We all knew Joss Whedon faced an impossible task with 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'. To not only craft a sequel that was as great as 'The Avengers', but one which beats the competition without question. Needless to say, Whedon succeeds marvellously. You know you are in for a film of magnificence, when the opening prologue bests its predecessor in every conceivable way.
The Avengers are a powerful team. Yet they will inevitably meet their doom, one day or another. Tony Stark knows this better than anyone. He confides in Bruce Banner (AKA the Hulk), that the Avengers need an end game, a way out from their super heroic deeds. Together they create the thing that they dread "Ultronâ€¦in the flesh". Ultron is an artificial intelligence system, who is created with the sole intention of making the world safe; this is because the Avengers cannot protect the world forever. Once Ultron questions his creator and rebels against him, he believes that a better world is one which The Avengers do not inhabit. Ultron teams up with brother and sister duo; Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to destroy the team, once and for all.
The cast for 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' is impeccable, with old friends and new foes alike. The heroes are Iron Man (a witty Robert Downey Jr.), the Hulk (the subtle Mark Ruffalo), Thor (a god-like Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (a righteous Chris Evans.) Joining them are assassins Hawkeye (a keen Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (an emotional Scarlett Johansson.) On the opposing side are Scarlet Witch (an illuminating Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (a supersonic Aaron Taylor-Johnson.) The big baddie with global domination on his mind every waking minute is Ultron. He is voiced by James Spader, who oozes determination, power and intimidation. The key thing of note about Ultron is that he is intelligent and resourceful, not a lumbering henchman with dumb schemes. Ultron has a plan, one which he does not entirely divulge to The Avengers. It's so good to not be bombarded by exposition, which is far too present in the X-Men franchise. Avengers could teach it a thing or two.
The action set pieces have been thoroughly thought out; this gave me the impression that the production and animation team left nothing up to chance. The first fifteen minutes feature enough excitement on their own to put Bond out of business for good. We are introduced in this sequence to all the major players and briefly glimpse Ultron's final form. Furthermore, the fight that sees Iron Man don the Hulk Buster Armour in an attempt to stop an out of control Hulk from causing higher levels of chaos is breath taking. I literally lost my mind and I am certain that any other audience member will as well.
Joss Whedon excels not just at action, but with the dialogue and characters. Each and every person on screen feels fully formed and defined. This time there is no weak link glaringly present. Hawkeye was underutilised in 'The Avengers', however in 'Age of Ultron' we care more about him. This is because we discover many secrets to his and other character's pasts. The most intriguing of which is the character of Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) whom sees a glimpse of how she became an assassin and her vulnerability; this gives her feeling, thus in the process making her seem less two dimensional than she arguably was before.
The lines are witty and still retain emotion. 'Age of Ultron' has a heart that the majority of comic book films can only aspire to. Tony Stark is extremely funny, able to provide laughs amid the ongoing destruction. Bruce Banner is thoughtful, wondering if the Hulk is the darker side of his personality. Thor says the wrong thing frequently that provokes the enemy and Captain America is the soul of the film, bringing the heroes to fight together against Ultron in the climactic, unbelievable battle, which left me lost for words. I have rarely experienced such a feeling and 'Age of Ultron' had me regularly gasping, cheering and crying. Bless Joss Whedon who brings heart, humour and soul to The Avengers. I am left utterly speechless and cannot imagine regaining this feeling until 'Avengers: Infinity War Part I' which will be released in 2018.
As cinematographer Ben Davis can do no wrong. Having previously photographed 'Guardians of the Galaxy', it is clear that with 'Age of Ultron' he is relaxed and in his element. No praise I could give him would be sufficient.
The score composed by Danny Elfman and Brian Tyler is what fan boys like me; hear in their heads, when imagining their favourite heroes being brought to life. I'm still humming the theme tune and will be buying the soundtrack upon its release. What pleased me the most about the score was the inclusion of Alan Silvestri's Avengers theme, what a tremendous homage indeed.
Mightier than Thor's hammer, funnier than Stark's trademark wit and smarter than Banner's brain; 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' is a comic book film that rules above all others.