Avengers: Age of Ultron
This time, we take a look at the techno God complex blockbuster, Avengers: Age of Ultron and along the way we ask, was this the last true standalone film in the MCU, how could ten seconds on the Internet make you want to destroy the world and how does Tony Stark make artificial intelligence look so easy? Let’s dive in….
CAST & CREW
- Written and directed by Joss Whedon: Following the success of The Avengers in 2012, Disney and MCU architect Kevin Feige, immediately hired Whedon to write and direct the sequel for the series. Whedon drew inspiration from The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather Part II when constructing the screenplay and character arcs
- The majority of the cast from the first film return to reprise their roles from the previous film including:
- Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man
- Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
- Chris Hemsworth as Thor
- Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
- Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk
- Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
- Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
- Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
- Paul Bettany as JARVIS/Vision
- Several familiar faces return to the MCU to reprise their roles from previous films as well as many newcomers:
- Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine
- Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver
- Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
- James Spader as Ultron
- Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue
Creating Age of Ultron and the Unused Ideas
As Whedon was essentially given carte blanche to do with the plot as he saw fit, several ideas were concocted for the film but would wind up being unused. These ideas included:
- Introducing Captain Marvel but this was shot down by Kevin Feige after concluding that it would be too early to introduce the character. She was later given her introduction in 2019’s Captain Marvel
- Introducing the Maximoff twins caused speculation as to whether or not mutants would be introduced in the MCU but at the time of production, the X-Men and the rights to the characters in that series belonged to 20th Century Fox which had not yet been acquired by Disney. Given the studio’s acquisition of the now named 20th Century Films, it’s likely we will be seeing the mutants and their respective characters arrive in the MCU in the next several years.
- Recently, it has come out that Whedon and actor Paul Bettany wished to introduce Vision as being totally naked when he emerges from the Regeneration Cradle during the film’s third act. This was also shot down by Kevin Feige given Disney’s reputation as a family friendly studio
It’s also worthy to note that Age of Ultron really foreshadowed several moments or scenes in future films of the MCU which included:
- The coming conflict between Captain America and Iron Man in Civil War as well as fueling the motivations for the main villain, Baron Zemo, in that film.
- Through Thor’s vision in the pool, the events of Ragnarok are teased and the eventual destruction of Asgard
- The introduction of Ulysses Klaue and the prominence of vibranium play a pivotal role in Black Panther
- The subsequent films in the Avengers series, Infinity War and Endgame, are alluded to with Tony experiencing a vision of his dead comrades as well as uttering the phrase “That’s the endgame” at one point in the film.
- Thanos also makes an appearance during the film’s mid-credits sequence as he picks up the Infinity Gauntlet saying “Fine, I’ll do it myself”.
Sean and Chris make note that while the MCU has had some truly great films in the series, Age of Ultron has stood out as being one of the last truly standalone films in the series overall. It certainly builds upon the events of The Avengers but it doesn’t rely on the events of the Iron Man, Captain America or Thor films and makes an effort to be recognized as a standalone effort.
The major plot point of the film is after Tony Stark and Bruce Banner create the artificial intelligence, Ultron, it’s uploaded to the Internet and after viewing images of war, unrest and the general state of the world, he decides that the world must end and the Avengers must be destroyed. Ultron isn’t wrong in his assessment that the Internet can be a dangerous place, he could’ve easily looked up photos of babies or videos of kittens and puppies.
Using our unique scale for the podcast, Sean and Chris differed slightly in their ratings with Sean calling the film a WOULD WATCH and Chris rating it a WOULD HOST A VIEWING PARTY.
Sean cited the complex screenwriting, lack of Ultron while praising James Spader’s performance and a lack of a major spectacle climax seen in the previous film.
Chris cited the film’s ability to stand alone from the major series and compelling action scenes as the reason for his rating.
What did you think of Avengers: Age of Ultron? Do you agree that the film could have used more Ultron? Listen to our episode to find out our thoughts and more like our picks for Red or Yellow Shirts as well as Lens Flares and our newest edition of This Week in Toxic Fandom.
Tune in next time as we review the giant monster rip-off Eight Legged Freaks and please rate and subscribe to the Force Fed Sci-Fi podcast in your podcast player of choice.