Avengers: Age of Ultron…the time is finally here, and man have I been waiting long enough. Let me get this started with the fact that I am a huge Marvel fan and have been from the beginning, so needless to say, I had huge expectations for this one. I was blown away by the first Avengers movie, which brought together all of our favourite characters to form a super-group. That movie had the wow factor just for that simple reason – seeing Thor fight beside Iron Man and Captain America? Not forgetting the gorgeous Natasha Romonov, Hawk-Eye and the monstrous Hulk. That movie had it all and it didn’t disappoint, so obviously I expected more from this one. Much, much more.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) wants to create the ultimate program to keep the vulnerable Earth safe from future disasters and threats from the galaxy. He works with Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) to create Ultron (James Spader) who, Tony hopes, will be the peacekeeper he thinks the world is in dire need of. However, things don’t always seem to work out that ideally and take a turn for the worse. Tony is forced to work with his faithful team of Avengers; Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawk-Eye (Jeremy Renner) and the Incredible Hulk to protect the earth once again. The team are pushed to their limits in a battle with Ultron, whose sole plan is the destruction of humankind itself. On their journey they come across two unusual and seemingly powerful twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Ultron is unlike anything they have ever fought before – how will they pull through this time? Only time will tell.
I got my tickets and ordered a coffee waiting for the usher to say the screen was ready for us. Now, I know it’s opening day and all, but I did expect most people would be too busy to see it during the day – especially on a weekday – but to my surprise I was not the only one anxiously waiting, tickets in hand, for the signal. Once we had been given the heads-up I rushed into the screen and found our seats, middle ones of course. Luckily, everyone sitting either side of us was respectable and just as excited as we were to get on with watching the movie. No obnoxious loud people in this screening, just a bunch of Marvel fans sitting and waiting for an awe-inspiring experience. Quiet. It was blissful. The adverts were appropriate enough – the new Terminator movie and Mad Max, amongst others – so I enjoyed watching those. Then, queue the lights, time for the IMAX experience.
Directed by Joss Whedon, who returned to the director’s seat after filming the first Avengers movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron is full of what you’d expect; action, and lots of it. The film throws you right into this from the outset and does not let up. It is scene after scene of immense fighting, plotting and doing everything the Avengers do best, with a little bit of humour dashed in. I was waiting for the wow factor and I needn’t have waited long because I was fully immersed in the movie by the first scene. Already leaning forward and trying to soak up every inch of the movie, I literally could not get enough. The excitement washed over me completely and I was in nerdy paradise.
The best thing about this movie is the development of each and every one of the characters. We have seen loads of the main Avengers Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and even Hulk through their own movies and, because of this, have developed a deep understanding of their origins and their characteristics. Who we haven’t seen a lot of is Black Widow and Hawk-Eye, and this film changes that. It takes the opportunity to delve into their pre-Avengers past. We learn their secrets and their lives so therefore they no longer just seem like disposable secondary characters. I have been wanting more and more from Black Widow, so I was content with this, but I will admit that before this movie I could take or leave Hawk-Eye, who felt underdeveloped, stand-offish and disposable, but now I know so much more about him I will always be rooting for him. It shows a whole new side to the characters. Not only have they improved on their character development, they’ve also outdone themselves on the interactions between them. They are no longer just a bunch of people who come together to save the world, they are more than that. Yes, they do work together, but now, more than ever, they are tested and because of this you can see the strain in their relationships and the changes their friendships go through during the movie.
The introduction of the twins, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, was also something I was excitedly anticipating. We previously saw a snippet of them in the post-credit scene of Captain America: Winter Soldier in captivity of Hydra after being experimented on, and I, for one, could not wait to see what their role would be in the fight against Ultron. They do step up to the mark and, while their accents may have been a little stiff and at times I found Scarlet Witch to be a little too gimmicky, they fit in perfectly and held their own. Also, as a little bonus, there are quite a few cameos in this one, which was a nice touch.
The cinematography was pretty near perfect and the direction worked well, although I do admit I am excited to see what Anthony Russo and Joe Russo will bring to Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 after their amazing work on Captain America: Winter Soldier. However, I do have a downside, namely Ultron. While acted superbly by Spader, Ultron is supposed to be the most formidable, personal enemy to the Avengers, which he is, but I felt it lacked something. I see Ultron only as a filler-villain to buy time until the Avengers come to war with Thanos. I can understand that the movie only has a good two-and-a-half hours of time to build this enemy and put up the fight for the team, but I felt we could get more out of Ultron. My only other qualm is the near absence of Hydra, which this movie barely touches on. Maybe it is because of the preoccupation with Ultron who, for the moment, is the main common enemy and threat to the world.
Overall, this movie left me feeling more than satisfied. I had the highest expectations and even then it did not disappoint, but even went as far as to surpass them. It is essential viewing for Marvel fans, those following the story, and would even be entertaining to those new to the universe. It is non-stop grip-your-seat and bite-your-nails-off action which I just couldn’t get enough off, and you will feel the same. Sure, there are things people can nit-pick at, but you could say that about any movie. I for one am definitely going for round two in the cinema on Monday.