When arms dealer-turned-do-gooder Tony Stark (Downey Jr.), aka Iron Man, creates an artificial intelligence designed to maintain global peace – after narrowly fending off intergalactic invaders in 2012's The Avengers
, along with hammer-wielding Thor (Hemsworth), super-soldier Captain America (Evans), assassin Black Widow (Johansson), rage-prone Hulk (Ruffalo), and ace archer Hawkeye (Renner) – said A.I. quickly determines that nothing could protect the human race quite like an extinction-level reset. Sounds like a bunch of nonsense, huh? To its credit, Avengers: Age of Ultron
is impressively orchestrated nonsense. A mostly coherent assembly of globe-trotting, gadgets, and glib one-liners – as swell as it is swollen – writer/director Joss Whedon’s sequel operates on a larger scale while retaining the same planet-saving stakes, with mortality hardly ever more than an inconvenience. Ultron
may never muster any real sense of novelty to rival its billion-dollar predecessor, but, ultimately, it’s a hearty helping of fine. Read a full review of Avengers: Age of Ultron.