The follow up act to 2012’s Avengers Assemble was always going to be a tough mission for Joss Whedon and his mighty heroes. With the bar set so high for the sequel, you can’t help but feel that the expectations weren’t quite met in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Maybe it’s the vast amount of new characters or perhaps it’s the clustered sub stories that make it a slightly difficult and confusing film to follow. With that being said, Age of Ultron can still be a fun watch with all our favourite heroes reuniting once again on the big screen.
The main storyline is as follows: Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) with the help of Dr Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), discover a way to kick-start a new world defence programme known as Ultron (brilliantly voiced by the terrifying James Spader), based on artificial intelligence. The results of the programme leave the world under serious threat, which does not go down too well with fellow Avengers Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans). Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) also share their own grudge with Stark. Meanwhile, allying the AWOL Ultron is a brother and sister super-human duo from the Eastern European country of Sokovia, Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). Both join Ultron seeking revenge on our American heroes.
Already, it’s hard to keep up with the vast amount of new faces and this is before Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson), Rhodie Rhodes (Don Cheadle), Maria Hill (Colbie Smulders) etc. are even thrown into the mix. It is simply too difficult to affiliate yourself with one character in one specific moment with everything else that is going on at the time. This is especially the case when a relationship within the Avengers team arises and also when we are enlightened by Hawkeye’s background. If this doesn’t make things challenging enough to follow, the story is mostly told using fantastical scientific babble, which the nerdiest of comic book readers would struggle to comprehend.
One shining light on the film is Whedon’s typical sense of wisecracking humour, which is heavily used throughout. This is where the film is most fun when our heroes comically bicker with each other – a quality that we all enjoyed in the first Avengers venture. Age of Ultron is still an exciting and entertaining movie.
The on-screen presence of the Marvel heroes along with some fantastic visual effects and thrilling set pieces make it a decent enough watch. But Whedon’s attempts to take his Avengers franchise and go bigger and better fail him, and seriously harm the film, leaving us without that special tingly feeling we got from the first instalment.