Has blockbuster season started? Relax. Director Joss Whedon ("Avengers") knows how to make a 141-minute, PG-13 film very, very exciting. Although I must confess, I found all the excitement merely filler between the excellent human interactions that generated the biggest audience response. (Note: Superheroes do NOT play well with others, so personality clashes are a way of life.)
Ultron (voiced by James Spader) is the amazing result of brilliant engineering, programmed to preserve life on Earth. Problem is, humankind is now viewed as the most destructive element on Earth, so obviously, IT must be eradicated. Enter our heroes....
This is only a small part of the massive cast:
- * Robert Downey Jr. ("Avengers") Tony Stark/Iron Man is faced with a moral quandary: Can Artificial Intelligence be reprogrammed to help mankind even after this unintended result?
- * Chris Evans ("Avengers") Steve Rogers/Captain America is the moral center to these movies, he chides his teammates if a profane word slips out. His idea of a pep talk: "If you get hurt, hurt 'em back; if you get killed, walk it off."
- * Chris Hemsworth "Avengers" Thor must maintain his connection to his home planet of Asgard because it's future has a direct link to that of Midgard (Earth).
- * Scarlett Johansson ("Avengers") Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow holds her own amid all this testesterone. This time we are treated to an elaborate back story which sheds additional light on her character.
- * Samuel L. Jackson ("Avengers") Nick Fury along with Captain America, is still trying to knit his obstreperous bunch of superheroes into a cohesive fighting force....and come to their rescue when needed.
- * Mark Ruffalo ("Avengers") Bruce Banner/Hulk has the biggest problem with his other identity. He knows Hulk is a deadly warrior and as a result has major issues with the ethics of the situation.
- * Idris Elba ("Thor") Heimdall gives Thor a preview of what to expect on Asgard.
- * Hayley Atwell ("Avengers") We only see Agent Carter through a couple of brief flashbacks. These are heartbreaking for Steve Rogers.
- * Jeremy Renner ("Avengers") Hawkeye has the most to lose. He has a growing family he loves.
- * Paul Bettany ("Avengers") Jarvis/Vision has been a disembodied voice serving Tony Stark from the beginning. Now things look different....
As I said, the cast is enormous. It also includes Don Cheadle, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Stellan Skarsgard, Andy Serkis, Julie Delpy, Claudia Kim, Stan Lee and a host of others. The humor is character driven (once again, Stan's is the funniest line). Much of it would go over an audience's head if they didn't know these heroes so well.
Expect chaotic over-the-top mayhem, endless battles, no sweaty bodies and a bit of blowie uppie stuff. I cringed when that building imploded and saw a strong resemblance to the NYC street scenes after 9/11. That was painful and unnecessary.
It will be fun to follow the new members as each finds his or her own place on the Avengers team.