Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, James Spader, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L Jackson.
Year Of Release: 2015
Certificate: 12A (UK)
Runtime: 141 Minutes
Director: Joss Whedon
Synopsis: "When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans." IMDB
***!!!SPOILERS AHEAD!!!***So I got to experience the latest instalment in the MCU, when earth's mightiest heroes reformed in Avengers Age Of Ultron.Which may anger a few of my American based followers, I apologise for rubbing it in, but you guys NEED to book tickets for this go the second you can. This review will not just be spoiler heavy, it will be a detailed outline of the films plot, read on if you are willing to learn ALL the major plot details, if not, jump to our spoiler free review!
The film starts off in the midst of a battle between the Avengers and HYDRA agent Baron von Strucker played by Thomas Kretschmann, the Avengers are after Loki's sceptre that has been stolen. Resulting in some wonderful battle scenes with incredible visuals, while a brilliant opening in itself, it also serves as a recap if you will of the powers of our beloved heroes. During the fight we get to see the two new adversaries to the Avengers they are twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, they may better be know as Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch. During this big opening fight, the less than loved by many fans Hawkeye gets a pretty nasty injury, which he survives a few scenes later. After the fight scene we get to see the first huge part of character development in the film, we see Black Widow calm Hulk back from his green rage to Bruce Banner using a "lullaby", showing there is something going on between Bruce and Natasha.
After defeating, what is made out to be modernised Nazi's it feels like, the gang returns to Avengers tower as it is now, no longer Stark tower. While there Stark realises the power that the sceptre really holds, he sees it as the answer to artificial intelligence he and Banner have been looking for, for their Ultron project (self aware Iron Man suits that patrol the earth protecting from evil), after this we are blessed with the party scene, sure to give anybody a few giggles especially the Mjolnir scene and the obligatory Stan Lee scene. While everybody is on a high we are introduced to Ultron voiced unbelievably well by James Spader.
This is where the film really kicks into gear, Ultron attacks the Avengers in his destroyed state controlling Tony's "Iron Legion" to try and take out the team to no avail. With the sceptre being stolen the Avengers clash heads, mostly everybody with Stark for creating Ultron and being responsible for sceptre being back in evil hands. Ultron returns to the previous home of the sceptre in Sokovia to rebuild in the HYDRA base before setting out to recruit the Twins for his evil plans. Who both have deep seeded hatred for Stark due his weapons being responsible for their deaths. Working out Ultron has set his sights on vibranium the team heads to Wakanda, the teams goes head to head, after Scarlett Witch does what she does best and twists the minds of the Avengers, sending Hulk into a rampaging frenzy tearing through a city, Stark call in his Hulkbuster suit and he and Hulk go toe to toe in one of the most enjoyable fight scenes in comic film history.
After this huge rampaging battle, the Avengers have to go into hiding and Clint recommends a safehouse he knows of. The gang turn up at the farm house, which seems like a normal farm house, which it is, it's who that is inside that truly makes this farm house special. In the house we meet Clints wife, YES HIS WIFE, it doesn't end there, he has TWO CHILDREN, I'm being honest my mind was blown. It really gives depth to a character that had become very stagnant, before the film I was desperate for him to be killed off, this film changed that. They really gave him a new lease of life as a character. At the farm house, Banner susses out that Ultron will use their friend Dr Helen Cho's synthetic prototype she has been working on (mentioned previously before Tony's party, where Ultron overhears it).
Ultron plans to meld himself into the newly acquired synthetic organism, due to the newly found organism being as much "man" as it is machine, Scarlett Witch gets her first look into what Ultron is planning to do. A plan her and her brother had no clue how severe was to be, he plans to end ALL living life on the planet, this results in the twins switching their allegiance from Ultron to Avengers, or at least that is their plan. The Avengers fight to get back the synthetic body, so Ultron doesn't have the body he needs to take over the world. Once they have the body, Stark decides they should install J.A.R.V.I.S into the body, most disagree, Thor on the other hand does not, using his lightning wielding ability to literally jolt the body into life. Bringing us the incredibly great looking and wonderfully acted Vision. Thor informs the Avengers that the stone in Vision's head is in fact one of the most power gems in the entire universe, one of the six "infinity stones". During these scenes of Vision being born and the Avengers deciding he is a good guy there is a moment when he is wielding Mjolnir like it is a toothpick and it will blow you away how funny it is, how Thor and everybody else reacts.
