THERE is so much going on in The Avengers sequel Age of Ultron, and so much to like.
Filmmaker Joss Whedon has joked about how the two films nearly killed him.
Considering he wrote and directed both, it's easy to understand why Whedon is reportedly stepping down from the franchise.
But I believe, as I'm sure he does, that the end result was worth the all-consuming work.
Age of Ultron is an international superhero romp of epic proportions and a rarity in that it manages to be even funnier than its predecessor.
While The Avengers brought Marvel's team of superheroes together for the penultimate Battle of New York, Age of Ultron tests those established bonds.
After the breakdown of S.H.I.E.L.D, the Avengers now operate out of their own spiffy headquarters courtesy of Tony Stark's seemingly never-ending finances.
They finally track down Loki's powerful staff, but instead of finally ending their mission they open a new can of worms.
Hawkeye finally gets a bit more screen time and it's nice to see more of this everyman amongst the hammer-wielding gods, genetically modified men and genius billionaires.
With the chemistry between all of the team members established in the first film, Whedon was able to fit more humour in amongst the globe-trotting and Earth saving.
The team has had plenty of upgrades, from Hawkeye's fancy new arrows to the newly designed Quinjet and Black Widow's fancy new technique for putting The Hulk to sleep.
The new "Hulkbuster" also gets put to good use in an entertaining fight scene between Iron Man and The Hulk in Johannesburg.
As if the cast isn't star-studded enough already, four new characters join the fold.
James Spader is excellent as the villain Ultron. He brings a much-needed gravitas to the artificial intelligence hell-bent on human extinction.
Paul Bettany, who has voiced Jarvis in the previous Iron Man films, finally appears in the flesh as The Vision.
Rounding out the newcomers are Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the genetically modified Maximoff twins.
This is a film worth seeing on the big screen. Whedon doesn't do anything by halves and managed to keep me entertained for the film's entire 141-minute running time.
Avengers: Age of Ultron opens nationally tomorrow.
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