Avengers: Age of Ultron

Rated 2.0

Age of Ultron is just flat. We get a bunch of scenes teasing future Marvel movies and, with the exception of an interesting smackdown between Iron Man and the Hulk, the cluttered action sequences feel repetitive. The Ultron of the movie’s title is a series of robots inhabited by an artificial-intelligence program initiated by Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). Stark, thinking he can create a security force that can protect the world and achieve “peace in our time,” gets a little ahead of himself and starts the program, only to discover that A.I. can sometimes mean Absolute Insanity. The program goes AWOL and produces the anti-human Ultron. Voiced by James Spader, Ultron is a one-note villain out to destroy humanity who lacks the personality of other recent comic-book villains—e.g., Tom Hiddleston’s Loki from the first Avengers. Perhaps director Joss Whedon was the wrong man for the gig. The sequel begs for a darker tonal shift, a sort of The Empire Strikes Back for the Avengers series. Instead, the film is one of the year’s cinematic letdowns. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13