Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two Rewatch: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Back on the old site, I wrote a few articles following a rewatch of the Marvel Cinamatic Universe. Here are those articles again.

Title: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Director: Joss Whedon

Writer(s): Joss Whedon

Characters created by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Don Rico, Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Brian Michael Bendis, David Finch, David Michelinie, Bob Layton, and Gene Colan.

US Release Date: May 1, 2015

Budget: $250,000,000

Worldwide Box-office: $1,405,000,000

Returning characters: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Peggy Carter, Erik Selvig, J.A.R.V.I.S., Heimdall, War Machine, Falcon, Cameron Klein

Summary : In the Eastern European country of Sokovia, the Avengers raid a Hydra outpost led by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, who has been experimenting on humans using Loki’s scepter. They encounter two of Strucker’s experiments, Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch and apprehend Strucker, while Stark retrieves Loki’s scepter.

Stark and Banner discover an artificial intelligence within the scepter’s gem, and secretly use it to complete Stark’s “Ultron” global defense program. Ultron gains sentience, eliminates Stark’s A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S., and attacks the Avengers. Escaping with the scepter, Ultron upgrades his rudimentary body and builds an army of robot drones. He recruits the twins, and go to the base of arms dealer Ulysses Klaue to obtain Wakandan vibranium.

The Avengers attack Ultron and the Maximoffs, but Wanda subdues them with haunting visions, causing the Hulk to rampage until Stark stops him with his Hulkbuster armor.

The team goes into hiding at Hawkeye’s farm with his family. Thor departs to consult with Dr. Erik Selvig on the meaning of the apocalyptic future he saw in his hallucination, while Romanoff and Banner plan to flee together after realizing a mutual attraction. However, Nick Fury arrives and encourages the team to form a plan to stop Ultron.

Ultron forces Dr. Helen Cho to use her synthetic-tissue technology, together with vibranium and the scepter’s gem, to create a new body for him. As Ultron startes to upload himself into the body, Wanda is able to read his mind. The twins turn on Ultron, and Cap, Black Widow, and Hawkeye find Ultron and retrieve the synthetic body, but Ultron captures Widow.

Stark uploads J.A.R.V.I.S., who was hiding inside the Internet, into the synthetic body. Thor returns to help activate the body, explaining that the gem on its brow, the Mind Gem, was part of his vision. The Vision and the twins accompany the Avengers to Sokovia, where Ultron has built a machine to lift a large part of the city skyward, intending to crash it into the ground to cause global extinction. Banner rescues Black Widow, who awakens the Hulk for the battle.

The Avengers fight Ultron’s army while Fury arrives in a Helicarrier with Maria Hill, War Machine, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to evacuate civilians. Quicksilver dies when he shields Hawkeye from gunfire, and a Scarlet Witch abandons her post to destroy Ultron’s primary body, which allows one of his drones to activate the machine. The city plummets, but Iron Man and Thor shatter the landmass. The Hulk, unwilling to endanger Black Widow by being with her, departs in a Quinjet, while the Vision destroys Ultron’s last remaining body.

Later, with the Avengers having established a new base run by Fury, Hill, Cho, and Selvig, Thor returns to Asgard to learn more about the forces he suspects have manipulated recent events. As Iron Man and Hawkeye also leave, Captain America and Black Widow prepare to train new Avengers: War Machine, the Vision, Falcon, and Scarlet Witch.

MCU Continuity Nods: The presence of Ulysses Klaue and the fictional nation of Wakanda sets up Black Panther . Thor’s visions of an apocalyptic event on Asgard and the Infinity Stones sets up Thor: Ragnarok. In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode “The Dirty Half Dozen,” Agent Coulson breaks into a Hydra base and locates Loki’s sceptre and contacts Maria Hill. Coulson’s team also rebuilds the Helicarrier. Dr List also appears in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. . When Scarlet Witch tries to mind control Hawkeye, he neutralizes her and quips: “I tried the mind control thing. Not a fan!”, referring to his experience in The Avengers . Falcon mentions the “missing person” they are looking for, meaning Bucky. The new headquarters appears in Ant-Man . Tony’s modular armor appears from Iron Man 3. The Red Room seen in Black Widow’s hallucinations is seen on Agent Carter ‘s first season. S.H.I.E.L.D agent Cameron Klein returns from Winter Soldier.

