Joss Whedon and the Avengers assemble again, this time to take on the artificial intelligence known as Ultron in Marvelís Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are all back and this time they have help from a few extra friends to take down the ultra-powerful Ultron (James Spader).
The movie starts off with the Avengers trying to track down and re-take Lokiís staff from the first movie which has now fallen into the hands of Baron Von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) and Hydra after the fall of S.H.I..E.L.D. as seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Avengers manage to take down Hydra fairly easily but not without some repercussions that will come back to affect the team later.
With Lokiís staff in hand, Stark and Banner decide to use the technology discovered in it to fast-track their Ultron project which is supposed to be a super-intelligent computer program that will bring about world peace in our time. At least that is what Tony, still suffering from paranoia of an alien invasion even the Avengers wonít be able to stop after the battle of New York, tells himself.
Things donít go quite as Stark plans, and Ultron is born with the idea that the best way to save humanity is to destroy it. After recruiting Pietor Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) who are under the misguided impression that former weapons dealer Tony Stark is responsible for the death of their parents, Ultron sets out to create the ultimate body for himself by obtaining a supply of Vibranium, the same material used to make Captain Americaís shield.
Things get worse for the Avengers before they get better, and all-out chaos breaks out with a huge climactic battle at the end.
While I personally donít feel this movie was as good as the first Avengers or even Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it was still enjoyable and included many of the things we have come to love from these movies such as Robert Downey Jrís one-liners, cool armors and action-packed fight scenes. We also get a number of comedic moments including a few funny lines from Ultron himself.
Joss Whedon also manages to throw in a few surprises which in this day and age of movie news is hard to do. I thought many of the special effects seen in the movie revolving around the CGI of Ultron, Vision and Hulk were incredibly done. If you didnít know better, you would have thought Ultron was real. I did feel some of the battle scenes did not look as good as in previous Marvel movies. At times, so much was going on at once that it was just hard to track everything and a few scenes did not come together on the big IMAX 3D screen as well as I would have liked.
The story also may have suffered from trying to do too much in too little time. An executing feature and hindrance of Marvel movies is the constant setup for the next installment. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe growing so big with all the new movies and TV shows coming down the pike, I feel like the immediate story of the movie might have been sacrificed a bit in favor of setting up things to come. There also wasnít really that feeling of a big payoff with this movie like in the first Avengers. In the first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, all the movies were clearly leading up to the events seen in the first Avengers movie and the payoff was there. With this movie, that was missing - primarily because the story is still building with Thanos and the Infinity Gems which have been teased throughout the Marvel movies. I expect the payoff will come in the next two Avengers movies ďThe Infinity War Part 1 and 2.Ē Still, not having that satisfaction of a big payoff for this movie was a little disappointing to me.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is not without faults, but overall I think most fans of the franchise will come out of the theater happy and looking forward to the next installment. Look for the end-credit scenes midway through the credits. Itís not one of the most exciting end-credit scenes we have seen with these movies, but it definitely gives folks a hint of things to come.