[EDITOR’S NOTE: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON premiered in the UK and around the world last week and Psycho Drive-In was lucky enough to have our top man in the field, Kelvin Green, there to bask in the glory. Take it away, Kelvin!] The opening action sequence has some ropey, SyFy level, cgi. There are some clunky bits of plotting — Andy Serkis’ character sort of disappears, and a promising story thread about the Avengers being unpopular with the general population is brought up and then ignored. Most egregious of all is that there are a couple of big, central character developments that make sense but, if I’m being picky, haven’t been earned. None of that matters because Avengers 2: Avenge Harder is a great film; better than the first one even, and I loved the first one. The film exudes confidence. It blows past the flaws in such a way that I feel I should criticise because Joss Whedon and the gang shouldn’t be allowed get away with that sort of brazen approach but then there’s a stonking action sequence or a powerful character moment and I forget that five minutes beforehand Thor looked like he was generated on a PlayStation 2. I know that makes me a bad reviewer but I can’t be objective about this film, sorry. Avengers 2: The Quickening is a bit more melancholy and dark than the first film, as it takes time to revisit ideas from earlier entries in the Marvel movie canon like Stark’s flawed idealism and Banner’s constant fear and guilt, this time in the context of the team. A central sequence goes further and explores the individual team members’ secret fears and shifts the tone of the film from high adventure to something more akin to Jacob’s Ladder, albeit toned down for the 12A audience. All that said, this is not a DC movie miseryfest. There are jokes! There are colours other than grey and brown! The film spends a lot of time showing the Avengers saving people’s lives! That last one is important; it’s easy to show Captain America punching someone or the Hulk smashing stuff, but when I think of my favourite sequences in superhero films they are things like the helicopter crash in Superman: The Movie or the runaway train in Spider-Man 2. There’s plenty of that sort of thing — of heroes being heroes — in Avengers 2: Journey to a New World, including a runaway train, as it happens. There are also plenty of characters. So, so many characters. I lost count but there are about eighty-seven Avengers in this film and yet it never seems crowded as Whedon and his team are adept at juggling all the many plots and personalities. The action scenes are well choreographed, with characters meeting and parting and crossing each others’ paths, giving the sequences a proper three-dimensional feel, not in the sense of paying far too much money to slap some plastic on your face for no benefit, but in the sense of making the battlefields feel like real, plausible places. The quieter, character-based moments are given the same care and attention as the big fights and almost everyone gets room to breathe. This is easier for Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man as they have their own films so there’s less heavy lifting to do here, but even so it’s quite an achievement to give everyone in such a large central cast something meaningful to say and do. The old Batman and Robin/Spider-Man 3 theory that too many superpeople spoils the, er, super-broth has at last been taken out back and shot. With all these main characters zipping about James Spader‘s Ultron doesn’t get much screen time. He has to hold his own in a film full of strong personalities and the character has a lot to live up to in comparison to Tom Hiddleston’s masterful Loki from the first instalment, but he does both. We don’t see enough of Ultron for him to oust Loki as the top Marvel villain — no one munches the scenery quite like Hiddleston — but Spader’s performance is enough to make me forget about the Asgardian megalomaniac for two and a half hours at least. There’s a bumbling, almost innocent, charm to Spader’s Ultron that makes his genocidal plans seem almost reasonable; he’s like Colin Firth, but a robot. And with lasers. What is missing is a personal connection between Ultron and the Avengers. With Hank Pym shuffled off into his own movie there’s not as much of the confused and rejected child of the Ultron of the comics. It’s not a huge loss because instead we get Ultron as a confused and rejected parent of the Vision, and the Vision is the best thing in an already impressive film. Paul Bettany is superb and steals every scene he is in with his serene and philosophical portrayal of a distant, alien being who stands apart from the fears and concerns of the other characters, a stranger who does not understand our customs or even our jokes but has enough raw power to destroy the entire world if he so chose, were it not for the potential he sees in humanity. There is a sad irony in Marvel producing a better Superman than Warner Brothers has done since 1980, but it makes for a more entertaining Avengers movie, so you know, whatevs. I’ve never been a big fan of the Vision in the comics so it was a surprise to me that he works as well as he did on screen, and that is not the only surprise in a film that looked like every moment had been spoiled by the trailers; clever editing works wonders, it seems. I won’t spoil the twists but one is a big shock and another, towards the end, is huge and sort of creeps up on you and you don’t realise what they’ve done until the final few shots and then it all makes wonderful, beautiful sense and I dare you not to smile. I laughed and clapped. Then they end with a joke that — there’s that confidence again — will make no sense at all to someone who’s not read the comics. It’s full of wonky bits like that, but I can’t help but love Avengers 2: Electric Boogaloo. "Advance" Review: Avengers: Age of UltronKelvin's Rating4.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (2 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related 3 Responses Shawn EH April 29, 2015 Yes, that’s just it, the Vision is Superman; even more alien and misunderstood than Kal-El! Log in to Reply Punk Faye April 30, 2015 87 sounds about right, if you count that one guy shoe’d in at the end. I was like, where you been for two hours asshole? That’s not counting all the supporting cast from past movies. Character-wise they felt washed out to me. Cap was vanilla, Thor seemed largely checked out, and the romance had no, well, romance. I loved Ultron though. Despite his creepy Optimus Prime lips. Eesh. I think I would have liked him more as not a villain. He had the most personalty and best lines. Log in to Reply Psychos Assemble for a Team-up of Avengers: Age of Ultron Reviews! - Psycho Drive-In May 4, 2015 […] visions about the good, the bad, and the ugly. And if you’re in the mood, here’s an early review we had from our Man in the UK, Kelvin […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.