The wait has been long and hard ever since the trailer for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ leaked way back during Diwali. Marvel fanboys and comic-book aficionados were almost up in arms in anticipation, especially after the purported leak of the next Batman (Yes, until the Man of Steel proves otherwise, it will be a Batman movie) movie trailer. Which is why it is particularly overwhelming for people like me when I found myself watching the movie on the very first day (The 24th, a whole week before the U.S release. Yeah, that’s right).
Avengers 2 begins where the last Captain America movie ended, with the ensemble tackling the hopefully last remnants of the dreaded HYDRA in the post-S.H.I.E.L.D world in the quest for Loki’s sceptre. However, they find more than they bargained for when they run into twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (the G.I Joe couple from last year’s Godzilla), one a Marvel universe-Flash and the other, with the power to mess with people’s heads and create force fields out of nothing.
This paves the way for Tony Stark and to a lesser degree, Dr. Banner to initiate Ultron, a supposedly robotic juggernaut with the ability to think and make judgment. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well.
WOOS: The acting across the board is top-notch from the Avengers (What else did you expect?), with Ruffalo and Johansson especially doing a great job in their surprisingly deep scenes together. Ultron himself is a worthy villain for the Marvel canon and James Spader brings a seething menace to the character. However, as much as Ultron quips, he does not match the sheer homicidal charm of Loki.
The twins do a fine job, especially Olsen as the Scarlet Witch who displays a sheer propensity to wreak havoc. Andy Serkis has a hit-and-miss cameo, finally getting to act with actual humans.
However, the real treasure of the movie remains Joss Whedon. Whedon, the savior of geeks across the world exhibits true skill in juggling diverse superheroes in a single 140 minute slug-fest. Each and every one of them gets a moment to shine, even Hawkeye who is finally found worthy of that ‘Avengers’ tag by being given a fully-fleshed out character to work with.
The action on-screen is exciting and gleeful, and the special effects truly give the film a distinct comic-book feel as the narrative shoots from Seoul to fictional countries in Africa and Europe (Because, blowing up real countries is becoming too mainstream). In fact, the action (read: chaos) is so good that more often than not, I found myself whooping and cheering in my seat.
The witticism and charm of the last ensemble is still there, with Whedon (who’s also the co-writer) showing exceptional talent in superhero banter. And although it’s never as iconic as Iron Man rubbing Thor or Captain America the wrong way in the last film, it’s still very funny in a sitcom-ish fashion.
MEHS: Coming to the failings, yes, there are quite a few. There is barely any plot or even logic to the proceedings, which is why a film which began with the mission to secure Loki’s sceptre descends into a game of vendetta, which finally succumbs to a climax which feels more like a prelude to the Infinity Wars to come in 2019-20.
It is also predictable (Ultron rises. Ultron falls. The end), so much so that even in the thick of non-stop action, you can’t help but ask for any curveballs to come your way.
Plus, I couldn’t help but be a little distracted by the fact that Ultron is Artificial Intelligence (I mean, c’mon Tony. Have you not seen The Terminator?). True, Whedon could not be expected to replicate the success of the first film where even bringing all those mighty heroes together was an achievement but after the surprisingly fantastic Captain America sequel last year, I had my hopes up. He didn’t disappoint, but the movie is at the very least, underwhelming.
VERDICT (*drumroll please*): Predictable trope, yes. But, ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ is guaranteed to be the most fun you will have this year (Until Star Wars comes out this year, of course). I did, and I’m sure that you’ll find the kid in you wetting himself with glee as the Hulkbuster and the Hulk battle it out in the bestest and the most legen- wait for it – and I hope you’re not lactose intolerant, because the second half of the word is – dary, Legendary scene of the franchise yet.
I give it a 3.5/5.
Go for the ride!