If you haven’t taken the time to see the newest installment in Marvel’s cinematic universe, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”—or were misled by a specious article in this newspaper into harboring negative opinions of the film—then relinquish this misconception and go see it right now.
Part of the beauty of the newest Avengers film is that, unlike the previous movie, if you haven’t seen all of the precursor films—such as the first “Avengers,” or the Captain America, Thor and Iron Man series—it’s all right. “Age of Ultron” integrates many of its characters’ backstories into the plot, and in a very unassuming way. I hadn’t seen many of these films beforehand, but I found myself more knowledgeable on the characters after coming out of the movie theatre—an experience I did not share with the original “Avengers.”
While it is true that the second film picks off with some intermediate events unexplained, such as the creation of an Avengers headquarters and the resurgence of Hydra, this leaves much to the viewer’s imagination: a creative decision that makes everything seem more realistic.
Overall, the plotline is a triumph—especially considering that the subject matter consists of a group of superheroes fighting a robot hell-bent on world domination.
“Age of Ultron” surpasses the initial Avengers in many aspects, but above all with the development of its characters. The film exhibits a wide range of character development, which means that even the robotic antagonists can evoke empathy from the audience. And as cheesy as it is at some points, the romance between Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) adds extra depth.
Ultron is also a much more convincing supervillain than Loki is (I, for one, wouldn’t mind if Loki were relegated to a life of eternal condemnation in Asgard, never to be seen again). As humorous as he is, Loki and his army of backwards robotic aliens are simply not suited for the job of world domination.
In order to counter the heightened threat Ultron poses, the Avengers become larger and more coordinated to fight. Of note is the addition of the Maximoff twins—consisting of the mind-altering Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and lightning-speed Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson)—along with Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and the Vision (Paul Bettany).
Even the battle scenes of “Ultron” seem more coherent and coordinated: the conflicts are beautifully meshed, and have a humorous human side brought out by a brief stay at Hawkeye’s isolated country home and a contest to see who can lift Mj́ölnir, Thor’s hammer.
And just as “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” warns against the use of drones and the first Avengers movie comments on the malevolence of autocrats, “Age of Ultron” delivers a stirring social commentary on the dangers of creating sentient artificial intelligence.
But perhaps most exciting is how “Age of Ultron” begins to truly delivers on the promise of its predecessor; intertwining the superheroes’ individual plotlines and foreshadowing the impending prominence of Thanos in future Marvel films. Overall, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” represents a major stepping stone towards the imminent climax of the Marvel Cinematic Universe—but above all, a confident step in the right direction.