Alright, in case you missed it yesterday Marvel dropped their final trailer for Age Of Ultron. It was kind of big deal. Now to be honest, the majority of the new footage was, while different, a lot more of the same. We saw Hulk and Iron Man going at it. Everybody looking very disconcerted about things. Generally, more of the same. However, there were a few things that were new and kind of a big deal.
The highlight of this trailer was definitely Ultron’s speech throughout. The more we see and hear James Spader as Ultron the more awesome it gets. It seems pretty obvious that his performance is going to be the highlight of Age Of Ultron. What was also confirmed is that it is indeed Tony Stark who creates Ultron. Until now, it had been only rumored that this would be the case. There was a leak a few months back that revealed this little tidbit. Now it has been confirmed.
The second highlight is at the very end. We finally get our first look at Vision. In the comics, he was created by Ultron to show that by creating life, he now surpassed humanity. That same leak from earlier also shed some light on Vision. It seems, he will be a creation of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. Frankly this doesn’t change a whole lot. However, I do hope there is still a connection between Ultron and his original comic creator Hank Pym.
Literally, just a passing mention would be enough. Something along the lines of him being a consultant. Like how Dr. Strange was mentioned in Captain America: Winter Soldier. This also wouldn’t be just to make the fans happy. It would help to give Ant-Man, coming out in July, a little more relevancy.
What I also found interesting in the new trailer is a scene where Tony Stark picks up Loki’s staff which contains the Mind Infinity Stone. Now, it has been said numerous times that Age of Ultron will lay the ground work for Civil War. A quick refresh, the basic conflict of Civil War in the comics is a push to get the superhuman community in check by registering everyone. The movie version will most likely be a little different. Now, this is pure speculation based off just a few seconds of film. What if when playing around with Loki’s Staff, Tony sees Thanos. He sees it and recognizes the threat which ultimately pushes him towards trying to unify the worlds heroes.
Again, pure speculation but maybe because of this intense fear of what’s coming he pushes to hard. Captain America will not like this and he will, well, push back. It would make the whole situation much more complex. Not only that but it also supports another theory that popped in the wake of this trailer. The yellow spot on Vision’s forehead is another Infinity stone, the soul stone. This isn’t how it is in the comics and is again a theory based on just a few seconds of footage. However, if Tony gets some insight from the Mind stone, he could get a glimpse at the Soul stone. He then uses the stone to create Vision as an AI with more of a conscience. The yellow spot could also just be his solar charging spot like in the comics. It being a Infinity stone is unlikely but makes for a pretty interesting theory nonetheless.
Now let’s take a second and gossip about Bruce and Natasha. Their budding romance has been rumored/hinted at throughout the build up of the film. The actual nature of it was largely up in the air. It does seem pretty clear at this point. Something is going on and it makes me feel the feels. It also feels very natural when you think about it. Going back to The Avengers, these two do share more than a few very intense moments. I could see how this could work. What we are seeing could also be just a mind trick by Scarlet Witch. Which brings me to my next point.
We finally see the twins actually doing things. Quicksilver punches Captain America right in the face and I’m sure we can expect many, many more punches to the face. We also saw Scarlet Witch using her mind tricks on Natasha. The budding romance we see between Bruce and Natasha could be a result of this. After all, Ultron says that they can tear them apart from the inside out. Messing not only with their minds but feelings as well is a pretty powerful combination.
Now the last thing that I want to talk about is death. Since the first few details have emerged, Joss Whedon has teased death. Age of Ultron is continually paraded as a dark film. The Avengers brought us to an unprecedented high, Age of Ultron will take us to an unprecedented low. My guess for who is going to die, is Captain America. Now I know what you’re thinking, what about Civil War? Well, you see in the comics Tony Stark and Reed Richards cloned Thor at one point. This was a huge turning point which showcased their hubris. What if the film sees the death of Captain America and in Civil War we see Tony Stark clone Cap for his own cause.
