As a devout fan of the Marvel Universe, this week was quite the special one for me, but alas I’ll try to write an unbiased review and stop myself from kissing the feet of Mr Feige, Mr Whedon or anyone else important for that matter.
Making an irregular move to watch Age of Ultron in 3D IMax, I watched, laughed, cried (almost…) and gawped in awe at what in my opinion is the only film to rival Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the box office this year (released December 18th). With its predecessor Avengers Assemble holding the mantle high for this sequel/expansion of the Marvel Universe/continuation of story… whatever it is, Age of Ultron didn’t disappoint.
With the formerly mentioned Joss Whedon at the helm once again, it was filled with quick, sharp and at times subtle humor, interesting characters, unfathomably good dialogue and spectacular set pieces that made Avengers Assemble so successful. But by far its greatest asset was the continuation of characters, a closer look at those we’ve only brushed the surface of (Hawkeye, Black Widdow, The Hulk even) and spending less time focused on those characters that are already well established.
As a sequel it works very well. It takes what the first film made and blows it up into an expanding (and at times confusing) universe and doesn’t simply repeat the first film – minus my own reservations about the inevitable big battle sequence at the end. Its characters have changed roles (The Hulk gets to be a more serious Bruce Banner whilst Thor inherits the comedy stick) and its villain, the titular named Ultron, whilst arguably not as good as Loki, is a refreshingly interesting, intriguing character with actual character and justified motives; a break from the generic “I’m all powerful hahaha!” stuff (he says eyeing up Ronan the Accuser and Malekith).
But is it perfect? No, not quite.
As I previously mentioned the inevitable brawl at the end was a little inconsistent (both in terms of physics and threat) and the arena in which they duke it out seems all to similar to the battle of New York. Their was a lot going on (and I mean alot!), even for a fan keeping up with it all I was at times struggling (not that having to watch it again to get all the information is a bad thing). But my biggest criticism has to be the films score. It’s very nice and reintroduces the key chimes from Avengers Assemble but for the epic film that it should be, that chime is the only one that is noticeable. Unlike Star Wars or Lord of the Rings which would throw a new beat at you each time, humming to yourself as you walked out of the screen, there didn’t seem to be anything noticeably new. But if your not being as pedantic about it as me then you’ll probably not notice and enjoy it.
In my opinion this is a better ‘film’ that Avengers Assemble, but not as fun and rounded for a passer-by. Instead of being able to join in without any knowledge or interest and enjoy the film as a one off however, this is where Age of Ultron falls down a little. As a minimum, to enjoy it, you will need to have seen Avengers Assemble but Whedon does do a very good job of filling in the blanks from the individual movies that came between the two (Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Solider and Thor: The Dark World which are all worth a watch). But there are sidekicks and such that make appearances as well as some newcomers (Maybe they should have called it Avengers: Oops, sorry we’re full at the moment) but as a whole; a brilliant piece of blockbuster film making showing the rest of them how it’s done.
Four and a half stars out of five from me!