I think it’s a testament to my ability to avoid TV spots and trailers that one of the most anticipated films of the year managed to sneak up on me. My desire to avoid all spoilers was greater than my desire to see the film causing me to essentially forget about its impending arrival. I am not fooling anyone with my nonchalant attitude as once the tickets were booked I was as excited as the rest of the world.
I don’t read reviews until after I have seen the film in question and I am assuming that any poor sod that happens to stumble across this review has adopted the same thought process therefore there will be mild spoilers scattered here and there. This is your one and only warning.
PLOT: After retrieving Loki’s Sceptre from HYDRA Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) discover that it contains artificial intelligence. Unfortunately their attempts to create a global defence programme goes awry and they lose control of their creation. The Avengers assemble to save the planet from falling into the Age of Ultron (clunky but meh, I’m not deleting it). END PLOT.
I am an easy mark when it comes to science in films. I swear to the gods that the dinosaur reincarnation logic makes more sense every time I watch Jurassic Park. If science and artificial intelligence in a film is sold to me with any degree of confidence I can generally buy into it. I accepted the discovery that Loki’s snazzy stick had the ability to create free thinking life and distribute visually cool super powers despite being used primarily as a hypnotic mind control device with relative ease.
The plot of Age of Ultron splits into three acts namely Retrieve the Sceptre, The Sceptre is Lost: Where’s Thor? and Stop Bickering and Assemble Already. The script flows fairly well and despite the introduction of unnecessary characters for the hell of it (Andy Serkis I am looking directly at you) it never breaks stride and the 2hour 20min running time flies by.
The action was always visually spectacular save for the jumping in unison shot which was cheesy and didn’t have the same impact as the goosebump raising Assemble shot from the last film. The big set pieces involved lengthy battles against generic soldiers or generic robots and although it had the danger of becoming one big CGI mess the various double-team manoeuvres, which were always a pleasure to watch, helped keep me interested. I saw the film in 2D so perhaps the action sequences needed to be viewed in 3D to be fully appreciated. I am unlikely to test this theory.
Despite the noise and action the Avengers are always at their best in the quieter moments. Whether they are bickering or having a beer/banter moment the film always comes to life when the cast are together. I will always maintain that less Robert Downey Jnr is more but you can’t fault the actors for their performances. Everyone gets their chance to shine but it was almost jarring that Hawkeye went from being shafted in previous Marvel Movies to being the character with the most complete backstory. The Avengers and the audience were united in bafflement. I am not complaining though as I am a huge Jeremy Renner fan.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen were great additions to the cast although Quicksilver was always going to feel a bit disappointing after Days of Future Past got the character first. Despite only his voice appearing on screen James Spader was excellent. Spader’s voice is calm, terrifying and hilarious all at once – Ultron can very much be considered a job well done.
Avengers: Age of Ultron was the perfect way to kick off Summer Season in the cinema. It isn’t quite a perfect film but I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing this particular bunch of heroes save the world. Age of Ultron gets 9/10. As for the post credit sequence, if you are coming just get on with it already!