Hard to believe but it’s only been seven years since Marvel set in motion this grandiose plan to create a cinematic universe that would bring many of it’s popular comic book character to life. A slew of solo films introducing Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk all lead to one moment in 2012, when director Joss Whedon unleashed Earth’s Mightiest Heroes into cinemas to complete Phase 1 of the company’s plan, a feat that would result in the third biggest box office worldwide. Three years later Whedon returns to take this franchise to another level and looks to top the achievement many believed to be too large to tackle. Seven years and so many memorable films has lead to this moment, Marvel’s crowning jewel, Avengers: Age of Ultron.
In Ultron, we find the Avengers back together and on a mission in the Eastern European city of Sokovia looking for Hydra operative Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), who has been experimenting on humans using Loki’s scepter. The team encounter two of Strucker’s experiments, Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who has superhuman speed, and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), who can manipulate minds and throw energy blasts. Tony (Robert Downey Jr) encounters Wanda’s power during the apprehension of the scepter and has a vision of a cataclysmic event that would see the end of everything and everyone he loves.
Haunted by this vision, Stark and Banner (Mark Ruffalo) discover an artificial intelligence within the scepter’s gem, and secretly use it to complete Stark’s “Ultron” global defense program, but things don’t go as planned. Ultron (voiced by James Spader) misinterprets the directive and believes the only way to save the Earth is to eradicate humanity. Believing his biggest threat to be the Avengers, the program sets his sights on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as the first hurdle in his grand plan. Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), feeling betrayed by the duos secret plan, confront Stark and Banner for answers. Believing it will take all of them to take down the creation, the Avengers set out to find Ultron before he can enact his evil plan and destroy the Earth, but it will take not only the Avengers, but new alliances with the Maxinoff’s and a newly created AI named The Vision (Paul Bettany) to see this mission to completion. Can the team save the Earth one more time?
Like Captain America: The Winter Solider, Marvel has begun to evolve it’s films with more mature storytelling. Avengers: Age of Ultron has a darker tone than the previous Avengers film, but it helps escalates the tension and performances of these actors to new levels not yet seen in the MCU. The addition of new characters, including the performances of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen as the Maximoff twins and Paul Bettany as The Vision are crucial to keeping the Avengers franchise from growing stale and all three actors bring a wonderful presence that fits perfectly in with the core team. Jeremy Renner‘s Hawkeye takes center stage for many crucial scenes in the film and shines with the increased screen time. The growing chemistry between Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner works wonderfully within the structure of the film and never feels out of place.
Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans are exactly what they need to be for this film. The action sequences involving these two are spectacular as usual and each actor adds a nice dose of humor to the film. Robert Downey Jr is perfect as always. The human side of Tony was flushed out in Iron Man 3, but the effects of the events he’s faced have begun to multiply and lead to many hard decisions for the character. Downey Jr carefully dissects these effects and portrays them to perfection. James Spader is a tremendous presence as the voice and mo cap of Ultron. The seasoned actor is menacing and devilishly charming and his mannerisms and facial expressions are portrayed perfectly within the Ultron character.
Overall, Avengers: Age of Ultron should thrill audiences and set new records worldwide. The film is a true test of the power of story telling and takes the Marvel brand to a new height. Stay in your seats for a mid-credit scene which will no doubt set up the next adventure of our favorite heroes in 2018! But don’t fret, there will be plenty of Marvel films before that, including next year’s Captain America: Civil War! Buckle up, they’re just getting started.
4 out of 5
After credit scene?
Yes. Mid credit scene, nothing after the credits