The Avengers team return, following their continued solo outings it’s time to bring them together again. Previous box office returns suggest there are more than around 1.5 billion legal currency reasons for doing so.
In the first combined outing, Director Joss Whedon managed the impossible. Providing each character with time in the spotlight and yet still managing a coherent story to enable such diverse characters to join forces.
Has lightning stuck twice or is the remorseless law of diminishing returns (LODR) at play?
The audience is thrown headlong into a skirmish in which we see all our favourite characters doing what they do. Thor (Hemsworth) bashing people/things with Mjölnir (hammer), Iron Man (Downey Junior) sweeping around dispensing rockets and one liners with equal aplomb. The Hulk (Ruffalo), tossing people and cars around like toys and running through buildings in a great visual gag.
Not to be forgotten, we have the shapely Black Widow expertly beating people up (Johansson), Captain America using his shield like a lethal frisbee and finally Hawkeye (Renner) firing off arrows like Katniss Evergreen (Hunger Games) on speed.
Following this minor distraction to the day, the team assemble back at Stark’s stylish base, which from previous experience, we should not get too attached to. Unbeknown to the rest of the team, Dr Banner (Hulk) and Stark decide creating a robot with AI (Artificial Intelligence) will eventually facilitate world peace, allow the team to finally put their feet up.
As can be imagined, this will not end well. Foolishly opening the box clearly marked “Pandora”, they unleash Ultron (James Spader – Voice) thereby presenting the group with their next challenge.
The story is largely irrelevant, this is about allowing superhero’s to do their thing. Eviscerating robots in ever creative ways, befuddling the censors and keeping youngsters happy with largely bloodless cartoon violence, albeit set within the real world. An “A-Team” for a new generation, where cars can somersault and occupants merge with a slight headache.
The production team have clearly travelled well in this episode, with location filming in South Africa, Bangladesh, Italy and South Korea.
Good to see Andy Serkis briefly in another blockbuster, this time on the screen without any effects and sporting a believable strong South African accent.
The opening sequence contains some sub standard CGI effects and on many occasions resembles a computer game, rather than a film. The interaction between the team remains fun but Downey is almost now a self parody, becoming more self absorbed and annoying on each outing.
Ruffalo, so believable in the first film, has almost no time to make a mark. Other characters have little quiet screen time and the sequence at Hawkeye’s home feels contrived and strained.
Overall despite being polished and as expertly put together as before, this is now beginning to feel like a stretch too far. We have seen robot on robot fights so many times, it’s become almost passée. Previously there was fun to be had with the interaction of the group, this feels forced, almost an obligatory “last album” that everyone was contractually obliged to produce.
The ending suggests even the film-makers recognise change is due, expect the LODR to increase dramatically in future instalments.
As always, colourful, frenetic fun for the target audience, who will continue to enjoy the non stop action and cookie cutter recycled sequences.
On occasion starting to resemble a Transformers movie, hardly a compliment. No disaster but less coherent and “grounded” than the first film but ultimately does “what it says on the tin”, albeit not quite as well.