The age of Dull-Tron fails to match predecessor
SUMMER’S first big blockbuster has enough action and humour to ensure it’ll be one of the year’s biggest hits. But it has nowhere near the sense of scale and fun of its more superior predecessor.
Avengers Assemble was by far the best blockbuster of 2012, with director Joss Whedon perfectly marrying Marvel’s multiple superhero storylines into a movie packed with great action sequences and personality.
The finale in New York City felt genuinely epic.
Age of Ultron sees Whedon back at the helm and it is by no means a dud. But compared to what has gone before it feels like a disappointment.
The story’s a bit flabby for starters. With the Avengers facing various new threats, the volatile Tony Stark (Downey Jr), fearing future dangers, takes it upon himself to kick-start a new peacekeeping programme he’s developed with the help of Bruce Banner.
As he puts it, he wants to put a suit of armour around the world.
Ultron (voiced by James Spader), a programme run on its own ability to learn and develop artificial intelligence, has been created to protect mankind from outside threats.
Instead, the programme goes rogue, deciding that human beings are its ultimate enemy and setting about wiping out as many of them as possible.
He quickly starts to replicate himself, developing forces and powers that will be a nightmare for even the toughest superheroes to beat.
It means that Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor and Hawkeye have to try and stop this deadly and powerful new force.
To complicate matters, they are already battling a new threat closer to home in the form of mind-bending, enhanced twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen).
As one of the main characters puts it, one’s fast and the other’s weird.
Throw in a romantic sub-plot involving an underused Johansson and Banner and you’ve got a movie that throws everything at its 142-minute running time.
There are some wonderful scenes, and the party involving the various characters trying to take on Thor’s hammer is a standout.
It reminds you that it was the chemistry between the characters and how they interacted with each other that made the first Avengers movie special.
The banter is witty too — though not as delightful as before as the inevitable ‘Marvel fatigue’ sets in and it becomes more difficult to surprise an audience.
Action sequences come thick and fast and action junkies won’t be disapp-ointed — and although some of the final face-offs are mightily impressive, they feel like a pale imitation of the finale in the first Avengers film.
In fact, you could apply that take to the entire movie. It looks good, it delivers on the action and the humour, but you can’t help but feel like we’ve been here before.