“They’re the Avengers,” comes the reply. The only thing missing is the “Duh!” at the beginning of the sentence.
Not only does the exchange answer the question of every film producer who has a movie opening opposite “Avengers: Age of Ultron” this weekend but it also sets a loose, funny tone for the film.
Twenty seconds into the movie we’re already engaged in a wild action scene that puts them in possession of an ancient gem containing artificial intelligence. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) intend to use the technology to build a peacekeeping army—“I see a suit of armour around the world,” says Stark. “Peace in our time, imagine that.”—but the plan backfires and instead of creating a global peace initiative they create a robot monster named Ultron (voice of James Spader). “I really miss the days when the weirdest thing science created was me,” says Captain America (Chris Evans). Hell-bent on improving the world by exterminating humanity, Ultron says, “When the dust settles the only things left will be metal.”
Cue the metalocalypse.
While many superhero movies have chosen a dark road—think Christopher Nolan’s ennui ridden “Batman” movies or the dour looking “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”—director Joss Whedon delivers action with a grin. There’s always time for a quip in “Age of Ultron.” The wisecracks are the glue that hold the film together, acting as a bridge between the battle scenes.
Stark is his old cocky self with none of the insecurity of the emo “Iron Man 3” in sight. Gone is the introspection of “Winter Solider.” Sure, Banner is still tormented by his Hulk alter ego—but let’s be honest, if you take away his torment, you take away his character—but nonetheless finds time to do a faceplant into Scarlett Johansson’s chest and Black Widow (Johansson) shows more of her feminine side than ever before, but the film is less interested in the characters than how carnage the characters can cause.
There are action scenes galore. If all you want are trucks flying through the air, buildings crumbling and Iron Man assembling and disassembling, look no further. It’s a smorgasbord of skirmishes, a constant barrage of action scenes, many of which appear in a blur, just glints of metal and flashes of colour. These sequences are stuffed to bursting with an overload of CGI that becomes less interesting the more you watch.
One of the reasons we go to the movies like “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is to see things we’ll never see in real life, but it’s hard not to agree with Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) when he says, “We’re fighting an army of robots and I have a bow and arrow—it makes no sense!” Whedon has tried to dazzle our eyes—and he does!— but has forgotten about engaging our brains.