Films of 2015 - Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Even when having to follow strict rules and guidelines, Joss Whedon gives us one of the most exciting and entertaining action films of the year.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is directed by Joss Whedon and stars Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Paul Bettany, James Spader and Samuel L. Jackson. In the eleventh film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers must assemble once again to defeat Ultron (James Spader), an artificially intelligent sentient hell bent on destroying the Avengers and bringing about the extinction of humanity.
Even when following the rules and guidelines set out for him by Marvel Studios, Joss Whedon delivers an exciting action spectacle that isn’t afraid to slow down, take a breath and look inside the hearts and minds of our favourite superheros. Full to the brim with characters old and new, Avengers: Age of Ultron could have crumbled under its own weight of ambition but Whedon performs the most outrageous juggling act to keep everybody relevant and interesting, and gives audiences the most personal and hilarious Marvel film so far.
Age of Ultron opens with an action set piece in ‘Sokovia’, a fictional European country, as the Avengers fight their way through an army of Hydra soldiers in a frozen forest on their way to a remote castle that is hiding a powerful and dangerous item inside. Whilst the scene is exciting, it isn’t able to top what we have seen the Avengers do so far and the CGI is sometimes extremely noitceable when our heroes dispatch their enemies with absolute efficiency. We are, however, treated to fantastically witty dialogue as our heroes bicker back and forth with one another, and this is where Whedon deserves the highest praise.
Soon after, we are introduced to the evil and sadistic Ultron, unwittingly created by Stark and Banner as an attempt to take the technology they rescued in the opening scene and bring to life an artificial intelligence that will aid the Avengers in their fight to keep the earth safe. Ultron is an incredibly entertaining villain to watch and is easily the best Marvel antagonist since Loki. James Spader provides Ultron with a menacingly deep voice, and his dialogue is deliciously witty, albeit evil. Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch is an exciting addition and provides the audience with an insight into the minds of the Avengers as she uses her mystical powers to infect them with nightmarish visions of their past lives and of moments yet to come. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a competent addition, but sadly pales in comparison to the Quicksilver we saw in Bryan Singer’s X-Men Days of Future Past, as played by Evan Peters.
The action never fails to excite you, with ridiculously entertaining showdowns set in South Korea and the fictional African country of Wakanda (a nod to Marvel enthusiasts) keeping pulses racing until the dramatic finale in ‘Sokovia’ where Ultron unleashes his masterplan. Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye delivers the best monologue of the film as he talks to Scarlet Witch about how the world around them is crashing down, and the witticisms don’t stop there as Joss Whedon gives everyone a joke or two to crack as they race across the city to save civilians and defeat Ultron.
Surprisingly, character studies on Hawkeye’s home farm in the middle of nowhere provides the highlight of the film, with Stark and Rogers discussing their role in society and the budding romance between Banner and Romanoff. To make a superhero a relatable character is a job that very many have failed in doing, but Whedon delivers here with aplomb to show that he understands the motivations of these comic book characters.
Unfortunately, the script is sometimes overstuffed as characters and plot lines are introduced to set up future Marvel films such as Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther. Joss Whedon keeps everything chugging along at breakneck speed and proves once again that he knows what makes these characters tick. It is such a shame that he won’t be returning for Infinity War part 1 and 2, but his work here will not be forgotten in a hurry. Avengers: Age of Ultron is one of the best action films of 2015, and the next Avengers sequels have a lot to live up to.