Marvel Studios (under the Disney umbrella) continues their run of successful superhero movies with this actioner written and directed by fan favorite, Joss Whedon. It’s loud, fun, and you need to be caught up on the Marvel cinematic universe to truly enjoy it all, as Age of Ultron is the culmination of Marvel’s Phase 2.
At its heart, the themes of family, and the dual nature of heroes and monsters is explored against the backdrop of some incredibly epic, and highly enjoyable sequences. That being said, I wasn’t completely into the film, until about 45 minutes in, but from that point on, I was along for the ride! It was great seeing the team in action, and working as a team.
With nods to every single one of the character threads that has been set up through the rest of the Marvel films, this one sees Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), alias Iron Man, developing an A.I. that he hopes will help protect the world, and allow the Avengers to step down, a program christened Ultron (voiced by James Spader).
And speaking of protecting the world, and its inhabitants, that is always at the forefront of every fight our heroes go into, they strive to make sure that civilians are clear of the area and they keep damage to a minimum, though I’m sure Stark Industries takes care of a lot of the repairs…
Done without the knowledge of the rest of the team, except for Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), the man who becomes the Hulk, who helps him. The program becomes self-aware, and takes on its own mission that will see the extinction of humanity, with the Avengers at the top of the list, and he has the means to do it.
Even with all this going on, there are wonderful character beats with all of them, as well as Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) aka Black Widow, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) aka Captain America and Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Every single one of them is giving their moment to shine, as well as a character arc, they all continue to grow separately and together. We get to catch up with other Marvel figures we’ve been introduced to like War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). We also get to meet the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).
The casts for these films are getting larger and larger, but this script services them all, and they get ample screen time, and Whedon still knows how to control the dramatic tension, and displace it with a well-timed look or line.
There are some nice revelations, I loved the one regarding Hawkeye, some great beats and character moments (there’s one priceless moment when Iron Man and Hulk go toe to toe, and Tony fears he may have gone too far), and the universe continues to look amazing.
All in all, I found myself greatly enjoying myself, it was like hanging out with friends you only get to see once in a while, but when you catch up, it’s just good times, as you catch up on jokes, knowing smiles, and shared memories.
The summer blockbusters are here!!
Post-script and for those who love the tag scenes, there is only one this time around, at the mid-credits point…
Ant-Man is up next in the Marvel Universe, let’s see what they do with that!