For me, one of the biggest pros of this film is the introduction of Paul Bettany as Vision; it’s nice to see him finally getting some face time! The design of the character is excellent, the scenes that feature him are definitely the highlights and it will be interesting to see what they do with this character in the future. The film’s primary antagonist, Ultron, is also well played by James Spader, being a suitably menacing presence, while at the same time retaining Tony Stark’s sense of humour. It was certainly refreshing to see an A.I. character being played so uniquely.
“Age of Ultron” also introduces new characters Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, both ably played by Aaron Johnson and Elizabeth Olson; they are completely at ease within the story and their scenes are very well executed. As a side note, before I saw the film, I was anxious to see how Johnson’s Quicksilver compared with Evan Peters from “Days of Future Past”. They are very different interpretations and Johnson clearly has more screen time, but in all fairness, I have to give the edge to Evan Peters! In addition to the new characters, it was also wonderful to see War Machine and Falcon again, although it is unclear why the latter wasn’t included in the final fight scenes!
The central cast still retain the same chemistry as in previous films and I’m glad that they are still having a blast performing together; the party scene is a wonderful example. It was also interesting to watch the development of the Bruce/Natasha relationship, since it was hinted at in the previous “Avengers” film.
Even though the film is darker than the first, “Age of Ultron” still includes the Marvel humour that we have all come to know over the years. There were many moments when I was grinning broadly.
In terms of negative points, I will say that the film is definitely not perfect and I believe that it is not quite as good as the first one. Introducing so many new characters, plot lines and locations also introduces the danger of the film being a bit messy and convoluted, though I think that Joss Whedon just about manages to keep it all under control.
Although the film is very good, I also could not shake the feeling that this has all been done before and that there is a certain “Marvel structure” that we have all come to recognise. Both “Age of Ultron” and the previous “Avengers” film certainly have similar finales, with hordes of metal minions flying around as cannon fodder for the team, which ultimately results in them all gathered together for their “last stand”.
Some of the dialogue was also sometimes hard to understand as well.
In conclusion, though it is somewhat flawed, this is a bigger, darker version of “Avengers Assemble” that introduces some wonderful new characters, reacquaints us with familiar ones and has us rooting for our favourite heroes all the way through.