Age Of Awesomeness!
When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) toys around with artificial intelligence in order to create a worldwide security program, his plan goes terribly wrong as the program develops a mind of its own and becomes the supervillain Ultron (James Spader). This robot is determined to cause the extinction of mankind. Only the Avengers, the people who created Ultron in the first place, can stop him.
Marvel has done it again. Just when you think the first Avengers-movie could not be topped in size or scale, here comes a sequel that’s even more action-packed and yet manages to deliver drama by adding insightful back stories for more than a few characters. First off there is the menacing villain Ultron, who is a product of Tony Stark’s combination of his hubris and his good intentions gone wrong. Newcomers Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch (Aaron Taylor-Johnson & Elizabeth Olsen, who now play brother & sister while they played husband & wife in last year’s ‘Godzilla’) are given a very valid reason for hating the Avengers & siding with Ultron instead. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) turn out to have sides we have not seen of them before, and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) struggles with his monstrous green alter ego and the path of destruction it leaves everywhere it goes. But it’s not just heavy drama: of course director Joss Whedon adds ample of sparkling dialogue and comic relief, with Downey Jr’s Stark getting great lines & Chris Hemsworth’s Thor providing the best jokes. Meanwhile Chris Evans just keeps getting better as Captain America with each movie, and as a result Cap is now just as big of a household name as Iron Man or Thor.
The action scenes are nothing short of jaw-dropping: the opening scene is a fantastic battle scene where the Avengers attack a fortress in the Eastern country of Sokovia. Unlike a lot of other set pieces in the film this fortress is not CGI. This was all actually filmed on location at the Forte Di Bard fortress in the Aosta Valley in Northwestern Italy, which will surely see a big increase in the number of visitors from now on.
Later on the action moves to Johannesburg, which doubles as the African republic of Wakanda. Here we get to see the highly anticipated fight between the Hulk and Iron Man in his HulkBuster Suit. needless to say this spectacular face-off lives up to the high expectations. Another aspect of ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ that fans will be pleased with is the introduction of fan-favourite The Vision, yet another new member to the team. His character has been cleverly integrated in the storyline and Paul Bettany nails the character that is basically the Avengers’ own Dr. Spock. The Vision soon joins the Avengers in the spectacular end fight against Ultron. It is during this finale where Whedon really lets loose with jaw dropping action scenes. One fight scene between the Avengers and the Ultronbots in a church even looks so bombastic it almost resembles Michelangelo’s depiction of the Last Judgement on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. (This may even be on purpose, as the end credits show statue versions of the Avengers that seem inspired by Bernini).
With so many characters, storylines & set pieces Whedon is basically juggling balls while balancing on a highwire, and as he keeps adding new balls to the act it is inevitable a few fall through; sometimes ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘ almost feels like it’s too much to take in, with more action & one-liners & references to events past, present & future than the human brain can process in two hours. This does make the movie chaotic and even a but unhinged at times, but by the time the credits start to roll, you’ll want to see it again as soon as you can. Of all the big movies out this blockbuster season, ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron‘ gives moviegoers the biggest bang for their buck.