Avengers: Age of Ultron is the follow-up to 2012’s hugely successful, box office record-breaking hit The Avengers. Joss Whedon again both writes and directs the film, which reunites “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye for a whole new adventure. In addition, a few new characters are introduced including Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Vision. Considering the success of The Avengers, obviously the sequel had very high expectations and I have to say, for a sequel, it doesn’t disappoint.
This time around, Ultron, a new AI villain, emerges and of course, tries to destroy everything and everyone. The Avengers team, having put most of their differences aside, is a bit more cohesive and better equipped this time to deal with such a formidable enemy (who has an unexpected sense of humor). Though they initially got off to a rocky start, newcomers Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson), and Quicksilver (Godzilla’s Aaron Taylor Johnson) find their places on the team and make a solid impression. The most interesting new character though by far is Vision, played by Paul Bettany who is sort of the physical incarnation of Tony Stark’s AI Jarvis (with a few other bits thrown in but I won’t go into the details). His voice and very interesting appearance make him really stand out, even amongst characters like the Hulk and Iron Man. He is very fascinating and definitely one of my favorites that I hope we get to see more of.
To break up the action, Whedon uses clever plot elements to take us deeper into the lives of some of the more peripheral characters like Black Widow and Hawkeye, bringing them more front and center, with varying success (Hawkeye, turns out, just isn’t that interesting). He also builds on the flirtation between Black Widow and David Banner to the point of a full-blown romance and the scenes involving the Avengers just “hanging out” together are quite funny. Otherwise, the plot of the film is somewhat formulaic and standard super-hero fare.
Of course action and special effects, like in any other super-hero comic movie, are critical elements and feature prominently in the film. I can’t say that Whedon is breaking any new ground with the visual effects, but there is heavier use of team combat than perhaps previously seen before. The action is very fast-paced, almost too fast sometimes and can be difficult to follow. I also felt that the relentless destruction of lesser-capable robots was a bit redundant. You can only kill a robot so many different ways, and this film shows all of them.
Overall, Age of Ultron was surprisingly solid and enjoyable for a sequel, and at over 2 hours and 20 minutes, should keep any Marvel fan happy. By providing a deeper glimpse into more familiar characters, and introducing new, interesting characters as well, the Marvel universe (on film anyway) is expanding and getting more and more interesting with each installment.
::: Renowned For Sound Technical Director and Film Reviewer ::: Robert is an IT geek, movie fan and part-time movie reviewer/editor. Robert also looks after the ‘behind the scenes’ technical elements of Renowned For Sound.