U/A; Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Cobert Downey Jr, James Spader, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Bettany, Aaron Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson
Rating: 3 stars
Generally, three years is considered a very long wait for a sequel to a tent-pole summer blockbuster movie. Marvel has made some changes to the standard of blockbuster movies, not only in the way they are made but also in the way they are perceived by the audiences. With two gigantic Marvel movies coming every year between the two 'Avengers' films, the wait does not feel that long. It just seems like yesterday that the original 'Avengers' blew you away. The sequel had a lot of ground to cover, after all it's a tall ask to even match, let alone surpass the critical and commercial success of the 'The Avengers'. 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' almost gets there. Almost.
For the average Joe, 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' is exactly what he needs – a bombastic helping of action, mayhem, prancing superheroes, flashy one liners, and even a romantic track to boot. This time around there's no wastage of time – the very first scene of the film is an already assembled group of Avengers battling against baddies to grab a mysterious artifact from the clutches of Baron Strucker. It's a huge action set piece, and the single take showcase of the Avengers is on full throttle. What happens next is pretty simple – Tony Stark creates an artificial intelligence named Ultron for 'the greater good', which turns out to be villainous, and decides to end mankind, also for the greater good. Ultron is seemingly stronger than all of the Avengers put together, and the remainder of the movie is a Russian Roulette of our favourite superheroes zooming around exotic locations thrashing the baddies, and also getting beaten up.
When it comes to sheer entertainment value director Joss Whedon does not indulge half-heartedly. The action is huge, it's spectacular. The tussle between the Hulk and Iron Man in the Hulkbuster suit is enough to satiate the most die hard of Marvel fans. You need Captain America thrashing people? You got it, in large doses. And Thor smashing baddies with his hammer? You get Thor and Captain teaming up for a bunch of moves to annihilate various baddies simultaneously. Even Hawkeye gets a larger slice of the pie this time, and he even gets to make fun of what his bow and arrow skills would do in giant alien invasions. It really does feel like reading a series of your favourite comic books while gorging on your favourite snack.
The point where 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' unravels is in its sheer scale. There are way too many characters in the film, and none of them are explored enough to matter much. Quicksilver, Scarlett Witch, The Vision, Falcon, War Machine all storm into the plot, making it a really crowded place to let the viewer focus on. With so many variables in the equation the fact that Joss Whedon managed to not make a complete disaster is in itself an achievement. The shoehorning of a certain love story feels plastic and unnecessary, as do the Russian accents of Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch. Sadly, the Quicksilver in this movie isn't as memorable as the one in 'X-Men: Days of the Future Past'.
There's a certain 'unfeeling' nature of the action in this movie. In the previous film it seemed like everything was at stake, and there was a real sense of danger to be found. In 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' we know that the heroes are going to win, so it just becomes a wait for the villain to finally be vanquished. The ensuing explosions in the battles feel more like add-ons rather than story elements. It does not help that the villain - 'Ultron' - is once again a weak Marvel movie villain. James Spader's voice is fairly menacing but there's nothing that stands out about his character, his motivation or his master plan. The Vision, however, is beautifully established even if his role is mostly relegated to a stand in, with the promise of a bigger part in future movies.
Watching this film in 3D is an absolute no-no. With constant scenes of whizzing around, flying, punching, kicking, destruction and crumbling buildings it becomes impossible to decipher what the hell is going on. There was so much passion and work put in creating the gorgeous CGI of the movie, it's best to appreciate the mayhem on a nice 2D screen. Spoiling our experience with terrible 3D is something only Loki would do.
U/A; Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi