The biggest of all of Marvel’s annual blockbusters has finally arrived. Avengers: Age of Ultron, doesn’t waste time diving head first into the action as the movie kicks off with a great action set piece which finds our band of heroes in classic form. Despite this being the second film featuring all the heroes of the MCU (marvel cinema universe, with the exception of the Guardians of the Galaxy) it’s obvious this group has been together long enough to function as a well oiled, bad guy butt kicking machine. The one thing this Avengers film has going for it that the first didn’t is pacing and familiarity amongst its characters, which is the benefit you get from moving on from the first movie when everyone meets up and has to learn to work with one another.
Where the first film felt long and dragged in parts, this one flows fluidly, the interactions between characters feel natural and the two and a half hour length doesn’t feel near that much. Joss Wheedon returns to writing and directing duties, showing off his ability to seemingly inhabit these characters. When people say that Wheedon writes in a way that feels like he gets the characters I have to agree. Wheedon nails the personality of every character even minor ones and those that show up as cameos from other films. This time around he chooses to give more focus on the secondary Avengers (those not named Stark, Rogers, Banner, or Thor) and I think that focus helps the movie give it a kind of emotional heart (or as much as you can get with a film like this).
James Spader, as the voice of Ultron, steals the show as a villain who is likable and surpassingly funny in his evilness. Of course the action is ramped up from the first and Wheedon captures it in a mixture of realism and comic book styling where the viewer can keep up with what’s actually going on in front of them. While the last battle between the Avengers and Ultron is great, the standout scene has to be between Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster armor and the Hulk himself. It’s an entertaining blend of a violent but humorous battle, something I think only Wheedon and maybe a couple of other filmmakers could pull off. Overall, this next installment of the franchise lives up to the hype that had been building since the first teaser debuted last year. It will be interesting to see what happens with this franchise now that Wheedon’s part to play in it is done. All in all, It’s a fun ride while providing a brief glimpse into what’s coming in the future with the two-part inifinity gauntlet which will be the next Avenger films. Marvel is clearly leading everyone else for best summer film experience, and I’m looking forward to see who, if anyone, can dethorne Avengers: Age of Ultron as THE summer film.