Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers Age Of Ultron annotations

US release date: 1st May 2015
Writer/Director: Joss Whedon

00:00-05:00

Marvel Studios logo.

And then we are straight into it. We see a blue light, that turns out to be Loki’s Sceptre.

The opening shot of Avengers Age Of Ultron (2015)

It was not 100% clear on screen that this is an Infinity Gem, although we will discover it is the Mind Gem.

It is odd that the Mind Gem is even here. We last saw the gem (and sceptre) in The Avengers (2012), and although not seen, was likely taken into SHIELD custody. The story of how it got to here was covered in a comic book tie in Avengers: Age Of Ultron – This Scepter’d Isle, release in 2015.

We get a glimpse of the twins, who we saw at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). We will see more of them later.

The interiors is a set. The studio used for the film is Shepparton Studios in London. This was the main studio location for the film.

Out in the woods. Filming took place at Bourne Woods, Farnham, south east of London.

And our heroes. We first see Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner. Driving is Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson.

This is Renner’s 3rd appearance in the MCU. We last saw him in The Avengers (2012).

Renner was unhappy with his role in The Avengers (2012) and being sidelined and mind controlled. With this film, he and Whedon were eager to explore his character. Renner told Collider:

It’s a lot of the stuff that Joss [Whedon] and I talked about to do in the first one but it just didn’t work out that way, so it’s really exciting for me and Joss to kind of dive into the character a little bit more. There’s some wonderful secrets and relationships deepen, so there’s a lot more of him to deal with versus the hypnotized version of him.

This is Johansson’s 4th appearance in the MCU. We last saw her in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

It is worth noting that Johansson was pregnant during the time of shooting. This is more noticeable in the later fight scenes, where her face is more notably obscured, and her reaction shots seemed to be shot in isolation. She talked to Hero Complex about working whilst pregnant.

I was really, really happy to have a job, which I never imagined would be possible given what I do. But, yeah, I got to stay really active, and I couldn’t do as much of the physical stuff until later on. I got to kind of fill in the blanks afterward, but I relied on my awesome, awesome stunt double, Heidi Moneymaker, who’s just incredible and took a lot of the punches literally for me this time around. And then you know, I kind of helped her out on the back end. And that’s how we work, kind of tag team and stuff. It was great. I felt very, very fortunate that I could have a job.

Behind them is Iron Man. Played by Robert Downey Jr.

This is his 6th appearance in the MCU. We last saw him in Iron Man Three (2013).

Downey told Close-Up Film:

I hope people say ‘Wow’ after they see this film. When you have a big movie like this, there are big expectations. I hope that audiences feel as good about this as they did when they came and saw the third Iron Man. And the same as they did when they saw the most recent Captain America and Thor. This movie is incredibly fun and thoughtful – and it has great themes. There is also a whole bunch of new characters and it really raises the bar. That’s when I know it has my seal of approval.

Flying in is Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth.

This is his 4th appearance in the MCU. We last saw him in Thor: The Dark World (2013).

He told PopSugar:

We put up with Thor having stayed on Earth from Thor 2. So he’s here. He’s part of the team. This is his home for the moment. The initial kind of threat — attack — from Ultron is personal, because it’s at all the Avengers, and Thor then begins to see a bigger picture here about what this threat could be, potentially. And it begins to kind of tie in all of our films.

Captain America. Played by Chris Evans.

This is his 5th appearance in the MCU. We last saw him in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

Evans told Collider:

The team doesn’t have anyone to report to now. There’s no more S.H.I.E.L.D. so we’re all kind of depending upon one another, but that gives him an opportunity to kind of take more of a leadership role I suppose. Since there’s no one else giving him orders, he doesn’t have to question the chain of command or anyone’s motives, but it does mean he needs to rely on his team a lot more so it’s just kind of added a little bit more tension to the actual dynamic of the Avengers.

Then the Hulk. He is portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, in motion capture and as his alter ego Bruce Banner.

This is Ruffalo’s 3rd appearance in the MCU. We last saw him in Iron Man Three (2013).

Ruffalo told Collider:

 There’s more of him and I think there’s still – Banner and Hulk have kind of come to a detente [laughs]. We left this last one with this idea that I’m always angry and therefore I have some control over it, but like anger, when you think you have control over it, you absolutely don’t. So there’s still a wrangling going on and there’s a confrontation brewing between the Hulk consciousness and the Banner consciousness that I think we’re starting to head into right now.

Although Cap, Hulk and Iron Man appear to be nothing more than CGI.

Iron Man hits a snag as he tries to enter the castle. The castle is Fort Bard, in the town of Bard, Italy.

This opening scene is one long continuous shot, although full of CGI trickery. Very much a element of Joss Whedon‘s work.

