Well, we all saw it; we’re all talking about it; I’ve already written at great length about it. So, let me just give a brief overview of my thoughts (which are less necessary than usual since they basically run parallel to the thoughts a lot of people have expressed). It’s darker and more mature than the first movie and I like the way the film gives some characters more depth. The Nat/Bruce romance really worked for me, possibly because Johannson & Ruffalo are the best actors in the film and every scene between the two of them just really, really knocked me out. The groundwork laid for Civil War, by which I mean the fact that Steve & Tony couldn’t stop arguing, was nicely done and I particularly like the way Tony is developed in this movie. There are moments where he almost feels like the antagonist and I think Downey Jr. is savvy enough to really go for those moments. And the Hawkeye stuff is all gold; Whedon really makes you understand why he is important to the team. The sheer number of cameos was nigh onto comical, but I loved them all. On the villain side, I thought Spader’s performance as Ultron was magnificent and I, for one, loved the characterization of Ultron; I thought he was fabulously well-written. I prefer the Quicksilver from DoFP, but Taylor-Johnson was fine. Elizabeth Olson was significantly better; she has some wonderful dramatic moments and nails them all perfectly. The character stuff is always what’s more interesting to me and I thought this film really did nail that, both in the dramatic moments, like the sterilization conversation, and in the humorous ones, like the running gag about Mjolnir. The action is a little spottier than the first Avengers. At times, some of the action sequences have too many balls in the air and they kind of lose focus; we lose Vision in the climax for what seems like an eternity and that opening action sequence feels very disconnected and loose; the characters often seem to just be wandering around the woods with no sense of purpose or geography. But these are minor complaints. Yes, Steve seems to be literally lost in the woods at one point, but he also just threw THE MOTORCYCLE HE WAS RIDING at a truck, if you know what I mean. It’s not as perfect a film as the first Avengers, but when it is really good, it might be better than the best moments in the first Avengers, so it’s not as simple as “yes, it’s better, “ or “no, it’s worse.” But the flaws aren’t crippling or even all that noticeable in the moment. There’s no point fighting it. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – sequel ups the emotional ante, boasts wonderful writing and performances, and only briefly loses focus in the complex action sequences. 4 stars.