Howdy ladies and gents, time to talk the film I've been waiting to see for AGES, this is big one, my most anticipated film of 2015, of course I'm talking about Avengers: Age of Ultron. If you've read this blog you know that: 1) I'm a big fan of Marvel and 2) That I REALLY loved The Avengers back in 2012, so the wait for this film has been super painful to endure, but luckily I got to see it yesterday in IMAX and I am ready to pass judgement. So please, sit back, chill out and read my non-spoiler review.
So plot for this film can be summarised as the following:
"When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and The Avengers are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to the team to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for a global adventure."
Now I will say that this film is not without some problems and potential nitpicks, but the good totally outweighs the bad and it really is about personal preference. Your experience and enjoyment of this film will be dependent on you as the viewer and what you choose to take away from the film. With that being said I would like to talk about what I liked about the plot.
I thought the plot overall was very enjoyable. The film that deals with cause and effect, the corruption of artificial intelligence, tampering with unknown power, dealing with one's insecurities and the bonds between people, and it is all handled in a very dark, twisted, humourous and human way. For those worrying that the film would be too dark, be at ease as there is plenty of humour in this film and balances out perfectly with the more serious aspects of the story too. In addition to that this film is full of fan service, it pretty much gives you more of the same but with new, exciting and different scenarios. There was a very global scale to this film as the Avengers travelled to different parts of the world together and individually to find answers, stop the bad guys and save the world, it just makes the stakes feel higher and let you know that this is not an isolated incident and involves the lives of many people across the world. Another thing I appreciated about the film was the use of other characters from previous films crossing over into this one, it is not only great for fans to see these characters acknowledged again beyond the solo films, but it also gives a better sense of cohesion and continuity in this cinematic universe. I won't say who shows up but needless to say the use of certain characters is definitely humourous and satisfying. So is there anything I didn't like, well yes there was. This film had a lot going on with the numerous plot lines taking place and while for he most part it was executed well, I feel like some of them could have been handled better or been cut out entirely, plus I do miss the streamlined stories of some of the previous MCU films too. And there is an argument to be made that this film rehashed a few elements from the last Avengers film too, but in the grand scheme of things this will be stuff that only fanboys and harsh critics will pick up on.
As for the cast they are all very good and what I loved so much is that with the extra layers given to them thanks to the script, we get to see more sides to them, and learn more about their personalities and see them interact.
Let's start with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, RDJ is still awesome and does well in this role. It's like Joss Whedon found a way to bring back the funny and cocky aspects of the character, while also continuing to mature him and see how he feels responsible for the team and the world, and show how his insecurities bring about the dangers that follow. Chris Evans is great as Steve Rogers/Captain America, this time round Cap is more settled into present times, he's focused and has that leader-like quality about him. It was nice to see his character evolve and grow a bit more, and when him and Tony butted heads, it was great. Evans and RDJ have such good on-screen chemistry. Chris Hemsworth as Thor was awesome, I've always loved this character and in this film they've given him his best material since the last Avengers film, here he is funny, awkward and totally badass. We discover more secrets about him, also see him battle in the most coolest way in the MCU so far, and we also see that he has great banter/competition with Tony Stark.
Mark Ruffalo is once again really good as Bruce Banner/Hulk. Banner is still just as witty and fun as he was in the last film, but he is definitely a little more on edge with his powers and troubled by what his future holds, as not only part of the team but also with personal relationships. It is also interesting to see how the Hulk was humanised quite well in this film and really makes me curious as to how they will handle him in a future solo film. Scarlett Johansson is still great as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, besides being absurdly gorgeous, this woman finds new ways to kick ass and look like a force to be reckoned with. But beyond that we learn more about her past, and see a more different side to her in regards to her relationship with Banner/Hulk. Ruffalo and Johansson have really good chemistry together. And Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye was awesome! Anyone dissatisfied with the character's treatment last time will be very happy with this film as Hawkeye gets a lot of love here as he's more dominant in the action, story and humour, plus he has some of my favourite lines in the whole film.
Now let's talk about the new villain, Ultron played by James Spader. I thought Ultron was going to be super serious, but this film really did flesh him out and gave him more personality and human traits, it made him a little easier to relate to but also understand how his mind works. I loved how he could be totally calm and collected one moment and then freak out in another. Spader did quite well with this role and gave us the most memorable villain in the MCU since Loki. Then there's the twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver played by Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Johnson. I thought they were both really good, adding new flavours to the MCU and creating interesting situations for the Avengers to deal with. I bought the sibling-like nature and they worked well together and individually. Paul Bettany as J.A.R.V.I.S. and Vision was really good. Bettany does well to transition from a computer AI program to a fleshed out humanoid character, it gives his performance some variation and I really liked how Vision was handled, the dude was really intriguing and cool. Olsen was wonderful as this creepy yet vulnerable individual with strange powers and Johnson was totally cool, cocky and aggressive as the overly protective sibling. I liked the depiction of their powers as they looked cool and lead to some really great action scenes. Samuel L. Jackson return as Nick Fury and does a nice job and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill is just a good as I remember her being too. Oh and Andy Serkis was totally awesome as Ulysses Klaue offering a humourous, smart and devious supporting role. Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker was pretty good but I wish he had been used a lot more and lastly Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes was awesome, I liked his interaction with the other team members and was glad to see that he had some good screen time.
When it comes to the presentation it is pretty damn impressive. Visually this film has some of the best action to come of the MCU with awesome fight sequences, good CGI and comic book referenced material too. Whether it is the Avengers team fighting together or seeing Captain America go up against Ultron or seeing Quicksilver running around messing stuff up, it is all so cool and it is pure fan service for the fans as there are a good few moments that made me smile with glee thinking, "Yes, this is the Avengers I wanted to see in live action." I will say that sometimes the action does get a bit too chaotic and some of the action is hard to follow either because it moves too fast or is zoomed in too close, but that's nitpicking. And the soundtrack handled by Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman is awesome, I'm not sure if it quite outdoes the previous soundtrack by Alan Silvestri, but it does include parts of the themes from previous MCU films and has plenty of powerful, heroic and beautiful moments, plus they kept the Avengers theme intact and it still sounds gorgeous.
In conclusion is Avengers: Age of Ultron pretty damn cool. While there are a few stumbles a long the way and there is some magic from the first film that arguably could not be recaptured this time round, make no mistake, this film gives fans what they want while delivering new and intriguing mysteries to be discovered. And at the end of the day the film is fun and when a film like this really entertains me there's not much to complain about. :)
So what did you think of Avengers: Age of Ultron? Do you feel this sequel leaves up to the hype or not? Also how do you think it more compares to not only the prequel but the other MCU films? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them below and I'll see ya on the next blog post yo! :D