After the attack on New York, The Avengers have never been the same. Picking up with them raiding Hydra facilities for their weapons. Led by Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Black Widdow (Scarlet Johansson) raid a base which hides Loki’s mystical scepter, in which they encounter twins Quicksilver (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) with unique abilities. After their run in, Stark and Banner decide to use the scepter to animate an A.I. they’ve been working on, but things go terribly wrong when Ultron (James Spader) plots to destroy the world.
Avengers: Age of Ultron has all the comradery of a high school reunion and it’s admittedly a very fun trip to the theater. Though as fun as it may be, this film falls victim to what so many Marvel films have done before it. At some point in the film, the story branches off into dozens of smaller stories, each vying for attention. With Six Avengers in the first film, the direction and teamwork worked incredibly well. With well over ten character who we should be caring about in this film, it’s easy to lose focus with all the inconsequential action going on around.
Credit is due to the brilliant Joss Whedon, who is stepping away from directing Marvel films after this and the first Avengers films. A God to the comic book world, Whedon makes certain that he gives his fans what they want, while also exploring new areas that his characters can explore. Especially this second time around, Whedon goes into most everyone’s darkest secrets and reveals the pasts of a few side characters who come into their own here. On top of making a film that will live up to the first film, Whedon is also tasked with setting up Captain America: Civil War and other films in the MCU. While his script may be the film’s weakest link, Whedon certainly has one of the best eyes in the business because this film is a visual masterpiece.
It’s always hard for characters to stand out in these films, which made it even cooler that Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner are the two best characters in the film. They were teased in the first Avengers, with Black Widdow getting some play in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but now they feel like real characters whom we care for. Chris Evans continues to nail his role as the star spangled man, always ready to fight for what’s right. Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are great additions to the film, bringing an immature presence to the group and highlighting how positive and effect the Avengers can have.
When it comes to the Artificial Intelligence known as Ultron, James Spader simply knocks it out of the park. His low and menacing tone creates a very unexpected interest in Ultron, a character who steals the show but doesn’t always get to reach his finale. Ultron is just another moving part in this film, never feeling like the ultimate bad guy who will actually wreak some major havoc. Sure, he and his drones kick the Avengers ass one time, but then he’s gone for an extended period of time. His character is a reflection of Tony Stark’s fears and the relationship that they shared would have been even more interesting to explore. While Ultron does get to kick ass and wreak havoc, his ideals are never fully fleshed out.
There are three key members of the Avengers who, for whatever reason, really left me disappointed after the film ended. Starting with Robert Downey Jr., his Stark in this film is nothing like the Stark we’ve seen before. He’s still cracking jokes, but his character’s naivety and quick decision-making make the character seem forced. I know they’re prepping Civil War, but they really did a poor job in my opinion. There is one scene that really sets a tone for the next film, but then more thing have to happen and any true feeling of a brewing war leaves. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is more of the same, fighting and laughing and feeling out-of-place. Neither of the Thor films did much for me and his character feels less interesting with each new film. As for Mark Ruffalo, he is great in the role and with the lines he’s given, but that role and those lines force his character into positions that don’t necessarily need to be there.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is still one of the better films that Marvel has made and it’s certainly one of the most enjoyable films they’ve ever made. On a visual effects level, it’s hard to believe that anything will look better than this film. Watching Hulk fight Iron Man in the Hulkbuster suit was absolutely unreal, while also being a quick scene that gets little mention afterwards. When so much is brought to the audience’s attention, we expect answers and followu-ps. So much of the destruction and destroying the world plans doesn’t work because you know nothing too terrible will happen. Disney owns Marvel and isn’t quite ready to start being a bit more realistic yet.
Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer