Only MILD SPOILERS ahead. There’s nothing here that you couldn’t surmise from the trailer.
Even as a huge Comic Book Movie Fan who has Marvel leanings, X-Men is one of those franchises I’ve never really cared for. X-2 is fine, I do really like First Class, but Days of Future Past and The Wolverine are simply okay. The 1stX-Men ages terribly, while X-Men 3: The Last Stand and X-Men: Wolverine Origins are completely unwatchable. Deadpool is by the far the best film in Fox’s X-Men Universe, but that’s because it’s the only film that doesn’t feel stale and clichéd. (Did I miss any?)
That being said, I don’t feel I have a mutant prejudice. I want these movies to be good, I really do. Deadpool and First Class (and The Wolverine… sort of…) proved that these characters can work, but only when they are treated as unique, genre films that avoid the generic superhero formula that the other X-Men films follow. Deadpool was a whole new spin on the superhero genre as a whole; a deconstruction of the genre, if you will. First Class used Pre-Magneto Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) as a Bond type assassin, hunting down Nazi’s before the film slipped into classic origin story territory. The Wolverine had limited mutants and was more Samurai movie than Superhero.Even the best of the other 6 X-Men movies were average superhero films that brought nothing new to the table; not terrible (Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine were terrible, actually), but not memorable either, repeating storylines like the Weapon X program, the antagonistic “friendship” between Professor X and Magneto, and “love” triangle between Wolverine, Cyclops, and Jean Grey. Unfortunately, the latest outing, X-Men: Apocalypse is no exception, repeating yet again, many of these same story beats.
Repetition is what hits Apocalypse the hardest. Part of the problem is that the original X-Men trilogy and X-Men Origins: Wolverine used up many interesting characters just to cram new mutants into every movie, without any thought or plan put in place to continue their storyline like what Marvel has done with even minor characters like Scarlet Witch and Vision. They’re using Storm, Cyclops, and Jean Grey again? Yup, but this time it’s the origin (groan…). Haven’t I seen Nightcrawler, Angel, and Havok before? Again, yes, but they were one dimensional characters abandoned in the sequels that followed their initial appearance. As alluded to earlier with my comments about Magneto having an almost 007 like adventure in the 1st half of First Class, I’ve always found Michael Fassbender’s version to be the most interesting character in the X-Men Movie Universe (aside from ANY character from Deadpool), but here he has nothing to do. Sure, we see him with a new family that he loses (he says it right in the trailer to James McAvoy’s Professor Charlies Xavier in the trailer, so that ain’t a spoiler!), but how is this new trauma necessary when we’ve seen him losing his mother at Auschwitz twice before (with flashbacks again in this movie, for a 3rd go around)? Fassbender’s version of Magneto has been less interesting each film he’s in, so at this point his decision to go with the bad guy, and his on-again/off-again friendship with Charles are incredibly overplayed and uninteresting.
But Magneto’s just the tip of the iceberg: the film has a giant villain problem (and that’s not a reference to Apocalypse growing giant in the trailer). These bad guys are boring. Angel (Ben Hardy), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), and Storm (Alexandra Shipp) might as well not be in the movie at all. They’re left with nothing to do but pose during the dull and uninspired action scene that finally ends the film. Even worse, Apocalypse is just a boring villain, plain and simple. He wants to create a world where only Mutants survive? I haven’t seen that in about half the X-Men movies already… Oscar Isaac does nothing to elevate the part, easily making this his worst film (because he’s usually so great!). And what exactly are his super powers? I’ve seen the movie but I couldn’t tell you what he can do and what he can’t.
The heroes are stronger than the villains, as far as characterization and giving them something to do, but even this department is repetitive as hell. Oh no, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) can’t control her powers, just the same as X-Men and X-2, and she’s not even given an origin (thankfully?). We see nearly the exact same scene of Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) getting his powers that was in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And though I couldn’t wait for the Wolverine scene from the end of the final trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse, it did give us the most animalistic version of the character, but it’s literally the same Weapon X escape we’ve seen twice before!I apologize for repeating myself, but this movie is completely repetitive on every level and I guess I want to drive that point home. Oh boy, another Quicksilver scene set to a rock song. There’s Jenifer Lawrence using her star power to avoid the Blue Paint, negating the lesson she learned in First Class about being comfortable showing her true, blue self. Oh, but here’s something new… we’ve never seen Professor X’s hair literally fall out of his head. That’s about as fresh as this movie gets.
