Director Joss Whedon's superior popcorn movie plugs the current A.I. trend (see Ex Machina, Her, et al) into a comic-book template. The set-up is loosely based on a 2013 comic-book storyline. A rogue A.I. by the name of Ultron, voiced with delicious oiliness by James Spader, is out to destroy the Avengers, all of whom return from Whedon's summer 2012 hit. Whedon's script—a marvel of blockbuster efficiency—makes time to dig into each character's comic-book psychology, including needling Hawkeye about his second-banana skill set. The movie never takes itself too seriously, and Whedon amplifies the jokey tone of its predecessor with funny dialogue and running gags. Of course, superhero movies need epic heroics as well, and the goods are delivered in stunning CGI showcases and inventive action sequences.
Official Site: marvel.com/avengers
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Producer: Kevin Feige
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, James Spader and Elizabeth Olsen
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