Stars: Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Linda Cardellini, Stellan Skarsgård, Claudia Kim, Thomas Kretschmann, Andy Serkis.
Director: Joss Whedon
Screenplay: Joss Whedon
I've got no strings to hold me down and boy oh boy does it make our Avengers frown... On second watch this film is much stronger than I remember with a more cohesive team dynamic than the first movie. This time around I wish we had more time with Ultron, more time with Wanda and Pietro, more time with Vision, more time with Banner, just more time...because these characters are damn compelling in this middle film of a stellar ensemble outing for Marvel—or am I just in a forgiving mood today.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is feeling quilt over his past deeds and fears—a feeling that carries his ark through to Civil War—and finds a way to use AI to save the world from any further alien attack. Ultron (James Spader) is his and Banner's (Mark Ruffalo) creation and he is Stark's every fear and weakness with the ability to destroy the world. Fear is a real threat and theme that hinders and guide's our team choices that at first divides then binds them together.
Age of Ultron uses Tony's guilt and past to better use than Civil War; we see his past life as it destroyed Wanda and Pietro's (Elizabeth Olsen & Aaron Taylor-Johnson) lives when one of his missiles killed their parents and threatened their own lives. The amount of personal responsibility of destruction is played out in a subtler tone that not only develops Tony but also his victims where you can empathise for every side. James Spader plays Ultron in a genuine way, he is intelligent, almost caring, but see the flaws in mankind that can only be fully eliminated by its own destruction. Again if only we could have had more time with our antagonist and really unpick his perspective.
This is a stronger film when you can step back from its set up where its predecessor only worked in conjunction with the end of the phase one set up. Whedon was able to make a film that is still a bit of a mess but one with a solid core.