The penultimate movie in Marvel’s Phase 2 has had more than it’s fair share of hype but how would Avengers: Age of Ultron compare to some of those previous movies?
While the landscape has changed with Hydra’s influence bringing S.H.I.E.L.D. down from the inside across those solo movies & the TV show, this only goes to enforce just how significant Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are to the planet. That’s evident from the beginning of the movie as we’re dropped into the middle of the action as Captain America, Thor, Iron-Man, Hawkeye, Hulk & Black Widow all combine to reclaim the scepter Loki had his hands on from that first Avengers movie.
We find out that since then it’s been used in human experiments as Baron Strucker tries to continue the work of Hydra. An encounter that results in the team coming into contact with Petro & Wanda Maximoff (aka Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch) and triggering the events that bring Stark & Banner to developing the Ultron AI. While it’s all done in an attempt to make the world safer the opposite really happens and we have all out war between The Avengers & the remaining agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as the Scarlet Witch starts her mind controlling games.
Both the Maximoff twins play their part in messing with the heads of The Avengers and bringing the team to their knees as divisions and distrust creeps into what we already know was a well-oiled machine. Of course, that gives the team the chance to come back from the brink as a much stronger unit and just in time to discover the real plot underway as Ultron plans to wipe out the human race and take the Earth as his own.
The movie has everything weaved into it as you’d expect with highs, lows, humour & action all keeping the pace & entertainment level high. The cast we know keep on doing what we expect but the relationships are far more developed, particularly between Banner & Romanov which all feel very natural. There’s also much more to Clint Barton (Hawkeye) in this one as the team find out about his secret double life that only a few key people are aware of.
The new additions help add some interesting elements as Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch plays a key part in breaking up the Avengers before switching sides and helping to save the day. Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver has a smug swagger about him but after seeing the character done so well in X-Men:Days of Futures Past – it was always going to be a hit or miss element to see him portrayed in another way in another film so soon…….and it ends up being a bit of both…..at least for me. The addition of Vision into the mix adds yet another dimension as Paul Bettany takes a step beyond his Jarvis voice work into the main team and the growing numbers are soon boasting an impressive roster to take on an army of Ultron’s drones.
Whedon writes & directs another successful team-up where he doesn’t deviate too much from the winning formula he used on that first Avengers movie. The one criticism from me would be the slight loss of focus at different stages in the movie as fanboy nods & looking at the previous/future Marvel movies takes something away from the team and their current predicament. That being said the all out action, the in-fighting & the smart humour help build another bold & fun addition to the Marvel movies.
It’s another hit from Marvel even with my minor quibbles and there’s no doubt that while it may not raise the bar in comic book movie terms it still sustains the momentum & success that Marvel has already generated. There is of course the obligatory end credit scene which appears halfway through (so you don’t have to wait to the very end) and it sets up the next encounter for the team.
In a year of just a few comic book movies the first BIG movie on my “must-see” list didn’t disappoint and while I don’t feel the overwhelming urge to rush back to see it like I’ve had with other releases from Marvel it’s definitely one to see. We’ll now have to see how the final movie in Phase 2 fairs with Ant-Man in July……before waiting until May 2016 for the start of Phase 3.