The Avengers Assembled Against Ultron, from left to right: Thor (Hemsworth), Iron Man (Downey Jr. ), Captain America (Evans), Black Widow (Johansson), The Hulk (Ruffalo), The Vision (Bettany), Hawkeye (Renner), Quicksilver (Taylor-Johnson), Scarlet Witch (Olsen) and Ultron (Spader). Photo belongs to Entertainment Weekly.
So, we've all been hyping this movie for quite some time... Well, I know I have. Here in the UK and Ireland (among other countries) it came out just over two weeks ago, on April 23rd. Then it was released everywhere else on May 1st. I'm sure you've all watched it by now. If not, get out there and watch it before you read this article. There WILL be spoilers. But anyway, let's get to the review.
As with our last two ensemble movies, 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Avengers Assemble' the acting from everyone is pretty good, with no exceptions springing to mind right now. Some people had a problem with the accents from Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver. However, I do not feel there were any issues with the accents as the characters come from a fictional country.
Elizabeth Olsen as The Scarlet Witch
As for the rest of the Avengers, they do a great job of bouncing off of one another as they did in the first movie. Mark Ruffalo has been given even more time to shine and flex his acting muscles as Bruce Banner, which I felt was the right idea. Everyone loved his Banner in 'Avengers Assemble' and his performance is even better this time around, with quite a bit more screen-time. Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff is excellent as well, with a very clear emotional attachment to Ruffalo's Bruce Banner in their newly established romance. In a scene near the end of the film where the Hulk and Black Widow speak over a form of holographic FaceTime, both actors do an excellent job portraying their characters, with Ruffalo's CGI Hulk managing to tug on the heartstrings of a few people in the room. However, there wasn't really any answer to the origin of their relationship, which is something I would have liked to have seen. Paul Bettany as the Vision is a very humorous character, and also very powerful, who seems fascinated by both Ultron and the human race. This simple fascination is probably because... Well... He was born yesterday.
Onto the villain; James Spader's Ultron is an incredible villain from simply his voice. Being built from a lot of Tony Stark's memories and personality through J.A.R.V.I.S. a lot of Stark's humour is portrayed through Spader's lines. Despite this, he resents being compared to Tony, as seen when Black Panther villain Ulysses Klaw makes this mistake. Ultron responds by removing Klaw's arm, laying some groundwork for the upcoming Black Panther movie (which is set to be released on November 3rd, 2017). Spader's voice is calm, eery and unusually civilised, which joins with his personality and desire to wipe out the human race to make for a terrifying villain.
James Spader's Ultron
The Action Sequences (and other special effects):
As with every other Marvel movie in the MCU, particularly in recent times, the action sequences and special effects are astounding. The film opens on the Avengers battling their way through a snowy forest on their way to a Hydra base in search of Loki's sceptre from 'Avengers Assemble' where we see the Avengers are much better at working as a team. The shots of Hawkeye and Black Widow fighting their enemies while driving a small jeep is really cool to see, with Captain America fighting agents while speeding along on his motorbike. Thor and the Hulk also get some really cool combat scenes, with Iron Man flying overhead with his own awesome combat sequences. This is slowed down about halfway through to give us a nice, side-on view of the Avengers attacking all at once.
Slow-motion shot from the opening of the movie
There are also some nice shots of the 'Iron Legion' being repaired in small glass areas of the Avengers Tower. At multiple parts throughout the movie there are 'dream sequences' induced on the team by Scarlet Witch. She has a very horror movie vibe early on in the film, causing the Avengers (besides Hawkeye) to see their worst fears. My two personal favourites are Tony's and Natasha's. Tony is made to see an empty shell of the huge Chiatauri worm (which now belongs to Baron Von Strucker and Hydra) come to life, and then finds himself in the wormhole from 'Avengers Assemble' again. Natasha's vision is extremely creepy, as she is made to relive her training in Russia which turns out to be a horrifying experience for her. This isn't an action scene, but I just had to mention it as one of the dream sequences.
The plot is, in my opinion, better structured and more balanced between dialogue and action than the first movie. It also does a good job of slightly referencing future movies and setting them up, including Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarök and Black Panther, however isn't just a two and a half hour advertisement. Unfortunately, the movie felt like it had a lot missing, with all of the Asgard story starring Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Heimdall (Idris Elba) being cut out. Joss Whedon also said that Spider-Man and Captain Marvel were supposed to appear, but ultimately were cut from the script, not even having their scenes filmed. The original movie length was about three and a half hours, and this will be released on a director's cut version of the film. However, until then I feel we will not have seen the true, definitive 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' which is a shame. The after-credits scene simply sets up Infinity War, with Thanos retrieving the Infinity Gauntlet from an unknown location. The ending of the movie has Thor return to Asgard to investigate the Infinity Stones, Tony retiring for the second time (until May 6th next year) from his role as Iron Man. Hawkeye returns to his family on their farm and names his new-born baby after Natasha and Quicksilver (Pietro). Quicksilver was killed, with some great development but the audience just wishing we'd had more time with him. Captain America and Black Widow lead the New Avengers which consists of Falcon, The Vision, War Machine and Scarlet Witch.
The film, plot, effects and characters are all great, but a lot was missing and it's not as fresh to see all the characters on screen at once as it was the first time around. However, Joss Whedon does a great job of balancing the three new Avengers and the new villain equally with the original cast. Based on all this, I give the film an 8/10. It will almost definitely be a 9 after I see the directors cut, but until then, it just didn't feel completed.
This was my first article on MoviePilot, so any support or tips for improvement would be greatly appreciated.