Let's face it, I'm already a self-confessed Marvel Fangirl, so I went into the screening of Avengers: Age of Ultron with really high expectations.
I am not exaggerating when I say that not only were my expectations met, they were fantastically exceeded.
Yes, of course, this much anticipated entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is an excellent popcorn movie. That was to be expected. But it's the unexpected that makes this film a home run for writer/director Joss Whedon.
First of all, imagine taking such a formidable cast, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) all accomplished actors in their own right and treating them, not just as an ensemble, but each as the stars they are. Whedon absolutely accomplished this in Age of Ultron.
He has taken six characters, heroes no less, and not only developed their heroic mythologies, but deepened their personal characters and advanced their relationships in a very satisfying way.
The screenplay accomplishes this in a wonderfully compelling story which is moved along by absolutely jaw-dropping action scenes. Juxtaposing those two things was no small feat.
Again, coming from an Uber-Nerdy Fangirl perspective, I was blown away.
Even the introduction of a few new characters, notably, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen), even they are given a chance to shine in their own right. Their backstory makes you love and hate them all at once. That was just genius.
The Super Villain, Ultron (beautifully voiced by the awesomely talented James Spader) is a very credible match for the world's six most amazing superheros.
I have to add here that the dialogue and the comedy in the film truly delivers real belly laughs. Much more so, dare I say, than many films calling themselves comedies. The one-to-one moments between the characters, (particularly the celebration that ends badly) are just as enjoyable as the action scenes. And for this type of film, that's saying a lot.
The action scenes. Ah, this is what this movie is all about, isn't it?
Yes, the world is about to be annihilated by Ultron. Of course.
But what makes this particular story more compelling than the usual the-world-is-in-peril-and-we're-all-surely-going-to-die is what I would call the "little" moments. Whedon makes us worry about a litte boy, a dog, and a family trapped in a high rise building all while the world appears to be coming to an end. I won't get into the minutia, but this is where Joss Whedon as storyteller absolutely shines.
This type of thing is what makes us as the audience so invested in the action sequences.
In the film's best moment, which I won't give away, the Avengers reveal that they aren't really fighting to save the world, they are fighting to save a very simple way of life depicted by a typical middle America farm with the stars and stripes proudly displayed. This humanity is what adds to the genius of this film.
I hope you appreciate how much self-control this fangirl has displayed in not giving away any of the film's best, most revealing moments. I will just say that it was an absolutely satisfying movie.
What makes it so fantastic is that when you leave the theater, after spending 141 minutes of your life in this world, your appetite is absolutely whetted for more.
Bravo, Marvel. Agents of Ultron is not just a home run, but a grand slam.
Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in theaters everywhere today, May 1st, 2015.