Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Director: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo

After taking down a major Hydra operation, the Avengers face a new threat when Tony Stark develops a rampant AI that would risk destroying humanity in order to save it.

I was doing my bit not to be spoiled on this one before going in, but I was noticing some lukewarm reviews floating around, which had me a little concerned. I like to make my own judgment, but given the overwhelming positive response the first film had, it was easy to wonder if this one might not be the same home run. After seeing the film, though, I feel those concerns were completely unjustified. Others may disagree with me, but I found this film to be every bit as good as its predecessor, possibly even edging out the first because it further built on what had been previously established. The relationships have already been laid down and here they're taken further. It certainly helps if you've been following all the other MCU films, but I don't think it's entirely necessary to enjoy this one.

It's easy to get lost in the spectacle (and the effects are first-rate with ILM and several other studios bringing their A game), but this remains a very character-centered story. To that end, we've got great performances to deliver a rather witty script. All of the established Avengers do quite well, of course, but I want to give mention to some of the newcomers, such a James Spader as the pseudo-affably evil Ultron, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver, Elizbeth Olsen and the Scarlet Witch, and Paul Bettany as Vision. I will say that with the cast expanding so much, it does become difficult to give everyone adequate screentime, which seems to be acknowledged by setting up the Avengers for a rolling roster. We'll see how they handle things in the third film.

I could go on for longer, but I'll wrap things up here. Don't let the naysayers hold you back. If you liked the first film, I can't imagine you being disappointed with this one. Get out there and give it a watch.

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