Do you like roller coasters? Do you like Marvel movies? If you answered “yes” to both of these, AGE OF ULTRON is going to be a hella good time for you! Go see it. Now. You’ll probably want to ride it again as soon as you’re through. If your answer was “no” to either of those, or you’re concerned with the film’s currently measly 75% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, let me address the concerns.
Roller Coasters: This film has 6 protagonists when it starts, and the number only grows from there. There isn’t a moment that doesn’t involve something big happening to one (or more) of these characters, or conversation rapidly (often amusingly) moving /towards/ something else big happening to them. Some bits, like Thor’s subplot, seem rushed by, only to run screaming into the film’s finale (and likely set up the next 3 or 4 Marvel films). The film’s 141 minute run time will either be exhilarating or exhausting, depending on the person.
Marvel Movies: As with the first AVENGERS, each of the characters have mini-arcs which tie into their greater narrative of Marvel’s growing Cinematic Universe. If you haven’t seen the other films, or if you haven’t paid much mind to where these characters are coming from (or going to), their personal beats will feel very incidental. If you view AGE OF ULTRON as a standalone film, then it is a merely a rollercoaster ride, albeit one that has more respect for its audience than a Michael Bay Construct. If you view it as a Chapter in an overarching narrative, the character moments become much more meaningful. (Has Cap developed a death wish!? Is that why he’s (just barely) not worthy of Mjolnir!?!)
It bodes well that the next proper Avengers film will be split into two parts, because ULTRON is probably as stuffed with goodness as a movie can get before hitting critical mass and imploding. It’s clearly in the interest of self preservation that Joss Whedon has thrown in the towel for now, refusing to direct anything bigger, but goddamn it… can that man juggle an ensemble piece.
3D Reccomendation: Functional and fun, but not at all detailed. Worth the 3 bucks based on how visually fun the movie is.