The next installment in the Marvel franchise is finally here, and it couldn’t have come sooner.
Another entry into the increasingly successful superhero saga is Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the next showing in the series of intertwined films that begun all the way back in 2008 with Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man.”
Since then we’ve been treated to film’s starring Iron Man, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and more, eventually culminating in their assembly for Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers.” Now the sequel has been released after long awaited anticipation from comic book fanatics and casual moviegoers alike. And it was worth the wait.
The film follows our heroes as they try to track down the infamous tesseract scepter, a device with unlimited power. In doing so, they accidentally create an artificially intelligent machine, hell-bent on the destruction of the human race. Not exactly how things were supposed to go for them. Luckily for us however, it created Ultron, the most formidable villain the Avengers have had to face yet.
With seemingly no end to his terror in sight, the evil Ultron was able to fill the theater with a sense of dread and foreboding, despite the knowledge that the Avengers would most likely succeed in the end. What hinders most superhero movies is the inability to create real fear for the characters. Most people assume that the leads aren’t going to be killed or hurt in any way that’s going to damage their future and this leads to a sense of complacency within the audience.
Joss Whedon was able to sidestep this with smart writing and by creating dangerous situations that the Avengers genuinely struggled with. With that danger flowing throughout the film, it made the climax all the more powerful. Giving us the implication that the Avengers could actually be harmed made them vulnerable and we believed that, just maybe, Ultron might actually win.
What really stood out about the film however, as always, were the performances. The cast is absolutely stacked with talent and it helps separate the film from every other superhero movie that gets made so frequently.
Robert Downey Jr. was especially quick-witted and sarcastically charming as Iron Man, which molded perfectly to contradict the stout and strait-laced manner of Captain America. The two kept the action moving and the dialogue strong throughout the film, just like the first movie. It was a good bridge between the two as Whedon was able to maneuver the story with new characters as well as go more in depth with those we were already familiar with.
When movies have enormous casts, especially with so many talented actors and actresses, it can be difficult to juggle the numbers and make sure all those actors on screen have ample stories and backgrounds. Whedon seems to be made to handle such a task as he does it so effortlessly, again and again.