A look at the enviable cast is enough makes us ‘marvel’ at the second instalment of this superhero mashup. And director Joss Whedon knows how to blend astonishing action with smart one-liners and inside jokes. Amidst all the clang, he creates a lyrical hallucination of the past, talks of brewing relationships between superheroes, who can hang their capes and armour to have glass of wine and laugh over their mighty perks. And when it boils down to pleasing the fan boys or saving the Earth he smoothly shift gears to the havoc that uncontrolled artificial intelligence unleashes and the perils of ego and one upmanship that affects even our superheroes.
The good things is Whedon doesn’t waste time in build up or holding back his artillery. The superheroes hit the ground running as they go after the missing sceptre that Loki, the villain of the last piece, used to terrorise us. Tony Stark/ Ironman’s (Robert Downey Jr.) tinkers its technology to create an artificial intelligence. But the celebrations are short lived as Stark fails to understand the ramifications of the experiment and the AI acquires its own agenda as Ultron. Stark wants peace while Ultron understands it can be achieved by vanishing humanity from the face of the Earth. He tells Stark not to get confused between peace and quietude.
Genre:Action Adventure/Sci Fi
Cast:Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, James Spader, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron-Taylor Johnson
Bottomline: After trying to break free from the generic trappings and expectation from a summer blockbuster Whedon settles to conjure up a please all experience.
As Whedon highlights the limitations of the superheroes, the comic book narrative threatens to become complex. Ultron is helped by a mind bending witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and a quirky anti-hero (Aaron-Taylor), whose parents suffered in the past because of Stark’s gadgets in the war. It hints at how well meaning power can also rub the people the wrong way. We get to know safe is in short supply.
As the robotic Ultron (malevolently voiced by James Spader) takes control, Whedon realises it is time to unleash his mighty men. So complexity gives way to the comic book imagination as skyscrapers crumble, land mass rises against gravity and each superhero gets an opportunity to show his or her craft.
Stark, as always leads from the front with the infectious irreverence that Downey Junior deliciously epitomises.
With simplistic backstories to flaunt, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and hammer-wielding Thor (Chris Hemsworth) play to the gallery. Chris Evans continues to be one-note as the drab Captain America. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) growing relationship with Bruce Banner/ Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) promises a sensitive turn of events but Whedon has too many boxes to tick.
In the process of packing everything that a generous buffet meal can offer, he doesn’t let the narrative breath. It often jumps like Hulk from one point to another.
In the age of artificial intelligence, the emotion also feels artificial. Like the heart of Ultron, it thumps but the nuts and bolts don’t generate the same impact as muscles and veins. It is fascinating to watch Hulk going berserk against fellow avenger Iron Man in Johannesburg but what about the collateral damage. Why the detailing of superhero movies doesn’t include even a passing mention of the people who suffer the mayhem? Weddon’s camera does manage to capture a harried dog in the climactic battle and a sardarji in the background during a party of the superheroes. One expect to see more such eye for realistic diversity amidst the CGI imagery.