Avengers: Age of Ultron (PG) ****

Battle Stations!

The Avengers Sure things don’t happen often in life. Put Marvel Studios at the head of a marquee and odds are good you’ll have a fun time. Smart folks with money to invest should bet the house on Disney. The house built by a mouse will graduate to the stratosphere with the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Worth braving the long line-ups for this save the world spectacular is spellbinding at Cineplex Odeon Theatres around B.C. Consider this to be perfect popcorn film fare. Summer comes early – and with a bang!

Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes. Brought back for more derring do are the diverse lot of characters first revealed in the original Avengers outing. Joined by a mischievous pair of German raised twins it looks like the evil Hydra criminal fraternity is out for more world domination.

Modern times need new more evil criminals and here the new number one mastermind seems to have been hatched by the Avengers themselves. Computers and artificial intelligence give birth to Ultron, a silver moulded robot that spells big trouble for Earth. Trust Tony Stark, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and The Hulk to join the fray in this rousing, crowd-pleasing effort. Smooth charisma and that sense of necessary teamwork comes easy for Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans. Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johannson, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner who all have lots to do in this battle royal.

Clever writing, hilarious glib and sharp quips, a very smart and sound plot with loads of issues plaguing the individual team members that threaten to divide them and drive them apart make Avengers: Age of Ultron an instant classic. And having the unmistakable voice of television’s own The Blacklist star James Spader as the lead villain only makes this outing all the more enjoyable.

Clocking in at nearly 2 1/2 hours this film is maybe 5-10 minutes too long. Audiences won’t notice the slight lag as Age of Ultron is as dynamic an action/fantasy flick as they come. Offered in 3-D this Josh Whedon directed/written extravaganza is not to be missed.

By Robert Waldman