It’s been over 2 years since the cultural phenomenon that is “The Avengers” hit the screen, impressing critics and fans alike and amassing a colossal amount of box office revenue. Since then, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has gotten bigger and more complex, with films like “Iron Man 3” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” planting the seeds of what could become the backdrop for the Civil War storyline and “Guardians of the Galaxy” introducing the vast-ness of space and different galaxies along with a deeper glimpse into Thanos’ storyline. However, no matter how good or bad each film in Phase 2 of the MCU was, there was always going to be excitement generated as these films continued the trajectory towards the next Avengers film. At the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, fans were treated to a very small teaser that revealed the title to be “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and the main villain would be the titular Ultron. Just one year later, attendees were greeted with a first look at footage from the film. Many fans not in attendance became aggravated, wondering when everyone would be able to have access to the film’s first trailer. Apparently the answer was this week, as a leak of the trailer online forced Marvel’s hand and they ended up releasing the first official teaser online Wednesday, which you can watch here:
Man have we got some things to talk about. The first teaser for Age of Ultron brings about many questions and theories to be had, but one of its biggest surprises is the shift in tone. Many have speculated and interviews have hinted that the tone of the sequel would be darker than the very light-hearted and fun nature of the original, but the extent to which it has changed is almost jarring. This trailer is dark; shots of the team show nothing but seriousness, destruction and mayhem is prevalent, and some of the characters look to be in desperate and dire shape (Bruce Banner’s panic attack as he cowers under blankets in the back of the craft the team is riding in is the standout image). This is a broken team, both physically and emotionally, and the trailer puts in no effort to dissuade the audience from believing this or that it will get better in the slightest. Suddenly the possibility of one of these main characters dying in this installment doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
None of this, however, is possible to show without a formidable villain, and oh goodness does Ultron seem like he’s showing up to play. From his first appearance as a mangled robot giving a speech about how these heroes want to save the world but don’t want it to change to the scariest rendition of a popular Pinocchio ever heard, Ultron is a force to be reckoned with. James Spader is fantastic casting; his voice is menacing and calculated in the same, creating the feeling of an hyper-intelligent opponent that is always one step ahead, which is the most dangerous characteristic for a villain to have. The trailer makes it very clear that this is a machine that means business and will stop at nothing to create the world he so helplessly desires.
But, this is still an Avengers film, and therefore must have some awesome action elements to hype us up as well, which brings us to arguably the most exciting part of the trailer: the promise of a Hulk vs. Hulkbuster fight. For those unaware of what the ‘Hulkbuster’ is and couldn’t tell from the trailer, Tony Stark creates armor specific for taking on the Hulk if the chance ever occurs that he becomes unstable and appropriately named it ‘Hulkbuster.’ While the few clips of the fight could bring about many questions in regards to context and motivations behind the altercation, for me all of those were thrown out the window as the fanboy inside me began to jump with glee at the actuality of this happening on the big screen. Sometimes, amongst destruction and darkness, one needs a crazy awesome fight to bring some joy, and it looks like Marvel is absolutely okay with delivering the goods there.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” hits theaters on May 1, 2015.
By Nick Franco