More of the same from Joss Whedon and the Avengers team is fine by me.
Only in Hollywood can the second-biggest opening weekend of all-time be considered a “disappointment.” The newest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and second Avengers movie finished second all-time to the first Avengers, which is pretty good company to be in. Yet the majority of the performance analysis somehow considered this “underperforming.”
Not only is the box office return talk misguided, then there is the whole controversy of writer/director Joss Whedon quitting Twitter. Did he quit because an extreme group of “feminists” deluged his feed with accusations of misogyny related to the treatment of Black Widow?
Those were the things people were talking about. I wish we could get back to a time before Twitter and the age where everyone is ready to accuse someone of something they probably didn’t intend. The truth is, Age of Ultron is a worthy successor to the original, though it doesn’t quite ascend to the heights achieved by the 2012 film.
The usual gang is all back, of course: Tony Start/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and assorted other characters from various MCU ventures are scattered throughout.
Ultron begins with Stark and Banner analyzing Loki’s (a sadly absent this time around Tom Hiddleston) scepter, which they find has an artificial intelligence. Stark believes this will help him finish “Ultron,” a global defense system so advanced that there won’t even be a need for the Avengers anymore. Unfortunately for the Avengers, and well, the planet, Ultron is far more sentient than they predicted (and far more voiced by James Spader than I realized going in), and he feels the only way to bring peace to the planet is by destroying the human race.
This is more than enough plot to kick-start a series of elaborate battles and action sequences that have become one of the hallmarks of the MCU. Squaring off with Ultron, as well as the genetically enhanced twins Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) Maximoff – AKA Quicksilver, who can move at superhuman speed, and Scarlet Witch, who can get inside anyone’s mind through hypnosis and telekinesis – certainly gives the Avengers more than enough to do to justify a somewhat lengthy 141 minute running time. The only part of the film that didn’t particularly work for me was the tacked-on romance between Hulk and Widow, though at least they used it to propel the story forward so it’s not a total waste.
Everything here is still building to the upcoming Infinity War films, but Ultron is entertaining enough to stand on its own as well.
Director: Joss Whedon Writer(s): Joss Whedon, based on “The Avengers” by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby Notable Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgard, James Spader, and Samuel L. Jackson