24th April 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron (Running Time: 142 Minutes)

While on a routine mission to destroy an enemy outpost, our heroes find a super advanced technology which could make Artificial Intelligence a reality. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr back again for the fifth time in the Iron Man suit) can’t wait to use this newfound gift but in his haste, he inadvertently creates a powerful sentient robot that believes the world can only be saved by eradicating the human race!

Yes, it’s time to settle back with your favourite group of lycra wearing super-beings once more in director Joss Whedon’s anticipated sequel. The action starts up even before the opening credits finish as we’re treated to a visual feast with our fantastical heroes taking on the might of the sinister HYDRA in a blistering fight scene in a snowy forest. As well as serving as a quick reminder of our group’s abilities, this sequence also introduces us to two new additions to the roster of super-dudes; The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, who come with their own set of special abilities and a habit of causing mayhem for our heroic bunch.

All your favourites from the first film are back and, with the first film doing so much of the heavy-lifting in terms of character development, this second film allows each cast member a little more breathing room to bring some individualism and depth to the table. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) now gets some excellent comedic moments – even outdoing the charismatic Downey Jr. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who has pretty much being side-lined in previous outings, at last gets a chance to show us he isn’t simply a two-dimensional Robin Hood knock-off and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) have an entire side-plot which gives the audience an unlikely romantic angle to follow. Chris Evans as Captain America is possibly the character least expanded on but, as he has his very own films in which to develop, we’re not left feeling short-changed by his performance.

As with all good vs evil movies, the heroes are only ever as great as their adversary and with Ultron, Marvel and Whedon have thankfully managed to create a truly memorable villain. James Spader provides the voice to this surprisingly charismatic and extremely funny metal man who not only manages to provide a sense of threat but will also have you chuckling into your popcorn at some of his one-liners.

With a running time of over two hours, you might expect the film to occasionally drag but, with the exception of only a couple of exposition moments needing a slight trim to help the pacing, this is a fast-paced rollercoaster ride from start to end. It’s a testament to the great writing that, in a film with so many individuals to follow, each with their own set of values and differing personalities that it flows so well. Keeping so many plates spinning can’t have been easy and as the roster of Avengers continually expands, there may come a time when these films become too unwieldy for anyone but hard core comic book geeks to follow. Presently, though, it seems that Marvel rarely put a foot wrong.

Overall this is great value entertainment for all ages – a few curse words and a couple of darker scenes may make this uncomfortable for younger audience members but the general light-hearted mood of the piece should prevent nightmares. This is a worthy sequel to the original film and, despite not having the element of surprise that the first film had, it has enough great dialogue and set pieces to make it worth assembling for (see what I did there?).

Written by Smylexx