FILM REVIEW and TRAILER: Avengers: Age of Ultron (12A)

Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Avengers: Age Of Ultron

An action thriller, starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and James Spader as the voice of Ultron. Screening at Alnwick Playhouse on May 26, 28, 29, 30, and June 6; Seahouses Hub on May 26; and Berwick Maltings on June 13.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron, the second film of the franchise, drops you straight into the action. This time around, the Avengers are more coordinated, have better relations to each other, and more importantly, have cooler gadgets.

The team cracks jokes every so often while still being aware of their mission, which surprised me, as I had heard this film was meant to be ‘darker’ than the first one. That’s not to say it isn’t, there is a slightly darker tone but there is still the same classic Avengers humour and light thrown in.

It follows the typical ‘Iron Man wants to do something potentially dangerous’ cliché, when he tries to activate a peace-keeping programme. He then evolves and goes rogue, forcing the team to stop him from acting out his plans. Thus, the villain Ultron is born, giving a nice spin on the story, since Tony Stark (Iron Man) is his creator.

The start picks up more or less where the last Captain America film, The Winter Soldier, ended. The Avengers set out to retrieve our classy villain Loki’s sceptre. Sadly, Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki, does not make any appearance here, although this is understandable, as the first Avengers instalment was for him, and now it’s Ultron’s turn.

Speaking of Ultron, James Spader’s portrayal of him was brilliant. It may have only been voice work, but combined with the robotics that make up his design, it was pulled off excellently and really gave you the feel of AI being virtually like a human being. He doesn’t quite have the charismatic charm of Loki, but brings a clever style of evil as a character, with even some humour thrown in. Also, the way he can move between computers and networks gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘if you could hack the WiFi’.

There were several other new characters introduced also, these being Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision. The latter, played by Paul Bettany, is an interesting addition, but as seen in the film, he is definitely ‘worthy’ enough. He could have just been used as a plot point to link the series to the next two Avengers films, Infinity War part 1 & 2, but his role is far more significant, while tying the gap a little bit.

Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, aka Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, were different, but pretty solid additions. Their powers of super-speed and telekinesis were fun to watch, but nothing massively new has been done here. This isn’t to say their characters were bad, as they were acted well and gave good meaning to the story; it just felt like I had seen their aspect before. For me, Taylor-Johnson doesn’t compare next to the newest X-Men film Days Of Future Past’s version of Quicksilver. Alongside Evan Peter’s portrayal, Taylor-Johnson felt slow, but thankfully got more screen time.

A standout scene for me was definitely one that I know lots of fans were looking forward to: Hulk vs Hulkbuster. The Hulkbuster is basically a massive Iron Man suit, designed to counter and fight the Hulk whenever he has a bad day. The various methods executed to keep up with the Hulk’s power are clever and well thought-out, this being the fight scene’s biggest highlight.

One thing I was thankful for was the fact that Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye had far more screen-time and focus this time around. It was a lot to do with his personal life, but I was still grateful that we could see more of a character who I felt was underused in Avengers 1.

A couple things I was unsure about was that some of the previous Marvel movies seemed to be forgotten. Iron Man 3 was most notable, making it look as if the end of it had never happened and leaving us with no explanation of why. There was also a Hulk-Black Widow romance, which had only ever been scratched at the surface previously, but was now given full focus, almost out of nowhere. These minor things were my only criticisms, as you quickly forgive and forget them and enjoy what is a great film, filled with action, laughs and all around fun.

New character additions are interesting and we seem to be left with a potential new Avengers team for the upcoming films (which isn’t surprising, due to characters contracts running out.)

As a Marvel fan, I could not help but enjoy this, but even if you don’t think this would be your thing, I advise you to think again. The film was excellent, even if it did have some minor mishaps buried deep beneath the surface. As Tony Stark would say, just put a suit of armour around them.

Rating: 9/10

Avengers: Age Of Ultron screens locally at:

Alnwick Playhouse: Tuesday, May 26 (7.30pm); Thursday, May 28 (2pm); Friday, May 29 (7.30pm); Saturday, May 30 (2pm); and Saturday, June 6 (2pm).

Seahouses Hub: Tuesday, May 26 (2pm).

Berwick Maltings: Saturday, June 13 (2.30pm).