Robert Downey, Jr. - Tony Stark/Iron Man
Chris Evans - Steve Rogers/Captain America
Chris Hemsworth - Thor
Scarlett Johansson - Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Mark Ruffalo - Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk
Jeremy Renner - Clint Barton/Hawkeye
James Spader - Ultron (Voice)
Paul Bettany - Jarvis (Voice)/Vision
Elizabeth Olsen - Wanda Maximoff/The Scarlet Witch
Aaron Taylor-Johnson - Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver
Genre - Action/Adventure/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Comic Books
Running Time - 141 Minutes
During a battle with Hydra leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), The Avengers encounter two beings who were given power through Loki's scepter - Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), who have the power of speed and telekinetic reality warper respectively. After Wanda messes with Tony Stark's (Robert Downey, Jr.) mind, he and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) decide to create an army of artificial intelligence robots to replace the Avengers so they can live normal lives and protect the Earth at the same time. However, the AI creation wakes up learning about a cruel world created by humans, feeling that the human race needs to be eradicated to achieve peace. Calling itself Ultron (James Spader) and using the Maximoffs to manipulate the Avengers into facing their fears and causing dissension within the team, the AI plans on making his dream come true with the help of his Ultron Army.
- The action sequences were stronger this time around than in the first AVENGERS films. Joss Whedon, who claimed directing this film almost killed him, pretty much put his blood, sweat, and tears in creating some awesome action sequences. The opening scene was nifty. The Hulkbuster vs. The Hulk scene was bad ass. And the final sequence in Slovakia was like a comic book come to life with The Avengers working together against an army of Ultrons. The first film had some great action, but Whedon seemed to be more confident in directing them this time around.
- I like that AGE OF ULTRON doesn't really take itself all that seriously, while setting up serious stuff for future films. Whedon's dialogue is very funny, with great one-liners for much of the cast, that creates a fun experience for the audience. I thought a lot of the jokes worked, especially when they winked to fans of the comics. It's also great when characters interact in a way that you find believable, understanding why all these people would want to hang out together in ridiculous clothing just to save the world. That Mjornir scene is a great example of humor done right.
- I read some people hated the cool-down moments of the film where characters were reflecting, or just having human moments that didn't involve action of any sort. I actually felt these scenes helped with good pacing away from the action, giving us character moments that were necessary to reveal backstories we hadn't seen yet [Black Widow], to sequences that were obviously there to foreshadow future events in Phase Three [Thor and Iron Man]. I'm okay with Captain America not getting much focus in terms of his mind-warp, since he's had two solo films to establish his feeling of not belonging in his new world. I'll get into Thor in the opposite section, but I felt the quieter moments were pretty great and revealed some good stuff within the context of the film, and for the future.
- The new characters are pretty great. Even though I prefer the Quicksilver of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST due to his personality, I did like that this version was more faithful to the comic book version. I wish he had more to do honestly, but I thought the major scenes he was involved in were cool - especially near the end. Vision was awesome to see in a live-action setting. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever believe the character could be pulled off. But I'm pleasantly wrong. I thought Vision was used great and truly felt like his comic book counterpart. Scarlet Witch was a bad ass lady who made a great impression in this film. Of the two Maximoffs, she was the highlight as she got to manipulate people and use her powers in cool ways. Plus, I liked that Whedon gave her a sense of mental instablity that could lead to interesting things down the road. Plus, that scene with Vision saving her from danger put a smile on my face.
- Ultron. Yes, Ultron is not as good of a villain as Loki. But Ultron made for a fine edition to the rogues gallery, with great one-liners and a clear mission that most villains in action films seem to lack these days. You understood where Ultron was coming from in terms of his views on the world, making you wonder if he was right about things even when his methods were malicious - even if it happens way too fast. And while his creation was completely changed from his comic book counterpart, I thought the change was handled well. It gave us a glimpse of Tony Stark's bad side, which should lead to some great stuff in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR next year.
- While it came out of nowhere, I dug the Hulk/Black Widow romantic subplot. It got time to blossom and build to a logical place. And it never overshadowed other things going on in the film, which was appreciated.
- Hawkeye's character development was a great showcase for the character. After his misuse in the first film, I dug that the character was given his just due. His fleshing out in terms of his personal life [which was a great little nod to the Ultimate universe] and his sarcastic wit made me love the character for once in this franchise. I wouldn't mind a solo movie, or at least one with Black Widow, at some point.
- The acting was phenomenal. The old cast worked their magic again, especially Downey Jr., Renner, Johansson, and Ruffalo. James Spader was fantastic as the voice of Ultron, giving the character so much personality and charisma. Elizabeth Olsen was awesome as Scarlet Witch. And I'm glad Paul Bettany was giving the spotlight as first J.A.R.V.I.S. and now Vision. Good work by the cast.
- Won't spoil anything, but I loved the cameos and the new additions to the Avengers team. How Whedon handled all these characters, I'll never know. No wonder the film tired the guy out.
- Mid-credits scene. Oh yeah, I'm ready for INFINITY WAR.
- Thought the story was a bit bloated in the sequel, compared to the first film. That's due to introducing new characters, while giving the old ones something new to do. I read the original cut of this film was over three hours, which doesn't surprise me. I thought Whedon did a good job cramming a lot of stuff in. But you can clearly tell some things were left out due to sloppy editing at times, which gave certain characters and subplots the shaft in terms of development and storytelling.
- I kinda felt the first film felt more epic than this film did. It's not really a MISS honestly, but I felt AGE OF ULTRON was a commercial for the stuff in Phase Three rather than its own self-contained story at times. Maybe it's because the freshness of the superhero team up is gone now, but the sequel felt like it repeated itself in terms of certain beats - just with different players this time around.
- The real issue I had was with Thor's detour half-way through the film. The character doesn't get much substance in this film, and while his visions seem to reflect what will happen in THOR: RAGNAROK, his pool scene to understand what was really going on felt a bit forced and happened way too quickly. I believe Whedon edited a lot of Thor's scenes out of the film, which is a shame. I thought Thor realizing what the gems were and the power they possessed was important to the plot, but it just came to the character way too easily and shoddily edited to boot.
THE FINAL HOWL
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON is a great popcorn movie that also happens to be a sequel worthy of 2012's THE AVENGERS. The chemistry of the actors and Joss Whedon's script and direction create an entertaining experience for fans who love these characters and their comic book roots. The action sequences were handled extremely well. The character development was helpful for future events for the most part. And I thought the new additions to the franchise added a different flavor to the status quo, especially Vision and Scarlet Witch. Plus, Ultron was pretty bad ass and James Spader was the perfect actor for the job. I still prefer the first film, but AGE OF ULTRON is a great comic book film that promises some interesting and dark things for Phase Three and THE INFINITY WAR. Not the best MCU film, but definitely in the Top 5 in my opinion.