This seems like a pretty far flung theory but if you take into account Tony getting a glimpse from the Mind stone, it could make sense. Cap dies and seeing an opportunity, Tony tries cloning him. It results in some messed up version of Cap. We would see Natasha, Coulson, Winter Soldier, and Falcon leading the charge against this injustice. Tony could also openly admit that it is a clone but sells it as his new idea for a unified earth force. After all, a lot of problems can be solved with an army of super soldiers.
Beyond Cap dying, I would have to place my money on Bruce Banner/Hulk. Yes very hard to kill, but he is a fan favorite. Killing him off would have a powerful affect on the audience. It could also be used as a sign of just how powerful Ultron is. I still like Cap for the death but its still really anyone’s guess if anybody is going to die.
Well there you have it. With a little under two months, all our questions will be replaced by new ones and we will see just where Kevin Feige is taking us on this wild ride.
Ah yeah, that’s right everybody. Last night we got a brand new trailer for Age of Ultron. Unfortunately, we didn’t get too much new information. Mostly it seems we saw some extra scenes of moments we are already aware of. Nonetheless, prepare for speculation and the raw force of a geek on caffeine! As always, POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!
The first thing we see is a group of people running towards some kind of carrier. Being shepherded by Hawkeye, something very bad is obviously happening. It’s very possible that the girl we see fall is Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch. To me, it seems that this group of people is the group of protesters we saw in the first trailer. If our heroes had just finished a battle that destroyed a city, this starts to make sense. They are fighting an enemy, possibly their first run-in with Ultron, and after seemingly defeating him he pops back up. Ultron does have a habit of not staying down.
The next little tidbit we get is Captain America looking pretty forlorn. The scene itself doesn’t look like it’s suffering damage so he could just be on the look out for an enemy. What this could also be is him truly taking in his first view of protesters. After all, Cap has never experienced that before. In his mind, military forces have always been supported by the people. He is from a time when America was fully united against a common enemy. This whole idea would lay the groundwork for Civil War. Cap is starting to realize that the Avengers have strayed from their original path.
Next Hawkeye is being sneaky in the woods. It looks as if he was waiting for that explosion to happen and he doesn’t look to happy about it. This is obviously taking place during the snowy conflict we saw from the first trailer. The part where Bruce Banner is stumbling around in the woods. How this all ties in I’m still not sure. What makes sense to me is that this is the first conflict of the film which is with Baron Von Strucker’s forces. At the very least, this snowy conflict is tied with that monastery structure we saw from the first trailer. That seems to tie together very nicely for me.
We are then treated to a shot of Tony Stark in some kind of abandoned, I want to say lab or something. He doesn’t look like he is in too much trouble but just more investigative in nature. Tony could very well be surveying the results of their conflict with Baron Von Strucker. We also get our first bit of dialogue that ties Ultron with Tony. Recent leaks confirm that Tony creates Ultron from an old Chitauri program. So it looks like Ultron will be using the connection to mess with Tony’s head as much as possible. Next up we see some more shots of the party scene where it seems Ultron makes his first villainous appearance.
Now this shot is interesting because the more we see of Age of Ultron the more it seems that Bruce and Natasha are in some kind of relationship. I’m starting to lean toward it being a more romantic relationship but it could still just be close friendship. After all, Natasha has seen the worst of Bruce and lived. That is going to require some processing and unpacking. It is obvious, that Natasha will be a calm point for Bruce. We once again see her sharing a moment with Hulk, possibly calming him down after their conflict in the woods or with Baron Von Strucker.
We’re treated to some explosions and a scene of the twins, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, looking concerned. Maybe they finally realize that the Avengers aren’t that bad and that they have been helping a psychotic robot out to exterminate humanity. Or they are thinking of Ultron’s argument to join his side. Whatever it may be, this scene is definitely going to be a defining point in the film.
Nick Fury pops back in at this point going on about how no matter what happens, the world will always be in trouble. Kind of a hopeless perspective when you think about it. He could be leading Stark towards Civil War by following up with an idea for registration or tighter superhero regulations. Beyond that I’m not super comfortable expanding on it since I’m starting to build skyscrapers out of straw.
