Avengers: Age of Ultron

WRITTEN BY: Joss Whedon
DIRECTED BY: Joss Whedon
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, James Spader, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson
RATING: 5 stars

When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffallo) try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program using Loki's sceptre, they accidentally create the villainous Ultron (James Spader) who wants to wipe out the Avengers and humanity.

Just like the first Avengers film, the sequel has a lot of action, funny moments and great character development. There is something for everyone in this film. Despite having a running time of more than two hours, Avengers: Age of Ultron never drags. Some parts of the plot are quite technical but it is not very hard to follow. There is no doubt that writer/director Joss Whedon is an excellent filmmaker. His timing is brilliant with every arc in the story mapped out precisely.

It is also great to delve further into each character's personality and background, particularly Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) who has a fuller role this time. Banner, as opposed to the Hulk, is also given an opportunity to shine and his complex relationship with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlet Johansson) is handled well. There are also some fantastic cameos in the film that tie together loose strings from the individual films. The addition of Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch to the cast works perfectly and the way they use Paul Bettany's Jarvis is interesting. Meanwhile, Spader makes a great villain who is very different to Loki while still being menacing and witty. Interestingly, the origin stories for several of the new characters are different to the comics but Whedon connects the dots well. The remaining original cast including Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans as Captain America continue their fine form whether they are butting heads, cracking one-liners or working as a team.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is not quite as solid as its predecessor but it is no less enjoyable.