Cast/Crew: Written/Directed by Joss Whedon, with all the main cast returning (Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Capt. America, Hawkeye, Black Widow) with some cameos and minor roles from others. The new baddies are Ultron (voiced by James Spader), and twins Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch aka Pietro & Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen)
Plot: Tony Stark’s aim to make AI and secure Earth’s safety immediately goes wrong, as it pledges to bring about peace via exterminating mankind. The Avengers have to save the day!
Thoughts on the film:
• Great to see another ensemble movie as I loved The Avengers. However since they’re all friends now, there’s no interesting story arc/character building they have to do, so the film focuses more on action. It’s mostly just zingers from Stark. The film even starts with them going through the motions in battle, smashing the opposition.
• I do like how Captain America’s not the coolest but he’s the leader, and he does a great job being likeable despite being a white-meat PG babyface. Take notes, Cena!
• Most of this film is action scenes, which are both glossy and high budget, but never tiring (unlike the Transformers films, I find) so it’s a very easy watch. Nothing that tops the first film, but Iron Man vs Hulk was very cool. Stark gets in his Hulkbuster (“Veronica”) suit and they have at it – the large mechanised suit and his spring-loaded punches trying to incapacitate Hulk. It’s sweet as Iron Man has a hovering pod of extra parts as Hulk tears his suit apart. I’ve included a clip of it at the top as that fight scene is the best thing about the movie!
• They do have the storyline of ‘let’s hang up our boots, it’s all about not needing the Avengers around any more’ which I think is far too soon to have that, we know there’s going to be many more films! Save it for Infinity War Part 2 mate. They continue to stress the importance of being a team. It works well but it’s also funny considering most have their own films where the others don’t show up 🙂
• Always a fun time to see these huge superheroes interact with each other, especially in an informal setting. There’s a fun scene where the drunken lads all try to lift Thor’s hammer. Captain making it move slightly (and Thor worriedly taking notice) was hilarious. (I’ve included a clip of it at the bottom)
• A small problem with the first film is still present here in that the baddie minions are all very bland and feel like fodder, starkly contrasting with the colourful team. Avengers 1 had grey humanoid soldier aliens and Avengers 2 has grey humanoid solider robots.
• Ultron reminds me of Skynet (a computer AI that instantly decides that exterminating humans means peace). I didn’t like how he had some snarky one-liners and jokes around. I guess they’re trying to give him personality but it made him feel like a joke, lowering his threat level. “I’m glad you asked that, because I wanted to take this time to explain my evil plan… “; getting ejected from a plane “Oh for God’s sake!”
• Stark and Thor bring up their missus (Pepper and Jane respectively) and neither show up in the film. I’d mention them once and never again if that’s the case.
• The twins were good additions to the film. Quicksilver in his 90s Eastern European getup is fun. Maybe Russian film-goers can get behind him too. They’re from the fictitious Eastern European country of Sokovia. Expected his cousin Roman Bellic to ring him if he wants to go bowling! Quicksilver’s gimmick is he’s very fast but is otherwise normal. Scarlet Witch’s gimmick is telekinesis and hypnosis; she floods the Avengers’ heads with horrible visions that prey on their weaknesses, and is pretty successful. They work well as a minor duo, the overly protective brother and more emotionally-attuned sister.
• Mild bit of political gesturing as these ‘foreign’ twins have a gripe with the American hero Stark (as it was one of his bombs that killed their parents) but find out that the Americans are the good guys.
• They zoom in on a large-breasted blonde woman on her son, which felt like a very ham-fisted cameo. She also boards a ship to safety whilst leaving her son to die, apparently. Cheers! There’s a few instances of “we’re convenient plot points! Save us!” like people who stayed in their car on a broken bridge instead of walking to safety. It’s not a big thing but it is obvious.
• Banner and Black Widow have a budding romance storyline which is fine but not particularly engaging. It’s a large step-down for Hulk, who was really brilliant in the first film.
• It was cool to see another of the Infinity Stones, we’re up to four now (six total).
• With the addition of The Vision, and lots of cameos especially at the end, the roster gets overly bloated. Vision does something that was quite shocking right before the fight, and played up quite well.
• The fight scenes are all in different settings (In the snow/woods, shipyard & city of Johannesburg, the streets of crumbling Sokovia) which really help keep things fresh. Joss Whedon does a great job with high-budget comic-book action scenes.
• One last thing, J.A.R.V.I.S. gets replaced by F.R.I.D.A.Y., a female computer voice portrayed by Kerry Condon (Octavia in ROME) from Co. Tipperary. She has a HUGE Irish accent, broke my shit laughing at whatever she said. “Ah Jaysus, Farr minits ta detonaysion, Ultron’s actin’ the bollox again” and all that. I don’t know why she was chosen, it probably sounds really exotic to Americans but we died in the cinema. TONY STARK, YOU FUCKIN’ ANIMAL YA!
Overall: An easy and fun watch, not as good or as much heart as the first but still a thoroughly enjoyable film. I don’t think you’d miss anything by skipping out though.
Here’s the scene where the lads try to lift Thor’s Hammer after a few drinks. Top stuff!
BTW, “Prima Nocta”/primae noctis is a fictional custom, where nobles would have the right to have sex with a wife on her first night of marriage. It was used by local priests for sexual gratification under the guise of deflowering the virgin so the husband would not be bloodied. It’s not actually a thing, feudal writers were trolling!