Simply put, Apocalypse is not a bad movie, but it gives us nothing new and suffers from a weak villain and incredibly weak action. Director Bryan Singer is doing the bare minimum to bring you a safe Superhero Film that doesn’t take any risks or attempt to subvert the genre. This is the superhero genre at its most generic.
So, I will continue to wait until Fox can show me on the screen, what makes these characters so interesting in a comic panel. Except for Deadpool. Did I say I liked Deadpool? I like Deadpool.
It seems like the marketing team at Marvel Studios can’t take a week off until ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ is released… unless they start the ‘Ant-Man’ train in a similar manner once they have assured themselves ‘Age of Ultron’ is the biggest movie… ever. (Until ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ that is…)
We now have a featurette with writer/director Joss Whedon introducing us to the two Avengers he’s always wanted to use: siblings Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).
Watch the clip, with plenty of new Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch action now!
I went ahead and did a few original screen grabs of new footage of the dangerous Maximoff twins. Again, you’re welcome.
The team arrives, sans Hulk.
Scarlet Witch whips up some magic.
Quicksilver certainly is fast. Too fast for Captain America, at least!
The Siblings plan.
Captain America debriefed on Maximoff twins.
Quicksilver is even faster!!! Much too fast for Hawkeye also.
Scarlet Witch blasts Iron Man. Hard.
We need to work together to defeat them.
Scarlet Witch explosion!
Captain America holds tight as he goes for a spin.
Siblings in action.
‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ hits cinemas May 1st, here in the US. We may see the entire movie in clips, trailers, & featurettes by then!
Though the painted poster-style of artists like the incomparable Drew Struzan may be dead, the final poster for ‘Age of Ultron’ is way classier and less of a Photoshop mess than the final poster for the 1st film.
Or the Photoshop messes of overcrowded ‘Iron Man 3,’ ‘Thor: The Dark World,’ and ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’ posters. (The ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ poster was actually pretty sweet…)
This poster, though also a Photoshopped hodgepodge, has way more style and is much more pleasing to the eye than Marvel Studios’ previous attempts at a good “final” poster for a film.
Here it is.
There you go. Notice the curved flow of the images, making the poster more pleasing to the eye, as art, than any of the previous posters from Marvel Studios.
Plus, we get Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, AND our best official look at The Vision yet! No “Ultron Prime,” though. Just the Ultron Drones.
And my favorite Avenger, Captain America, is finally front and center where he belongs! Team leader (now with high franchise potential)! Capt.’s not wedged behind Iron Man and Thor like last time!
Now… we have a brand-spankin’-new trailer for Marvel’s other little 2015 movie, ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ with almost entirely new footage.
Here we go…
I won’t go too deep into it yet, but Ultron’s statement, “Everyone creates the thing they dread” ties right into Stark’s ‘Iron Man 3’ problem of creating his own demons.
The real theme of the trailer, which is most likely a much bigger part of the movie than initially realized, comes from Ultron’s ultimatum, “I’m going to tear you apart… from the inside.”
The trailer shows a lot of characters out-of-whack…
From Black Widow’s surgery/origin…
… to Thor torment and power removal?…
…To a raging Hulk that must be taken down by the Hulkbuster, which, like the 1st trailer, is here in true form!
It definitely seems like Ultron is using Scarlet Witch’s powers to get inside the Avenger members’ heads to bring out their most painful memories and cause them to squabble more hardcore than they did in the first film.
Lots of great money shots here too!
Great Iron Man in action at Baron Von Strucker’s castle…
An epic one-on-one fight between Captain America and a Ultron drone…And amazing Hulk footage… including another great look at the epic battle between Hulk and Stark’s Hulkbuster (which contrary to my earlier theory, does look like Tony is piloting himself).
Very little footage of Quicksilver and only a sliver more for Scarlet Witch..
And finally… behold the power of Ultron! He can shoot lasers from his fingers!
Like all good trailers (especially the Marvel ones) there is a lot to find and analyze in the coming days and weeks… until we get another trailer!
Or a new ‘Ant-Man’ trailer…
Or a ‘Daredevil’ one.
I love you, Marvel Studios. I really do. Marry me?
Our first look at the movie fuels my speculation on the path the film’s storyline will take by providing new information and images not offered in Marvel Studios’ official synopsis, early photos, and leaked information.
First, Marvel Studios’ official synopsis:
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 Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, 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, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.
In addition to the preceding summary, what did we see in the trailer and what will likely happen in ‘Age of Ultron?’
Act 1 – Assault on Baron Strucker’s Castle
During the mid-credit sequence on ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’ we were introduced to Baron Wolfgang von Strucker and his Hydra operation, in possession of both Loki’s staff with the Mind Infinity Stone and “the twins;” Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, who played husband and wife in 2014’s ‘Godzilla’).
