Have you read the James Bond novel "The Spy Who Loved Me"? You may have seen the James Bond movie that shared the title. The title and the presence of 007 are the only things that the two stories have in common. In fact, in the book Bond doesn't show up until 2/3 of the way through.
Avengers - Age of Ultron does much the same thing.
It was originally a massive Marvel Universe crossover event. You should be able to get the bound graphic novel version from your local comic book store. Then you'll be able to see how little it has to do with the movie. Some departure was inevitable. The main driving characters in the comic aren't even currently properties controlled by Marvel Studios. But the core theme was sound. Nope, the whole thing got thrown out.
And that's not a bad thing.
When I saw the trailers for the movie I saw very little connection between the two stories. And I was becoming concerned. A sequel to one of the biggest movies of all time is already on shaky ground. Then to significantly rejigger an existing story? Nah, fuck it. We'll just keep the title and pitch the rest.
The important thing isn't the title. The important thing is the phrase "Written and Directed by Joss Whedon". Have faith and Whedon will deliver.
Cartoonist Howard Tayler convinced me to set aside my worries when he wrote "I'm not going to convince you to see, or not see, Age of Ultron. I'm not going to spoil anything for you either. I'm just giving you three bullets: • I have a new favorite movie for 2015" I trust Howard. Howard and I have similar tastes. So I took his word for it.
The Ultron story is tweeked a bit (read: a lot). He was originally created by Hank Pym whose first movie doesn't come out until next month. I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that this is the 4th movie where Tony Stark is primarily responsible for the thing he has to fight.
Having already seen the first Avengers movie is recommended. As is Guardians of Galaxy, to a lesser degree. As far as I can tell, nobody knows Coulson is alive... except the people we know do know. In fact, from what we see here Coulson and team are missing out on a whole hell of a lot. Who knew Hydra was that well set up?!
There's lots of battles, so I do want to talk about them a bit. In my review of The Avengers I talked about how the Battle of New York moved smoothly and you could pretty well tell what was going on in the battle. They kept that up pretty well in this movie. The opening battle has a few fast pans, but mostly you can follow things. I think this was done in part to contrast with the first battle with Ultron. A fast eye can still follow, but everything is sped up relative to the earlier battle to show how much bigger the threat he poses really is.
This movie was great. Really. Lots of quality banter, some new heroes and developments, more of what we loved from before, call backs, foreshadowing, lots of action, and a good story. OK, there's a slow spot in the middle, but we need time to decompress before going back into the thick of it.
I will be buying this on DVD.
Also, I'm totally going to see Star Wars with my parents in December.