Title: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Release Date: May 1, 2015
Director: Joss Whedon
Production Company: Marvel Studios
The second Avengers movie and the eleventh in the Marvel Cinematic Universe reunites the familiar crew of superheroes and introduces some new ones as they battle a world-destroying villain unleashed by … themselves. The Avengers was pretty much content to link together a bunch of action set pieces and call it a film. Age of Ultron surprisingly includes longer stretches of quieter settings allowing the story to breath and the characters to develop. This includes a party where the Avengers joke around, a visit to Clint Barton’s secret farmhouse (and previously unknown wife and children), and a surprisingly tender romance between Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner.
Now I’m not totally against big action set pieces, and this movie’s got them, with the Avengers duking it out with the baddies on three continents – Europe, Africa, and Asia. The direction and choreography of these fight scenes is much improved as it’s easier to follow what’s going on and get some sense of what the characters are dealing with internally. One of my biggest gripes about the previous movie is that the battles caused so much collateral damage and no one seemed concerned about the ordinary people losing their lives and livelihoods in the crossfire. That’s addressed directly here in the final battle in Sokovia as the Avengers make a concerted effort to evacuate and rescues the civilian population.
Finally there’s a villain, Ultron, who is an android with advanced artificial intelligence. Not surprisingly, the douchey Tony Stark accidentally creates Ultron in attempt to manufacture world peace. When Ultron goes rogue, in typical comic book fashion it decides that world peace can best be achieved by eradicating humanity. Still, I was impressed by the range of emotion in this CGI robot who has a dark sense of humor and a curious religious worldview that makes Ultron stand out as a compelling villain.
Marvel Studios continues to impress in making the second Avengers movie, just like the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie, better than the first.