Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Elizabeth Olson, James Spader, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Rated M 141 min).
Big positives, tiny negatives and more than a few acute surprises. However, rest assured no spoilers within this description except to say, I am sure all Marvel comic fans will rejoice at the return of this intergalatic mix-matched crime fighting team.
With plenty of references to the previous stage one canon of movies, the gang’s all here with a few new additions that may or may not be here to stay, plus another fine cameo from creator Stan Lee. No movie with scope such as this can be complete without an effective master villain, in this case he is Ultron, a generated artificial intelligence from the manufacturing mind of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr). Ultron in all his forms may go haywire but he has no interest in world domination leaning more towards changing the world as we know it.
Beginning amidst a large scale forest battle, this latest instalment in the Marvel universe contains as you would expect, some scintillating action sequences that often don’t know when to quit. Not that I’m complaining as these eye-popping moments have amazing special effects. Ironically it is the quieter scenarios within certain characters that evoke the most zest.
The surprises are not forthcoming and delightfully executed, while on cue, comical banter brings laughs even when this seemingly unstoppable team are fighting under duress of an incoming robot army. I understand these films are not for everybody although based on cast suitability, this ensemble is perfect. Not seen only heard through his silky smooth corruptible voice, James Spader (Pretty in Pink, Sex Lies and Videotape) does Ultron with a condescending evil vigour. Quite often unloved by many fans, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) becomes self referential and the centre of attention when you least expect it.
For a sequel to a massively popular original, it’s a pass, not a bingo. Don’t leave immediately, there is a brief extra end credit scene worth waiting for.
Shane A. Bassett