Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in the United States May 1, 2015.
Versus rehashing the plot, here is the official boilerplate/synopsis of the film to give you an overview if you are not familiar with it already:
Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure. Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Hulk and Chris Evans as Captain America. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.
Written and directed by Joss Whedon and produced by Kevin Feige
I was able to attend a press conference on the Disney Studio lot in Burbank. During this event the cast took some questions from the assembled media and to describing it as entertaining is an understatement. I must start off with Robert Downey Jr., the first question was not directed to him and so when someone finally did ask him a question he jokingly gave the following:
ROBERT DOWNEY JR.: I must be mellowing with age, but I want to say this very clearly. The next time I’m not asked the first question, [LAUGHTER] I’ll f___ing walk out. I read Joss’s script, I said, I think this is great.
In the first Avengers film, we are shown how a vastly different group of super heroes are brought together to fight against a common enemy. In this latest installment, the Avengers team is getting bigger as more characters from the Marvel Universe are introduced. Plot lines are being alluded to for future movies, old friends from other Marvel properties make appearances, and everything just feels bigger. Bigger explosions, bigger action sequences, bigger laughs, and a little deeper character development as there are bigger roles for some characters like Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye who gets to do more than just be a brainwashed zombie in this film.
We also get to meet a villain in Ultron (voiced perfectly by James Spader) that you find yourself equally marveling (see what I did there) at how sinister he is and yet laughing along with him as he throws out perfectly timed quips and sarcastic comments all while trying to destroy humanity.
So the question really was how would Joss Whedon take all of these folks, and combine them into a single cohesive story, that makes sense and is still entertaining for the masses and not just hardcore Marvel fans.
JOSS WHEDON: There’s like 47 of these people. I really didn’t think that through, and I regret very much doing this at all. You know, it’s just making sure that everybody’s, you know, got their moment, that everybody’s got their through-line that it’s connected to the movie. I have all these people. I love all these people. They’re extraordinary. But making sure that they’re not just all being served, but all within the same narrative structure, that they’re in the same movie, that it’s all connected to the main theme. At some point during the editing process, I could not have told you who they were, who I was, what movie I was making, I got so lost in it. But I think it all came together, and you know, it’s just about making these guys look good, which takes a long time.
Besides the wonderful cast that was already in the first Avengers, a few new faces are seen in the second one.
Paul Bettany the voice of Jarvis from the Iron Man movies and the first Avengers has a larger role as he is introduced as Vision in this film. Paul talked about the difference between his past role as the voice of Jarvis and now being Vision:
PAUL BETTANY: Uh, well, the main difference is I have to show up. You know, the great thing is being able to work with all these incredibly creative and talented people. However, I also now have to show up at junkets, you know, so everything’s a double-edged sword, you know?
Two additional “New” faces to the Avengers were the twins, Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver), played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch), played by Elizabeth Olsen. These two brave actors had the difficult task of stepping into an already tight-knit group of actors from the first movie, and not only having to fit in, but become integral parts of the story. They had the following to say about the experience:
ELIZABETH OLSEN: I mean, it’s kind of intimidating joining this group, so like, I got to do it with Aaron, by my side.
AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON: Yeah, it was comforting to know, like stepping on set, when it was such a big ensemble and cast that you kind of had some to feel comfortable with, absolutely, yeah.
In this movie, Whedon spends a little bit more time developing some of the characters that he did not have a chance to get too deep into in the first Avengers film.
We get to take a brief look back at the events that helped shaped who Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow becomes.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON on Black Widow’s development: I think she had this moment of false hope where she kind of felt like, you know, she kind of put in the work and, you know, there should be some kind of personal payoff and she was ready to accept it, and you know, she realizes that, you know, her calling is a greater one and that’s not necessarily something that she’s thrilled about, but like, you know, that’s kind of what is most heroic about her is that she’s, you know, accepting the call of duty, even at her, you know, own personal loss.
We also get to take a little bit more of a look into the life Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. Believe it or not, the characters actually have lives outside of being super heroes. Jeremey Renner was just happy to have some additional lines in this movie!
JEREMY RENNER on Hawkeye’s development: Well, I speak in this movie, which is awesome, and I become part of the team, which is awesome.
You are engaged in the film from the first scene which is an impressive action sequence and the movie just keeps going from there. I never once felt like the movie was too long and it clocks in at 2 hours and 21 minutes. I am not a big comic book fan and not that familiar with the Avengers comics outside of the previous Marvel films. With the normal trepidation I have about sequels I was curious how this film would be. Could it live up to the success of the first one? Would it collapse under the enormous weight of the expectations and monster ensemble cast? Or would it all work out and continue the Marvel run of box office domination. In the end they succeeded, at least for me, in creating an entertaining film. The first moments of the film were filled with action and perfectly timed one liners that kept me and the rest of the audience laughing. I did pause and wonder if they were going to be able to keep up this pace and if the jokes would grow old quickly. It was as if Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige knew what I was thinking and the film regularly changed tempo and kept me entertained throughout mixing action, drama, and humor through in what seemed to me to be appropriate times. Some of the jokes seemed a little weird to me, and there were times where I would hear people in the audience laughing at something I could only imagine is some joke only a real comic book aficionado would get.
Overall: It was the perfect combination of action, comedy and story line to consume my full attention and keep me engaged throughout. In my opinion this movie is better than the first and that you will enjoy this action packed movie with a few giggles along the way.
Marvel Universe Future:
I mentioned that I am not a Comic book aficionado, but if you are there is at least one major variation in this movie from the comic book universe. In the film Tony Stark is the one who un-leashes the super-villain, however in the comics it is Hank Pym (aka Ant-Man) who creates Ultron. Seeing as the next movie release in the Marvel Universe is Ant-Man, I am unsure how they could have tied that storyline into Avengers Age of Ultron. That being said Kevin Feige was kind enough to stay after the press conference and show us the latest Ant-Man trailer in 3D.
Related Links on the Geek’s Blog:
- 3/19/15 – Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – TV Spot 2 Released Today (Disney Release)
- 3/4/15 – Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer 3 (Disney News Release)
- 1/13/15 – New Avengers Trailer Arrives – Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer 2 (Disney Release)
- 10/29/15 – Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron Special Look & Information (Disney Release)
- 10/23/15 – Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” – Teaser Trailer