Okay, this is tricky. There’s so much I want to talk about, but I can’t because when I say spoiler-free I really mean it.  I could take a shortcut and just say “SQUEEEEEEEEOMGWTFBBQ!!?!?!?!!?” but then that wouldn’t really be writing, would it?

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Let me begin by saying that sequels are a tricky business. Movie studios, even with a vast array of stories in the comic universe to choose from, have traditionally made a mess of sequels, and for many reasons. Two of the most common mistakes are: trying take ownership of the story by making changes that just don’t make any sense at all (like Galactus being a freaking cloud), and trying to make it bigger and better than the first by adding too much in (why fight one villain when you can have three of them terrorizing the place!).

Joss Whedon, at least on the surface, commits both of these sins. The thing is he gets away with it because he manages to weave it all together into a strong story.

Too many movies try to put a flimsy story around a bunch of heroes and expect the money to roll in, but that hasn’t been the case with most of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) movies. Yes, there have been some weaker ones, but they’re only weak when compared to the stronger films; a weaker MCU film is still at least as good as other superhero movies from other studios, if not generally better.

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The key ingredients that make MCU films stand out so much are a strong story, characters who are real and three dimensional, and the right balance of action, humour, and emotion. Avengers: Age of Ultron manages to maintain that balance in the same way that Guardians of the Galaxy did, but it also adds in a few darker elements. The film is not overly dark, but it manages to add that to the balance that Guardians of the Galaxy pulled off so well without disrupting the other elements I expect to see from this franchise.

The thing I feared most, the thing I thought had the highest risk of being mishandled, ended up being very well done, and the interplay between all the characters built on the previous films in ways I didn’t expect.

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In short – I went in with high expectations and I was not disappointed.

A more spoilery review will follow after the rest of the Geeks of the Round has seen the film, most likely in another Coterie Convocation feature, but for now I give this movie 5 out of 6 Infinity Stones.

So, if you’ve seen the film, do you agree? If you haven’t, what are you looking forward to most about it?  Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned for when my friends across the pond see this movie when it premieres U.S. theaters Friday May 1st!