Baron Strucker speaks of Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. being two sides of a coin “that is no longer currency” vowing to feed other Hydra bases to “Captain America and his colorful friends” in order to continue their own important research which has resulted in dead volunteers and the twins which, to Baron Strucker, ushers in the “Age of Miracles.”
I assume Loki’s staff from ‘The Avengers’ is the source of Baron Strucker’s experiments on humans that results in giving the Pietro and Wanda their powers, making them Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, respectively.
I propose the movie will open with an Avengers assault on Baron Strucker’s castle (seen below), freeing the twins and acquiring Loki’s staff which was confiscated by S.H.I.E.L.D. after ‘The Avengers,’ only to fall into Hydra hands due to their secret doings within Nick Fury’s old organization.
The assault on Strucker’s castle would serve as the perfect action scene to kick off one hell of a movie with a blast while also serving the story. The twins have to be freed somehow. The Avengers need an opening action sequence to get them to their next scene; the party at Avengers Tower. It’s a win-win-win, if you include the audience.
The above photos offer a snowy Forrest, very simialar to what we saw in ‘Captain America: First Avenger,’ evidence we’re in Europe or Germany in these scenes, NOT Wakanda as suggested by other blogs.
ACT II – The Party and The Arrival of Ultron
The first footage revealed at Comic-Con showed the Avengers on their day off, throwing a shindig at Avengers Tower. The scene has a party-trick sort of contest between the members of the Avengers who each try to lift Thor’s hammer to the Asgardian’s amusement. When Captain America moves it an inch, Thor is a bit peeved… and shocked. Steve Rogers is worthy indeed…
The party is interrupted by an unexpected visitor. Presumably Stark already revealed his plan; the creation of Ultron taking world security off of the Avengers’ backs. But why is the Ultron in such bad shape? Did The Avengers already try to take him down after he overstepped his bounds? Is Stark still building him, C-3PO in ‘Star Wars: Episode I’ style?
Or were Ultron and this other drone and/or Iron Man suit made to fight to the death, Mandingo style?
Likely, Ultron overstepped his bounds, and the 2nd drone or Iron Man suit was dispatched to take him out, only to fail as seen below.
It’s safe to assume the party is over.
“The Twins” – Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch
How exactly do Joss Whedon’s favorite Avengers, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, play into the plot of ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron?’
Assuming they get their freedom from the Avengers assault on Strucker’s castle, they may face off against the Avengers early. Or, maybe they are gone by the time the Avengers steal back Loki’s staff and take care of the Baron.
Some footage suggests we will see them pre-experimentation. Above they appear to be pre-powers and in the screen-grabs below it looks like some sort of surgery is taking place… with tools shaped like the tentacles of the Hydra Seal.
However it goes down, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch end up as allies of Ultron before they join up with the Avengers.
What’s Up With The Hulk?
Something is going seriously wrong with Bruce Banner and “the other guy:” the incredible Hulk!
First he seems to be collapsing during the assault on the castle, as he is in the same snowy forrest as Hawkeye in the earlier screen-grabs.
And he looks to be in terrible shape on the Quinjet.
Finally, he’s fighting Iron Man? After causing destruction at what looks to be a European city. (We’re not in New York anymore).
Yet, he still has time for a gentle moment with Black Widow. Maybe he accidentally Hulks out against the Avengers, requiring Tony to don the Hulkbuster and Black Widow is able to calm him down.
Ultron isn’t known for mind games; in the comics it is Loki who manipulates the Hulk to be the first Avenger baddie. Perhaps Scarlet Witch uses her powers to turn him against the Avengers and cause mass destruction in this scene and strip him of the Hulk in the snowy forrest?
Or does Tony deserve a Hulk attack? After all, he’s not the only Avenger pissed at Tony Stark. So…
What’s Up With Tony Stark?
Tony Stark seems to be pissing everyone off, based on the trailer.
First, Thor attacks Stark…
I assume this is retribution for creating Ultron. Or maybe Tony’s done something worse?
Finally, he does fight the Hulk… maybe…
I predict that Ultron is using his drone controlling powers to control the Hulkbuster armor, just as Tony Stark controls his empty armor remotely in ‘Iron Man 3.’
Unless my predictions of Scarlet Witch manipulation or an Ultron controlled Hulkbuster suit are true… Hulk is on the Avengers side and has been seen fighting alongside them with very little confrontation (with Thor, of course) in the first Avengers film. Maybe it is Tony who is out of line.
