Avengers: Age of Ultron - directed by Joss Whedon, starring Robert Downey Junior, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johanssen
The story starts with misguided scientists Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk (Jeremy Renner) trying to invent something that will allow the Avengers to take some time off. A super robot protector… Once you hear the dreaded initials AI – Artificial Intelligence – you know this isn’t going to end well.
Against all advice, Tony Stark builds his Ultron Programme – initially a big robot with severe personality problems. Yes, Ultron may have Artificial Intelligence, but he’s also an artificial psychopath. He decides to conquer the world, and enlists two assistants, equally neurotic twins Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.
The Scarlet Witch has a convenient ability to tap into the individual Avengers’ personal phobias, allowing rather more character development than we’re used to in a men-and-women-in-tights action thriller.
Like his hero, Mr Shakespeare, writer-director Joss Whedon is a master of giving everyone enough material to shine whenever we come to them. And, again like the Bard of Avon, he makes two and a half hours fly past before you realise it.
I’m not saying Age of Ultron is one for the ages – I suspect Hamlet, Othello and King Lear will outlast it. But it’s likely to be the most entertaining film you’ll devour popcorn to this year.