Easter Eggs: The band that Steve Rogers sees in his hallucination is called The Roy Thomas Players. Roy Thomas was Marvel’s editor-in-chief during the 1970s, succeeding Stan Lee. Thomas co-created both Ultron and the Vision. When Stark is picking a new A.I. one of the chips says Tadashi in reference to the chip that’s in Baymax from Big Hero 6. There is another drive labeled JOCASTA. Jocasta in the comics was an AI created by Ultron, her mind and body were modeled The Wasp. She would eventually turn against Ultron and join the Avengers.

Stan Lee Cameo: A World War II vet invited to the the Avengers’ party America. Lee served in WWII in a non-combat capacity. Jack Kirby served in Europe during WWII, and did land on Omaha Beach, though over two months after D-Day. Stan Lee says “Excelsior”, the same phrase with which he ended his weekly “Stan’s Soapbox,” which appeared in every Marvel comic book.


Infinity Stone: Loki’s Scepter also known as the Mind Gem, now in the forehead if the Vision

Post/mid Credits Scene: In the tag scene during the credits, Thanos retrieves an infinity gauntlet from a vault, and puts it onto his left hand. In Odin’s vault in the original Thor , an Infinity Gauntlet can be briefly seen, but in Thor: Ragnarok it is stated that the Gauntlet is a fake

My Take: I want to address some of the things that have been mentioned in many comments. First, the Black Widow “monster” scene. I don’t feel that she was saying that she was a monster because she was sterlie, I feel that she was saying that she was talking not just for the choices she made but what she did with her skills afterwards. If Banner was a monster, then we all are. Vision later uses the term “monster” to describe himself as well as Cap.

Then there’s the pool scene. I don’t think that you can have an overarching plot without it, as the Infinity Stones have so far linked the movies. Some critics say the the film only serves to set up the next films. Yet I feel that what chapters in a serial are meant to do, and I think we need to consider that this a different model of franchise.

My first criticism of the movie is that it feels overstuffed. Too much plot and not enough time. The second is Ultron himself. He had what I feel was too much personality, too much Spader and not enough Terminator.

Now then, a lot of it I really liked. The action sequences were pretty fun to watch. The party scene was fun and I want to see more of it. We see a continuation of Tony’s issues from Iron Man 3, his obsession with protecting the Earth, and his multiple armors have become the Iron Legion, essentially backpedaling out of his promise to Pepper. Cap’s mission to take down Hydra continues, and Hydra factions still exist, seen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Ant-Man.

I like all the new additions, especially the Vision. Great moments: handing Thor Mjolnir, mentioning that Ultron hates Stark the most. To me, the Avengers aren’t the Avengers without the Vision and the Scarlet Witch. My heart kept when they had a moment in the final reel. And I loved the Black Widow motorcycle as well as the great use of Quicksilver clearing civilians out if the way.

I have to imagine the concern for protecting the citizens of Sokovia is a direct response to the destruction seen in Man of Steel . Tony also tries, but fails, to get a rampaging Hulk “out of town,” and Cap refuses to let Hawkeye take out the semi taking the cradle in Seoul for fear of destroying the city. The damage will not go unpunished as we see in the trailer for Civil War. Cap’s arguement with Stark while chopping wood is almost the same arguement that Cap had with Fury in Winter Soldier about winning a war before it starts.

In essence, The Avengers was lightning in a bottle, a successful attempt to bring four properties together. Following that up was going to be difficult, and the gave it the old college try. For all its flaws it still made a ton of money, and most of the characters will return in Civil War and Ragnarock . (Reminder, this article was originally written before the release of those two movies)

Next up: Ant-Man