Avengers: Age of Awesome Part 1
Two weeks ago, an angel descended from Heaven and placed upon us a glorious gift. That gift, of course, was the third, and final, trailer for Marvel’s Joss Whedon directed Avengers: Age of Ultron, which will be released in theaters May 1st. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it right now. Then watch it again, and then maybe you’ll be worthy to read the rest of this article.
Three’s a charm holds true here, because it was by far the best trailer for the sequel to the most successful superhero movie of all time. Offering up almost all completely new footage and a much better outline of the story, this trailer truly delivered. To top it all off, all the way at the end of the trailer (in true Marvel fashion), we finally get a look at the Vision, previously only seen in concept and promo art.
In Part 1, I’m going to outline what’s happened so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that’s lead us up to this point. Then in Part 2, I’ll do a trailer breakdown to speculate what could happen in AoU (Age of Ultron) based on what we know so far, and finally in Part 3 I’ll guess at the consequences this could have in the films to follow. Be warned there will be some major [SPOILERS] for some past Marvel movies and possibly for future ones. You’ve been warned! So if you’d like to continue, read on true believer.
What’s Come Before
A lot has happened leading up to this point, (10 movies and 2 TV shows to be exact) and much of it plays into the story of AoU. Let’s go ahead and take a look at it.
Iron Man is arguably the most popular character in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) right now. He’s appeared in four movies so far, (five if you count that cameo at the end of The Incredible Hulk) and his presence is felt or seen in other character’s movies (see Captain America: Civil War). So, what has Tony Stark been doing that has led us up to the point we are at now?
Iron Man 1 & 2 were used largely to tell the beginnings of Tony Stark becoming a hero and also to set up the first Avengers films. Iron Man 2 also had some huge easter eggs that point to other characters within the Marvel Universe, some of which I will come back to later. It’s the Avengers and Iron Man 3 that really play a huge role as to where he is now.
In the Avengers, we see that Tony has built Stark Tower; something that Steve Rogers refers to as “that big ugly thing in New York”. It serves as his home away from home on the East Coast as opposed to his Malibu cliff-side house. By the end of the movie, it’s hinted that this tower will become Avengers Tower by the A being the only letter remaining on the building after the rest of STARK fell off in the battle of New York. But something else important happened to Tony at the end of the Avengers. He went through a portal to the other side of space and blew up a giant alien spaceship with a nuclear bomb.
This event has taken a huge toll on him, as evidenced in Iron Man 3. Tony has sporadic flashbacks and breakdowns to the Battle of New York throughout the movie. Even just a boy whispering in his ear, “How’d you get out of the portal?” caused him to freak out and fly off in one of his new suits. That’s another thing that the Avengers did to him; it’s caused him to go into full panic mode and build a bunch of suits equipped for almost any occasion possible. An alien invasion has caused him to think about his safety and the safety of those around him. Of course he kind of put everyone in jeopardy when he called out the “Mandarin” and gave him his home address. Not really safety conscious, because he nearly got himself and Pepper killed when the house was bombarded with missiles and sunk into the ocean.
But finally, at the end of the movie, he blows up all of his suits in a grand gesture to the woman he loves, then magically gets the shrapnel in his chest removed and tosses the arc reactor into the ocean. This raises a lot of questions, because now he’s without all the things that make him Iron Man. So how the heck is he going to be an Avenger with no suits? If he builds more, wouldn’t he be going back on his promise to Pepper? If it was that easy to get the shrapnel removed, why didn’t he do that two movies ago? All of these are great questions that will hopefully be answered in AoU.
The after credits scene gave us a humorous interaction between Tony and Bruce Banner. We can assume that they’ve been hanging out in their spare time, science bro-ing out on the top 10 floors of Stark Tower, because of this scene and the fact that they drove away together at the end of the Avengers. We haven’t seen anything from Bruce between Avengers and AoU, so I’m guessing that’s really all he’s been up to. And now we leave Tony Stark, all healed up and suit-less.
Thor’s journey won’t play as big a role in AoU as it did in the Avengers. His brother was the big bad in the first movie, so obviously he was going to be an important player. But now Loki is sitting on the throne of Asgard and won’t be wanting to leave that and give it up. The most significant thing for Thor is that he’s now chosen to spend his time on Earth protecting it. So that’s where we will find him at the beginning of the sequel, as a citizen of earth.
The man out of time. Captain America has been through a lot. World War II, the Battle of New York, and most recently, the Fight for S.H.I.E.L.D. He experienced probably the most Earth shattering event to happen in the MCU, and we’re going to see the ramifications of that in AoU. S.H.I.E.L.D. was the force that brought the Avengers together in the first place. Now, without an overseeing organization, they’re just a bunch of guys in suits fighting bad guys.
It seems that in Captain America’s sequel, after being thrust into the new world in the Avengers, he’s finally starting to adapt to where he is. He was a soldier for the army in the 40s and now he’s a soldier for S.H.I.E.L.D. in the 2010s. Just when he thought he had a grasp on his life, his old buddy Bucky Barnes shows up as the villainous Winter Soldier. On top of that, Hydra is back and they plan to take over the world with their S.H.I.E.L.D. sleeper agents. Along with the help of Black Widow, Maria Hill, an underground Nick Fury, and new recruit Falcon, Captain America vows to take down S.H.I.E.L.D. for good. But it’s crazy to think of S.H.I.E.L.D. as gone from the MCU because it played such a huge part in it leading up to this. Luckily, Agent Coulson and his ragtag team of agents are fighting to put it back together and gain people’s trust again. By the end of the movie, we find Cap as a soldier with no army, on a mission to find Bucky and bring him home.
And now for that crazy after-credits scene. That old man with the monocle is Baron Von Strucker, a classic Captain America villain. During the events of the movie, he was able to take over the S.H.I.E.L.D base that was holding him prisoner, as well as Loki’s scepter from the Avengers (I’m going to assume that there are several other “items of interest” in this bunker type place as well). Then we finally get our introduction to the Maximoff twins, Wanda and Pietro. Pietro, aka Quicksilver, is a speedster, and Wanda, aka Scarlet Witch, has mystical abilities. It’s unclear as of right now how they got their abilities, but I’m going to guess that, because Marvel can’t use mutants, they’re Inhumans. Inhumans are mutant-like people who are born with potential and unlock their powers later in life. This is a very strong possibility considering the Inhumans are getting their own movie in Phase 3 and they were also just introduced on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Maximoff’s powers could also be linked to Loki’s scepter somehow, which brings us to……
Part 2 out now!