The first of two big scenes that truly give us some new information is shown next. It’s of an African woman in some dark cave with a pool. I say African because it is all but confirmed that Wakanda will be introduced in Age of Ultron. Wakanda is a highly advanced hidden African nation that has an abundance of vibranium, the stuff Cap’s shield is made out of. Ruled by Black Panther, it seems for sure that Ultron will seek out the nation to acquire some vibranium to build himself a new body. The woman in question has two possibilities for me, Black Panthers sister or one of his elite body guards. Shuri, Black Panther’s sister, is the heir to the throne who at one point picks up the Black Panther mantle. Panther’s body guards, the Dora Milaje, are some of the most skilled combatants in the world. Regardless who it is, what is more interesting is the setting this woman is in. This underground pool looks a lot like the one Thor was in from the first trailer. How this would tie in is anybodies guess. Mine is that after venturing to Asgard, Thor is made aware of Wakanda and goes to warn them about the threat. Speaking of which….
We also get a scene of Thor in a place that seems to be Asgard. It seems his power is on the fritz and is shooting lighting everywhere. We know from Idris Elba that during reshoots, he shot a scene involving Heimdall, Thor, and Loki. This is probably the scene he was talking about. Maybe Thor finally learns of Loki’s deception and in a conflict, Loki messes with his power. One potential long shot, is that he goes to Wakanda looking for help for whatever Loki did to him. Wakanda is known for embracing both science and magic. It’s possible Thor goes their to seek healing, which is what the pool is for.
In a completely different theory, this may not be Wakanda at all. What if Thor goes to seek answers about what he saw from Scarlet Witch, which sends him to another one of the Nine realms. Specifically, he travels to Vanaheim. Vanaheim is home to the Vanir, similar to Asgardians, the Vanir are also talented in the mystic arts. It’s possible that this pool is their Well of Wyrd that can help someone see the future. Thor see’s something troubling in the Well, possibly Ragnarok, goes to Asgard were he discovers Loki’s treachery. His powers are put on the fritz and well things happen. The more I think about this idea, the better it sounds and I’ll just say, my money is on this theory.
From the first trailer, we know that Thor is angry at Stark at one point. Angry enough to hoist him up by the throat. In this trailer, we see why. Thor is lecturing Stark on meddling with something he doesn’t comprehend. Not surprising considering that Stark created Ultron from a Chitauri program. It seems this scene will be right after Ultron’s villainous appearance where his true origin is revealed. This will obviously upset the team, throwing them into imbalance.
Next in a tricky bit of editing, it seems we see Scarlet Witch supposedly blasting Iron Man. However, later in the trailer we see Ultron firing a similar red laser to the one that hits Iron Man. Combine this with the similar scenery in both the scenes and we can see that these are connected. Nice little bit of misdirection but not quite good enough.
Now, the next bit is probably the most interesting. We see what appears to be a young Black Widow being forced onto an operating table and being cut open by a mysterious woman. All this is happening while she says that she has no place in the world. What is probably the most exciting thing for me, I take this as a confirmation that we will be seeing some flashbacks from Black Widow. Now bear with me for just one second. Historically, Black Widow got her start with Russia as a secret agent. Now in Agent Carter we are introduced to Leviathan which is the Russian version of Hydra essentially. What if Black widow started out as an agent of Leviathan? It would shed some light onto her red ledger past and reveal how she first ran into SHIELD. It also shows that their is more mystery in the world then we can even imagine. Now the real question is why she is being cut open. My bet, to make her some kind of super human. Maybe in a twist, it is revealed that Black Widow is actually an Inhuman and is experimented on. Really it could be any number of things.
I am pretty confident with this since Marvel so far has not introduced something big and just let it slip away. With a return of Leviathan, we get a new super secret organization that arguably is better than Hydra. If you want to find out more about Leviathan, you can check out my Agent Carter breakdown.
