Okay, let’s just get it out of the way: Avengers: Age of Ultron is everything a superhero movie should be. You like superhero movies? Go see it. (No spoilers ahead.)
Besides doing a great treatment on the main characters, it has a sci-fi premise that actually makes some sense (in a sci-fi comic book kind of way, anyhow): Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo (Tony Stark aka Iron Man and Bruce Banner aka the Hulk, respectively) want to make a robot peacekeeping force that will protect humanity better than the Avengers ever could; but when an alien computer intelligence gets mixed in, the program corrupts, and thinks the only way to save Earth is to destroy humanity and let evolution sort it out. Avengers to the rescue, in the most incredible filmed superhero battles you’ve ever seen.
There are plenty of fanboy moments, as well as character appearances and mentions that every serious comic geek will love. We get three new heroes in Wanda and Pietro Maximov, and the android known as the Vision. Writer/director Joss Whedon, as expected, turns in an A-list script that manages to highlight all of the characters with realistic and thoughtful dialogue, showing (even beyond the fight scenes) that these guys have really learned how to work together. Those Hulk growls? Lou Ferrigno is doing ’em! And naturally, Stan-The-Man Lee makes a cameo, and his bit is great. Yeah, this is just what we Marvel movie fans have been waiting for. People always worry that the trailers will spoil all the good parts: In this case, the trailers were often modified from the actual scenes, so what you’ve seen in the trailer isn’t necessarily what you’ll see on-screen. And for all the spoiled moments, there were many, many more great moments unrevealed; trust me, you won’t feel cheated.
Critiques? Well, considering we’re talking about a superhero movie, there’s not much to say. I was glad to see Don Cheadle (James Rhodes, aka War Machine) got some good screen time… but disappointed that Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson, aka Falcon) just got walk-ons, once at the beginning and once at the end. Story problems? Just one minor one, but considering it’s something that happens regularly in superhero comics, I’m prepared to let it slide.
Battles? Incredible. Surprises? Some fantastic ones. Laughs? You bet. Cheers? Hell, yeah.
Romance? Pathos? Stimulating exchanges? Contemplative moments? I’m sorry, I believe you’re in the wrong theater. This is the superhero movie theater. Age of Adeline is the next one over.
So, get your snacks and drinks, settle in for a very exciting roller coaster ride, and try not to upset the non-comic-readers by squeeing at every easter egg.