Before The Avengers even opened, it was announced that it would get a sequel. Once it finished its theatrical run in October of 2012, it had ranked third all-time in box office revenue. After it hit over $1.5 billion, the hype for the sequel really started to rise. It was in 2013 that we found out the sequel would be titled Avengers: Age of Ultron and later on in that same year, it was announced James Spader would be playing the titular character.
Avengers: Age of Ultron released in the US on May 1st, 2015. It made $191 million in its first weekend, only missing the Avengers mark by $16 million. By the end of its run in October of 2015, with a worldwide total of $1.4 billion, it ranked it at the time. While not making as much money as the original Avengers, which is considered a movie that changed the way Hollywood would make movies, it was still considered a hit. But the big question is: was it as good as the first?
The New Additions
Along with Spader’s Ultron, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olen where brought in to play the twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff. Paul Bettany would end up not only voicing J.A.R.V.I.S. but playing Vision as well. These new characters are essentially where the core of the story is centered. Ultron is the main villain who mistakes destroying the world for saving it. The twins, whose accent I have a hard time with, will do anything to protect their country. Vision is an android that feels for humanity and only wants to protect it from Ultron.
Along with the new character additions to the franchise, there is also some backstory additions that were made. The biggest of which is a peek into Hawkeye’s history, giving him a larger connection to the audience and making him feel more than just a background character. We are also introduced to some of Black Widow’s training and the horrors she was subjected to when she was younger.
Connections to the MCU
Throughout Age of Ultron, we are constantly given connections to the MCU. This is the first film that connects itself to Wakanda. Andy Serkis portrays Ulysses Klaue in a small role that can be considered a cameo. While in the film he has ties with Tony Stark, we also find that he has a connection with the African Nation. This connection is expanded on in the newly released Black Panther film where we learn more about him and his want and need for Vibranium. While we were first introduced to that metal in Captian America: The First Avenger with Cap’s shield, we learn more of what it is capable of doing in this film.
Of course, there is also the smaller things. There are mentions of characters that are alive but not shown, like Pepper Potts and Jane Foster. We also have cameos from side characters that push along stories from the solo films, like Stellan Skarsgård’s Erik Selvig who helps Thor with a vision, and a conversation between Falcon and Captain America about the hunt for the Winter Soldier. And there is one line that Captian America says after meeting the twins about his own past that sums up how he feels about the current situation.
Avengers: Age of Ultron has that traditional Marvel humor. While it doesn’t beat you over the head with its comedy, it is full of quips and a few running gags that don’t let the film get too dark. This film also affects each character on a more personal level than the last Avengers movie did. They have to deal not only with their greatest fears but with a world-ending event, as well.
A solid story that feels more like a middle chapter of a series, this film is fun but also makes you ask questions of the world and the characters. Even though we don’t get answers in this film, it does not detract from the story it tells. Avengers: Age of Ultron might end up scaring younger viewers with the thought of killer robots and computers taking over the world. Other than that, I have no problem recommending to this film to any age. Even if you are not a fan of comic book movies or the MCU, it is a film I recommend as it takes on what a rogue artificial intelligence might be capable of doing.