Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Cobie Smulders, Paul Bettany, and James Spader
The Marvel cinematic universe continues to grow. A comic-book fan’s dream is being shaped and molded into a collection of films that will continue well into the future. The team of The Avengers returns, led again on creative fronts by Joss Whedon, and the result is as expected, the film is an action-packed, clever and funny summer blockbuster. With added heroes and bigger baddies, the film bursts at the seams with characters and exhausting and exhilarating action. While the thrill of seeing all these heroes on screen together wears off after a few scenes, Whedon adds his patented touches and makes the cluttered narrative connect and the characters shine bright throughout. Still, where the first Avengers film seemed to hit on many notes, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” misses in some places.
The film begins with The Avengers assembled and fighting together against the last of Hydra’s forces. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) are back and ready. The scientists are working on a secret project that gets foiled by the Avengers but not before two genetically altered twins, Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), plant a seed in the mind of Tony Stark. The twins have a past tarnished by Stark and the weapons his company employed before he became Ironman. Stark has an idea to build a safety net A.I. program that takes charge of threats before harm befalls humanity, the program is called Ultron. After a night of celebration The Avengers meet Ultron (voiced by James Spader), embedded into one of Stark’s assisting robots, who threatens the death of The Avengers and ultimately the world.
Joss Whedon has this wonderful quality of building characters with genuine personality and emotion. Though with so many characters battling for quality time on the screen, some of the characters are left with fleeting moments of minor worth. Though the heroes that are given time are exceptionally composed. Hawkeye is given a much-needed backstory that humanizes the film by making him the character envied because of his personal life, white picket fence and all. We also see Hulk and Black Widow battle the turmoil of a budding relationship, both willing but reluctant because of what their past has produced and what their futures hold. This human quality is provided to all The Avengers but some aren’t given this kind of specific care. Still, you can feel Whedon’s familiar touch throughout the narrative; his humor and sensitivity make the breaks in action have substance, like a scene where the witty banter to challenge the worthiness to lift Thor’s hammer is immediately disrupted by a life threatening situation. In this moment, and many others throughout, Whedon is in control.
Unfortunately the clutter of new characters disrupts some of the tone in the final act. A character is forcefully introduced and awkwardly placed in the middle of the chemistry of the team that just enlisted Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch minutes before. The finale feels very much like the first film, substituting alien for robotic hordes. The narrative also makes leaps that are somewhat disjointed in order to wrap things up and prepare for the future of the franchise. Still, in the capable hands of Whedon and the cast, all who clearly have a firm grasp on the characters, these flaws feel so minor it’s very easy to overlook and just sit back and enjoy the delightful ride.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is an entertaining film amidst some minor complaints. Whedon evokes some interesting sentiments about heroes and the extent of their roles both personally and in times of conflict. While the villain Ultron isn’t as memorable as Loki in the first film, Whedon still composes the film with wonderful moments that will undoubtedly satisfy. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” may not be as good as the first film but it doesn’t hurt the entertainment factor.
3.75 out of 5.00