Joss Whedon definitely knows how to put together a superiour superhero movie.
As I believe I said roughly three years ago, almost to the day... MR JOSS MUTHAFUCKIN WHEDON!
I thought that the first movie was the definitive Avengers movie... well, Avengers: Age of Ultron kicks the first movie's butt, takes it's lunch money and sends it home with a bloody nose.
This movie had me... from start to finish and all points in between, this movie just had me. And as always with Mr Whedon it was all the characters (and I do mean ALL the characters, just about everybody shows up in this thing at some point... or is at least name checked... and that's on top of introducing five new characters including the main villain) and their relationships. And if there is one thing that Joss Whedon does exceptionally well is write for a disparate group of characters and given them all a voice and find a way to bring them together believably.
Everybody gets their little beat... and sometimes more than that. Thor actually gets to be humorous this time around... Tony Stark is pretty much always Tony Stark, and it seems like his role in the Avengers movies is to be the self involved kid that nobody else wants to play with... there's a whole new world of Hawkeye... Black Widow and Hulk get to enjoy new and interesting territories... and even Captain America actually has stuff to do this time around, even if that stuff is mostly being in charge (it always feels like he's the least interesting guy in the room, although it does feel more like he's found his groove this time).
Personally all my favourite stuff is the emerging relationship between Scarlett Johansson's Romanoff and Mark Ruffalo's Banner/Hulk. And Johansson gets to take Natasha in all these new directions and open her past up a little. But I still hold to the idea that I don't want a Black Widow solo movie... not because I don't think Johansson would be great, and with the right writer and director it wouldn't be interesting, but I still like being able to just see tiny slivers of her past rather than laying it all out. And given what we've seen so far, I also think it would be hard to make without making it really, really dark and borderline depressing.
Having said that, I'd love to be proven wrong.
Oh, and as always, it's nice to see Chris Hemsworth perform his contractually obligated shirtless and wet Thor scene... not quite as lingering as the shots in the Thor movies, but still very pleasant. Also bless the makers of Under Armour for putting many of the cast in very, very tight fitting, body hugging shirts... particularly Chris Evans with those arms...
But getting back to the actual movie.
While the plot feels more grounded than the last (which is weird to say when you're talking about hordes of robots), or at the very least the threat is internal, rather than external, the movie definitely ramps up the spectacle... instead of just New York getting flattened, this time three different cities get the Battling Avengers treatment. The most spectacular of these, unsurprisingly, is the final battle, which is pretty damn amazing. In a lot of ways it's the best parts of the first movie's final battle sequences, where they all work together, but ratcheted all the way up.
And I think this is maybe the first of the Marvel movies where I wouldn't have minded seeing even more of the villain... there's just something about James Spader's voice performance that's kind of compelling... plus Ultron is clearly bat-crap crazy in a very human way, which is intriguing in a machine.
There also wasn't a single moment where I felt the movie's 141 minute run time... yes, thinking back on it after the fact, they probably could have trimmed down a couple of the earlier fight scenes, but like I said at the head of this post, the movie had me all the way through, so I never even noticed the time.
yani's rating: 5 vibranium androids out of 5