starring Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson
written and directed by Joss Whedon
by Walter Chaw It's pointless to recap this edition of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's endless cycling through decades of storylines, melodramas, loves and blood feuds, deaths and resurrections--this Möbius strip of punching and quipping and punching and quipping and punching and... It's an ouroborosian worm devouring itself into eternity, if you let it, and the sanction that a few billion dollars confers suggests it'll keep devouring itself for a while longer. Still, it's a cripplingly expensive endeavour, meaning that surprise and individuality are crushed in its logarithmic march towards solvency--and the human collateral caught in its gears is the tragedy that the place we get to see Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson (the two best, most interesting actors in the United States right now) share an emotionally complex scene is in this vacuous light show-cum-cash register, Avengers: Age of Ultron (hereafter Avengers II). You could say that at least it happened--you could also say that you wish it had happened in a vehicle that actually cared about them, and it wouldn't be too much to ask.