The Avengers assemble....again.
After the events of the first Avengers film and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron finds the titular heroes in Europe in an attempt to retrieve Loki's scepter. Though successful in their mission, The Avengers come across Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen) who prove to be successful antagonists to the team.
Once back on their home soil, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) discover within the scepter lies artificial intelligence. Keeping this secret from the rest of the team, Tony and Bruce try to complete the Ultron defense program. Unforeseen side effects from this tampering, though, create Ultron (James Spader) who becomes fully aware and sets about on a path to destroy all humans with the help of Pietro and Wanda.
Coupled with Ultron's plan of total destruction, The Avengers begin to fracture at the lack of trust and communication. After an attempt to stop Ultron in Africa fails, the team sets about on a second-act downward spiral at Clint Barton's (Jeremy Renner) house to try and get the team back together and reformulate a plan to stop Ultron.Tony, Bruce and Clint along with Thor, (Chris Hemsworth) Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) re-evaluate with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and reassemble The Avengers.
This film tries to go darker than the first, yet comes across jumbled and in need of another pass by the editors. While trying to couple The Avengers along with Pietro and Wanda along with Ultron, some characters get lost in the shuffle while others move to the forefront. This is both good and bad.
On the good side, Natasha sees a relationship begin to form with Bruce. It was nice to see the one female hero be strong and the only person that has a chance to calm Bruce when the Hulk is released (not meant to be perverted in any way). Though the relationship seems to begin out of nowhere, and the time needed to make their growing bond not there, it was nice to see an attempt be made for the human characters.
Along with that, Clint Barton actually gets the most humanistic role in the film. Instead of being a supporting player to the marquee names of The Avengers, we get to see Clint's personal life; including having a family. Even though, like listed above, not enough time is delegated to fully immersing the audience into Clint's life, the seeds have been laid if the filmmakers wanted to showcase Clint's personal life and history. Clint also gets the best speech in the film; near the end, Clint is trying to instill confidence into a character and Jeremy Renner's delivery along with the well-written speech create a satisfying moment.
On the other end of the spectrum, Thor ends up taking a backseat in the film. After the events in Africa, Thor takes off to meet with Dr. Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) about nightmarish visions that Wanda put into Thor's head. This sequence comes off as rushed and feels like it was either written at the last minute or the editor had a fun time chopping the sequence down.
Though it may seem like I am being more negative than positive about the film, that isn't the case. What Avengers: Age of Ultron has is an entertaining mess of a film. The climax is the exact same as the first Avengers film (large scale destruction, heroes fighting multiple CGI enemies, etc.) yet was more entertaining to me. The rest of the film was solid if somewhat scattershot with trying to provide enough screen time for old and new characters along with telling a cohesive story and trying to appease all audiences. With so much going on in the film, it would be almost impossible to tell a story without it feeling like a jumbled mess.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is a jumbled mess, but a solidly entertaining jumbled mess.