Joss Whedon’s rambunctious sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron offers action and entertainment in spades. It does not quite reach the giddy heights of its predecessor, yet Avengers: Age of Ultron is still a great superhero movie.
When Tony Stark sees an opportunity to enact a peace-keeping programme, the Avengers are faced with a new threat: Ultron. Hellbent on destruction, the team must stop the villain at all costs…
Avengers Assemble established the band of warriors, with several of the characters meeting for the first time. With this necessary initiation taken care of by the first film, Avengers: Age of Ultron can concentrate on action and narrative progression. However, there is still focus on the group dynamic, albeit in a more nuanced framework.
The activities and relationships within the group are central to Avengers: Age of Ultron. On the one hand, this provides much of the films comic relief; familiarity breeds friendly ribbing. On the other hand, there is a frictional aspect, particularly in terms of the protagonists trusting one another. This is a theme continued from the first movie, and relationships are just as important here. Furthermore, there is also a feeling of sowing the seeds for future instalments.
Like most superhero films, the plot of Avengers: Age of Ultron ensures that there is plenty at stake for not just for the protagonists, but for the world at large. This instalment handles this on an extravagant scale, with the heroes facing a threat as menacing as the first film, but which operates in an even more malignant way. Ideas of privacy, residual cold war, and the perils of technology are wrapped up neatly in the film’s antagonist.
The introduction of two new characters, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff add an interesting dimension to the film. Avengers: Age of Ultron treads further into the background of some of the main characters, fleshing them out as human as well as heroes. Whilst some character development in the film looks backwards, other aspects indicate what may be to come in future instalments.
The film begins with a high-octane opening sequence. From this point, pacing dips and rises, although not as successfully as in the first film. Avengers: Age of Ultron would have benefitted slightly from tighter editing. Special effects are as superb as ever, and performances are good all round. Robert Downey Jr. slips comfortably back into his Tony Stark persona, whilst Jeremy Renner is given more depth to his character.
It hardly seems feasible that Avengers: Age of Ultron was going match the excitement of the first film. Nevertheless, the film is a worthy successor which should satisfy audiences.