(Understandably not everyone has seen Age of Ultron, but my excitement superseded my ability to censor spoilers, so you'll get the usual Josh Hardie heads up! Also please don't upset at any plot point not covered in this article.)
Naturally as a massive Avengers fan I found it pretty hard to go into this film with an open mind in an attempt to try and review every aspect of it, without coming across as an overly possessive man-boy spouting out a plethora of complaints to the powers that be for sullying the good name of our beloved heroes. But I think I managed to view some aspect without the rose tinted glasses, but I warn you spoilers vaguely lay ahead my friends and my emotions are pretty high right now so do excuse any random outburst or rants! (I'm currently watching the finale of the U.S. office on Netflix so that's not helping!)
The good, the bad and the unfinished!
Age of Ultron opened with a strong opening scene, this scene was perfect for depicting the teams new working dynamic whilst simaltaneously showing off all their new gadgets and outfits in full action sequences, courtesy of Stark industries bank rolling this global crime fighting unit. The team open strong with a fast paced mix of action and of course the classic Tony Stark zingers! You see Hawkeye busting out some moves in his new atire and upgraded weaponry, Which is so much cooler than his original Shield get up. Captain America is rocking a slightly upgraded and more Avengers esc version of his Winter Soldier uniform, but with the added upgrade of a magnetic clamp on his wrist and shield enabling him to automatically bring it back to him once thrown. The Hulk this time around has stretchy pants, so no more naked Banner. Blackwidow is equally kitted out with upgraded wrist gauntlets and stun batons. Not much has changed with Thor, except this time he's out with a personal mission yet again, to hunt down Loki's sceptor to retrieve it from the hands of Baron Von Strucker, and his hammer looks slightly bigger. (That's in no way a euphemism)
You also get to witness the growing complicated relationship between Blackwidow and Bruce Banner throughout the film, or more importantly in my opinion, the relationship she shares with the Hulk, as she is seemingly the only one capable of breaking through the shroud of rage to reach the man inside. You see their relationship grow throughout this film to the point where something could happen, but then ultimately doesn't. Now say what you will about Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner's comments regarding Blackwidow in this film, but she is extremely forward this time around, especially considering her love interest has some severe impulse issues, but hey even if I had an uncontrollable rage monster inside of me, I'd find it hard to say no! So doctor Banner, you're a bigger man than I! But again this plot point is brought up from time to time throughout the film but ultimately is never fully resolved as Banner goes solo come the finale.
This film was a fantastic addition to an ever growing and intricately woven tapestry of cinematic wonder. It was really interesting to see all the main and supporting characters interacting together on screen for the first time, this made for a lot of brilliant one liners and nods towards their respective franchises.
If you're a Hawkeye fan like me, you'll pleased to know that he gets much more of a pivotal role this time around, he even makes a funny quip regarding his poor treatment in the first film when Scarlette Witch is hypnotising the team, Hawkeye rapidly turns around and plants a disruptive arrow onto her head a grunts "I've tried mind control, I'm not a fan!" Wich I thought was excellent. The previously leaked scene where Stark and Rogers are squaring off chopping wood takes place at Bartons secret home, that thanks to fury has been kept off the grid. You meet his children and wife, if you're a fan of the ultimate universe you will recognise them, but don't worry they don't meet the same brutal fate as their comic book counterparts. (Atleast not yet anyway) although it was fantastic as a Hawkeye fan to see him take on a more mentor type of role to the twins (Scarlete witch and Quicklsilver) I feel a little bit jaded that there wasn't very many one linners or cockey jokes from the Barton we all know and love, especially since Matt Fraction has made the character such a stand out star in his own right, I mean they missed a huge chance at an impotency joke towards Thor when they're all trying to lift the hammer, when Thor's running Clint down he could've easily referenced the first Thor film with the cutting line, "the first time I met you, you couldn't get it up either!" ... It was so obvious!! But alas there is still hope down the line and with such a huge roster it's understandable that not everyone will get the face time they deserve.
