Marvel pretty much hit the box office jackpot when they released Avengers (AKA Avengers Assemble for us Brits that may have trouble understanding why Emma Peel and John Steed aren’t present in this cinematic series) back in 2012. So it was kind of inevitable that a sequel of sorts would happen, and with Joss Whedon once again writing and directing, expectations for Age of Ultron were set high, unfairly high maybe.

The film wastes no time getting started, with the Avengers raiding a Hydra outpost led by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker.

It is an absolute pleasure to see the team all together on screen again, fighting the bad guys and trading one liners with each other. While we get no back-story as to why they’re there (you’ll have to watch the previous Marvel films to understand a heck of a lot with this film), it serves as a reminder as to the team’s chemistry. Which is narratively is a good move, as the film progresses, so do their relationships with one another.

Unfortunately, certain elements of the plot feel a bit pushed aside. There are characters from all factions in this film, that are very interesting, yet I can’t help feeling are very underdeveloped.

Ultron for example, a horrific creation that is brilliantly brought to life on screen and a compelling adversary on so many levels, just somehow pales in comparison with Loki from the first film. Perhaps that’s because Ultron doesn’t have the benefit of being developed during a whole film prior to this. Still, he is easily the best villain Marvel have had on screen for a good while. Charasmatic, driven and voiced execellently by James Spader.

The introduction of the Maximoff twins pays off well, expanding the universe to include characters that have more weirder powers. Most likely, a conscious effort on Marvel’s part so the likes of the upcoming Doctor Strange and The Inhumans movies won’t be so out of place.

It clearly irked Marvel and Joss Whedon when Fox announced they’d also be using Quicksilver in the X-Men series, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s portrayal of the super-fast moving Pietro, couldn’t be further from his Kick Ass co-star Evan Peters if he tried. Elizabeth Olsen also makes a good impression as the troubled Wanda Maximoff (AKA Scarlett Witch), a telepath who can throw red energy blasts and cause people to have nightmares.

As for the established characters from the first film, everyone is pretty much still doing their thing. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr) is still being cocky, Captain America (Chris Evans) is still playing the good boy scout and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is still worried about turning big, green and angry.

If one thing does feel slightly out of place, it’s the romantic sub-plot between Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johanson).  It just sort of feels that it came out of nowhere.

Notably, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye gets a lot more screen time in this instalment, with some interesting set ups that flesh out the character a bit more.  Paul Bettany also gets the chance to increase his presence by playing both J.A.R.V.I.S and The Vision, an important element to the future of the Marvel cinematic universe.

On the whole, Avengers: Age of Ultron is an entertaining action flick – the perfect film to sit in the cinema and bury yourself in popcorn. However, when compared to the previous films in the Marvel universe and what films we know are coming in phase three, it can’t help but fill like a bit of filler to tie the audience over.

It’s the eleventh film in the series, and Avengers: Age of Ultron features characters and nods to just about every single one of those. Not only that, it’s clearly setting up several threads for future films. It’s becoming a big and crowded universe, and one that is getting quite complicated to keep track of.

Whereas Avengers Assemble felt like an event movie that brought a story arc to a logical conclusion, Avengers: Age of Ultron fills like the middle part to a trilogy. It takes the characters we all know and love, and throws them into a bigger, more complex and badder world.

Still, that’s not to say this film is not enjoyable. Joss Whedon has once again delivered a solid comic book adaptation and aside from a few niggles with pacing and the lack of development of some the side characters, Joss and his crew have once again deftly handled Marvel’s main players.

For now, the Marvel cinematic universe remains favourably strong.

Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Aside from a few niggles with the pacing and some lack of development with a number of the side characters, Joss Whedon and his crew have once again deftly handled Marvel's main players.
The Good
  • Great action
  • Fun, immense fun
The Not So Good
  • MCU is getting a bit crowded
  • Some pacing issues
4.0Overall Score

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.