Directed and written by Joss Whedon starring, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel L.Jackson, Don Cheadle, Arron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany. Tony Stark attempts a peace keeping mission in order to keep the world safe from greater threats to both the world and his friends the Avengers but instead creates Ultron.
With casts of superhero films becoming bigger and bigger with each new instalment it must become harder for the directer who in this case is also the writer to balance all these characters. Which is why Marvel is so dam clever that we have of course already met a lot of these characters in many other films but they still take the main focus of the action and while the new characters are not introduced in the same way, nothing feels rushed. Despite not having their own solo films we instantly grow attached to them, helped in a large part to both the comics and to Whedon’s writing.
Age of Ultron marks many things in the terms of the marvel universe although weirdly not the end of the phase two which is instead given to Ant-Man next month. One of the things it does mark is a sequel to the highly successful Avengers which means we can dispense with a lot of character set up and bringing the team together as this time we literally jump straight into the action. But it is the first film of this magnitude and size of team to be seen again and it is handled with great skill and care by Whedon.
Joss Whedon yet again manages to bring some of our favourite marvel characters to live in a way that is reminiscent to how I felt when I saw the first Avengers film that they were literally lifted off the page. We are introduced to some new players including Ultron the villainous A.I who is voiced by James Spader and who is perfect for voicing the role by bringing a layer of dark humour that was disturbingly funny along with intelligence rivalling the best. The Maximoff twins who we have seen brief glimpses of and though it may not be totally in line with the comics with regards to the backstory Whedon manages to fix this problem which results in an interesting and very entertaining to watch duo whose interactions with the rest of the avengers is a very clever mechanic. And though we have already seen a version of Quicksilver, both are good in their own merits but I much prefer this version of Quicksilver.
There is a level of comedy here expressed in the smaller moments between characters which was not been seen to this extent in the first Avengers film as the focus was more on step up and dealing with their interactions. This has now been done which allows us to see them working as a team which has developed rather nicely.
The one character who has been given very little to the promotional material and with good reason is , Vision. without spoiling anything. I will say is that he is a highlight of the film for me as he is magnificent. Indeed it feels like we are almost at the point where for comic book fans the line-up of the Avengers that we know is almost finished assembling as though of course they cannot recreate the magic of that scene in Avengers where they stand together for the first time, you do get a similar feeling at moments owing to the new players.
My only slight niggle in a otherwise outstanding film, is the seemingly random romance between Black Widow and Hulk. Yes in the first Avengers they became close after Hulk both scared and injured her. But the random budding romance seems a little out of place and out of rhythm with the rest of the film. No doubt Whedon had his reasoning but it seems odd that the only women on the team is made to entangle in a romance that seems to be stemming from no where we have seen before. However this is a very small blip.
As a side note there is a quick post credits scene after the initial credits, however there is no post post 20 minutes later credit scene.
The future looks more promising than ever for the Avenger films as we will next seem them in ‘Infinity wars part 1 & 2’.
***** Yes long and yes with a rather large cast including new heroes, it is never dull and the anticipation to see certain characters is played out with a master stroke. Though the random budding romance needs to be questioned more.
RECOMMENDATION- For a marvel fan this is without a doubt an essential viewing, for the rest it is still highly evocative and entertaining.