Writer: Casey Lee
Overall: 4.0 Out of 5
Cast: 5.0 Out of 5
Plot: 4.0 Out of 5
Effects: 5.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 4.0 Out of 5
Watch this if you liked: "The Avengers", "Iron Man 3", "Thor: The Dark World", "Captain America: Winter Soldier", "Guardians of the Galaxy"
The Good, the Bad and the Aging Avengers:
If there needs to be a reminder of why we so wanted to see the second assembly of the Avengers, you will get that the moment the first shot opens. If your idea of an enjoyable superhero outing is watching your favourite superheroes having good chats with goons (using brute force and miniature guns, no less), tear down force fields and having an awesome slow-motion family shot in a single frame, then the movie would have ended in this first 10 minutes or so.
Just as Captain America once asked what is left of Tony Stark without his suit of theatrics in "The Avengers", there is just a man; a person who sometimes asks himself questions of his purpose of existence in this world and how or if he can make it better. That is probably some deep stuff that one wouldn't expect to give a thought when one's job is to save the world, but it certainly feels that is what Joss Whedon has set out to ask and answer in his latest ensemble. For a cinematic universe that already has 11 movies (with another 10 more confirmed in the bag), what is there left for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its pioneering heroes when it has trodden down every known adversary (from gods to aliens to inside enemies)? An appropriate question, perhaps, as Black Widow points out in "Age of Ultron", nothing good lasts forever.
Not that the ride isn't as much fun as expected. The team are put through new straining dynamics thanks to Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch and challenged by Quicksilver's speed (not as fun in "Days of Future Past" though). James Spader takes Ultron far from being a cold, calculating murderbot to the perfect balance of being cool, likable and fearsome. The humour is running and fairly seasoned by Whedon's standards, and the pace spikes in places when we need to take ourselves off from the deep stuff. As a side note, ditch the 3D glasses. The action can be blurry as it is, and the extra dimension isn't doing any favours to get rid of the visual displacement. The best shot for the popping 3D is already in the trailer anyways.
However, after all that though, when we are directed to look at the heart of the characters, it certainly leaves dissatisfaction that it were left unfinished. Aside from reminding us of the smaller players that do live in the cinematic universe (please try to laugh at the War Machine's jokes), the legacy of Ultron's short-lived age is that it has started out new threads that is meant to extend beyond the container that is "Age of Ultron" and it's hard to blame the need for frayed loose ends. Ideological tensions mounting between Iron Man and Captain America for "Civil War"? Checked. Black Widow finds someone who she can genuinely open herself up to for a possible Black Widow or The Hulk solo? Checked. New players set for Phase 3? Checked. Hawkeye finally gets his due as a hero in the eyes of no one? Checked with an overflowing helping of pity sauce.
When all is said and done, "Age of Ultron" is tangled up with too many strings it has to pull. It may come as a slight disappointment if fans were expecting a much larger fanfare from "The Avengers" and it doesn't close a chapter well enough that we end up waiting with impatience rather than excitement.
One last thing. If you have been sipping your soda that is enough to last you through the 141 minute runtime, do your bladder a service by dashing to the nearest toilet after you have seen the short mid-credit scene. Unless you want to know which VFX houses were involved in "Age of Ultron", don't wait for the rest of the credit to run (a public service announcement from one close-to-bursting bladder to confirm this).
Watch Out For:
Your language. (Or Thor's hammer)
There is no post-credit scene.
Best Watched With:
Your best walking Marvel encyclopedia. You'll need one to detect the references.
Cinema Online, 22 April 2015