How Did Ultron Break Captain America’s Invincible Shield?
Capt.’s shield is made from Vibranium, the most invincible metal on Earth (even Thor’s hammer couldn’t break it in ‘The Avengers’). In ‘First Avenger,’ Howard Stark says the S.H.I.E.L.D. is made from all the Vibranium on Earth.
But there is more in the comics… and it all comes from Wakanda, home of the Black Panther.
Some websites assume we will see Black Panther in ‘Age of Ultron,’ but I think that’s more than a long-shot; it’s not going to happen!
How do we even know Wakanda will be featured in the film?
Well, the official summary calls the film a “unique global adventure,” so locations like the snowy European forrest and Wakanda make a lot of sense.
After all, if Capt. hopes to fix his shield or if Ultron hopes to destroy it, then Wakanda and Vibranium are totally in the mix.
Plus there’s this photo of a mysterious character played by Andy Serkis.
As the photos show, Serkis looks a lot like Klaw.
Klaw is a Black Panther villain, but I don’t think his appearance means we will see Black Panther (he may be name-dropped, like Stephen Strange in ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’). I think Klaw may be doing a job for Ultron…
It is doubtful a villain like Klaw, who does specialize in Vibranium – the reason he lives in Wakanda – would help the Avengers fix Captain America’s shield. But it is totally feasible that Ultron hires (or forces) him to give the robot a fresh coat of the indestructible metal.
How does one break a shield made of the stuff then? Well, in ‘The Wolverine,’ Wolvie’s Adamantium claws are cut off by the Silver Samurai using heated Adamantium. Perhaps Ultron uses a similar tactic to break Capt.’s shield? Because if Thor’s hammer doesn’t destroy the thing, how can a punch from Ultron do it?
Ultron and the Places They Go
As originally described in Entertainment Weekly’s ‘Age of Ultron’ cover story months back, Ultron is not just a machine, he is a consciousness on the cloud that can control a number of drones, like the one below.
The trailer features dozens of these drones attacking another old-school, stone, European structure, that does look to be different than Baron Strucker’s castle. One that, on the inside, might look like this…
That has the Avengers in New York at Avengers Tower, a stop in what is likely Germany for Baron Strucker’s castle, some time in Europe/Eastern Europe where the Hulk fights the Hulkbuster, Wakanda, and this other European looking stone structure.
The Avengers are covering more ground than James Bond, which is especially exciting considering they spent the first film entirely in the United States.
As for Ultron, he may have many drones and start out as a freaky looking suit, but he finally reaches his full potential (with Vibranium?) and ends up looking like this…
Of course, some sort of finale happens with all the Avengers, including Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, against this final incarnation of Ultron and perhaps an entire army of drones.
Even though he was absent in the trailer, Vision will be in the film as seen in the upper left corner of the above Comic Con exclusive poster. He’s that dude hovering in the air. Ultron makes this robot companion using Tony’s J.A.R.V.I.S. artificial intelligence, only to have it eventually turn on him like Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.
Will We See Nick Fury?
Nick Fury had to fake his death in ‘Winter Soldier’ and ‘stayed dead’ after the film. But he does make some sort of appearance in the film, though it has been said that it will be a much smaller role than in ‘The Avengers’ or ‘Winter Soldier.’
Who knows what role his character will play in all this.
What’s This About the 1940s?
There is one screen-grab that looks like Captain America back home in the 1940s.
Some suggest that Scarlet Witch’s powers could cause Rogers to have a false perception that he is back in the past, putting him out of commission. After all, like manipulating the Hulk, the Avengers are easier to fight when they are not “assembled.”
I bet it’s a flash back. The summary from Marvel also reads ‘When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry.’ It is assumed Hank Pym, who we will not see until August 2015 in ‘Ant-Man’ may have created the program initially as he creates Ultron in the comics. But, if it was Steve Rogers’ old friend Howard Stark who attempted to start the program in the 40’s, then a flashback with the Capt. makes sense.
Do I have all the answers? Obviously not. But I think I’ve made a few good points based on the material Marvel Studios has provided in the form of that excellent new trailer.
All questions and assumptions will be answered on May 1st!
Gadzooks! SPOILERS be poppin’ as Nick and Andrew dive into The First Avenger’s Second Fight (aka CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER). The two use their Marvel and comics know-how to examine the film and what it means for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.
Nick and Andrew discuss AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON’s first look at Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Ultron. Nick gets a little politically incorrect, while the pair learns they don’t know the difference between Tom Selleck and Burt Reynolds.