“And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth’s mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat.” A common threat, Ultron was not. There was only one person that could deal with it…Director Joss Whedon. It’s like cooking some crazy stew. Add five parts of superhero, one microchip, stir with super speed, finally add a dash of hex magic. Place in a pressure cooker on high and wait. There is a challenge when making a sequel to a hit movie. Without changing the dynamic of the movie, how do you top it? 2012’s The Avengers was so crazy that it worked. Age of Ultron worked but not in the way that you see. (More about that later.)
Avengers: Age of Ultron story starts out with our heroes cleaning up the mess from the last film. Loki’s scepter is in the hands of Hydra’s chief scientist Baron Von Strucker. His team has figured out a way to manipulate the human body. Their experiments result in the “enhanced”(not mutants) twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen), which they both volunteered for. The Avengers captured the Hydra facility and retrieved Loki’s staff. Jarvis (Paul Bettany) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) find that this large gem in the staff is highly complex and looks like it can think. Both Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Tony were working on an AI program to protect humanity, called Ultron (James Spader). Secretly working on this project, all attempts to create this AI fails. This was supposed to be the last gathering of the Avengers together. After a fun little game of “Who can lift Thor’s hammer?”, Ultron becomes self aware. Tony’s Iron Legion attacks our groovy gang of heroes, with Ultron leading the charge. Ultron’s reason for attacking is peace. Peace by wiping humans off the face of the planet. The same idea as Tony but without all the bloodshed. The twins join Ultron and the Avengers are there to stop them.
What surprised me with this film was that each character had a definite arc. Wanda’s manipulative hex power manifested each character fear into their head. Tony could not save people. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) feared for his homeworld Asgard. Captain America (Chris Evans) wants a “normal life”. Finally, Black Widow(Scarlet Johansson) was a loner. Speaking of Black Widow, she has a romantic interest in the Hulk. For this film, it makes sense. Trust me. Both of these characters are loners. Each could potentially fill a void for the other.
There was a standout character in Avengers: Age of Ultron: Hawkeye. After Ultron attacks, the Avengers go “off the grid” to regroup. I believe this is where the film shifts its focus to Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). If you remember, in the first film he was mind controlled. Now he’s stronger and more focused on the main goal of saving the world. Hawkeye feels that he’s the least important Avenger. In actuality, he is the most important member and this shows what he has to lose if the Avengers fail. I didn’t even talk about how cool Paul Bettany was and how he was laying a Vision for the future of the Avengers(Hint Hint). Or the tantalizing tease at the end of the film.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is a movie that had a whole lot to live up to. This was never going to live up to the first film and nor should it. What this movie was, is to lay a further foundation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Avengers had to bring these characters together. This film had to humanize them. Each one these heroes had to be broken down in order to build them back into the heroes they need to be.