Phase 2 of the MCU felt as if each film hit the same formulaic beat of what has worked for Iron Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron slots right in that category hitting nearly every tone of The Avengers (2012) without much innovation. This film truly feels like a filler Avengers film and that’s something nobody should ever have to say.
Avengers: Age of Ultron continues the story of the Avengers and a new conflict that they face, Ultron, an AI designed by Tony Stark that was intended to protect Earth from future threats.
The first problem that struck this movie is how contradictory it is toward its marketing campaign as audiences are shown a tonally serious film with a menacing villain and huge stakes. Instead, what is given is a story that falls flat and feels passionless by writer-director Joss Whedon. The humor doesn’t work in this film as it lessens the intensity or emotional blow of certain sequences.
The villain had an overwhelming amount of potential as an advanced AI but is extremely underdeveloped as his motivations and plan are barely explained. The marketing really promoted him as a serious and threatening villain but he instead consistently cracks one-liners that make it difficult to take him seriously. Thrown in amongst the story is an awkward romantic relationship that came out of nowhere but it does allow Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo to have some good moments in their performance. Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson give a good performance as they take on Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. The rest of the cast do a fine job in their roles without any real standout throughout the film.
On the visual scale this film shines in true spectacle and action sequences, the budget is really put to use as the visual effects are near-flawless. Overall colour grading is lacking as there are scattered grays throughout the film. The iconic Avengers theme is very much felt in this film by Danny Elfman and Brian Tyler but doesn’t excel anything beyond that especially in comparison to Alan Silvestri’s work in The Avengers (2012).
Avengers: Age of Ultron serves up nothing more than a satisfying sequel that misses a few of the notes that the first Avengers managed to strike. Bigger in its dazzling spectacle but at a substantial expense with its quality in storytelling. Avengers: Age of Ultron attempts to build upon the scale of The Avengers (2012) but sacrifices captivating storytelling and progressive character development whilst maintaining a good amount of entertainment for the audience.