Avengers: Age of Ultron is the sequel to the wildly successful original Avengers movie. Returning to the franchise is director/writer Joss Whedon, and the big 6: Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Helmsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Scarlet Johanson (Black Widow).
The film opens with The Avengers taking down one of the last remaining Hydra bases (remember them from Captain America:Winter Soldier?). The objective is twofold, search for rumored alien tech that fell into Hydra’s hands after the Battle of New York and specifically retrieve the Scepter of Loki.
This opening battle sequence is a great set piece to start the film and helps establish how our heroes have meshed together as a team since the first film. It is revealed that Hydra is using their discoveries to try to create their own soldiers with super powers. We get to meet the cinematic versions of Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). Quicksilver is capable of running at unbelievable speeds and gives a serious challenge to the team. However, a bigger threat is created by the Scarlet Witch. At this point in the film she uses her powers to reveal each characters greatest fears. These fears drive the rest of the film and provide the basis for the seeds that will culminate in Captain America: Civil War.
Tony Stark (Iron Man) has just discovered Loki’s scepter when the Scarlet Witch uses her power on him. Turns out that Tony’s biggest fear is that he will be responsible for the destruction of the world and the deaths of his teammates because he will be unable to stop the next alien invasion. I won’t go into everyone else’s fears here. Just know that they will tie in nicely to the dissension that begins to eat away at Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and will continue to propel this franchise.
Tony convinces Bruce Banner (Hulk) to help him use the power of the Scepter to help construct a artificial intelligence peacekeeping program he has been working on called Ultron. As luck would have it, the duo is successful. TOO Successful, because Ultron has achieved sentience and has decided that there will never be peace as long as humanity exists. Therefore, he must exterminate the human race. Ultron is played in all his CGI glory by James Spader. Mr Spader does a wonderful job of voicing this iconic Marvel villain (my personal favorite villain) and balances the role between psychotic and humorous with ease.
The rest of the film follows the machinations as the Avengers attempt to shut Ultron down but discover that he can download his consciousness into another body as easily or even more so than you can log on to various computers.
There are some incredibly complicated action sequences and I can’t begin to imagine the number of hours it took to choreograph, film and integrate with all the CGI. The battle between Hulk and Iron Man in his Hulkbuster armor (lovingly called “Veronica”) is tons of fun and an epic battle to witness. There are several other smaller battles and everyone gets a moment to shine
Eventually, The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver realize how they have been misled by Hydra’s propaganda and Ultron’s lies. They decide to help the Avengers and begin to turn the tide.
The final battle is exactly what you would expect. It is grand, Wagnerian in nature and not without consequences. The stakes are the existence of the very planet and you have got to give the crew that put it together credit for putting such a thing on film. It looks fantastic!
Of course the Avengers save the day (they ARE heroes, after all) But its a victory that comes with a cost. The fears that they have are still working their ways into the decisions that are made and give rise to a new team. For those of you that are interested, you get a great Stan Lee cameo, the trademark Joss Whedon banter and humor is abundantly present and there is a nifty Mid Credit tag ending that reminds you of who and what these films are ultimately leading up to (Infinity War!!!). However, there is NOT a final tag ending after the credits are completed.
I think this is a great film. Enjoyable, layered and tons of Marvel easter eggs for the hardcore fan. Marvel fans will definitely squeal with delight as Ultron’s “Vision” is revealed!
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON