Avengers: Age of Ultron

age of ultronReleased: 2015
Director: Joss Whedon
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson

Disappointing sequel


I’ve been watching films long enough now not to be too disappointed when sequels don’t match the brilliance of original films. I don’t mind that and have an inbuilt expectation of diminishing returns when film series go into multiple instalments. So I wasn’t expecting Avengers: Age of Ultron to be as good as the magnificent Avengers Assemble, I was hoping for a good action film but I didn’t mind if it wasn’t great. What I wasn’t ready for however was the absolute crushing disappointment that I felt when watching this fairly ordinary film.

The Avengers are now a super Hydra-fighting team, travelling the world blowing stuff up in the name of world peace. Think Team America, without the catchy songs. I’m not going to lie – I didn’t entirely pick up on the plot, there’s some magic gems and Loki’s sceptre (but no Loki, oh god for the brilliance of Tom Hiddlestone) and an evil artificial intelligence robot thing created by Tony Stark which has the aim of destroying the world because all of humanity has screwed up. The plot is a bit complicated, there’s a lot of weird dream-like sequences where we see the inner most fears of the superheroes and a strange scene where Thor visits a magic pool and flicks his hair. Actually I didn’t mind that scene, Chris Hemsworth looked good.

The complicated plot was a major downfall of the film, but worse was the feeling I had all the way through it that Age of Ultron was less a self-contained film and more a prequel to the upcoming Captain America: Civil War which will see Marvel’s heroes face off against each other. It seemed that every scene between Captain America and Tony Stark had half an eye on developments in the next chapter of the Marvel story. I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan, but this didn’t feel like something written by Whedon – it had the dread hand of executives meddling all over it with only a few funny moments getting through the committee.

The cast worked well with and all inhabit their roles brilliantly well but the ever expanding list of players made it difficult for anyone to shine, perhaps that’s always going to be a risk with an ensemble cast. Only Chris Hemsworth really stood out for me, and it was good to see a bit more of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye/Cliff Barton. James Spader gave a great voice performance as Ultron but the character (robot thingy) is not exactly memorable. The post-credit sequence once again added to the feeling that Ultron (and the Age of Ultron) was nothing more than a stepping stone to something bigger.

I was really disappointed with Age of Ultron, not because it wasn’t as good as Avengers Assemble but because it wasn’t that good a stand-alone film. It wasn’t bad but it just didn’t do much for me, I’m glad that I watched it on Sky rather than buying the Blu-Ray as I’m just not sure I’d bother with a rewatch. I’ll still go to see Civil War, but given how disappointed I was in this and Thor: The Dark World it won’t take much for me to give the Marvel universe a wide berth in future.

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