*There are no strings on me*
First of all, huge kudos to Joss Whedon for wanting to take the job as the director of this mammoth movie. The sheer scale of this film is both huge and yet smaller at the same time as compared to the last outing. And yet, Whedon manages to pull it all together, despite a few loose strings, and deliver an exuberant two-and-a-half hour thrill ride with the mighty Avengers as they try to stop the technological enemy who is bent on human extinction, Ultron.
Despite the Avengers' fight for peace, not all the people in the world adore them. Realizing that the Avengers need a hiatus, Tony Stark attempts to jump-start a peace-keeping program Ultron so that they can take a break from saving the world. However, things quickly go wrong as Ultron immediately decides that peace can only be achieved through the obliteration of human life.
The film is simultaneously bigger yet also smaller in scale. On one hand, all of the conflict is based on Earth and therefore, there are no aliens involved (at least until the end of this film), and yet despite the smaller canvas, it becomes much denser as more characters are involved, not to forget the main villain himself. Handling a film this big is not easy and Whedon tries his best to develop his characters and while he doesn't accomplish this perfectly, he does it well enough that we get to roughly know what troubles each of these characters. And it's also welcoming that he spends more time with characters that don't have their own standalone movies such as Hawkeye, Hulk, and Black Widow.
Ultron is an interesting villain because he's different from other artificial intelligence villains. While it is true that his motives are based on logic, it's that he has a personality that sets him apart. He was jump-started by Stark, so therefore he inherits some of Stark's attributes such as his sarcasm and dry wit. But he's technological, he doesn't need the Chitauri army, he can make his own, he can reproduce at incredible rates, he can upgrade himself. He also has another perspective on the definition of peace. As long as he has access to the Internet, he's virtually unstoppable. Unlike Loki who's deceptive and mischievous, Ultron's straightforward. But the true standout was James Spader's voice. His voice was menacing, powerful and gave Ultron his signature feature.
Ultron's not the only newcomer. There's also the Maximoff twins, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. The twins are not "mutants" but rather, a result of an experimentation conducted by Hydra member Baron von Strucker. They've suffered a harsh past and therefore, they have a very strong bond as they protect each other. Quicksilver can run incredibly fast psychic powers. These two characters provide something fresh to the film as their powers are visual delights (although that one scene from "X- Men: Days of Future Past" remains superior) but they're among the crowded canvas of super-powered characters in this film. Therefore, their characterizations are not that extensive but enough for us to relate to them and to keep the action engaging. (There's also the Vision, but it's much better that he remains as mysterious as he is now.)
Talking about the action, the action sequences are absolutely outstanding. We get an adequate dose of each character kicking ass and showcasing their powers and abilities. One thing I enjoyed was that the action took place in different locations all around the world and this was very nice to see that the conflict was global and just kept it fresh. Most of the time, I just gasped in awe and just was astonished by just how awesome the action was. Some of the shots were so jaw-dropping I wished I could immortalize them into posters. It brought my inner geek out. Apart from being exhilarating, it was also humorous and that's also another primary reason I loved about this film. Some movies work well with a dark and brooding atmosphere, but I loved that this one was not so gritty but instead, more fun and just more about the adrenaline- filled ride. But all this wouldn't be a fully baked cake without a brilliant script. The script, although unable to delve deep into each character's mind (wished Scarlet Witch explored more), ultimately reminds us that despite their incredible powers, the Avengers are still humans and have faults, and this makes them feel real and to be rooted for.
Final Verdict: It can't help but feel very crowded but Whedon ultimately manages to keep all of the gargantuan content together, despite a few slipped strings, and deliver a hugely sensational and satisfying sequel to 2012's "The Avengers".