Cary, NC — Avengers: Age of Ultron is the sequel to the 2012 mega-hit The Avengers. It’s the 11th movie overall in the intersecting Marvel Cinematic Universe featuring Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, among others.
Bigger is Better
Like most blockbuster sequels, Age of Ultron goes the “bigger is better” route, and, while the scope of the film is certainly massive and the action plentiful, it never forgets that the characters are the reason these movies are so popular and leads to an immensely satisfying time.
As expected with a movie of this size, there are a lot of moving parts to pay attention to, but the plot of the movie can be summarized fairly easily. Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, played by Robert Downey, Jr. creates an artificial intelligence, Ultron, and things go very, very bad. Again, there is a little more to it, but that’s it in a nutshell.
Great Villain to Match Great Heroes
Anyway, despite such a seemingly simple set up, Ultron proves to be a pretty great and formidable villain, something this cinematic universe has been sorely lacking.
Voiced by James Spader (The Blacklist, Boston Legal), Ultron comes to life in a giant robotic body, but somehow has more personality, humor and menace to him than most of the villains our Avengers have faced before.
Small Character Moments Go Well with Big Action
There is more action in Age of Ultron than some franchises have in their entirety, but, as I said earlier, writer/director Joss Whedon never forgets about the characters. The film’s exciting opening sequence shows our heroes busting up one of the last Hydra operations, previously seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Immediately after this sequence, though, Whedon puts Earth’s mightiest heroes in a room having a party and just hanging out for a good 15 minutes. It’s a great reminder of why we like these characters so much, seeing them interact and having a good time with one another. We also get to see how well these characters have been cast.
There is also a great joke regarding Thor’s hammer during this sequence that gets an unexpected and hilarious pay off towards the films climax. Great, great fun.
Those character moments come in handy emotionally as well. A lot of the drama comes from within the group this go-round, helping the stakes feel emotional as well as global. We want to see these heroes save the day, and we want to see them live through it, but Whedon does a great job making us wonder if the team will still be intact when all is said and done.
Not Quite as Fun as the First, but..
How does this sequel stack up to its predecessor? Well, The Avengers was one of the most rousing and entertaining superhero movies ever, and Age of Ultron never quite reaches that same peak. Missing are some of the fist pumping moments from the first film and the novelty of seeing these characters on screen for the first time.
But Whedon subverts expectations slightly and never really tries to top the first film. The scope might be bigger and the action comes in larger doses, but the movie gives us more time with the team and lets us see what a toll it takes to be these mighty heroes. Whedon pushes the characters forward and the movie is better for it.
Still a Blast at the Movies
Overall, Age of Ultron is an incredibly satisfying sequel with plenty of action, character moments and humor to please all fans of these films so far. There are moments that set up further adventures, but the film feels complete; not like a stepping stone.
Age of Ultron is more than worth the price of admission, and the summer movie-going season has officially begun with a bang!
Jordan Hunt covers movies for CaryCitizen. Read more Movie Reviews.