Marvel released its second film in the Avengers series, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” on May 1. Unsurprisingly, the action film has already become a lucrative hit, bringing in almost $200 million domestically during its opening weekend.
Despite such an immense box office success, this follow-up to the 2012 smash hit “The Avengers” is a barely passable replica of its predecessor at-best, bringing almost nothing new to the “Avengers” franchise and to the superhero genre overall.
The film opens with all six of the Avengers the audience has come to know and love — Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Everything seems to be going well until Tony Stark (Iron Man) convinces Bruce Banner (The Hulk) to help him jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron.
Ultron — graced with James Spader’s smooth voice — takes on a robotic form and rebels against Stark and, though he states that his mission is to achieve “peace in our time,” Ultron aims to accomplish his plan through the extinction of the human race. The Avengers join Quicksilver, whose power is superspeed, and Scarlet Witch, whose power is altering reality, to take down the evil robotic antagonist.
“How can this film top battling an army of alien invaders led by the charismatic, mischievous Norse God Loki?” I thought as I entered the theater. The short answer? It cannot.
Though the plot line and central conflict with Ultron comments on the excessive use of technology in modern society and asks the question of whether the world would be a better place without human existence, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is simply not as entertaining nor as well structured as the first Avengers installment.
Furthermore, Ultron, while chilling and intelligent, is not intimidating enough for a villain to truly convince the audience that he has any chance of defeating the Avengers. Teaming up with the original six Avengers are Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Falcon (Captain America’s sidekick), War Machine (Iron Man’s sidekick), a new hero named Vision and endless aid from the Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate. Therefore, the audience is left to watch an incredibly one-sided fight. Ultron would make a more appropriate villain for a movie featuring only one of the Avengers rather than a movie with all of them.
Even more disappointing than the plotline are all of the forced jokes. One of the best aspects of the “Avengers” series is the intermittent but effective use of humor to juxtapose the intense action sequences. Unfortunately, the overused one-note jokes about how cool the protagonists are grow old about 23 minutes into this film.
Luckily, the saving grace of this film is the one aspect that every viewer wants to see: plentiful, satisfying action sequences featuring the heroic avengers. Director Joss Whedon again does an exceptional job of capturing battle sequences containing every avenger fighting their enemies, creating a surreal, awe-inspiring effect and makes the film worth watching. Also, the film does an adequate job of developing its characters, which can be seen by the revealing of Hawkeye’s personal life as well as the romantic relationship between Black Widow and Bruce Banner.
Overall, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a decent superhero film and will likely be watched by every hardcore Avengers fan; just don not expect this unadorned sequel to surpass its predecessor.