Joss Whedon’s follow up to 2012’s “Avengers” is bigger in every sense. Action, visuals, and not only more characters, but extra time spent with heroes like Hawkeye, who were largely ignored in the first film. The problem is there is so much more of everything, yet the film’s runtime is almost exactly the same. This caused “Age of Ultron” to feel like they tried to please everyone by cramming as much stuff into a tight space as possible. That tight space still manages to be 141 minutes.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty to enjoy in “Age of Ultron” and everyone on screen has brought their A game. I am more than pleased with the added time spent with Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner and his Hulk alter ego. Newcomers to the series Aaron Tylor-Johnson and Elizbeth Olsen do a great job as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, respectively. It is however James Spader’s take on Ultron that I found most surprising. I am not as familiar with the comics so I am not sure what Ultron is like in the publications but I just really dug his personality. He wasn’t evil as much as a being that thinks it is doing the right thing, even though it actually isn’t. The introduction of Vision is easily one of my favorite aspects of “Age of Ultron”. Formally Tony Stark’s A.I. Jarvis (voiced by Paul Bettany), the program gets a body of its own and becomes what I think has the potential to be one of the best characters in the Marvel cinematic cannon to date.
With all of these great characters, there are some missteps that don’t help “Age of Ultron”. Like most people, I felt that Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye was seriously short-changed in the first film. The character was a brainwashed drone for about 80% of the film. Making it up to Renner, it was decided to give Hawkeye much more to do and add some depth to the character. The problem is that Hawkeye, at least the way he is presented in these films is just not that interesting. Giving him a bigger role in a film that has so many more interesting players just wasn’t something that worked for me.
You may have noticed that I really haven’t said much about “Age of Ultron” itself. When it comes to comic book films, especially ones as big as this, I like to keep them completely spoiler free and give just some basic thoughts. If you are a fan of Marvel film (like I am), then even with the many flaws, I would still recommend that you check this out on the big screen. You are sure to find plenty to enjoy.
By: Marc Ferman