Finally—a vision of The Vision.
Paul Bettany’s synthezoid super-powered being from Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron has been kept in the shadows up until now, literally backlit as a tiny figure in the sky in the film’s recent poster. But in the third trailer for the film, which hits theaters May 1, we finally get a glimpse of the screen version of the character. And he gets a glimpse at us.
There is much to discuss about this new collection of split-second shots (wait, are we seeing a budding romance between Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow?) but the big reveal was saved for the very end, a look at The Vision’s red face, with layered lines like an object from a 3-D printer and mechanical blue eyes. But that’s all folks, at least for now.
Writer-director Joss Whedon has characterized The Vision as part of “Team Ultron,” at least at first. Forged from the artificial intelligence villain’s desire to be a creator himself, Ultron manufactures The Vision using advanced bioengineering methods and a few spare parts—including J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark’s mechanical butler (previously voiced in the Iron Man movies by … Paul Bettany.)
And here he is, along with the glowing solar gem that gives him his power by harnessing the energy of the sun. We will surely be seeing more of him. For now, let’s take a look at what else there is to see in this new trailer.
“I was designed to save the world. People look to the sky and see … ‘hope,’” Ultron whispers from his throne in what looks like a remote valley monastery of some sort.
“I’ll take that from them first,” he says, as we see a shot of the global-policing system-gone-wrong pull out his own charging cable and head off to blow things up good.
It’s just a small character moment for Ultron, voiced with slithering glee by James Spader, but it shows an ugly side, a nasty and sarcastic part of his personality. He claims to be merely an extremely tough sheriff, cleaning up the globe and eradicating these warring, annoying humans like a bad case of termites.
But he is no dispassionate robot exterminator. He gets a thrill from the power he wields and the pain he inflicts.
It’s an ice cold moment of horror to set the tone of the threat our heroes will be facing this time around. This isn’t just an enemy. Ultron is a psychopath.
This section of the trailer will be old news to die-hard fans who have been following Age of Ultron since the beginning. This exchange between Ruffalo’s Banner and Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is aimed at the newcomers to this story.
“I tried to create a suit of armor around the world,” Stark says. “But I created something terrible.
“Artificial intelligence,” Banner exposits, making us wonder if he is playing The Hulk or another hero named Captain Obvious.
“It’s called the Ultron program,” says Stark, who has changed into a cool Bruce Lee t-shirt and made it night somehow. “I’m sick of watching people pay for our mistakes.”
Over this, we see a montage of Ultron soldiers (remember the “I’ve Got No Strings” motif from Pinocchio that the previous trailers employed? This villain is a puppeteer who is literally his own army.)
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor eats a faceful of shrapnel from an exploding gasoline truck, and Chris Evans’ Captain America tries to prevent the passenger in a convertible from falling off of a bridge that is so high up it looks like the one the neo-Nazis fell from in The Blues Brothers.
Something must have raised that bridge up into jetliner traffic, right? Although the shot before it, with Cap running across the bridge, suggests it’s still on the ground. So maybe we’re getting another jump cut as he tries to rescue the tumbling commuters?
This section sets up that our once capable heroes, who repelled an entire alien invasion in the original movie, are in over their heads this time. Try as they might, the good guys are left holding a bumper while the population they are trying to protect falls from the sky. (So much for looking to that sky with hope, right Ultron?)
We know Cap and Iron Man don’t get along. That’s going to be the premise of Captain America: Civil War, and the unpleasantness between them is resurfacing in this scene as the Avengers retreat to a country redoubt to get their strategy in order after some manner of crushing defeat by Ultron and his drone army.
This squabble between them was revealed in full during last October’s reveal of Marvel Studio’s Phase Three plans. Read here: http://www.ew.com/article/2014/10/28/marvel-studios-reveal/4
The idea of disagreeable heroes has been thoroughly explored already, but … that’s part of the dynamic of the Avengers. They’re a dysfunctional bunch of good guys, and while Cap and Iron Man chop wood and prepare to wield their respective hatchets rather than bury them …. What’s this?