The rest of the trailer is filled with things that we already have seen in someway already. Hulk fighting Iron Man in his Hulk Buster armor, Andy Serkis potentially as Klaw, Captain America throwing down with Ultron or one of his drones, and a fleet of drones coming out of the water. While we didn’t get too much new material too work with, this trailer has expanded upon a lot of things we have already seen. Seemingly clarifying, confirming, or contradicting past thoughts.
What we still need to see is our first look at the Vision. My guess is we won’t see Vision until the last trailer before Age of Ultron. That is if we even get a new trailer. Not only that but it will probably be some scene of him on table and then having his eyes snap open. Oh well, all we have to do now is wait.
Age of Ultron May 1st, 2015
If you weren’t aware, Marvel’s latest show premiered last night. Agent Carter tells the story of Peggy Carter after the events of The First Avenger. Basically imagine Agents of SHIELD set in the late 1940’s. The main difference? Peggy Carter takes the place of Coulson’s entire team. Now as I watched the two hour premiere, there were a few things that stood out to me.
First is the Roxxon Oil Company. Roxxon is a real company in the Marvel Universe, known as Roxxon Energy Corporation. In Marvel, they are very much an evil, corporate version of SHIELD whose only purpose is to pursue a profit. For example, most recently they popped up in the new Thor series. Their floating island headquarters was being assaulted by an army of Frost Giants led by Malekith, from The Dark World, because Roxxon possessed the Giant’s Kings skull. You also learn that their CEO/leader is also a minotaur. Now what you might not know is that this isn’t our first run-in with Roxxon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They actually pop up briefly in the Marvel One-Shot A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer.
Did you see it? Anyways, why is Roxxon relevant? They haven’t had any major part so far in the MCU. They could just be a company to compete with Stark Industries. Funny you bring up Stark. It turns out Roxxon is the one responsible for killing Tony Stark’s parents. While we probably won’t see that in this season, we could see it mentioned in the films. My bet is that we’ll see Roxxon in Ant-Man. In a less than likely scenario, Cross Technological Enterprises owned by Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) will actually be a subsidy of Roxxon. That’s mostly wishful thinking though. However, there’s another group introduced in Agent Carter that could end up playing a larger role in the MCU.
The second big thing from Agent Carter is our introduction to Leviathan (Scroll down to the section on Dark Reign and Secret Warriors). On a side not, if you want some insight into where Nick Fury’s path might lead just read the entirety of Secret Warriors. In this serious, we see a Nick Fury who has been burned by SHIELD and labeled a fugitive. He goes underground to fight HYDRA, forming his own secret team of new heroes to fight them. Here he learned that SHIELD had been infiltrated by Hydra. If this is sounding familiar, I have essentially just described the results of The Winter Soldier. In the ultimate spy twist, it turns out Hydra had been infiltrated by another organization which in turn infiltrated Hydra. This other organization is Leviathan which can best be described as the Soviet version of Hydra.
Hopefully you can start to see why this is extremely exciting. When Agents of SHIELD first started I had hoped that it would follow in the footsteps of Secret Warriors. It seems like I’m finally getting my wish. Now in the comics, we end up seeing a war break out between Hydra and Leviathan. For the MCU, I can imagine Marvel turning Leviathan into Hydra. Agent Carter is investigating Leviathan when she discovers it’s a sub-group of Hydra, maybe even a splinter group. My hope is that Lleviathanappears in Agents of SHIELD somehow as a nice little crossover between the shows. My bigger hope is that we see Hydra and Leviathan fight it out with our favorite agents in the middle.
I also wouldn’t be too surprised if we some more concrete connection between Leviathan and Roxxon. Possibly that Roxxon is the financial backbone of this secret organization or some other partnership.
The last, but most important, thing we were given is the Marvel female superhero we needed. It is already established that Peggy Carter is a badass. Now we see the continuation of her badassery along with her vulnerability. Struggling with the force of marginalization as the GI’s return, we see all sides of Peggy. She isn’t superhuman, she’s more than that. She is a person who rises above all obstacles through sheer will and skill. Not afraid to be herself and not afraid to use the same aspects of her femininity that are used to marginalize her as a tool to overcome her doubters.
