Fans of the franchise will be pleased, but those looking in from the outside of comic-book culture may find themselves also looking at their watches.
"Avengers: Age of Ultron" is a sometimes daffy, occasionally baffling, surprisingly touching and even romantic adventure with one kinetic thrill after another. It earns a place of high ranking in the Marvel Universe.
More does not necessarily equal better; here, more is just ... meh.
The sharp, interpersonal dramedy that made the first movie such a delight is again present in flashes, but not infrequently it is drowned out by the noisy, inevitable need to Save the World.
For the most part, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is the hard-charging, mind-boggling spectacle fans are looking for. Smash indeed.
World-saving is no longer a surprise to these characters. It's work. Grunt work. For them. For us.
It is, in short, more disposable than the mere mortal blockbusters it was designed to outpace. This should defy Marvel Studios mathematics. How can a movie with more stuff than its predecessors be less fun?
The thing's a behemoth. And as the franchise thunders on, it's also becoming more and more a bore.
The amazing thing about Avengers: Age of Ultron is that it's reasonably enjoyable while feeling less like a movie than an epic sowing of seeds for multiple Marvel properties.