Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Film Review: Avengers - Age of Ultron

This review is spoiler free

The Avenger’s second outing onto the big screen has been making its debut around the world over the last week – already out in most of Europe and heading across to America for May 1st, but despite not even being fully out around the world it is already generating buzz.
Well of course it is. The first Avengers outing was brilliant and with a whole host of individual films now out to fill in more plot points and make a cohesive whole, as well as a flurry of tv series to add in some flourishes, excitement and expectations have reached an all-time high for Joss Whedon’s second instalment.

It’s big, it’s bold, it is chock full of action sequences and it definitely tries to cram in as much of everything as possible to keep the audience interested. We’ve got the set up for almost all of these characters now, we don’t have any of the origins stories or gelling of the unit into a whole – this is all about how they function now and Whedon seems to feel that throwing everything into this massive melting pot is the way to go, with mixed results.

I want to say upfront that I loved the film, I’ve been to see it twice already, and there is a huge amount to love about it. The dialogue is smart and quick, the humour simmers all the way through – there were two moments where the audience applauded, always a good sign!
The action is bigger and bolder and the team have gelled into a (mostly) cohesive whole. Yes there are points where the CGI is blatant and it throws you out of the action, and there are slow motion moments where you almost have to laugh because of how utterly ridiculous what is happening on screen is, but that is part of the brilliance of it. Whedon seems to be almost poking fun at the superhero trope, making it overtly comical at points to remind the audience that at the end of the day in amongst all of the darker plot threads, this is a light summer blockbuster.

We’re thrown right into the action mid-fight as the team take on the last known HYDRA base in search of the sceptre Loki was wielding in the first film. It’s fantastic to see the team fight, particularly Thor and Captain America who have developed a truly genius team of shield and hammer to take out their enemies. The banter between them all is fantastic (“language!”), and sets the tone for the rest of the film.

We’re treated to two new heroes in the form of the Maximoff twins, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Interesting additions who certainly add some fun obstacles to the playing field, although it’s frustrating when their accents slip… I loved the humour that Quicksilver added and witnessing how powerful Scarlet Witch can really be – within a matter of minutes she has pulled apart our intrepid heroes like taffy, a truly terrifying thing to watch.
We also get Ultron himself as the big bad, and boy does he make a good big bad. Everywhere and virtually undefeatable, Spader has brought to life a truly terrifying and brilliant villain. Sarcastic, full of dark humour and unexpected rage he is a worthy villain to follow Loki – although Loki’s absence is noted and hard to fill. His scenes are utterly mesmerizing, and I loved watching him flicker back and forth between almost benevolent dictator and complete psychopath.

Despite the ever growing cast with some notable cameos from several different branches of the Marvel universe, there is still time spent on our main six, building and developing on the foundations that have been laid in previous films. It’s wonderful to see so much more of Clint, and to have his absence in the last film acknowledged. Fans of Hawkeye will feel satisfied not only with his screen time but the backstory that is developed for him as well. He no longer feels like the weak link in the Avengers.

There are however, two plot threads that don’t seem to make quite as much sense, the first being Thor’s which yes, sets up for the next Thor film, but as a vaguely coherent storyline for Age of Ultron it fails spectacularly. It felt almost as though with a third Thor film waiting in the wings, Whedon was afraid to do too much to advance his storyline and so shoves him unceremoniously to the sidelines. As a result we get Thor vanishing off part way through the film, going for a shirtless swim and getting struck by lightning thus giving him some insight into what needs to happen and then he pootles off home. What? Was I the only one who was more than a little bit lost by a whole host of that. What is this magical swimming hole? What are these visions? What on earth is that lightning? Without any more explanation or backstory it leaves you feeling like you’ve just had a very unsatisfactory bite of Thor and that you’re going to be left disgruntled until the third Thor film hits cinemas, rather than intrigued and excited to see what will happen next.

The second plot thread involves Dr Banner and Natasha Romanov, which was a great development, but just left me feeling a little like it had happened out of nothing. As a result their scenes, whilst sweet, felt awkward and clunky. Not quite the feeling I think they were aiming for.

And speaking of Black Widow, where on earth is her film? We get this tantalising snapshot of her backstory in AoU and I want to know more. Why are we getting all these new male lead super hero Marvel films and yet they are not bothering with this brilliant character who already has a fanbase? And don’t try and pacify me by pointing out we’re getting ‘Captain Marvel’ because 1) that isn’t until 2018, and 2) that is one film out of ten announced films for phase 3. But that is a much longer post for another time…

All in all this is a solid middle outing for the Avengers, expanding on previous storylines, setting up for future films and satisfying fans on multiple levels. There are always going to be bumps for any story that is trying to accommodate so many different characters and juggle so many different side stories, but this is definitely a must see for fans. It’s a lighter romp compared to some of the Marvel stories, but it still packs plenty of punch as well as more than its fair share of epic battles, which can become a little wearing towards the end. However whilst Whedon flirts with too many action sequences it never becomes outright boring, instead bringing in humour and some truly tender character moments to balance and pace the story and leave fans emerging from the cinema feeling satisfied and excited for the next Marvel outing in their bid for cinema domination.


  1. A very fun movie. However, the superhero craze is starting to get a tad bit over-done now. Nice review Rosy.

    1. They're definitely flooding the market with superhero movies at the moment, and there doesn't seem to be any sign of them slowing down! Thanks for reading.