Of all the heroes that Marvel has shown us, Peggy Carter is the most heroic. Not willing to bend to anybodies expectations but her own. She has her moments of strength and weakness just like us. Our heroes are often put on a pedestal that is unreachable. Peggy is the stranger that inspires, the one that appears in your life to give you a glimpse of what is possible. Sorry to get all intense and not sure if I’m even succeeding. I just feel that Agent Carter shows us something that hasn’t been seen so clearly in awhile.
Bonus: We also got the first trailer for Ant-Man, but more on that later.
A few weeks ago, Marvel blew up the internet to the squealing cries of joy from Marvel fans everywhere by revealing their movie plans until 2019. Easily one of the highlights of this little shindig was the announcement of Captain America: Civil War, the third Captain America film. Civil War was a massive crossover event that pitted Iron Man against Captain America on the issues of security vs. liberty. Basically, Iron Man wanted to register all superheroes as public government agents while Captain America believed that this was a step too far.
Without getting too much into the actual comic plot, let me give you a brief rundown of the important bits. Both Iron Man and Captain America assembled their own teams to fight the good fight against each other. While the story itself was a truly unique and game changing event, it was rendered nearly inconsequential by the subsequent retconning to reestablish the status quo. Most importantly, this event ended with the arrest and death of Captain America.
If you are at all familiar with comics, death is less of a permanent sentence and more of vacation to Tahiti. When looking at comics the list of major characters that have actually stayed dead is small and is mostly occupied by Uncle Ben. So far, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has followed suit. Take a moment and figure out how many main characters in the Marvel Avenger’s movies have actually stayed dead. I count about four or five, all of whom are villains and some of whose deaths are still up to debate. While this can work in the comic world, Hollywood is a little less forgiving.
When these heroes don’t die and continually return from the dead, the stakes are exponentially lowered with each return. This can only be sustained for so long in a narrative sense and even less when you take into account that these actors are on contracts which must end eventually. This leaves Marvel with really three choices: shell out more money to renew contracts, recast their now iconic characters, or kill them off. Marvel has already showed that renewing contracts is not their favorite thing, just look at the RDJ negotiations. Recasting these characters is extremely dangerous. Imagine someone else playing Tony Stark other than RDJ, you can’t can you. That’s because his portrayal defined that character for both comic and non-comic fans everywhere. With these two options less than optimal, Marvel has one option left.
Now, I’m not saying that they should just kill everybody off. Some, such as Thor, could simply go somewhere else or is somehow pushed out of the way to reappear at a later date or as a cameo. However, even that isn’t permanent solution since if they’re still alive, fans will want to see them again. Thus killing characters is really the only choice they have left. Marvel has a huge roster to choose from which they could have already started expanding to change up the team. Instead of just adding characters on top of old ones, they need to rotate out characters. This is where Captain America’s death comes in.
As I said, Captain America’s death is a direct result from Civil War. It allows for the perfect setup and the perfect window to give us the first permanent Marvel death. This death will have more than a few impacts. Cap is first and foremost a symbol. That is where his strength lies when he is fighting alongside gods and monsters. He represents hope, freedom, and well America in general. His death would have a very deep emotional impact on just about everyone. Keeping him dead would raise the stakes for our other heroes.
He also acts as the Jiminy Cricket of the Avengers. Since he is this symbol of goodness, his death would be the death of that as well. This then has ramifications for the rest of our heroes who A. are angry and hurt at the fact that one of their friends is now dead and B. they now have no one to really stop them. This isn’t to say that without Captain America the Avengers become villains. Simply that they are missing a key part of their moral compass.
