Avengers: Age of Ultron (12a)

Director: Joss Whedon

Cast Starring: Robert Downey, Jr , Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Samuel L Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen and more

“I know you’re good people. I know you mean well. But you just didn’t think it through. There is only one path to peace… your extermination.”

Full disclosure: I’ve wanted to be Iron Man ever since Robert Downey, Jr reinvented the role and stole the mantel of being the coolest super hero on the block. Alas not being a genius billionaire, I’ll just have to enjoy his big screen adventures – and boy, what adventures they are!?

Age of Ultron: Get ready, the Avengers are back – just in time to try and save us from an extinction level event in the shape of Ultron, part computer virus, part terminator-alike exo-skeleton, all bad guy…

If you’re looking for incredible superhero action, you’ve certainly come to the right place. It’s pure comic book joy to witness the world’s mightiest heroes: Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and leader Captain America (Chris Evans) jump straight into it with no need for any origin tales or even scene setting.

First up is an all out attack on the dastardly HYDRA base that sharp eyed viewers glimpsed in the end credits of the Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The evil Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) you see has been experimenting with Thor’s brother Loki’s Sceptre – and has created two new super beings or ‘enhanced humans.’ Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) can mind control, use telekinesis and can conjure red energy from her hands and her brother Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who has super speed (yes the same character from X-Men universe).

Director Whedon who returns from the first Avengers film is right at home as the threat of Ultron comes into play – it’s impressive how the sharp dialogue really brings the CGI robot to life (voiced by James Spader).

Everything crackles along with adrenalin fuelled energy – stand out scenes of which there are many include a jaw dropping fight between a possessed Hulk and Iron Man in his ‘Hulk-buster’ armour, a fun ‘who can pick up Thor’s hammer’ banter scene and the climactic fight that ups the ante even from the first film with all the heroes getting plenty of enemies to fight.

There is just so much on offer here – alongside the crunching action are some more emotional elements such as a touching romance between Hulk and Black Widow and Hawkeye’s family dynamic.

Iron Man still steals the show with his wise cracks and Hulk is incredible to behold in full battle fury. The newcomers to the party are all welcome additions especially the powerful ‘Vision’ (Paul Bettany) who is superb.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is a master class in cinematic enjoyment – essential viewing!!

Thinking material:

There is a ton of testosterone flying around in Avengers: Age of Ultron and it is easy to get caught up in the macho posturing but what is great about this sequel is that it looks deeper in the lives of some of the heroes. The dynamic tension of Hawkeye being a family man whose wife and kids worry about him when he’s out saving the world alongside his super buddies is really touching and warrants some thinking about how right is it to risk ourselves for the greater good when we have dependents.

The ‘mind tampering’ elements of Scarlett Witch’s inclusion is interesting as it takes the film beyond the toughest guy wins scenario and shows that subversion can be a massively effective weapon. If you’re in a team and your team mates start acting against you, what hope is there of achieving anything meaningful?

When the super action wraps it’s worth thinking around the issues presented – even comic books can provide a wealth of real world relatable content. Now, where did I leave my Hulk-buster suit?

CVM Rating: ***** 5 out of 5 stars

Related Films: Avengers Assemble, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 1-3