Now Playing: ‘Age of Ultron’ follows through with impressive scope

Jackson French

Jackson French


It’s a wonder that “Avengers: Age of Ultron” doesn’t collapse under its own ambition. Upping the ante on its predecessor’s already impressive scope, this movie packs more into its 141 minutes than seemingly possible. Though, with some graceful handling by writer and director Joss Whedon, the film is never in danger of flying off the rails. 

The movie draws a lot of elements from across the Marvel Universe together for a globe-trotting adventure. Though there are a few villains playing smaller roles in the story, such as Ulysses Klaw (Andy Serkis) and Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), the real threat is Ultron (James Spader), a corrupted robot determined to wipe out mankind. 

Knowing better than to take itself too seriously, “Ultron” has a cartoonish vibe that meshes surprisingly well with the film’s feel of impending doom. The action and the story are both knowingly over-the-top, and there’s always a comedic moment around the corner to keep the potential destruction of humanity from making the movie too grim. 

The only times the humor doesn’t land are when Ultron cracks a joke, which doesn’t feel right considering his robotic genocidal nature. As a robot whose consciousness has crept into the Internet and can constantly improve himself and his army, the rules on how to defeat him aren’t clear, especially when he can transfer his own consciousness into any of his own creations. Despite these flaws, Ultron is a satisfying villain who brings a stronger sense of danger than Loki did. 

This is by far the most inclusive title in the Marvel movie canon. Fans of the comics will delight in seeing everything that’s been worked into the story as well as how it ties into the other parts of Marvel’s cinematic universe. With a vast host of characters and two fictional countries on display, the illusion of a full and continuous fictional world feels more convincing than ever.  

The movie even brings supporting player War Machine (Don Cheadle) and introduces the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) to assist in the fight against Ultron. With no fewer than nine superheroes fighting a robot army in the final battle, it’s sometimes difficult to tell what’s happening. Though the movie occasionally tasks you with keeping track of too many characters at once, the action sequences are still jaw-dropping and exciting. From high-speed pursuits to large-scale battles, the skirmishes are varied, with every character playing an important part.

Despite occasional sensory overload, “Age of Ultron” is a bombastic and relentlessly fun kickoff to blockbuster season. At its current rate of expansion, the Marvel Universe is in danger of becoming too big and burning out in the near future, but for now the series is still a thrilling spectacle.