Lastly, it completes the idea that Captain America is a symbol. Again, this is a guy who was super in WWII fighting alongside regular soldiers. When compared to his teammates who consist of gods and monsters Captain America and his fellow “regular” heroes, quickly lose their effectiveness in this world. If Captain America dies, he becomes greater than all of his other teammates. He becomes a perfect symbol through his death, no longer judged by his human qualities but remembered for his near perfect ideals.
So far, something big is going to happen to Captain America in the upcoming Avengers films. Joss Whedon has already teased that death will be a part of Age of Ultron. Kevin Feige has also stated that the Avengers roster will be changed by the end of Age of Ultron. Not to mention that Chris Evans is contracted for 6 major film appearances, this includes The First Avenger, Avengers, The Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron, and Civil War. This leaves one more film. While Infinity War Pt. 1 is the likely candidate, I would hope they could still work in his death before this film. For instance, since we know Black Panther will be a major player in Civil War, what if Cap has a major role in Panthers solo feature which results in his death. In the comics Captain America’s shield is made of vibranium which comes from Wakanda, the country Black Panther rules over. If Cap’s shield is truly broken he may journey to Wakanda to get it repaired. Not to mention that we might be introduced to Wakanda as early as Age Of Ultron if that is Ulysses Klaw (Andy Serkis) in the trailer.
My whole point here is that Captain America doesn’t quite fit with all of these other super-powered beings. Sure he is super to us but compared to his team mates he doesn’t quite hold up. He is an effective leader and all that but his true power lies in his inherent symbolism. For me, the natural progression to fully utilize this is to kill him off so he becomes a pure symbol to inspire and bond his team. Much like the affect Phil Coulson’s death had but on a larger scale due to Cap’s greater significance.
The only other plausible option is to have Cap take Widow and Hawkeye and have team based more on espionage than fighting aliens. As we saw in The Winter Soldier this idea actually works really well. This again though has the problem that if they are still alive, they will be pulled back in.
However this all plays out, I have faith Marvel will come up with an appropriate solution. They so far have shaken up the formula either by approving sequels far before their first films were even released or by bringing obscure characters/actors to the big screen. I believe that whatever happens will make sense and be true to the fans.
The Winter Soldier picks up almost exactly where we left Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) at the end of The Avengers. He has entered this brave new world the only way he knows how, with courage. Partnering with Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson), they have been running numerous clandestine operations for S.H.I.E.L.D. and more importantly for Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Steve has been continually struggling with his old views of government involvement and the increasingly fear tactics they use to “protect” the innocent. This later leads to an internal struggle for the soul of S.H.E.I.L.D. where loyalties are decided and sides are chosen.
The Winter Soldier may possibly be one of the best Marvel films to date. Directed by brothers Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, The Winter Soldier explores the struggle Steve faces when facing this new world. They do a great job of incorporating everything involved with Captain America. From his birth in First Avenger and his inevitable confrontation with the modern world in The Avengers, this movie acts as an excellent extension from those movies. Not only that but they did something not yet seen in Marvel movies. They blended the genre which ultimately breathed new life into this movie as well as the nearly saturated market of the superhero genre. The Winter Soldier is a political spy thriller first and superhero flick second. Imagine Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy where the main character happens to be a walking example of American propaganda. Without spoiling the movie, the main plot deals with a struggle within S.H.I.E.L.D. that strikes an excellent note with the continuous debate on public privacy and the Snowden controversy.
This struggle manifests in the form of a conspiracy that reaches from the bottom of S.H.I.E.L.D. all the way to the top. This conspiracy acts as the main plot which keeps the audience guessing as to who is loyal to whom. Combining this conspiracy with some excellent action sequences keeps the audience completely engaged. These action sequences are ultimately made by the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) who acts as the evil equivalent to to Steve Rogers. Having an enemy that has all the physical ability of a super-soldier forged for war without the complications of morals creates an enemy that can stand toe-to-toe with Captain America. With a worthy opponent to encourage some action and conspiracy that keeps the audience engaged and guessing, The Winter Soldier makes an excellent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
My Humble Opinion: 8/10 This is a must see and will provide a fresh take on the superhero genre.