Movie Review: Joss Whedon grapples with the franchise obligations of Avengers: Age Of Ultron

The best moments in The Avengers, Marvel’s 2012 blockbuster crossover event, weren’t the ones that pitted Earth’s mightiest heroes against an army of space invaders. They were the ones that gathered the characters in a room and pitted them against each other, the inevitable war of the worlds delayed in favor of a much more entertaining war of words. This was the doing of Joss Whedon, god among geeks, hired by Marvel to pump some humor and life into the studio’s franchise-building strategy. What the writer-director saw in the plum gig, beyond presumed bags of money, was a chance to adopt another of his dysfunctional surrogate families. He treated the iconic characters, loaned out to him for a couple of expensive hours, like neurotic people, trading as many barbs as blows. The result was a summer event movie that felt playful and idiosyncratic, even as it …

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