Avengers: Age of Ultron

 

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Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk and Captain America return to prove that more is decidedly less.

  

Avengers Age of Ultron   

Robert Downey Jr flexes his metal

 

Like it or not Avengers Assemble (2012) is, worldwide, the third highest grossing film in history. Its playful ensemble of Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk and Captain America captured the popular imagination and it was the repartee between the four unlikely superheroes that made the film so enjoyable. Unfortunately, the $250 million sequel gives the foursome little time to riposte. Indeed, the opening line – “Report to your stations immediately – we are under attack!” – sets the tone for the rest of the film’s endless 141 minutes.

 

To be fair, Avengers Assemble was a hard act to follow and the second helping is an even bigger tub of popcorn – and, quite frankly, is more than one can consume in a single sitting. The original novelty has gone and in its place is a villain – Ultron – who is bigger and more destructive than all the Avengers combined. He’s a big hunk of artificial intelligence and has fashioned himself on an amalgam of Iron Man, The Terminator and RoboCop and, having plugged himself into the Internet, is not only omnipotent but omnipresent. His aim: to save the planet by ridding it of its human populace. And so the world comes under attack and all the extraordinary resources of the Avengers are tested to the limit.

 

Yet, for all the film’s efforts to quantify its technobabble, it is its more earthly passages that strain credibility. When the major city of an Eastern European country – Sokovia – comes under attack, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) yells at a family in a crumbling block of flats to “jump in the tub!” And, miraculously, the said family piles into the bath and Iron Man whisks it – and them – through the air as the building collapses. Miraculously, because the inhabitants of Sokovia not only speak English – albeit with strong Eastern European accents – but understand American. We know this because at one point a Sokovian police captain screams at his officers “hold your fire!” In English.

 

Sitting through Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron is like being stuck with a very loud and arrogant guest at a party who, about every twenty minutes, says something vaguely interesting. But you still want to go home early. All this could have been avoided if the fight sequences were a tad more plausible. But the frenetic editing, the incessant (and lazy) music and the endless effects create a sensation of brain freeze. To paraphrase Elvis Presley, “I've got those hup, two, three, four CGI blues."

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, James Spader, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Thomas Kretschmann, Andy Serkis, Julie Delpy, Stan Lee, Henry Goodman.

 

Dir Joss Whedon, Pro Kevin Feige, Screenplay Joss Whedon, Ph Ben Davis, Pro Des Charles Wood, Ed Jeffrey Ford and Lisa Lassek, Music Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman, Costumes Alexandra Byrne.

 

Marvel Studios-Walt Disney Productions.

141 mins. USA. 2015. Rel: 23 April 2015. Cert. 12A.