They communicate with JARVIS as a satellite. He is voiced by Paul Bettany.

This is Bettany’s 5th time in the MCU as JARVIS. We last heard him in Iron Man Three (2013). Although his role will change into the Vision by the end of the film. The idea was from Whedon, who made it happen. Says Bettany (to Craveonline):

I just got a phone call from Joss, and he said… I’m thinking about this… It had been in the works for years, [but] there’s a sort of rule where if you play one character you’re not allowed to play another character, and they didn’t know how to figure that out, but Joss really wanted to bring The Vision in and he said, “I really want it to be you, Paul.” Which is lovely. “How are we going to make that work? We’re bending the rules.” He called me up and I was, as you can imagine, thrilled.

He tells us we are fighting Hydra. The evil organisation played a big role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

Then we are inside. The titles tell us the Hydra base is in Sokovia, a fake country. It was created for the film.

We see Baron Von Strucker. He’s played by Thomas Kretschmann.

Strucker is a long serving Marvel villain, with ties to Captain America and the Nazis. He’s a HYDRA big wig, both in the comics and here. He also has a bald head and distinctive monocle. He had appeared in the post credits scene for Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He first appeared in Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos #5 (January 1964).

Kretschmann is a bigger star in his native Germany. He appeared in films like The Pianist, Valkyrie and more.

Talking to Strucker is a soldier played by Chris Lucas.

Also there is Doctor List, played by Henry Goodman. His character was created for the films.

And then the twins. Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlett Witch. Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff, aka Quicksilver.

Scarlett Witch is one of the mainstays of The Avengers in the comics. However, she is a mutant, and the child of Magneto in the comics, and first appeared as an X-Men villain. She later reformed and was an Avenger for many decades. She is often the conduit of X-Men/Avengers crossovers. Her powers were always a bit fluid, depending on the era. In the comics, she deals with chaos and shoots Hex bolts. Here, she has telekinesis and can play with minds. Although both her and Quicksilver, and the MCU in general, takes a lot from their Ultimates Comics versions.

She was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. She first appeared in X-Men #4 (March 1964).

Olsen has famous older siblings, but she came to fame with a series of acclaimed roles in indie films like Martha Marcy May Marlene, Liberal Arts, Kill Your Darlings and more. She first appeared in the post credits sequence for Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), making this her 2nd appearance in the MCU.

Olsen told Collider:

It’s been so fun because you can’t be like, ‘Well, how does this magic witch hero move?’ There’s nothing physically that you can just reference from dance, martial arts, or anything like that. So we started off with Joss kind of having these ideas based off just images in the comics of what the hand gestures look like or the arms look like. And then I worked with a dancer, Jenny White, she’s a dancer and so the two of us get locked up in a room together and we move and we try and figure out what looked strong or where the energy comes from. But also in the film I get to have a journey of discovering how powerful she can be, in a way. So we gotta start somewhere, we gotta figure out what all those different levels are.

Saoirse Ronan was also considered for the role.

Pietro shares the same origins as his sister – son of Magneto, and a villain who reformed and joined the Avengers. His powers are much more easy to explain – he has super speed.

He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He also first appeared in X-Men #4 (March 1964).

Taylor-Johnson broke through in the lead role of Nowhere Boy, portraying a young John Lennon, and followed it up in a memorable turn as Kick Ass.

Says Johnson to Collider:

When I spoke to Joss [Whedon] about it a lot time ago and he approached me for the role, it was one of the things I kind of wanted to keep, you know…one of them was I wanted to have white silver kind of hair to look like the character and the other one was that I could kind of embrace the roots of where he’s from, you know, being Eastern European, it would be great to do some kind of accent to enhance that kind of feeling so I’m glad that we’re doing it.

The cinematic rights to Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver were a major issue at this point. Being mutants, they partly fell into Fox’s ownership of everything mutant. Yet, because they were such long serving Avengers, they could also appear in the MCU (as long as they weren’t mutants). This led to a version of Quicksilver (and a hint of a Scarlett Witch) being used in X-Men Days Of Future Past, released one year earlier.

 The Iron Legion arrive in Sokovia, to help. The town is actually Aosta, Italy.

It’s worth noting that Iron Man Three (2013) saw the destruction of all of Stark’s various Iron Man armours. He seems to have made more.

 Quicksilver attacks Hawkeye.

05:00-10:00

 Quicksilver hits Cap. Hawkeye is hit.

Iron Man busts into the castle. In his MUD, we see the words, backwards, Target Locked.

Black Widow calms Banner down after the fight is over. This tactic – the sun is getting real low – has no antecedent in the comics. In fact, this whole special connection between the Hulk and Widow is new.

Cap finds Strucker. But is attacked by Scarlett Witch.

Stark finds a hidden lab.

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