BySimon Hardy Butler, writer at

State-of-the-art special effects and glitzy comic-book bloodlines don't always make a movie. I felt like they didn't ultimately succeed in taking the first Avengers flick to a level above mediocrity.

Now, with Joss Whedon at the helm of the the forthcoming Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, I'm wondering whether this director's distinct style will elevate the sequel to greatness ... or keep it in the dismal doldrums of maudlin filmmaking.

I'm concerned the latter may be more likely. I'm not a big fan of Whedon's small- or big-screen forays, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Much Ado About Nothing. In general, I feel he lends a snarky glibness to the action that gives the proceedings a flat, cardboard quality. Still, there is a lot of talent involved in [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035), and it's possible that the picture may transcend my misgivings. I hope it does. A quality superhero movie with established characters would be a powerful celluloid force. Too many others, including Ang Lee's dreadful Hulk and Kenneth Branagh's tedious Thor, have already fallen by the wayside.

It's not enough to pepper the screen with CGI mayhem. There should be a strong story, developed characters ... and Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, conceivably, could deliver in those departments. It has the comic-book credentials. With Whedon behind the wheel, however, I'm not sanguine about those prospects. There's much at stake here. There's much, from a cinematic perspective, that could go wrong, from script to editing to cinematography. (I'm not concerned about the special effects; I'm sure they'll be splendid.)

I guess I'll have to wait and see. If I dare. Sometimes a director can surprise me. It happens quite a bit. Will Whedon do just that with Avengers 2?

I certainly hope so.


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