Avengers: Age of Ultron
There is an unwritten rule when it comes to reviewing all types of media – if you are prevented from saying anything about your experience until the day before release, the product will obviously suck. So when the invite to an advance screening of the new Avengers film came with a no disclosure clause that prevented me from saying anything until 10.00 on Wednesday, I was worried about what Joss Whedon had done with Marvel’s biggest franchise.
Sitting down in the nicely renovated iMax, Age of Ultron opens with the Avengers assaulting a heavily defended base, and pretty much kicking arse. The only problem was that there was just so much going on that the action felt a little over the top and hard to follow. It was a case of pushing the boundaries of how much action you can fit on the screen at one time way too far. And this formula would be used again in the film.
Fortunately this wasn’t what Age of Ultron was all about. The story and the characters were given a nice amount of time to develop their humanity, which for me was probably the highlight of the film.
Tony Stark, getting tired of being the one who has to save the world time and time again, decides that it’s time to retire, and with the help of Bruce Banner, takes some alien tech and creates Ultron, artificial intelligence designed to keep the peace globally. But of course, when man decides to play God, things tend to go horribly wrong, and in the case of Ultron, the artificial intelligence decides the the biggest threat to humanity is humans. Thus Stark’s misguided attempt at retirement puts the Avengers in the firing line as Ultron see’s them as it’s biggest threat.
On the side of Ultron are two new characters, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Quicksilver is so quick that he is able to outmaneuver and outsmart the Avengers and the Scarlet Witch uses her mind control powers to set the Avengers against each other.
Obviously the Avengers have to find a way back to being a team if they have any hope at bringing down humanities newest threat.
To do this we get to see a new side to Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, and this makes for a welcome change of pace, and a long over due focus on a character who is often overshadowed by the likes of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. We also get to see a softer side to Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, who is, as always, capable of stealing every scene she is in.
The real strength of Age of Ultron however is in the newbies. James Spader is an absolute delight as the voice of Ultron, bringing the character to life in a way only Spader could do, and giving the film a great bad guy who oozes character. The other outstanding character is Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch. Yes, despite being the younger sister to those annoying twins, her transformation over the course of the film is a compelling story all in itself.
So to cut a long story short, despite some over bearing action pieces, Whedon once again proves that he is King Midas.