The second chapter of Marvel’s movie universe is complete, and the first few lines of chapter three have been written.
Cast and Crew Information
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye
James Spader as Ultron
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Don Cheadle as James Rhodes / War Machine
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Paul Bettany as Jarvis / Vision
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / The Falcon
Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
Idris Elba as Heimdall
Stellan Skarsgard as Erik Selvig
Claudia Kim as Dr. Helen Cho
Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker
Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue
July Delpy as Madame B
Henry Goodman as Dr. List
Linda Cerdellini as Laura Barton
Kerry Condon as F.R.I.D.A.Y.
Josh Brolin as Thanos
Stan Lee as… himself?
Written and directed by Joss Whedon
In an attempt to create a defensive line capable of turning around another alien attack, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner create Ultron using alien technology. Not all of the consquences are predictable.
With most character introductions out of the way and a shared origin story for two others, this one gets right into the thick of it. This is 141 minutes, and it doesn’t slow down.
One particular character, Falcon / Sam Wilson, could have been used more effectively.
This feels original, which is a remarkable achievement considering that (including movies, TV shows, and Netflix series) it’s the 73rd story told in this universe within the last decade. Fans of every character will find something to love here. Fans of the source material will find an original story true to the spirit of the characters, although the details of the creation of four of them differ. I give it 5 out of 6.
The effects were almost universally excellent. The first lullaby didn’t seem to be properly mixed and rendered together, but the rest is nearly flawless, including a lot of detail that was left for repeat viewings instead of being a major focus here. I give it 6 out of 6.
The story is clear enough to follow if you only watch Avengers and Captain America: Winter Soldier prior to this, but is rich enough to tie in threads to every other series to date save one. It’s got emotion, stakes, and balance enough to make it important to every character on the team and give every one of them a part to play. I give it 6 out of 6.
The acting is well done all around. While I did find myself preferring the X-Men franchise version of Quicksilver overall, that has everything to do with how he was written and is not a slight in any way to how he was played here. This character has much more depth, and was the result of planning and story integration rather than competition. Spader is a fantastic Ultron, and the rest of the ensemble work extremely well together. I give it 6 out of 6.
The production is excellent. There is a seamless blend of live footage and CGI, allowing for incredible camera motions and tracking shots that can’t be done with physical hardware, particularly in the fight scenes. I give it 6 out of 6.
The emotional response is excellent. While this may not be quite as funny as Guardians of the Galaxy, it does a better job with the rest of the emotional spectrum. I give it 6 out of 6.
Overall, this is probably going to be the year’s biggest hit, as expected, and could quite possibly outperform the original. All of the necessary elements are in place. I give it 6 out of 6.
In total, Avengers: Age of Ultron receives 41 out of 42.