Why does Spring 2015 have to feel so far away? I was already anticipating The Avengers: Age of Ultron but most recent teaser trailers has gotten me even more hyped for the sequel to Marvel’s cinematic team up. Phase two has, on the whole, been more enjoyable for me, with both Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier both improving on their debuts. Iron Man 3 was undoubtedly the weak link of the build up and The Avengers: Age of Ultron even appears to make that film relevant. This film can not come too soon.
Iron Man 3 was a fun film, I can’t argue that, but for me it lacked the same personal significance of the previous two Iron Man films. Once Thor and Captain America had their respective sequels it also became apparent that Iron Man 3 didn’t quite measure up in terms of high stake action. On top of that, the ending basically neutered Tony Stark by having him trash his suits and use the healing abilities of Extremis to mend his heart. He gave up his super powered lifestyle for Pepper Potts, or so it seemed. At the time it seemed anticlimactic but now it is clear that we will see the consequences of those actions in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
If the original The Avengers was a story of growth for Tony Stark then The Avengers: Age of Ultron is his fall from grace. Stark was a self-serving jerk who basically used heroism as a means to experiment with new toys but throughout the course of The Avengers he became a reliable hero who would die to save others, taking the actions that none of other Avengers could. But even that sacrifice had an impact, as seen from the post traumatic stress which he suffered in Iron Man 3. What I really like about what the Age of Ultron trailer implies is that just because Stark has grown doesn’t mean he can forget about Iron man and all those other versions he created.
My disappointment over the remotely controlled Iron Man suit in Iron Man 3 has even been turned on its head. Initially, I felt that it created an arbitrary level of danger because there was no real threat if Tony Stark was in no actual danger. It made sense in terms of a man with PTS but from a storytelling stance, it detracted from the suspense of action scenes. In the Age of Ultron trailer it seems that the remotely controlled suits have taken on a life of their own if the ‘Got no strings’ line is anything to go by. I was curious how they would depict Ultron given that his original creator, Hank Pym, won’t appear until July 2015 but as far as alternate origins go this one is fairly interesting.
For fans saddened by the idea that Tony Stark might never put on the suit again, the trailer also provides hope. At one point Stark dons the hulkbuster armour to go one on one with Bruce Banner’s angry alter-ego. This raises an intriguing point. Bruce Banner is not in complete control of The Hulk as he was in The Avengers. What changed we probably won’t know until May next year but one things this does mean is that the rampaging Hulk doesn’t know friend from foe. Ultron is clearly using The Hulk in much the same way Loki once did but this time Stark is prepared. Have I mentioned that I really can’t wait to see this film?
The trailer also sort of suggested that we could see Chris Hemsworth relinquish the title of Thor and that Steve Rogers could die. I think these are misleading however. Hemsworth dropping the Hammer could easily just be a spit-take moment where he witnesses something incredibly overwhelming. And for a guy who is often considered to be a minor deity he can’t be easily overwhelmed so it’s telling the viewer that what they’re seeing is really powerful. The trailer does make it look like resignation but it is just playing into the recent modification to the Thor character in the comic books. This Thor still needs to deal Loki playing dress up as Odin and ruling over Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok and he can’t do that depowered.
Admittedly though my only reason for doubting the death of Steve Rogers is due to the now confirmed rumours of the comic books story ‘Civil War’ being adapted for screen in Captain America: Civil War. Maybe they could do Civil War with Bucky Barnes or Sam Wilson as Captain America but I don’t think it would have the same emotional weight. The broken shield in the Age of Ultron trailer is just like Thor dropping Mjölnir. It is meant to shock the audience but I wouldn’t read too much into it. In fact, because those were teased in the trailer, I’d be willing to bet that if anyone dies it won’t be Thor or Captain America.
If this trailer confirmed anything for me, it was that James Spader was absolutely the perfect choice to voice Ultron. Oh, man, that voice. It had that quietly terrifying quality that I haven’t seen done that well since Bryan Cranston’s stint as Walter White/Heisenberg.I loved how it started fairly human and became gradually more computerized without becoming difficult to understand. When you can get me hooked on a character with the sound of their voice alone, you’re moving in the right direction.
I really can’t overstate enough how much I am looking forward to this movie. I know, I shouldn’t be careful not to build up my expectations until they become unreasonable. However, between the teaser trailer and the Phase Three announcements, The Avengers: Age of Ultron is looking like it will put to rest the notion that Marvel couldn’t repeat the initial The Avengers build up and success. In fact they’re going beyond that. They are weaving stories that move fluidly from phase to phase. Even when I’m disappointed, I’m playing right into their hands.