Film: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, James Spader and others
What happens when superheroes need to introspect? When those who fight the world's fears, must grapple with their own? They are forced to evolve.
Avengers: Age of Ultron, the sequel to the 2012 superhero flick, calls upon humanity's keepers to get better. The film is based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who must work to thwart Ultron—an artificial intelligence robotic entity—who is plotting human extinction to 'save' the planet.
It takes off from the prequel, where the team had to take on Loki—Thor's brother who made a deal with an alien leader—and prevent him from taking over the earth. If the first part was about a group of disparate superheroes coming together to find a common purpose, the sequel has them setting out to fight their inner demons to be able to take on an external one. For instance, Captain America, a World War II soldier, haunted by moments from the war, struggles to find his place in the Avengers' scheme of things, Black Widow has flashbacks of her childhood events that eventually left her bereft of maternal instincts; the angry Hulk must find peace with his scientist alter ego while Hawkeye promises to return to his family after this fight is over.
The story begins in the fictional country Sokovia in east Europe where the team, after raiding a hideout carrying out human experiments, makes off with a sceptre used in the experiment. They are joined by the Maximoff twins—Pietro and Wanda (Scarlet Witch)—who were abandoned as kids and became part of that experiment. They now possess extraordinary powers—Pietro is armed with superhuman speed and physically protects his sister while she has the ability to read minds and project energy. She is also responsible for triggering emotional points in each of the Avengers and hence, their personal dilemmas. Events lead to infighting within the team where each must face their fears holding them back, come to terms with a changing world and together fight a non-human entity bent on destroying it to establish its own supremacy.
The budding romance between Black Widow and Hulk could have been edgier but instead, it dangles and flies away much like Hulk's last scene when he goes off the radar from her. Hulk's metamorphosis is endearing, but the same cannot be said about the others. The action sequences are average, with the face-off between Hulk and Stark and the train fight involving Black Widow being the highlights. It is interesting to see superheroes as humans, as Stark tells Captain America, 'I don't trust a guy without a dark side'.
The exciting part is scraping for the larger picture about human connect. The sequel contributes to that.