“This one belongs to James Spader” Avengers: Age of Ultron review


AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON   (UK CERT: 12A)

Director: Joss Whedon  

Music: Brian Tyler/Danny Elfman

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans


I doubt that Joss Whedon and the team down at Marvel knew just how successful 2012’s Avengers Assemble would go on to be. After just a few months of release it became the third highest-grossing film of all time, by no means an easy feat to achieve.

Therefore, Whedon and co had their work cut out trying to build on the solid foundations they had laid when it came to producing a sequel. However, three years and $250m later Avengers: Age of Ultron hits our screens. But is it the follow-up everyone was asking for?

The full Avengers cast returns

The full Avengers cast returns

Age of Ultron follows the dynamic team of superheroes as they continue to save the world following the near cataclysmic events of the 2009 predecessor and of course every Marvel film released since. Here however, they are tasked with taking down a robot hell bent on destroying the world – a tough day at the office to say the least.

All the fan favourites return as well as some new faces in a film that is technically spectacular but a little overambitious at times. There are 11, count them 11, major characters vying for screen time in Age of Ultron and while Whedon manages to give each of them their own story arc, at times it feels a little rushed.

Joining the cast is James Spader as the voice of Ultron, a robot accidentally created by Tony Stark, and he is by far the most intriguing character in an already impressive line-up. Robert Downey Jr. continues to be on fine form as the wise-cracking Iron Man/Stark with Chris Hemsworth providing the eye-candy as Thor.

It’s also nice to see Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner’s Black Widow and Hawkeye get some much-needed fleshing out after their fairly limited roles in previous Marvel films, and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk is a joy to watch.

The_Blacklist_-_James_Spader_(cropped)

James Spader is excellent as Ultron

Kick-Ass’ Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Godzilla’s Elizabeth Olsen also join the cast as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, two characters fans of the X-Men universe will recognise. However, due to legal requirements their origins are changed and the fact that they are mutants is never revealed, unfortunately limiting their appeal.

When it comes to special effects, Whedon has made sure every sequence is brimming with the highest quality CGI, and despite a couple of lapses early on in the film, the majority of the picture is flawless with some stunning global locations beautifully juxtaposed with the characters doing their thing.

What stands out in Age of Ultron however is the plot. Avengers Assemble was a fine film right up until the generic city-levelling, headache inducing climax that looked like it could have come straight out of a Michael Bay movie.

Thankfully, whilst the action is dialled up a few notches here, the plot is much more detailed and the final scenes are utterly breath-taking.

Overall, Avengers: Age of Ultron had a massive amount to live up to and in some respects it falls a little short, its overambitious nature is its downfall with too many characters needing screen time. However, as a good-time blockbuster it’s hard to find one better and James Spader is genuinely mesmerising as Ultron.

Is it the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Well, it’s definitely an improvement on its predecessor – but for me, Guardians of the Galaxy just takes that title by a whisker.

Category

Scoring /10

Story/Plot 8
Acting/Vocal Performance 9
Special Effects/Cinematography 9
Soundtrack 9
Costume/Design 9
Script/Dialogue 8
TOTAL                                      /60 52

Rob’s Thoughts

10410305_559956154112893_7235515021564324601_nA team superhero film lives and dies by the characters and the dynamic interplay between them. If that’s what you’re looking for, then you’ll love Avengers 2. Joss Whedon is the best in the business at juggling casts, and every character gets their signature moments of awesome. The Avengers Assemble veterans are great, particularly Hulk and Black Widow, but new entries Pietro and Wanda hold their own and Ultron makes a menacing foe.

If you’re looking for a film with a cohesive narrative, however, then look elsewhere because the plot is a total mess. It’s very easy to lose track of what is happening, especially seeing as making a logical decision seems as impossible a task as decapitating a rainbow.

Overall, though, Age of Ultron was an enjoyable, if incredibly messy experience, with good action supporting great character dynamics; just don’t expect Avengers Assemble all over again.

14 thoughts on ““This one belongs to James Spader” Avengers: Age of Ultron review

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  2. Oooo I loved Age of Ultron…. I felt that it was nice that they didn’t just do another Avengers assemble and instead focused more on all of the avengers and some of the newer characters and future story-lines. I agree with Adam that I think some of the action sequences in this one were much better then the first but do understand Robbie’s thoughts about a bit of a messy plot. I just think bring on Phase 3!

  3. Well I expected to be disappointed after the success of Avengers Assemble but wasn’t 🙂 Lots of action, no dips the pace, does what it says on the tin action movie. Some cringe worthy lines and didn’t think the Thor sub-plot added anything… But overall really enjoyed this movie.

    • Hi Emma,
      Thanks for commenting. I completely agree that the Thor subplot was a little unnecessary which is a shame as he is one of the most intriguing characters.

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  9. Top 5 of 2015 material!

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