A few years ago, Joss Whedon delivered a cinematic crossover of epic fan/film proportions by collecting Marvel’s finest superhero stars and making a spectacular experience that many directors and fans would have originally thought to be impossible: that experience was “The Avengers.” Now, Whedon returns to helm the heroes one last time in a sequel that’s bigger, longer, and more stuffed with special effects and super stars then you can possibly imagine in “Age of Ultron.” Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) resurrects an old program he created years ago: an artificially intelligent armor/android that was capable of serving as a 24/7 super hero force so he and fellow avengers: Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) could retire from being Earth’s mightiest heroes.
Unfortunately, Ultron (James Spader) views “saving the world” in a different light and plans to annihilate humanity and the Avengers with the help of 2 super powered allies: Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). When it comes to making a sequel to any kind of franchise, escalation is usually the most common way to make the second outing more memorable (or in this case intense). Superhero films tend to self-destruct as they escalate by overcrowding their sequels with too many villains, too many plots or too much romance (I’m glaring at YOU “Amazing Spider-man 2.”) “Age of Ultron” however, doesn’t feel to suffer from those same flaws even though they are utilizing the same large quantity of new characters and sub-plots etc.
There’s so much epic talent and tremendously powerful performances and visuals that you won’t even realize 141 minutes has passed since you started watching. Once I started I never wanted it to stop, I was completely engrossed from start to finish and THAT is the sign of a good movie if you ask me. Admittedly, it is noticeably difficult to introduce new characters like the Maximoff twins with still trying to make sure Thor, Widow and every other big name hero/actor is getting their fair share. However, whenever we got knee deep into the emotional nitty gritty of the characters; no matter how brief, you always felt satisfied and truly connected to these characters and their increasing number of problems (ranging from renegade robots to psychic nightmare fuel.)
If there’s one new “face” that simply cannot be avoided discussing, it’s Ultron. Spader’s take on the psychotic rogue robot perfectly mixes his dark gravitas with his snarky sense of humor. He’s a villain’s villain; a powerhouse threat that even puts “Avengers” first film foe, fan favorite Loki (Tom Hiddleston); to shame. I loved seeing Hawkeye finally get some screen time outside of being mentally side lined like in the first film. In a way, Hawkeye’s connection with his family and concerns about missing out on them due to his mission obligations; have made the heroes more human. The pairing of Widow and Hulk/Banner was not a relationship I saw coming but once it was acknowledged; it was warmly welcomed and a great improvement on two already great characters.
I know I’m biased being a super hero lover and a super hero movie lover, but unless you genuinely dislike these characters or have no interest in high quality action, acting and film making; I’m going to be hard pressed to see any mud being slung at this blockbuster. “Age of Ultron” is supremely impressive and satisfying on every level established by the original “Avengers” and created new levels of excellence that will be near impossible to be topped. But if anyone can do it, Marvel can. “Batman vs. Superman” has NOTHING on this one.