It is hard to believe that it has been nearly three years to the day since I reviewed The Avengers back in 2012. I viewed it with two other expat parents and the three of us unanimously declared it a hit. Somehow, it still feels fresh in my mind, but that probably has more to do with the intervening installments of Iron Man 3 (2013) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014); characters who both play leading roles in the Avengers series as well as major roles in the Marvel dynasty of superheros on screen.
As with the first Avengers flick, Director Joss Whedon again leads the audience through a movie staring a raft of Marvel superheros: Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man) played by Robert Downey, Jr.; Captain America played by Chris Evans; Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth; Dr. Bruce Banner (a.k.a. The Hulk) played by Mark Ruffalo; Natasha Romanoff (a.k.a. Black Widow) played by Scarlet Johansson; Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye; and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury all return for Age of Ultron. Meanwhile, we are introduced to two new characters with special powers: the lightning fast Quicksilver, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson; and Scarlet Witch played by Elizabeth Olsen who wields the powers mind control and some other wicked cool stuff you will just have to see for yourself.
Unlike the first Avengers, Age of Ultron assumes moviegoers have seen the previous installment and some, if not all, of the related superhero films centered around Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, and Captain America. Consequently, not much time is spent on developing the characters except for the newcomers, Ultron himself, and a couple of characters without their own franchises yet. If you have been along for the ride since the first Iron Man, you won’t have any trouble keeping up.
Age of Ultron is basically an all out battle royal pitting the Avengers against the bad guys and occasionally against themselves as they struggle to bring their egos together to fight for the greater good. It is about smashing up robots, cars, buildings, cities, and one innocent cord of wood. There are a few breaks in the action, but not for long.
One point of ire for me was the lack of a 2D option. There is nothing gained by viewing the film in 3D other than a sore nose from wearing unwanted glasses. The sole exception was a bit of clever CG in the closing credits that made great use of the 3D visual effect. Unfortunately, the rest of the film would be perfectly enjoyable without 3D.
Age of Ultron is rated PG-13 in the USA purely for superhero-genre violence. If your children have watched anything similar from Marvel, you will know what to expect. There is almost no blood and just little bit of harsh language used for comedic effect.
Age of Ultron is currently playing at CCV in Indigo Mall and probably everywhere else in Beijing with a screen. Enjoy, and be sure to sit through the first few minutes of the closing credits for a teaser of things to come.