The Avengers, now joined by Maximoff twins and Vision head out to Sokovia, where Ultron has made a device that is lifting a whole city skywards, which he plans to drop from a huge height to cause a global extinction event on par with what took out the dinosaurs. Here is where the HUGE battles commence, the Avengers fight off Ultrons army of robotic clones, Fury turns up with a S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier to help save the innocent people in the city, along with the carrier he brings his trusted Maria Hill and remaining S.H.I.E.L.D agents. At this time Ultro is inside the Quinjet shooting bullets and everything and everybody nearly killing Cap & Thor in the process, he sets his sights on Hawkeye who has ran back into the city to save a child. Quicksilver sees the immediate danger Clint and the child are in so sprints over to save them, knocking a car into the path of the bullets and saving the pair, unfortunately resulting in his own death, a death I partially expected going in but really shocked me still. After the death of her brother, Wanda, unleashes her true potential destroying numerous robots with just her emotional scream then setting out on causing the death of Ultron, which she does ripping out his "heart".
The Hulk, seeking a break from all the destruction he causes and is involved in sets a Quinjet to autopilot and just leaves, not to be seen again in the film. Tony and Thor find a way to say the city from plummeting to the ground and ending mankind after Ultron pulls the trigger on his master plan. Just when you think the last piece of Ultron is gone, we see the last remnants of him trying to escape, only to be confronted by Vision, who using his insane powers obliterates him after they converse shortly. With Ultron defeated life reverts back to its semi-normal ways for the Avengers, a few months later we arrive at the new Avengers headquarters in New York, now ran by Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Dr Helen Cho and Erik Selvig. Now with the belief in mind that the infinity stone is safe with Vision, Thor decides to return to Asgard, with the addition of Stark and Barton retiring the Avengers lose Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man and Hulk (whereabouts unknown). Becoming a shell of what they were, not for long though.
Cap and Black Widow enter a hangar in which we see Falcon, Vision and War Machine standing there and then Scarlett Witch appears now donning a more comic appropriate costume. Forming the NEW Avengers, as Cap role calls "Avengers..." cutting out before he can exclaim assemble! Now to the part many are waiting to read I imagine, the mid-credits scene, a safe/safety box opens up to reveal a glove, a glove we us Marvelheads and comic fans alike are familiar with, a large blue hand slides into the glove we hear a voice say "Guess, I'll have to do it myself" panning out to reveal Thanos, credits roll and NO END CREDITS SCENE, so no Spider-Man scene unfortunately, it was a wonderful fake like we all assumed but kind of wished was real.
Wow! That was an awful lot of writing, and I haven't even started "reviewing" the film yet ha. So here I go with my reviewing of the actual film.
The visual effects in the film were phenomenal, there was a minute or so at the beginning that felt a little off, but I think that was just me. After that the battle scenes were amazing, in my opinion second to none in comic films, it was as beautiful to watch as the action in say "Edge Of Tomorrow". There was some scenes that seem so flawlessly made that they could easily pull off being real life events. Stand out effects for me was the Hulkbuster and Ultron, both were amazing to see, especially Ultron the range of emotions shown by a completely robotic humanoid made the character that extra bit disturbing.
As for the characters and cast, which at this point due to longevity have become one in the same really, by that I mean when I think about the characters I envision them as their live action selves and no longer their comic looks. All the returning cast are as good as they have been in previous instalments, except for Jeremy Renner, he was outstanding in his role as Clint he was really given the freedom to actually show emotion and his range as an actor. Was great to see him able to flex his acting chops, which I will be honest I was not sure he had. The biggest additions to the cast are Paul Bettany as Vision who was brilliant in what he done, but didn't have to do much due to being an emotionless android, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver his acting is as expected personally I find him to be a good actor who is really honing his skills in recent years, while his accent falters at times, it is a hard accent to pull off I find. Then we have Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlett Witch, another extremely talented actress in my opinion, she was brilliant in this too, especially in the more emotionally driven scenes then we have James Spader as Ultron the most ominous audible villain I have heard in a LONG time, his voice just oozed evil and dominance I can say I finally understand the hype around his ability.
The action starts at an 11 in this film and only gets better, that's not to say that the story or characters miss out. The film has a solid story to it, but even more so, has some wonderful character development, you get to see sides of some characters we have not yet seen in the MCU. Really shapes up some big moments for the future of the franchise, some great moments, some gut wrenching, all together mashed into a brilliant story and progression to characters we all know and love.
The runtime does seem long beforehand, however, there is enough going on at every turn that you kind of forget how long you have been watching and that is a good thing. It's a 141 minute ride that doesn't feel as long as others that run this time.
Overall, I'd go as far as to say this is the best film in the MCU to date in my opinion, which I never thought I'd say due to my dying love for Avengers and Captain America The Winter Soldier. The film was an emotional ride from start to finish, filled with action, ass kicking, hilarious lines and character development second to none in the current MCU crop. If you are not currently into the whole superhero explosion we have had in recent years, I highly recommend starting with this or Captain America The Winter Soldier (REVIEW HERE) they perfectly personify the superhero world but also serve as "everyday" films if you will. Very happy to say Mr Joss Whedon goes out with a bang and certainly not a whimper, I'm already longing for the day he returns to the MCU in the future. I had extremely high expectations going into the film, came out with them shattered and then some, roll on Ant-Man!