Marvel has created an empire of comic book adaptations and, at its pinnacle (right now at least), is the Avengers franchise, which feeds off the publisher’s other hits: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and Thor. The first film, The Avengers, released in 2012, is the biggest grossing superhero film ever made, and the third highest grossing film (behind Avatar and Titanic) to date. Its sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron is sure to please fans, with more snappy dialogue between the heroes, eye-popping action sequences, mesmerising CGI, and some new characters.
Age of Ultron is set a few years after the world’s mightiest defeated the alien invasion. You might be forgiven for thinking the film starts half way through. The opening scenes see the heroes attacking a Hydra fortress, to stop the use of Loki’s sceptre for experimenting on and “enhancing” humans. It’s everything you want from an action sequence on steroids: the Avengers engaged in full, frenetic battle, arrows and star-spangled shield flying, the big green man throwing punches, a hammer knocking out anyone in its way. Though the team manages to capture the fortress and the sceptre, they encounter two new foes: the Maximoff Twins. Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor Johnson) can dash at the speed of light, while his sister Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) has telekinetic powers (i.e. she can seriously mess with your mind) and can disrupt reality.
Tired of constantly trying to fight new evils, Tony Stark aka Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr with his usual playboy charm and caustic wisecracks), wants to come up with a more permanent solution. He creates a digital global defence system called Ultron, using the artificial intelligence found in the sceptre. Stark, despite his slight tendency towards megalomania, means well. But when Ultron turns into a conscious, monstrous robotic creature, who wants to effect world peace by killing off the human race, the team has to face up against a force more dangerous than any it’s encountered before, resulting in a carnival of death and destruction.
Age of Ultron isn’t particularly original (it’s a superhero blockbuster so give it a break). Director and writer Joss Whedon manages to take the predictable genre (as he did in the first Avengers film) and just make it slightly more fun, although as far as fun goes nothing can beat out Guardians of the Galaxy And for those who are well-versed in this Marvel universe, there is a delicious hint of what’s to come next for the franchise mid-way through the credits.
Rating: 3.5 out 5
Director: Joss Whedon
Cast (talk about all-star): Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Elizabeth Olson, Aaron Taylor Johnson, James Spader, Paul Bettany
Local release date: 24 April 2015