Marvel has secured a key place in the world of cinema over the past few years and once again they haven’t failed to deliver when it comes to pleasure-seeking entertainment. Avengers: Age of Ultron is packed with big names, a bank load of special effects and enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat and stop you dosing off throughout its 141 minute duration.
After the hugely popular, Avengers Assemble smashed the box office back in 2012, writer-director, Joss Whedon was under intense pressure to use the megabucks budget wisely and ensure its sequel wasn’t a flop. The unusually high headcount of heroes meant Whedon was in danger of regurgitating another tired action/adventure plot. However, the dense script allowed him to explore each character’s personal identity more, displaying their motives and pulling the audience along on their journey.
Just like any other Marvel film though, Avengers: Age of Ultron is full of intense action, ‘bad guys’ and superheroes trying to save the day (and/or the world – no biggy).
The plot begins in Eastern Europe where Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) is misusing Loki’s scepter to conduct genetic experiments. The doctor is a member of HYDRA, the Avengers’ enemies, and so naturally is your stereotypical ‘bad guy’. His main subjects are the strange twins, Pietro/Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who moves pretty damn fast, and his sister, Wanda/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) who can enter the minds of others (a skill many wouldn’t say no to, I’m sure). These two have an unusually close bond and an equally strong grudge against the Avengers. After rescuing the scepter back from the hands of HYDRA, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) dabble with highly developed artificial intelligence; it soon becomes clear it hasn’t turned out as swimmingly as they hoped. Despite this major problem, the lengthy film allows for spin-off subplots reminding the audience that the superheroes are not immortal and are more close to humanity than it initially appears. Behind the ongoing, overarching plot, each individual is struggling with his or her own issues while ultimately trying to prevent the death of millions.
This sequel has more depth than before; Joss Whedon has met the demands of a multi-character narrative by keeping it engaging and structured. The plot can get quite complicated at times and requires a certain amount of concentration as Whedon sets a lot of plates spinning, but he seems to have mastered the art of not letting them fall. Although the issues at the heart of the film can become quite dark, the strong character development and various snippets of humour make it a good watch. There’s a lot of banter among the team, particularly with the recurring joke of Thor’s hammer and nobody being able to lift it. The emotional elements, such as some members of the group exploring their more sensitive side and questioning their true purpose, are balanced out by Whedon’s ability to remind the audience to laugh at different stages of the film.
True Marvel fans will relish the inside jokes, one-liners and the fast-paced action, as well as the visually stunning special effects. Despite the questionable morals of the film – should we want robots patrolling the earth protecting humans? – I’m sure the next Avengers sequel will no doubt be just as entertaining as the first and second films have.