Walking into Age of Ultron, I can say I was skeptical. After films like Captain America: Civil War and Infinity Wars were revealed to be in Marvel's future, Age of Ultron felt like it would be a small interruption for the Earth's mightiest heroes. The multiple TV spots and trailers for this film made me feel as though I've already seen the entire movie before release. Luckily, I was very wrong. Actually, this ended up being Marvel's greatest movie released so far. Movie like Iron Man (2008) and Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014) can't even compare to the size and scale of this movie.
I was fortunate enough to see the Avengers double feature, which included the original Avengers movie (2012) as well as the latest installment. Though Loki was a formidable foe for the Avengers, Ultron is even more powerful. Ultron is an A.I. created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner that was originally intended to protect the world, however, goes rouge with the goal of global destruction. Ultron is a very unique and different villain. He is like a child; trying to learn what exactly he is and understand his purpose. Through James Spader's incredible voice work, Ultron ends up being the most terrifying and intimidating villain in the MCU.
The Avengers themselves are emotionally and physically pushed to the limit. As a result, the movie in general is much darker and grittier than previous Marvel movies, though without losing its luster. Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man) yet again plays Tony perfectly. Chris Evans (Steve Rodger/Captain America) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) provide decent performances as well. Surprisingly, the best acting was performed by Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanova/Black Widow), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), and Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye). We learn more about the origins of Black Widow, the secret life of Hawkeye, and the struggles of Bruce Banner.
One of the most interesting inclusions of the movie was the three newcomer Avengers. The Maximoff twins, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson (as Quicksilver) and Elizabeth Olsen (as Scarlet Witch), are orphaned twins who are experimented on by Baron Von Strucker, a notorious HYDRA agent. The other newcomer, the Vision, is an A.I. inside a body of vibranium. All of them, like the original Avengers, have their own unique weaknesses, allowing them to fit perfectly within the Avengers team.
The action in the movie is surprisingly well-balanced. Too much action can lead to boredom, while too little has the same effect. But the amount in the movie was not only the right amount, but very interesting. The Iron Man Hulkbuster Armor and Hulk fight scene was a standout obviously. One of the coolest parts of the duel was when the Hulkbuster armor received a new arm and collided fists with the Hulk.
Though the darkness of the film was quite apparent, the dialogue often prevents the film from going over the edge. The quick one-liners and witty puns keep the audience laughing. The movie knows how to make fun of itself very well. It seamlessly transitions from laughable moments to heartbreaking, emotional ones.
Overall, the movie is worth watching once, if not multiple times. Age of Ultron provides the audience with a variety of emotions, varying in degree through the progression of the film. Easily Marvel's best superhero flick yet.