It’s really hard to believe that about eight years ago we were sitting on the outside of what Marvel was building and thinking to ourselves, ‘this will never work’. I remembered hearing that Marvel has taken out a very large loan to start up their own studio to make their own movies. I never believed it was possible to have the cinematic universe fruitful and growing right before my eyes and yet here we are, on the ending of their second phase. Each of the characters who has had their own movies brought us through their stories until they collided into Joss Whedon’s second film in The Avengers films.
Now that S.H.I.E.L.D. has fallen (at least in the movie world) it’s up to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to take on the arms dealers, mad scientist, and anyone else who would carry the torch of violence and destruction and look to enslave humanity. During a raid of a Hydra facility looking for Loki’s scepter from the first film. Tony takes the scepter and with the help of Bruce Banner begin to create an artificial intelligence that takes the form of Ultron, a program designed to be a “suit of armor around the world” that Tony feels is the first and last line of defense against another alien attack. Ultron very quickly realizes that the extinction of the human race is the best way to save the planet and begins to put his plan into effect. Ultron recruits the Maximoff twins, Pietro and Wanda played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen who gained their powers of super speed and “being wierd” by being experimented on by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) who aid Ultron systematically pick apart The Avengers.
There is so much in this movie, it’s packed with new characters, amazing actions scenes, and huge set up for the upcoming sequels and the massive two part The Avengers: Infinity War. Everything about this movie is bigger, as you’d expect from a sequel of the magnitude, but Whedon did stayed true with his promise to make the sequel painful and more personal. He doesn’t waste any time showing you how the they all operate as a team and why they are so feared by anyone who stands in their way, something that is excellent set-up for the Civil War plot line that will be unwinding in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War.
One of my favorite moments wasn’t just the Hulk vs Hulkbuster, which was pretty amazing and allowed me to share a tender moment with my step-son as he turned to me with the biggest smile as the two began to square off. It also wasn’t Captain America taking on Ultron by himself, which was pretty amazing, or how Whedon showed the team working together as a tight unit in several actions scenes that I can’t wait to watch over and over again when it comes out on Blu-ray. No, my favorite bit out of the entire film is was Hawkeye’s back story, (which I won’t spoil) which comes out of nowhere but doesn’t feel forced or out of place. In fact out of everything in the film, this is the bit that fits perfectly. It’s beautiful and completely unexpected but provides a nice insight to some of the other characters who are internally battling where they fit in the normal world.
Despite all my praise, I do have some issues and this movie is far from perfect. While I did enjoy the action and loved how they managed to step everything up but make it fun, you can tell the movie was shredded all to hell in the editing room, which had me worried when Joss’s original cut came in around 3 1/2 hours and he bragged about how one of his main goals was to make Avengers 2 shorter then the first one. There are scenes and lines that have been cut from the trailer (which is something I hate) and the movie has to move extremely fast to hit it’s plot points so everything feels a bit forced as far as the plot in concerned.
There was also a lot of setup for other characters in other films coming out and there were moments where it felt that scenes were missing that lead up to where the heroes and villains colliding. There is a few scenes where Thor has a vision and decides to look into what he had seen in Asgard, which if anyone remembers Thor: The Dark World (SPOILERS) Loki has taken over as King of Asgard, under the guise of Odin. It’s not fully explained how Thor is able revisit his dream, he just tells us he has to jump into some pool of water in a cave, he jumps in, and suddenly see’s what we’ve all known is that someone *cough Thanos cough* is after the Infinity Stones.
I’ve heard many complain on how quickly Ultron actually became Ultron and why I don’t have a problem with this considering he’s a program that doesn’t have to eat or sleep, I do feel that there were a few scenes missing to really flesh him out as well, but James Spader kills it as the murderous android and has managed to put himself up there with Loki and Wilson Fisk, as one of the great villains, something Marvel severely lacks in otherwise.
I really, really enjoyed the film and I highly recommend going to see it but I am warning you, if you are new to this series, this isn’t the movie to start, much like WB did with the later Harry Potter films, if you haven’t been on board since the beginning, don’t look for the movie to take the time to catch you up and while this doesn’t have the awe the first film had of the team getting together nor the emotional punch many were expecting, it is outstanding achievement in the blockbuster scene and fun film.