'The Avengers: Age of Ultron' - Movie Review

"Age of Ultron" opens with bizarrely blatant CG shots, including one of director Joss Whedon's favourites which sees all of the Avengers lunging across the screen simultaneously. It's cute, but so blatantly a set piece that I recoiled in disgust. From there the movie - and the CG - improve. We meet "the twins," Wanda and Pietro Maximoff ("The Scarlet Witch" and "Quicksilver" in Marvel's larger universe). Which is somewhat disorienting if you've seen "X-Men: Days of Future Past" because in that not only are they played by different actors but they're about a decade apart in age - I wish Marvel would regulate their properties better ... but I digress and this seems to be entirely expected by a lot of people. And then there's the evil dude Ultron who's created by Tony Stark (still Robert Downey Jr., looking too smug this time out), and lots of big fights.

It's fun - even if we have to put up with deliberately contrived fights like the early on "Hulk vs. Iron Man/Hulkbuster suit" ... someone please ring the fight bell. They go about two rounds, and trash a major city. You know the routine, and the excuse: the Scarlet Witch got into Hulk's head. It all builds to a major denouement, and humanity is saved - mostly. Blah blah blah. There are good fights and it was enjoyable, but the first Avengers movie was definitely the better of the two.

James Spader has a blast voicing "Ultron," and does a fine job of bringing the deranged AI to life. Sadly, the only other character development of any description, despite the relatively long run-time, is regarding the possible budding romance between Bruce Banner (the Hulk, Mark Ruffalo) and Natasha Romanoff ("Black Widow," Scarlett Johansson). I suppose there's a bit for the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), but mostly they appear fully formed and play their parts.