In the aftermath of the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D. during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye) have come together as a team as they take on Hydra in an amazing opening action sequence. But after an encounter with the Maximoff twins, Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), Tony Stark tampers with incredible forces to create an A.I. to replace the team, unleashing Ultron (James Spader). Ultron has his own plan to save the world, and plans to destroy the Avengers beforehand. In their darkest adventure yet, the team have to dig deep to prove that they are the heroes they think they are.
Age of Ultron is a much darker movie than its predecessor, keeping in theme with the various individual sequels between the last time the Avengers were together and this one. While there is a lot of fun to be had during the movie, once Ultron makes his appearance, the tension is often high. This is both a strength and weakness of this film, because while the added threat helps set up the many action sequences, it also doesn’t allow for as many quiet scenes that helped with building the team’s dynamics in the last film. Still, that doesn’t detract from the amount of awesome that occurs in this entry. Ultron is a worthy and dangerous foe, with both charming humor and frightening insanity. And the threats he causes lead to some of the most amazing action sequences in a superhero movie. In particular, the final battle of the film not only eclipses the first one’s in length, but sheer scope.
The acting continues to be top-notch, helped by how the chemistry between the original cast has remained strong, and the new characters that join up for the climax end up being welcome additions to the team. In particular, I really enjoyed Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, who gets to really shine now that the character isn’t under some form of mind control like last time. There is another performance I really enjoyed, but can’t say anything due to what a massive spoiler it is. However, I will say that when it does come up, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. And as always, there are so many things that Marvel fans will spot that set up so many future possibilities.
So, as always, the question is “what are the flaws?” Well, there is how it feels like a big part of the movie was removed, which makes me eager for the extended edition that was just announced. And if you don’t enjoy that kind of thing, the near-constant stream of action may be a bit of a drag on your patience. And as with the last Avengers movie, if you haven’t kept up with all the movies that Marvel’s put out, you will feel confused.
Avengers: Age of Ultron sacrifices a bit of its story for larger action. While it isn’t as good as its predecessor, when the quality is this good for both films, that still makes it one of the best films to come out this year.