You can’t even catch a breath before the rollercoaster action of an Avengers battle begins in the new Avengers: Age of Ultron. Like the first one, this sequel was written and directed by Joss Whedon, who is the sci-fi guru of this century so far.
During the battle in the obscure Eastern European countryside, Tony Stark inside his Iron Man suit says the four-letter S-word (which, if said more than that once could have earned them higher than their PG-13 rating).
The prim and proper Captain American warns: “Language!”
Then, Stark continues talking and comes back to Captain America’s admonishment, and says, “Is anyone going to say something about him saying ‘language’?”
It’s a very funny scene, and shows the camaraderie among these oddballs, especially since they all end up teasing Captain America throughout the movie.
The characters may be their same stereotypical selves, but they all are shown growing a bit in their characters and their roles.
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man is a complete scene-stealer as usual. His wisecracks are priceless and the best in the film. He refers to his girl Pepper as traveling around a lot, but since Gwyneth Paltrow gets such paltry parts when the ensemble is around, it’s not a surprise we don’t see her at all in this movie.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor is his dreamy unworldly, godly self. He plays off his own caricature, using his high-falluting language only to get laughs among his peers. There’s a very funny scene where all the macho superheroes are sitting around and they try to pick up Thor’s hammer. Of course they can’t, but later in the film, there is someone who can, and it’s a big surprise (so I won’t spoil it.)
The story surrounds Thor’s brother Loki (who in one scene is lurking in the background, but that’s it), and then how Stark wants to create an artificial intelligence with it that results in Ultron. Thor remains oblivious to the deception. Claudia Kim plays Dr. Helen Cho, a brilliant scientist, who is all business except when she’s invited to a party, she asks breathlessly, “Will Thor be there?”
Chris Evans as Captain America is his true-blue self, and there’s some empathy toward him this time because of his displacement in time. He laments having a relationship because everyone he has known is gone when he was a war hero.
Mark Ruffalo plays the Hulk and Dr. Banner in his usual meek self. He’s afraid of reaching out to anyone and he pushes away Black Widow’s advances (she’s played by Scarlett Johansson). The Hulk goes on a dangerous rampage in an Asian city and it makes Dr. Banner go further into his reclusive ways. Johansson has some great lines, and there’s an action sequence in the back of a truck that is breathtaking. She does try to catch up, but reminds the others she’s not full of superpowers, and one time when lagging behind says, “I can’t fly like the rest of you.”
Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye has a big secret, and this may be his way of bowing out of the series. When they’re in trouble, the Avengers go to a “safe house” and they’re surprised to find two children and a pregnant wife. Renner was injured in the opening scene battle and healed by Dr. Cho, but his wife is still concerned. Hawkeye laughs at one point in a battle, “I just shooting arrows, I know, it’s weird.”
Weird indeed, especially that Hawkeye’s wife is played by Linda Cardellini, who was Velma in the “Scooby-Doo” action movies. That makes her line: “You know, I totally support your avenging,” even more deliciously funny.
Stan Lee makes his usual cameo, and this one is particularly funny because he’s a war veteran who’s partying with the superheroes and Thor brings out a secret stash of super-booze that knocks Lee off his feet.
There’s a lot of testosterone among the heroes, and they play off it, and Black Widow comments on it. Iron Man at one point pulls his “I’m better than you” shtick by saying that he pays for everything, designs everything and “I make everyone look cool.”
Stark also has his usual awkward moment with fellow super-flyer War Machine, played by Don Cheadle, when Downey says, “If we get through this I’ll hold your own.”
To which, Cheadle answers, “You had to make it weird.”
Two new cast members are twins who are a bit against the Avengers at first. They are twins, the
sorceress Scarlet Witch Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and her twin brother Quicksilver, (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who is super fast. “He’s fast, she’s weird,” one of the characters aptly puts it.
Ultron himself is voiced by a wisecracking James Spader, playing a super-intelligent robot who misinterprets peace on the planet for complete annihilation. The robot is noseless, ala Voldemort, and as he becomes more human, he says things like, “I can’t physically throw up in my mouth.”
The Witch creates dreams and visions that are disturbing to the main six characters, and they each have a crisis from their pasts that they are reminded of and have to confront.
This is a great stand-alone movie, and one that you don’t have to know too much about the comics, or past movies (although you’ll get some of the jokes more if you do). It’s a true summer blockbuster action film in the best of the definition of it, and it’s a great way to kick off the summer movie season.