If Marvel is a tree then The Avengers are the ripest fruit on the branch. With Phase 2 coming to it’s end, the lack-luster opening two movies are thankfully forgiven with the release of Age of Ultron.
The film opts for a similar style to the first one with high-octane and wondrously choreographed action sequences providing the main scenes, whilst character dialogue and building provide the glue in between these scenes. They don’t omit a romantic sub-plot but abort the common superhero trope of a ‘damsel-in-distress’ who also becomes the hero’s girlfriend, in favour of a more toned down love affair that is glanced upon only when needs be.
The set-pieces are extraordinary and though seeing landscapes sculpted by CGI isn’t to everyone’s taste it can at least be respected how brilliant they look and blend with the real life characters. The action sequences are as fantastically ludicrous but as Hawkeye states in one of his ‘bro-fist’ speeches “none of this makes sense”; this line is almost directed at the cynics. Marvel can be seen as a money sponge, the corporate wheel actually visible and even given the grace of being called Phases in this universe; Joss Wheadon seems to want to deliver something memorably and promising as opposed to a quick buck.
Ultron could be a better villain though. Whilst his robotics and ability to transmit his mind into any other of his cyborgs is ‘scary’, it’s not as villainous as it should be, and is unfortunately one of the series less remembered villains. It’s not that he’s a bad villain but there was room for more; his humour borrowed from Iron Man is a redeeming quality. Ultron is also brilliantly voiced by James Spade, but it’s a shame Ultorn does not have a wider role. He is only only slightly loose bolt in a well oiled machine.
It’s almost two and a half hours which is a smidge more than most people’s preference and it’s almost sad to see a film left so open ended. Again. But that’s part and parcel with Marvel and until no money can be invested in superhero film there’s going to be a lot more. However, no matter how average the next Phase (and Ant-Man) may be, The Avengers seems to offer some solid ground with Joss Wheadon practically saying “no, this is how you entertain people” and in turn make something great, as opposed to merely “alright.”
Verdict – 8/10 – Improvements on (most) of the latest Phase, and a fantastic popcorn flick. Lacks the same astonishment as the first one, but retains it’s intensity, enjoyability, and more importantly, it’s humour.