Joss Whedon fires another impressive blow from the Marvel cannon. I have to admit that, before seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron, I was beginning to get a little tired and weary of the seemingly never-ending flux of superhero films, especially considering that in the next three years alone, they have a further ten releases already planned out. However, if they’re all as good as this one, what’s the problem?
The Avengers’ new outing sees Tony Stark’s (Iron Man/Robert Downey Jr.) peacekeeping supercomputer, Ultron (a sinister James Spader) literally take on a life of its own and threaten to wipe out the human race, ushering in a new age, one that he would apparently name after himself.
The action is relentless; Whedon throws us straight into the deep end, kicking off the film with a rollercoaster ride through a snowy, Eastern-European assault on a Hydra stronghold. (Hydra are the Nazis from the first Captain America film who apparently haven’t fled to Argentina with the rest of their party).
All the familiar faces are here again; Chris Hemsworth’s Thor looks as God-like as ever, swinging his hammer at anything and everything. Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo also return as Captain America and the Hulk respectively, whilst the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) do their very best to keep up with pistols and bow and arrows. The opening sequence is as super as the film’s heroes, and Whedon doesn’t let up from there, he stops only twice, the rest is non-stop avenging action.
Parallel to all this action, Whedon manages to squeeze in enough comedy to keep the seriousness at bay, of course we, and the Avengers are all aware that the world is at stake, but there’s still time for a joke. There’s a funny sequence where the heroes all try and pick up Thor’s hammer and Andy Serkis makes an amusing cameo as a South African arms dealer who ironically gets his arm sliced off.
Whedon also attempts to flesh out our heroes, giving Hawkeye a secret wife and kids, and a well played-out romantic rapport between Black Widow and Bruce Banner, the on-screen chemistry is a delight to watch. The development of Hawkeye was also sorely needed; he was a passenger of sorts in the previous film, and now even gets some of the best lines. There are also some new additions to the heroes; Elizabeth Olsen is immensely creepy as Wanda Maximoff/ Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays her brother Pietro/Quicksilver, the latter donning arguably the worst Russian accent in High Wycombe (He attended Holmer Green Senior School).
The only real problem with the film is Whedon’s camera, it is almost constantly on the move, panning and zooming as many of the film’s action sequences play out a little too much like a video game. S.H.I.E.L.D must have an immensely big budget too, (perhaps even bigger than Marvel studios) the collateral damage caused by the Avengers is ridiculous at times; Iron Man and the Hulk even battle each other at one point, leveling out a South African city, reminiscent of Team America accidentally blowing up the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre.
Age of Ultron is effectively more of the same from Marvel; it’s an extremely enjoyable superhero flick that duly fulfills its promise of entertainment. In a year of massive blockbusters (Jurassic World, Terminator Genisys, Spectre, Star Wars), Whedon’s film sets the bar fairly high.