***SLIGHT SPOILERS BUT MOSTLY SPOILER FREE***
As a film aficionado, watching the first "Avengers" movie was an epiphanic experience for me. I realized that even straight comic-book superhero films (among the bombastic CGI and the never-ending action) can still have great character development, engaging stories, and amazing dialogue: things that may be considered extraneous in many of the high-budget blockbusters of our time (taking to you, Michael Bay). So naturally, I was extremely excited for "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," both as a Marvel fan and an connoisseur of great cinema. Although the novelty of the first "Avengers" is gone, I can safely say that "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" is a measured improvement over the first.
To provide a synopsis of the film in one sentence is fairly easy. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), in an attempt to create an armor for the world, creates Ultron(voiced by James Spader) along with the help of Bruce Banner(Mark Ruffalo), and Ultron's perspective of world protection becomes warped, so the Avengers have to work together to save humanity.
Everyone goes to a Marvel film for the action scenes, and as expected (though heavily CGI dependent), they are excellent in this movie. Joss Whedon directs them like a Marvel fan: with such nerdgasmic moments as Thor hitting Captain America's shield with his hammer to create a shockwave that incapacitates the enemies around them. The score by Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman is great, much more cinematic than the score by Alan Silvestri in the first. Whedon gives this film a darker tone, but at the same time, he is able to strike a wonderful balance between the darkness and lightheartedness. The true highlight, like in the first, is Whedon's brilliant dialogues, and they are even better here. The comedic dialogues and banter create amazingly rib-tickling moments while the dramatic dialogues and interactions create a necessary depth and advance character development. The character development of Hawkeye, which was lacking in the first, is heavily present here, and this is definitely unexpected, yet welcome.
With the abundance of new characters, at times, the character development for them feels uneven, particularly that of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Not enough is given to these characters to build them, which is problematic as they are integral to the plot. They simply come off as OK characters. In fact, there is more to build Vision(who has less screen time) than these two. Also, Ultron's character motivations feel familiar (not necessarily clichéd), derivative of many sci-fi flicks of the past. Also, Andy Serkis is terribly wasted in a small role.
All in all, "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" is a hell of a time at the theaters. If you're a fan of Marvel, c'mon, how have you not watched it already?! For the rest, it is still a solid superhero film with all the right ingredients.