By Christian DiMartino
When director Joss Whedon’s The Avengers was unleashed three years ago, I enjoyed it, but I did not understand what all of the praise was about. Sure it was fun and entertaining, but it did not seem to have a story and, in its final half hour, it left me exhausted. But now, Whedon brings us the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and I will not lie: it is a total blast from start to finish. It still has its flaws, but this is a thrill ride that puts the excitement level on full blast and never turns down.
This time around, Loki is missing in action. So, who is the villain? Well, I will get there. Tony, a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) decides to create this system named Ultron. Why? Huh, come to think of it, I am not sure. But he does it, and, well, let’s just say it does not turn out well.
Ultron soon takes the form of this robot (voiced by the great James Spader who does what he does best here: creep me out), who is hellbent on destroying the Avengers (in case you are unaware, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, and Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk) once and for all. So, what do the Avengers do? They assemble.
The film is a tad long, and in the spectacular climactic battle, I could not help but get a sense of deja vu. I also found the romance sort of out of place (I will not mention who). Also, if Iron Man destroyed his suits in Iron Man 3, how does he still have a suit? Also, the Hulk had a girlfriend named Betty in The Incredible Hulk, so are we going to just forget that she exists?
Besides all of that mumbo jumbo, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a really enjoyable film, one that I think surpasses the original by quite a bit. It felt like there was more of a story this time. The first film was kind of a warm-up round, but this one is the real event.
The action sequences are marvelous, and so are the visual effects. It has a great sense of humor about itself, and the multiple laughs never feel forced. I also loved all of the appearances from the characters from the other films. This one brings back almost everyone, which could not have been an easy thing to do, but Whedon makes it work. He gives everyone a decent amount of screen time this round, and we finally get a bit of background from Hawkeye and Black Widow, who have been pretty mysterious thus far.
In the end though, what really sings here is the rapport between the cast members. They work really well together, and it is obvious that they had a fun time making this one. Almost as much fun as I did. Whedon has kicked the summer movie season off with a clang, a bang, and a boom, and I hope every other blockbuster is this satisfying. Alright, now I am talking crazy.