Director: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans
Running time: 141 minutes
Well, here it is – arguably one of the three biggest films of the year, alongside Star Wars: Episode VII and Jurassic World. But is it any good? The answer, represented by those five star-shaped things resting underneath the title there, is yes. Yes, it really is.
The movie opens with the Avengers working as an established team, swatting down HYDRA bases left and right. But with the threat of another alien invasion hanging over their heads, Tony Stark decides to reactivate a long-dormant peacekeeping program, ‘Ultron’. When that goes south in about six seconds and Ultron decides to end the world, it’s up to the Avengers – Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow and Hawkeye – to stop him.
First up, if you’re looking for exciting action scenes, this is the movie for you, since it’s dripping with them. The film opens with the Avengers storming a HYDRA base and just escalates from there. Then there’s the Avengers fighting Ultron and Quicksilver with some nightmare-fuelled dream sequences from the Scarlet Witch thrown in for flavour. Then we get a brilliant fight between the Hulk and Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armour. And there’s pretty much everything about the final battle.
It’s a Joss Whedon production, so the quips fly thick and fast (though there aren’t quite as many laugh-out-loud moments as the first one) and you can expect at least one saddening character death. The ensemble cast is handled well – all the core Avengers get something to do, though Thor’s personal subplot’s a little extraneous. As for the newbies, Ultron is the second great villain Marvel’s unleashed after Loki, and James Spader nails his performance. The Vision, too, is an enigmatic and interesting hero who I’m already excited to see more of.
So, though Age of Ultron is working to higher expectations than The Avengers was, and though its plot’s a little choppier (due to all the subplots it has to juggle) it is still the film of the year thus far. Next up? Ant-Man! Well, they can’t all be mega-blockbusters, can they?