Friday, 24 April 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron

We've already had the magic and amazement of seeing our comic book heroes team up in 2012's incredible The Avengers, and now, three years later, they're back and bigger than ever. But does their second outing hold up to the first? Read on to find out in my SPOILER FREE review of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The main Avengers are back and this time they fight off against, Ultron, an A.I set on saving the world by destroying the human race, mo-capped and voiced by James Spader. It's your usual A.I philosophical tale but this time done on huge budget with superheroes. New to the cast of the film is Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Aaron Taylor Johnson as Quicksilver and Paul Bettany as The Vision. The less you know about The Vision the better, just know that he is awesome in every way, steals the show and leaves you wanting more!

Seeing the main characters on screen in the first film truly was an experience, one that is hard to replicate in Age of Ultron. Instead, director Joss Whedon decides to just go full out and show you these characters working as a team from the offset with loads of incredible action and geeky visuals. In fact the who film is made up of insane action scenes, probably the most we have seen in a Marvel film so far. There is never a dull moment and the whole film is well structured and interwoven into a fast paced two hours and twenty minutes thrill ride. This however, is sometimes its flaw, one of the great things about this film is that you get to see these cool characters interact and engage with each other, and although we get this, for me there weren't enough moments where they slowed down and interacted in other ways rather than just fighting. I mean, we do get these scenes, but personally I just wanted more. The film basically goes from one set piece to another, and although these set pieces are incredible, I just needed some more down time every now and then to catch my breath.
There are pretty much ten main characters to deal with here and they all get their time to shine, even if it's for a small amount of said time, I felt Captain America and Thor could have been given more to do, but apart from that it works, every now and then you realise a character hasn't been seen recently but with the amount of cool stuff going on in the mean time, you can let that slide.

Like the first film, there is a lot of comedy, something I think worked better throughout this film than its predecessor. It's really funny and pretty much all the jokes land and I was laughing out loud throughout. There are a few running gags which really do work, especially one which involves most of the team winding Captain America up about a comment he makes early on in the film, it's hilarious. That's not to say that this film doesn't get dark, it's not all fun and games, but it gets the tone right and the jokes never feel out of place like they do in Iron Man 3. There are a few moments that definitely hit me right in the feels. I still think Captain America: The Winter Soldier got the tone perfect and more so than here, but this still walks the line between seriousness and comedy well, but never really packs too much of a punch.

Ultron is very cool, he looks great and is a good match for The Avengers, however I was a little disappointed at the fact that for me, he wasn't as scary or intimidating a character as the trailers made him out to be. I truly thought this would be Marvel's best villain but he didn't blow me away like I thought he would. He's still menacing but at times he just sounds like a robot Joss Whedon. The two new characters Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch however, did surprise me. I wasn't sure what they would be like but I was pleasantly surprised to see how well they fit into the story and their character arcs as a whole, even their Eastern European accents worked. Scarlet Witch turned out to be one of my favourite characters in the film and her powers truly looked awesome on screen, especially her mind manipulation which creates some very cool sequences for the Avengers to deal with. Talking of favourite characters, Black Widow really stood out for me in this film. I found her annoying in the first Avengers film and a little bit better in The Winter Soldier, but in this film I truly enjoyed watching her on screen and her development as a character throughout. Another character who might surprise audiences is Hawkeye, in fact he gets more character development than most and you will enjoy his character as part of the roster a lot more than previously.

There is an emphasis on saving people in this film and it was refreshing to see this within the superhero genre, which has not shown much of this recently. I definitely think the genre has learnt a lesson from the backlash to Man of Steel and I really enjoyed seeing the heroes putting civilian life first before then going to stop the villain. There are still some 9/11 looking destruction that may upset some, but the emphasis on saving civillians was something I really enjoyed about their second outing.

My last little niggle with the film was the music, there wasn't as powerful a score here and the main Avengers theme is only heard a couple of times and didn't really give me the same feeling it did when I first saw The Avengers. This film as whole didn't have that same kind of feeling you got when you first saw the characters assemble on the big screen, but it gives you enough nerdy comic book moments to forget this and just enjoy what was going on.

The film is a comic book come to life, and although it doesn't pack as big a political punch as The Winter Soldier did, it still is one heck of an enjoyable watch. Joss Whedon knows how to make a fun film and although it does lay the seeds for the next instalments, its still its own thing and not just a trailer for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It will be a shame to see Whedon leave the franchise, but with The Russo Brothers helming the next instalment means we should still be in for another great ride.

It's not the best Marvel film but it sure is good still and is definitely a worthy sequel to the first Avengers. I feel it deserves a second viewing (like I did with the first film) to fully solidify my views, but for now this how I feel and I am rating Avengers: Age of Ultron a 3/5.

What did you think of the film? Do you think it was better or worse than than the first? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

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