way that does give them a new edge.

Joss Whedon directs the spectacle with his expected flair and can still deal with the more human moments amongst the craziness of it all. Hawkeye gets more script and it suits this plot well, Iron Man of course runs most of the show in his ambition to create something to take over from the Avengers and more is dealt with in the way of Hulk and coming down from his green rage, though it weakens Natasha more than I expected Whedon to do but she ends on a high teaming back up to kick start the new wave. He also scripts the feature with his mostly dazzling witty writing and built up character interplay.

Robert Downey Jr. is as charismatic as you’d expect, his arrogance elevated a little more as he plays God against the knowledge of others. Mark Ruffalo is honestly the perfect Hulk and Bruce Banner, he brings a vulnerable human touch that you admire and you empathise with his condition. James Spader voices Ultron with a wonderful level of self absorbed nastiness and his general attitude is pretty chilling. Scarlett Johansson carries out more kick-ass moodiness as the strictly trained Black Widow, she sheds a fraction more emotion as we ourselves briefly spy into her spy past. Chris Evans is the all American hero and doesn’t overly add much to his character. Chris Hemsworth is on form and gets a little side trip to Thor-land and a related face from his movies pops up. Jeremy Renner deals with a softer side of Clint well and it’s actually cool to see more of his character. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a dark yet cheeky addition and Elizabeth Olsen plays a fascinating darker side in her bewitching role.

Perhaps a little overblown and not ripping apart what’s come before in the way of structure, but a superb villain and new characters help this big film along massively. It’s unstoppable fun, a little dark and a lot of entertainment.

7.5/10

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