"Now I'm free, there are no strings on me."
It’s finally here. With so much talk about their Civil War, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Infinity Gauntlet, you could almost forget that Marvel has to get through their second instalment in the Avengers film series. It’s here, the only film that could stand a chance of beating The Force Awakens and in more focussed terms, the sequel to the most successful superhero film of all time.
When Tony Stark creates an artificial intelligence machine to defeat the damage inflicted upon SHIELD by Hydra, it becomes sentient and suddenly he and the rest of the Avengers find themselves facing a much bigger threat as the machine called Ultron declares that humanity is not fit to inhabit earth.
As promised, this film is considerably darker than its predecessor. It is here that we witness the ground work for the colossal break up that will come in Captain America 3. Before that we have to see the cracks appear as this team of heroes that has faced all foes and won, now face a villain that they simply cannot conquer. Don’t worry though, the humour and playful attitude between the team is still there for the most part, it’s just that they know it needs to be toned down a bit more for the grittier nature of the sequel and that’s fine, it suits the feel of the film finely.
This is also a much more intimate examination of each hero. With recent outcry that Black Widow and Hawkeye deserve their own movies in this franchise and that their role is merely a supporting one, here we witness their backstory played alongside their current emotions and turmoil’s to not only add gravitas to their stories, but open the doors to the terrors of their past returning to haunt them on a larger scale.
It would be difficult to criticise this film for leaving out certain questions that we might have wanted answered, especially from the chaos of the Winter Soldier. But it would be quite a safe bet to assume that Marvel has a spot marked out to deal with that in the future, and with so much going on here it would be inappropriate to demand more exposition. However of course there are those who would argue that this should work as a standalone film as well as the smaller part of a larger jigsaw. After all, Avengers Assemble was most definitely capable of supporting new viewers as well as old. Given that the franchise and mythology is older by this point it’s more forgivable, but all the same it is safe to assume that even after all this time there are still new fans coming out to witness this event.
I say event because this is exactly what the film feels like. It really is an event of epic proportions of amazing scope. There’s a reason why this could rival Star Wars, because it is amazing and has gained such a fan base over a relatively short time (if you assume that a majority did not read the comics).
Of course we’re also delaing with four new major players here. But amazingly they all get their time to shine and stand out. Olsen and Taylor Johnson both have a chance to flew their own hero muscles throughout this film, being seen on both sides of the conflict and you believe that their reasons for fighting on both sides are justified. Spader as Ultron has to rival Hiddleston’s Loki in terms of wit, charisma and ruthlessness. But unlike Loki he possesses such a physical intimidation that as a viewer you are left with no doubt in your mind that he is a threat. You fear him not out of his own actions, but what he means to the heroes that you connect with so well, Ultron doesn’t need an army to conquer us, he just needs to stand there for a while.
It may be difficult to ever recapture the magic of seeing these characters to together for the first time, but the gravitas and chemistry are still there and it manages to develop its characters more and allow them to grow beyond mere spectacles.
Amazing in almost every way with a great villain, spectacular heroes and of course a vision of the long and hopefully continually prosperous future of movies with Marvel.