STARRING: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Andy Serkis and James Spader
When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.
Following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier we follow the Avengers taking on a Hydra outpost to retrieve the scepter that Loki uses, which they were using to experiment on humans, which leads to the group being introduced to the two success stories of those experiments, the Maximoff twins. As the Avengers celebrate victory at the Avengers Tower, Stark’s secret peacekeeping program Ultron goes active and believes that he must bring extinction on mankind, putting the Avengers to the ultimate test.
Attending the triple bill screening for Avengers last night (Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron) with a packed crowd and a very much exciting atmosphere and with this much hype behind the film, did it live up to it? Yes and no. Much like the first film, Avengers: Age of Ultron is an event of epic scale, yet too much may be spent into going big for the sequel here, especially in the action sequences, that will leave viewers suffering battle fatigue. It probably helped that The Winter Soldier was screened before it, but some of the battle/action sequences have adapted the shaky cam shots and while I believe they worked in The Winter Soldier, here I believe it didn’t work at all. The film overall is just too long and there is some scenes/side plots that could’ve been reduced or not used at all (mainly talking about Thor’s side plot which has no overall purpose on what’s going on in the film, rather set up for something else down the line….just because). The tone was actually a lot more lighter than what I was expecting with the humour and even with the scale of the final battle, even though some will say it feels similar to the final act of the first film, I didn’t feel that the stakes were greater or that any of them were in dire straits enough that one of them would not make it through the battles.
The films main (and key positive) is of course the chemistry amongst the Avengers themselves playing off one another, with two key ongoing jokes throughout the film such as Thor’s hammer Mjölnir and Captain America’s response to use of profanity from the opening scene, it’s entertaining and at times hilarious to watch this family vibe shine on screen. The regular cast are the gold standard again, with Hawkeye this time getting his time to shine and develop as a character more than the rest, which is understandable considering how little we know about him in comparison to the rest of the Avengers. In terms of the new characters, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, the former I liked very much, especially when she starts throwing energy blasts around and at the start seems to have this Japanese horror ghost movement deal going on early in the film, the latter had a lot to live up to as the world has already seen a big screen version of the character (X-Men: Days of Future Past) and while I thought the character was okay and the effects used for his superhuman speed, the Russian accents will be discussed as a negative and maybe mocked for the next few weeks, they didn’t work for me, but personally I think I’m going to be a fan of Scarlet Witch in the future. Speaking of character introductions however, with Paul Bettany getting a fine new role as Vision, a fascinating character design and an intriguing character that I can’t wait to see more of. As far as Marvel Cinematic Universe villains go, Ultron is right up there, definitely behind Loki (until Wilson Fisk pops up in the MCU) in that regard and it plays well on how he believes he is doing the right thing and surprisingly is sadistically funny with James Spader just being the perfect voice for the role of a highly intelligent yet sophisticating sounding menacing evil artificial intelligent robot. The standout scenes for me in regards to the action would be the opening scene of seeing everyone doing their part in taking down the Hydra outpost and also, for me personally, after avoiding the extra clips of the showdown, I very much enjoyed the Hulk vs Hulkbuster bout. That was a blast.
It’s commendable that Joss Whedon manages to give everyone their moment to shine in the film, terrific chemistry amongst the cast but unfortunately the film and its action scenes are too long, but it’s still a good film nonetheless. 7/10