Film review: Avengers – Age of Ultron

Avengers - Age of Ultron is a lot of fun, says Joseph
Avengers - Age of Ultron is a lot of fun, says Joseph

Joseph Austin has fun watching Avengers – Age of Ultron.

Joss Whedon’s Marvel-ous superhero sequel swoops in at a lengthy two hours and 21 minutes.

But you know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun, and Age of Ultron is exactly that – fun.

The Avengers are back and well and truly assembled this time around, finding themselves up against a tyrannical artificial intelligence called Ultron (James Spader).

Spawned from a programme designed by Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) in order to protect the world from all things villain-y, Ultron sets out to destroy The Avengers and re-shape the world as he sees fit.

But hold on a minute! Let’s backtrack slightly.

All in all, Age of Ultron is one of Marvel’s strongest films to date.

After taking care of Loki and bonding over schawarma back in Avengers Assemble, Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) all went their separate ways.

Yet they’ve clearly had time to attend the odd team-building weekend.

The film’s grand opening introduces us to the fictional country Sokovia, where Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have come to recapture Loki’s sceptre from HYDRA baddie Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann).

After disposing of his henchmen with ease, and even posing for a team photo (not literally), the team hit a snag in the form of twins Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Piotr Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a.k.a Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver. (This Quicksilver is not to be confused with X-Men: Days of Future Past’s Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters, which is a completely different incarnation. You’re welcome).

The “he’s fast, she’s weird” combo prove a handful, especially when the latter messes with Iron Man’s mind, revealing his fear of seeing his friends killed, which in turn, results in Mr Stark creating Ultron.

Despite reports before the film’s release that Age of Ultron was darker than its predecessor, Whedon’s baby still packs a punch in the laughter department.

Though its lighter moments mainly arrive in the first half, there’s plenty of them, and the scene where each Avenger attempts to lift Thor’s hammer in order to ‘prove themselves worthy’ will be a favourite of many.

But what about Age of Ultron’s title character? Will he go down as one of comic book movie’s greatest villains?

Probably not, no. James Spader’s (Stargate, The Blacklist) mo-capped mechanical monster looks great and even sounds great but Ultron, like most of Marvel’s villains (apart from Loki), suffers from a rather one dimensional outlook.

However, Ultron does serve as a worthy foe and certainly allows the Marvel cinematic universe to further develop some of its flagship characters like Iron Man and Cap, ahead of next year’s colossal showdown in Captain America: Civil War.

As well the main characters jostling for screen time, some of Avenger’s lesser figures come to the fore here.

In the first film it was Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk who stole the show. In Age of Ultron, it’s a rather surprising turn from everybody’s least favourite Avenger, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye.

This turns out to be a masterstroke from departing director Joss Whedon, who isn’t returning for Avengers: Infinity War, with Captain America: The Winter Soldier maestros, the Russo brothers, taking over.

Of course, there’s plenty of action to geek out to with story development often playing second fiddle to long, expansive action sequences.

‘But this is The Avengers! We want action!’ And boy, do we get it, especially in the form of Hulk and Iron Man’s ‘Hulkbuster’ going toe-to-toe, levelling an entire building or two.

All in all, Age of Ultron is one of Marvel’s strongest films to date.

Although it probably falls short against the likes of last summer’s smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this action-packed sequel is a thrill-ride from start to finish, and offers just a glimpse of what’s still to come from Marvel Studios. We’ll be watching.

‘Nuff said!