This shot was a definite OMG move by Marvel Studios.
Hulk and Black Widow are inside the farmhouse creating a little friction of their own! Gadzooks! In the first Avengers movie, we were shown a tenderness between Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Widow, then we saw sparks between her and Steve Rogers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Never anything explicit, and not at all overtly sexual. Without question, there magnetism between Widow and her guy friends.
But, but … maybe this intimacy isn’t romantic at all, but rather evidence of Widow’s mothering instinct. During EW’s set visit to Age of Ultron, she was often the protector of Bruce Banner, constantly trying to keep him from “going green” and Hulking out in the midst of hostilities.
Personally, I don’t see Widow as anyone’s girlfriend. But I can picture her as the Avengers’ den mother – the reassuring hand that will caress your face … after she finishes punching out the person who hurt you.
Still, this shot seems a little close for that. It’s hard to fathom a romance between them, or a romance between her and any of them, or romance in an Avengers movie, period. I wonder if there’s something else at play, maybe the influence of Scarlet Witch, who seems to be the one responsible for that red aura around Hulk’s eyes when he’s in the midst of that streetfight with Tony Stark in his Hulkbusting armor.
Not much to say here except we’re used to seeing the Avengers back-to-back, making a rough circle as they face off surrounding foes. I loved this shot of the six barreling into a snowy, woodland fight.
Look familiar? It’s Loki’s staff, and Tony Stark is using a hand in an Iron Man glove as an oven mitt to grab it. We saw this at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with Baron Von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) presiding over the artifact while keeping the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and her brother Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) in some sort of holding cell.
Is the monastery-like headquarters we see Ultron ruling over in the opening shot the same headquarters that Von Strucker was calling home? Possibly.
And what of those twins …?
Here we see them, lined up in the belly of what looks like either a warehouse or some massive cargo ship, fully on Team Ultron, as Whedon calls it.
The question is, what’s in it for them if Ultron wipes out humanity? During EW’s set visit, both Olsen and Taylor-Johnson said the twins are victims of unbearable cruelty, rejects, refugees, outcasts who have to use their powers to steal and manipulate, just to get by. Revenge and hatred are powerful motivators. So is pain, and these two have that. It’s the one thing her transdimensional powers and his lightning speed can’t destroy.
Marvel is promising the death of a hero in this moment, but c’mon. Who thinks they’re really going to do that?
“There’s no way we all get through this,” Stark says.
“I got no plans tomorrow night,” responds Rogers, who hasn’t had plans since 1942.
Then we see Cap hurling his Vibranium shield straight into the heart-place of Ultron’s chest, making it about a third of the way through before the robotic villain plucks it out and keeps up the chase.
This gives us another mothering moment from Black Widow, who swoops down on her motorcycle and grabs the fallen shield. “I’m always picking up after you boys,” she says.
Things speed up toward the end – literally, as Scarlet Witch meets Scarlet Johansson and gets inside her head in a way that makes her see red. Then we witness Quicksilver in action as Captain America stands, seemingly frozen in time, while his fast-moving opponent plants his fist in the hero’s face.
“Is that the best you can do?” Thor bellows, which leads Ultron to casually raise his hand and summon a mechanical horde.
“You had to ask,” Cap says.
Once more, we see the Avengers gathered in that circular battle formation, standing in the center of some crumbling temple, fighting off Ultron’s drones. What is it they’re defending? It’s some kind of large, three-pronged machine — apparently something Ultron doesn’t like very much.
And note in this shot who is no longer on Team Ultron. See that red, vapor-like energy blast emanating from the center to the right?
Scarlet Witch, meet your new team. We’re sure your brother is around somewhere, too.
Unless … he’s one of those who doesn’t make it.
Pretty good motivation to switch sides.