Note: This review contains minor spoilers only.
I plan to write a more detailed review once I’ve had a chance to sit down and think it over properly (and perhaps catch a second viewing) but for now here are some of my thoughts on Avengers: Age of Ultron.
I went into this movie mostly spoiler-free. I had seen the first promo, the hammer clip and accidentally heard some basic character information and I’m glad I went to the effort of avoiding anything else, it certainly wasn’t easy!
I have been known to point out that Marvel movies frequently start out slow and then after about 20 minutes the pace really starts to pick up, not so with Age of Ultron, the action starts right out of the gate with this one.
When we begin, it is clear the Avengers have been working together for some time, they are working well as a team and playing to each other’s strengths but, of course, when things like that go well you know it’s not going to last and it’s not long before trouble begins to surface both within the team and outside of it.
Like it’s predecessor, this movie packs in a lot of Marvel-Whedon humor which for me is always something that kicks up the enjoyment level. There are quite a few laugh out loud moments and I appreciate that even in the midst of the world going to hell there’s time to pause for a quick laugh… or 10.
There are a LOT of characters to deal with in Age of Ultron and I think Whedon has done a good job of giving each of them some significance, it can’t have been an easy task. The cast from the previous movies all return in fine form and while it’s hard to forget about the actor behind Ultron (James Spader’s voice is very distinct) the complexity he brings to the character makes him an obvious choice for the role. The Twins (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen) have a tough job up against the veteran Marvel actors but they prove themselves worthy and I found I liked their characters more than I expected to.
Rather than being a simple action packed tale of good vs evil, Age of Ultron establishes an interesting level of ambiguity between good and evil in more ways than one. It is also a story of relationships on various, sometimes unexpected, levels.
It was clear to me throughout the movie that this is just one part of the bigger picture and I actually found it a little distracting to be thinking about how several key points were going to lead to in future movies.
For the most part I would put Age of Ultron on equal par with the The Avengers, which is still my favorite, with a couple of small exceptions.
A side plot line relating to one of the characters seemed a little out of place and more importantly I felt it didn’t really add a lot to the overall story. I know why it was there but I’m not sure it was really necessary. I suspect it’s something that may bother some fans for other reasons so I question if it really needed to be included at the end of the day.
It also felt odd that [highlight to read spoiler] Pepper and Jane were not present but their names were thrown into conversation to try and explain it away. I wonder if it might have been better to just leave that unsaid.
As a fan of the MCU who has no comics background I was glad I had read enough (mostly here on the forums) about [highlight to read spoiler] the infinity stones to understand what the mid-credits scene was about, otherwise I wouldn’t have understood it at all, I was also glad to know in advance that there was no after-credits scene to wait for.
As for tie-ins to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. there aren’t any huge ones based on what we’ve seen of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. so far but there is still one more S.H.I.E.L.D. episode to air before the movie is officially released in the US so I can’t speak to that one yet. We will update our Marvel Cinematic Universe Timeline Viewing Guide once we know more.