Three years ago, Marvel proved that the movie audience bought into shared universe that they have been building since Iron Man. Avengers brought an arrogant tech genius in armour, a raging green giant, a World War 2 super soldier, a Norse God, a sexy secret agent and… a guy with a bow and made them into a super team and it worked. Now with the competition scrambling to match that success, they gather the team together again for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
When the Avengers take out a Hydra base in Eastern Europe, they encounter two super powered siblings, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, who were experimented on and given powers (speed and telekinesis/telepathy, respectively). When Iron Man is shown his greatest fear, he goes ahead with a plan to create an artificial intelligence using Asgardian tech. Called Ultron, the AI gained sentience and decided that the best way to protect humanity is to force then to evolve. With the help of the twins, Ultron attacks the Avengers, using Wanda’s power to tear them apart.. But even the twins are unaware to Ultron’s ultimate goal of the extinction of the human race.
The movie is pretty action-packed, with the opening scene being the battle with Hydra. Joss Whedon handles the multiple characters well, with most of the development being centered on Hawkeye, Black Widow and Banner. Wanda and Pietro are good additions to the MCU and helps to expand the scope. There are even parts that fit in with the current season of Agents of SHIELD (though watching that series is not necessary to understanding the movie.)
As someone who is familiar with the comics, it is interesting to see how certain aspects are adapted for the screen. For instance, in the Avengers comics, Ultron is a robot build by Hank Pym, who sometimes is the superhero Ant-Man (also Giant Man and Yellowjacket, but that’s getting off track.) In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hank Pym is not in the Avengers (though he will be in the Ant-Man movie, though older and not the title hero) so they put Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in the role as Ultron’s creator. The twin’s origins are altered too. In the comics (at least until recently), Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch were mutants, children of Magneto of the X-Men. Obviously, with movie rights to X-Men held by Fox (which is why Quicksilver as also in Days of Future Past), they changed their origin to the Hydra experiments (which hints from Agents of SHIELD indicating that they might be Inhumans). As comic book canon can be confusing and cross into several properties, some change is necessary, but as long as the characters are true to their core concepts, it is acceptable.
Overall, this movie is a solid win for Marvel/Disney. It is good that more time is given to fleshing out Hawkeye’s character as he hasn’t been given as much screen time as Black Widow has in the Phase 2 movies. Widow doesn’t get forgotten though. There as been some online backlash at a perceived mistreatment of here character. I did not see it as she held her own against the Ultron robots, who were strong enough to give Thor trouble and it is not like she just sat there when she was captured. My one gripe is that they did not use War Machine and Falcon more (they make appearances). It will be interesting to see where the s.eries goes as we build up to the Infinity War
My rating: 4.5/5 The new standard in superhero team-up movies