A wise piece of advice warns you against getting overexcited about something before hand, as there is every chance that the event in reality will struggle to live up to your imagining of it. Well, such is the case with Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) which, whilst not a total disappointment, is neither the riveting spectacle which the pre-release hype would have had you believe it was going to be. The latest budget busting extravaganza from Marvel and Disney, written and directed by Joss Whedon and featuring a veritable galaxy of stars including Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Elizabeth Olsen is a definite example of the overuse of CGI at the cost and detriment at any semblance of originality or fresh ideas.
Never a franchise to let a storyline get in the way of a good dose of action and special-effects, the premise behind the latest big screen outing for Marvel’s Avengers is relatively simple. Billionaire playboy and all round do-gooder Tony Stark / aka. Iron Man (Downey Jr.) and his superhero friends including Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Steve Rogers / Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner / Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Clint Barton / Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (Johansson) set out again to save the world, following Stark’s attempts to reboot a secret peacekeeping programme which he invented, going awry. Along with the assistance of the mysterious Maximoff twins Pietro / Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson), the team find themselves pitted against a new and villainous adversary in the form of Ultron (voiced by James Spader), a computer programme which has, quite literally, taken on a life of its own.
Now, before I get a barrage of comments from fans of the series, I have say that there is probably plenty in the film to please them. This is the problem however, if you a not one of this admittedly sizeable group, there is really very little here to appeal to you. In the previous Avengers instalment – as well as with films starring this group of super-heroes individually – there was something of substance to attract viewers who wanted more than just a two and a half hours effects bonanza. This time round however, unless you’re a true aficionado of all things Avengers, the result could be described as lacklustre at best or overblown at worst.
Following an undeniably exciting opening sequence set in some fortified military base in a remote Eastern European castle, the remainder of the film soon degenerates into little more than an excuse for one explosion laden set-piece after another, linked by a series of emotional vignettes between the gang which are clearly aimed at bringing depth and personality to the central characters. This attempt to flesh out the central protagonists is however an ultimately fruitless task: let’s be honest the only reason people go to see these kind of films is to discover how the filmmakers have upped the ante on the previous instalment. This they have admittedly managed to do, as the last half hour of the film amounts to literally little more than one long and protracted pyrotechnic display, from which it is obvious that not everyone will escape unscathed.
As mentioned before the individual Avengers team members – including Thor, Iron Man and Captain America (though unfortunately not the Hulk) – have managed to shine in their own adventures when the spotlight is focused solely on them, and not shared with their comrades. Perhaps they should revert to saving the world singlehandedly in any future outings, though considering how much Avengers: Age of Ultron has already made, that sounds increasingly like a highly unlikely and far fetched scenario.
Genre:Action, Sci-fi, Superhero| Distributor:Marvel Studios | Release Date: 23rd April 2015 (UK)|Rating: 12A |Director:Joss Whedon | Cast:Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettnay, James Spader, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chris Hemsworth,Cobbie Smulders