“The Avengers: Age of Ultron” is the highly-anticipated sequel to its 2012 smash hit “The Avengers”. It picks up close to where the previous movie left off with Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff, Steve Rogers, Thor, Clint Barton and Bruce Banner all fighting to recover Loki’s sceptor from Hydra’s possession. To no one’s surprise, the team succeeds in spades and Tony and Bruce go maverick to try and create the perfect artificially intelligent being from it to help protect the earth from alien threats. But when the AI now known as Ultron reveals its own warped agenda and teams up with superhuman twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, the Avengers find themselves not only in a fight for their own lives, but the world’s as well.
This movie was incredibly satisfying. The dialogue was snappy, hilarious and at times poignant, plenty of one-liners and inside jokes for fans to revel in. The acting was great as usual, the whole cast knows pretty much what they’re doing by this point, but I will point out that James Spader (Ultron), Paul Bettany (J.A.R.V.I.S./Vision) and Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch) truly stood out for me in terms of greatness. “Age of Ultron” was well expertly shot and framed, and the CGI was done well and pleasing to the eye. This movie reinforced my faith that an action movie can be exciting and fun without sacrificing anything from a technical standpoint. I saw this in 3D and I’ve got to say that this one of those few times where the 3D aspect did add something special to the experience.
Right off the bat, the story addressed the enormity of the Marvel cinematic universe’s massive cast and that not every star could realistically be present for the movie. But wow did they pack a large quantity of them in! And let’s be honest, half of the shenanigans the team gets down to wouldn’t have flown if Pepper and Jane had been around. Between a massive party scene, some hallucinations and a handful of carefully placed off-screen cameos, nearly every ongoing storyline was acknowledged, and I appreciated that effort. Though the first third of the movie’s pacing felt uncomfortably rushed, the story as a whole is engrossing. The situation is dire, the stakes are high and you feel every inch of that team tension, but not without a large share of humor as well.
The part that pissed me off, though, was Natasha’s role in the movie. She has a romantic subplot going on for the whole of the movie, and I’ve got no beef with that. However, the way it was handled drove me up a wall. To avoid spoilers, I’m not saying who it is she falls for, but there was no basis for this romance. The two had barely spoken two words to one another in the previous movie, we never saw them fall in love, we’re just supposed to accept that they love each other because the script says they do. And despite her years of characterization in previous Marvel movies to suggest otherwise Natasha is suddenly ready to run away with this someone and ditch the Avengers? She is an amazing character with a complex back story, and for the most part Marvel has done a great job portraying her, but this was an incredibly sexist and ill-planned choice to make.
Overall, “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a blast. Is it as good as the original? Not quite, but it does recapture some of its predecessor’s magic. This movie is laugh out loud funny, the story adds a lot of emotional layers to its characters and the action sequences are impeccably choreographed and shot. This is not a perfect movie, but it definitely lives up to the hype and is a high tier addition to the Marvel cinematic universe.
Verdict: 4/5 stars