The world of the Avengers just got darker, more complicated and more extended in a sequel that although contains many of the key ingredients of its predecessor fails to rise to its exhilarating and entertaining heights.
The problem with The Avengers: Age of Ultron lies in its convoluted plot and writer-director Joss Whedon trying to pack everything including the Marvel kitchen sink into this non-stop action packed two and a half hour long 3D adventure. The film hits the ground running from the start with Thor (Liam Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) fighting as a cohesive force.
When Tony Stark tries to restart a dormant peacekeeping program it leads to the creation of Ultron (James Spader) a villainous artificial intelligence hell-bent on global domination with the aid of his newly acquired army of robots. The Avengers are faced with a formidable foe, superbly played/voiced by Spader, who is joined by evil twins Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who is super-fast and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) who can control minds.
Downey Jr is on wisecracking form as Stark while Hemsworth and Evans have little to do as Thor and Captain America who are relegated to providing the muscle here. Unlike in the previous film our heroes are not given equal screen time instead the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye are awarded more prominence.
The blossoming romance between the Hulk and Black Widow feels oddly forced and doesn’t quite ring true along with her ability to lull him back into Bruce Banner with her whispering ways. Hawkeye’s back story is also a bolt out of the blue. However it is good to see Paul Bettany morph from Stark’s computerised buddy Jarvis into the meatier Vision and he is indeed a vision to behold.
Despite everything Whedon does know how to deliver an eye popping spectacle which will bombard your senses. It just needed more light and shade including more banter and killer one liners. The scene where the Avengers let their hair down in a night club is fun and inspired. The only thing that is missing is Loki while they do very cleverly explain the absence of Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Thor’s human girlfriend.
This sequel isn’t as fun or as captivating as Avengers Assemble, which set the bar incredibly high, but you will get your money’s worth and it does lay the groundwork for the new up and coming members of the Avengers and their numerous films.
By Maria Duarte