Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Age Restriction: 10–12 PG V
Genre: Action, Comic Book, Superhero
Runtime: 141 min
Release date: 24 April 2015
After the massive success of 2012’s The Avengers, a sequel proved inevitable and was quickly dated for a 2015 release. Anticipation has been at sky high levels ever since. Now the wait is finally over as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes return to the big screen in this promising and bigger chapter. So the question is: will the sequel be a worthy and superior follow-up?
Instead of Loki, the Avengers now face Ultron (James Spader) – an artificial intelligence created by Tony Stark/ Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner/ the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). The duo created Ultron as a peacekeeping bodyguard who would be tasked with fighting crime and saving the world, thereby giving the Avengers some much needed rest.
Tony also views Ultron as a replacement for the Avengers as he realises that they won’t be able to do this forever.
Instead of being a hero, Ultron goes rogue and transforms into a villain believing that the only way to save the world is through the Avengers’ extinction and the eradication of all humanity. However, unlike Loki’s more straightforward plan from the first film, Ultron’s goes much deeper and in the complete opposite direction. The destruction of humanity is only the basis of Ultron’s master plan, as his ultimate goal (which I won’t reveal) is something much more twisted and downright disturbing.
Judging by all the reviews that have been pouring in, there will most certainly be a debate amongst audiences as to whether Age of Ultron is superior to the original.
While I felt that the first Avengers was simplistic yet mind-blowing, I had hoped that Marvel would change the game with the sequel, and boy did they deliver.
Instead of providing audiences with more of the same, Marvel once again showcase their innovation, and in doing so, Age of Ultron goes in a completely different direction, being far more complex and darker than its predecessor.
The sad fact is that not everyone is accustomed to change, while others - like myself - completely endorse it, due to the fact that it makes things far more interesting. So with regards to the debate, my official verdict is that Avengers: Age of Ultron is superior to its predecessor and is a brilliant blockbuster to say the very least.
Age of Ultron ups the ante in every way as it’s big on story and characters; while the action and visuals have improved vastly.
The dialogue is sharply written and witty; and we have way more one-liners and humour this time round, especially with Captain America's (Chris Evans) no swearing policy – which is a running gag throughout.
Director Joss Whedon returns for the sequel and takes a leap of faith, delivering a larger more complex plot with a darker feel. Like most sequels, Age of Ultron treats audiences to more action sequences and set pieces which naturally lead to a greater amount of visual effects.
Unlike the first film, where we only had six Avengers, we now have ten members. Add villain Ultron into the mix and you have a lot of characters to deal with. The amazing thing is how well Whedon is able to develop these characters quite evenly throughout the film, thereby making each character useful and valuable to the movie.
Whedon also rectifies some elements from the first film giving the underdeveloped Hawkeye more screen time and characterisation, while revealing some of Black Widow’s origins.
Age of Ultron also offers more emotion compared to the original and there’s even a romance subplot involving Black Widow and the Hulk.
By the sound of it, Age of Ultron has quite a bit to digest as it’s one ambitious film. However, Whedon manages to execute all the elements in equal measure leading to a well-balanced film that will satisfy audiences including those who’ve debated the exact opposite.
As usual, the cast all bring great performances to the table with James Spader in particular mesmeric as Ultron. Spader adds dimensions and personality to the titular villain and utters his dialogue with great ease, and is not afraid to be humorous at times.
The twins, Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), do a good job in their respective Russian accents with Olsen in particular getting to do the most out of the two. While Taylor-Johnson did a good job, his Quicksilver can’t compare to the amazing performance of Evan Peters’ scene stealing version from X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Verdict: Age of Ultron is an ambitious yet satisfying superhero film that takes risks, goes into a new direction and absolutely qualifies as a superior offering to the original.