A New Age Begins
The follow up to one of the biggest movies of all time is here! 'When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.' Directed by Josh Whedon (The Avengers) and starring Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man 3, Sherlock Holmes), Chris Evans (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher, Now You See Me), Chris Hemswoth (Thor: The Dark World, Snow White & The Huntsman), Scarlett Johansson (Lucy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Jeremy Renner (American Hustle, The Bourne Legacy), James Spader (Lincoln), Samuel L. Jackson (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass, Godzilla) and Elizabeth Olsen (Kill Your Darlings, Godzilla), Age of Ultron has a mega cast but will it be a mega and successfully darker film?
I'm going to get the negatives out of the way first. I felt that the film was very messy at the beginning and a little jumbled - there was no time for tension or anticipation to build, you were thrown straight into it. Even though this is what people like from a popcorn flick, it took a while for the film to explain itself and why and who the characters were fighting. I feel that the plot for Age of Ultron could have been set up much better - more fast paced than the set up for Avengers Assemble but slower than it was done. The opening scene also felt like it had been taken directly from a video game - it didn't feel like a film. Films need to understand that there is impressive CGI and then there is an animated film - Age of Ultron borders on the latter numerous times throughout. I also think the idea of Ultron is rushed and all of a sudden he goes from being a scrappy robot to a giant sized one - how did that happen? Finally, the ending also felt very rushed. Some points weren't explained and there are plenty of plot holes that could be filled in later films. SPOILER: For example, is the Hulk on his way to Hulk Island?
Even though Age of Ultron has many flaws, there are many positives which counter this. I thought the film met the aims of being a good quality popcorn flick - like Furious 7, this isn't to be taken too seriously. However, I think Whedon has done a good job making the plot a little darker with deaths of some characters that you get connected with. Ultron is also basically a villain that can't be defeated - this makes the Avengers outnumbered massively. However, one of my favourite scenes from the film is when Ultron awakes and you are seeing what he sees. I also enjoyed 'there are no strings on me' being inserted from Disney's Pinocchio - added to the freaky element. So, despite all my worry that Ultron would be a poor villain, he is bad ass - I do prefer Loki though as he has more of a personality.
Despite going darker, Age of Ultron still has manage humorous moments that Marvel films are loved for. The film also adds a bit of romance into the mix - I won't tell you who it is between but it is a little obvious from the trailers. I also appreciated how there was a little more development on the character of Hawkeye who has become known as the Avenger that is just there.
Other than the visual effects sometimes bordering on cartoony, they are generally of an incredible standard. The actions scenes are action packed and I think despite having flaws in different places to the first Avengers, it manages to make it back on the action throughout which the first instalment lacked (only action from half way onwards).
The acting is as good as ever. Johansson as Black Widow particularly shines in this movie as her role becomes a lot more dominant. However, I believe Black Widow is usually a positive representation of a female so didn't appreciate it when she became a damsel in distress for a section of the movie. I liked Johansson in Lucy and the other Marvel films, I think she may be becoming one of my favourite actresses. I've recently gone off Downey Jr. as I feel he comes across quite arrogant, however, his likability has been restored in my eyes after this film. Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner are also very good in the film. Spader's voice is brilliant as Ultron and really makes him quite a terrifying villain. My favourites in the film were Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow and the new additions: Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver. I thought the latter two were fantastic additions to the series and I am really excited for the future. Elizabeth Olsen was especially fantastic.
After a second viewing of the film, I can definitely confirm that this has the re-watchability factor. I actually enjoyed it more the second time. I think the soundtrack is very traditional and heroic - however, I would like to see an official Avengers theme tune developed as these movies are HUGE! Make sure you stick around for the post credit scene - I won't spoil it for you but maybe the villain for Infinity War won't be entirely new? I also seemed to notice the darker elements of the film after a second viewing and I appreciated them - in comparison to Man of Steel which was too dark which made it not work.
Avengers: Age of Ultron makes up its flaws in the first act with a satisfying final 2 acts. The special effects are mostly great and the acting is brilliant. With a surprisingly effective villain and some new additions that are warmly welcomed, Avengers: Age of Ultron keeps the series moving. Rewatchable and darker, The Avengers are back with AVENGEance.