The team of Marvel superheroes reunite to face a new threat in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Avengers raid a Hydra base in Eastern Europe and recover the scepter previously held by Loki. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) finds that the staff has the capability to create artificial intelligence and he uses it to complete his Ultron global defence program, with the hopes that it will allow the Avengers to eventually retire. However, when he awakens, Ultron (James Spader) decides that the only way to save Earth is to completely irradiate humanity.
Phase two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe concludes with Avengers: Age of Ultron. While the first phase was all about seeing if this mass inter-connected experiment could be pulled off, the second phase was all about trying to continue the story past the big Avengers team up. With the exception of the relatively stand-alone film Guardians of the Galaxy, I would have to argue that phase two of the MCU, including Avengers: Age of Ultron, was not really as successful as the first.
Probably the biggest issue with Avengers: Age of Ultron is that it is a very obvious placeholder for films yet to come. It seems that the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building up to the battle with Thanos in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and a battle with an evil robot seems somewhat pale in comparison. That all said, James Spader does shine as the voice and motion capture for Ultron, who is practically invulnerable, due to his ability to transfer his consciousness among multiple bodies.
Despite the fact that the film is the obvious middle chapter of a trilogy, I still found myself entertained by Avengers: Age of Ultron. Ironically, my favourite action set piece of the film was not the climax, which has the team fighting a whole army of Ultrons, but instead a second act battle between Iron Man and an out of control Hulk. Speaking of Hulk, one of the main dramatic plot points of Avengers: Age of Ultron is a budding romance between Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). The film also provides some major backstory for Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), which almost seems to be the film’s way of making up for the fact that the character was a bit underdeveloped in the first Avengers.
Avengers: Age of Ultron also introduces a number of new characters, particularly the twins of Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). With a different version of Quicksilver being introduced in last year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, it was almost a sure bet that comparisons would be made between the two. Undoubtedly, I have to lean towards the X-Men version of Quicksilver, though I do have to say that Elizabeth Olsen shined as Scarlet Witch. The film also features Paul Bettany as the mystical android Vision.
Overall, while I believe that Avengers: Age of Ultron is a step down from the original and placeholder for films to come, I still thought that it was pretty enjoyable to watch.★ ★ ★ ★ | LIKED IT