The creation of the MCU version of Ultron was handled brilliantly with inclusion of recovered chitauri technology aswel as Bruce Banner and Tony Stark throwing their cinematic brand of genius into the mix, in a way that some might view as arrogant on Stark's part to "put a suit of armour around the world!" This part of the plot raised a big debate between myself and my friends as to how far would you go to protect the world, it really made you think about who's side of the argument was justified and I think Marvel Studios are brilliant when it comes to raising those moral lines that can easily become blurred. But as we know Ultron never really fits into anyone's ideal plans and ultimately makes for some fantastic viewing.
James Spader stole the entire film in my opinion, his voice was perfect for the role. I was a little bit dubious at first but after watching the American office I found it and him hilarious! His deep and interchangeable voice really captured the essence of this confused and messed up homocidle, robotic A.I. By the end of the film I was rallying for him to pull through above all of the Avengers, that's how hypnotic his performance was. Now i view Ultron (atleast at first) as this struggling child with daddy issues who wants to do what he thinks is right above all else, he truely believes that he is the only thing that can cure this world of the "human disease!", he is the in his own opinion the smartest being on the planet and therefore should be the final say on how to save us from ourselves. You get this overwhelming sense of dread from his speeches, but then suddenly you see flashes of child like nievity in his voice which makes for some hilarious sound bites. If there is one reason to love this film above all other reason I strongly feel it's James Spaders performance, even if at times all I could picture was his previous character Robert California stood there addressing the team.
Which brings me onto the birth of The Vision and a more in depth look at the infinity gems. Admitidly I'm going to have to watch the film again as I was explaining to some one a previous reference whilst this was part was happening (i saw what was going on but couldn't hear all the dialogue.) Oh the burden of knowledge! The Vision looked and acted perfectly, his dry inhuman tone really helped add some extra humour in between all the tension that builds following his creation. I especially loved the moment when Vision effortlessly picks up Thor's hammer and hands it to him leaving everyone speechless, leading to dented pride from both Stark and Rogers who come the end scene are still arguing about how Vision could lift it but not them. I was dubious about how the vision would look, but they really got his look and power set spot on, they even included a brief exchange of glances between him and Scarlet Witch in reference to their comic book romance. I'm hoping that's as far as their romance goes in the MCU, but I can see potential growth there plot wise. So that's good news for fans of that relationship. Regardless of all the plot points that lack in this film, they pay incredible detail in service of the fans that surpasses anything else really, more than makes up for any short falls in the long run.
Now don't get me wrong I absolutely loved this film and can't wait to see it again, the Hulk vs the Hulkbuster armour fight scene was worth the £10 cinema ticket alone, but I can't help but feel there was something missing, the film to me didn't quite feel complete or finished. I read an article recently on MoviePilot with rumours of an extended version of the film being released on Bluray and DVD, so I'm keeping my fingers firmly crossed that this is an actuality.
I remember reading numerous interviews with Joss Wedon about Thor's investigation into Loki's secret partner. Now you see Thor come and go throughout the film and make references to this investigation, but to me they felt like throw away references at best and I really felt this needed to be explored a bit more in depth, it would've made the mid credit scene involving Thanos make a hell of a lot more sense or even felt like it tied it all together if they just included a little more of what was cut. The ending to me felt like it set up Civil War more than anything, it showed the creation of these dividing lines spreading the original team out and rolling in some new muscle. The team dynamic and mix of fast paced action and humour as well as the eveloution of these characters following on from their solo outings is in my opinion the glue that tied this film together with Ultron stealing the show and upstaging everyone else, I can't help but feel that with a lesser villain or even a lesser actor cast in the role, the film wouldn't have been as incredibly gripping as it was. But then I'm still hung up on Guardians of the Galaxy, I mean that's impossible to top in my eyes!
I hope you all enjoy my totally unbiased opinion based review (ish) piece for Age of Ultron. I was even extremely vague regarding plot points and story lines for the most part, just to be safe! I'll go more in depth when the worlds caught up!