Joss Wheldon has a tough job.
The first Avengers was a critical and commercial success and he managed to showcase an ensemble cast with a solid story, great action and bring a bunch of big ego chaps together with enough 'Facetime' in the two hours or so of run-time.
So does the director manage to do the same this time round?
I think if I had to use a single word to summarise Ultron, it would be "busy".
This movie hits the ground running, literally, as the movie opens with a big action sequence, but the tempo moderates a bit, and you get some character development, which is not easy considering that not only do you get all the stars coming back for this outing, save for Loki, but the ensemble actually expands further.
Joss must be commended for even successfully holding our attention together for two hours with so many things going on at once.
Despite having almost too many superheroes appearing simultaneously, Joss is able to have small breakaway moments, and this gives each of them a face, and makes us able to identify with them, instead of just painting them with a big brush.
Even so, I still feel it's a bit too busy and you can easily make this into a two or three part movie. However I am glad he did not do so, nor try to milk an extra movie out of a basic plot unlike Peter Jackson's Hobbit effort.
Speaking of the plot, it's a little more convoluted than the usual fair, but it still misses the high you get from a complex almost schizophrenic effort like Ironman III. You still need some basic understanding of who's who's, although those who jump right in without the benefit of watching past Marvel efforts will still be able to roughly make out the various characters. It is still best to watch the other movies first, as it makes the inside jokes more fun.
So what's it about? Well, there's a Sceptre, a nasty robot who wants world annihilation, and the Avengers try to spot him. That's it, really.
So the beauty is how the story is fleshed out from this premise, and Joss Whelden joins the ranks of JJ Abhrams, *Shane Black and Bryan Singer as one of the best comic book story directors.
There are cute moments, tender moments (Black Widow / Hulk, Hawkeye's family) and nice gags. But Ultron doesn't feel as evil or as charismatic as Loki or even Hydra's boss.
There's plenty of booms and bangs, it reminds me of Expendables, with
too many good things going on to really appreciate the surround effects
and the volume is turned up a bit too much.
Put your brain aside, and enjoy the roller coaster ride, and come back for the next installation of Avengers / Captain America / Ironman, take your pick and fasten your seat-belts...
*thanks for the correction
I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.