Avengers: Age of Ultron is a 2015 American epic superhero adventure film directed and written by Joss Whedon based on the Marvel Comics superhero team The Avengers, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2012's Marvel's The Avengers, the second instalment in The Avengers franchise and the eleventh installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film stars Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, James Spader, and Samuel L. Jackson. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers must work together to defeat the titular villain, Ultron, a technological artificial intelligence bent on human extinction.
The sequel was announced in May 2012, after the successful release of The Avengers. Whedon, the director of the first film, was brought back on board in August and a release date was set. By April 2013, Whedon had completed a draft of the script, and casting began in June with the re-signing of Robert Downey, Jr. Second unit filming began in February 2014 in South Africa with principal photography taking place between March and August 2014. The film was primarily shot at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, with additional footage filmed in Italy, South Korea, Bangladesh, New York, and various locations around the United Kingdom.
The film received positive reviews from from several reviewers, who praised the acting, darker tone, action, visuals, special effects, Joss Whedon's directing, it's energy and humour and it's set-up for Phase 3 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while some also criticized the film for having too many one-liners and humour. The film has grossed over $1.402 billion, becoming the 20th film to reach that milestone, the sixth highest-grossing film of all time, currently the third highest-grossing film of 2015, the second highest-grossing entry in the MCU and the second-highest-grossing superhero movie of all time (behind only its predecessor).
Two sequels, Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Avengers: Infinity War Part 2, are scheduled to be released on May 4, 2018, and May 3, 2019, respectively. With the cast reprising their roles of the heroes and with Joss Whedon returning as producer and Anthony and Joe Russo arriving as the directors.
Plot[edit | edit source]
|Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
In the Eastern European country of Sokovia, the Avengers—Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, and Clint Barton—raid a Hydra outpost led by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, who has been experimenting on humans using the scepter previously wielded by Loki. During the battle, they encounter two of Strucker's experiments—the mutant twins, Pietro, who has superhuman speed, and Wanda Maximoff, who can manipulate minds and project energy—and apprehend Strucker, while Stark retrieves Loki's scepter.
Stark and Banner discover an artificial intelligence within the scepter's gem, and secretly use it to complete Stark's "Ultron" global defense program. The unexpectedly sentient Ultron, believing he must eradicate humanity to save Earth, attacks and eliminates Stark's A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S. and attacks the Avengers at their headquarters after the party, taking control of the Iron Legion to use as his weapons against them. Escaping with the scepter, Ultron uses the resources in Strucker's Sokovia base to upgrade his rudimentary body and build an army of robot drones. Having killed Strucker, he recruits the Maximoff twins, who hold Stark responsible for their parents' deaths by his weapons. Together, they go to the base of arms dealer Ulysses Klaue in an African shipyard to obtain vibranium. The Avengers pursue them, but Wanda subdues the heroes with haunting visions of their pasts, and causes the Hulk to go on a rampage through the city until Stark stops him with his oversized Iron Man armor known as "the Hulkbuster" and Banner eventually overcomes Wanda's spell, but looks around in grief as everyone around him flees in horror due to the damage he has caused to their city.
A worldwide backlash over the resulting destruction, and the fears Wanda's hallucinations incited, send the team into hiding at Barton's safehouse. Thor departs to consult with Dr. Erik Selvig on the meaning of the apocalyptic future he saw in his vision, while Romanoff and Banner plan to flee together after realizing a mutual attraction. However, Nick Fury arrives and encourages the team to form a plan to stop Ultron. In Seoul, Ultron forces the team's friend Dr. Helen Cho to use her synthetic tissue technology, vibranium, and the scepter's gem to perfect a new body for him. As Ultron uploads himself into the body, Wanda is able to read his mind; discovering his plan for human extinction, the Maximoffs turn on Ultron. Rogers, Romanoff, and Barton find Ultron and retrieve the synthetic body, but Ultron captures Romanoff in the process.
The Avengers fight amongst themselves when Stark secretly uploads J.A.R.V.I.S. — who is still operational after hiding from Ultron inside the Internet — into the synthetic body. Thor returns to help activate the body with lightning, explaining that the gem on its brow — one of the six Infinity Stones, the most powerful objects in existence — was part of his vision. This "Vision" and the Maximoffs accompany the Avengers to Sokovia, where Ultron has used the remaining vibranium to build a machine to lift a large part of the capital city skyward, intending to crash it into the ground to cause global extinction. Banner rescues Romanoff, who awakens the Hulk for the battle. The Avengers fight Ultron's army while Fury arrives in a Helicarrier with Maria Hill, James Rhodes and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to assist in evacuating civilians. Pietro dies when he shields Barton from a barrage of fire, and a grieving Wanda abandons her post to destroy Ultron's primary body in revenge, which allows one of his drones to activate the machine. The landmass plummets, but Stark and Thor overload the machine and shatter the city into pieces. In the aftermath, the Hulk, unwilling to endanger Romanoff by being with her, departs in a Quinjet, while Vision confronts Ultron's last remaining body and after a talk about humanity, Vision destroys Ultron's final body.
Later, with the Avengers having established a new base run by Fury, Hill, Cho, and Selvig, Thor returns to Asgard to learn more about the forces he suspects have manipulated recent events. As Stark and Barton also leave, Rogers and Romanoff prepare to train new Avengers: Rhodes, Vision, Sam Wilson, and Wanda just as Rogers finishes with "Avengers..." before the credits role.
In a mid-credits scene, Thanos, dissatisfied by the failures of his pawns, dons the Infinity gauntlet and vows to personally hunt for the Infinity Stones.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
- Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk
- Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson
- Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
- Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
- Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
- Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye
- James Spader as Ultron
- Paul Bettany as J.A.R.V.I.S. / The Vision
- Don Cheadle as Colonel Rhodes / War Machine
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver
- Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlett Witch
- Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
- Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon
- Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
- Thomas Kretchmann as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker
- Idris Elba as Heimdall
- Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig
- Claudia Kim as Dr. Helen Cho
- Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klause
- Henry Goodman as Dr. List
- Kerry Condon as F.R.I.D.A.Y.
- Linda Cardellini as Laura Barton
- Josh Brolin as Thanos
- Stan Lee as Military Veteran
Production[edit | edit source]
In March 2012, Joss Whedon, director of the first film, stated that he would want a sequel to be "smaller. More personal. More painful. By being the next thing that should happen to these characters, and not just a rehash of what seemed to work the first time. By having a theme that is completely fresh and organic to itself." At the premiere of The Avengers, Feige said the studio had an option for Whedon to return as director. In May 2012, after the successful release of the first film, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced a sequel was in development. Most of the film's cast members were under contract to potentially appear in the sequel; however, Robert Downey, Jr. was not, as his four picture deal with Marvel expired after Iron Man 3.
At the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International, director Joss Whedon said he was undecided about directing, stating, "I have not come to a decision on directing Avengers 2. I am having too much fun with this [Firefly reunion] now." However in August 2012, Iger announced that Whedon would return to write and direct the sequel and develop the Marvel television series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., for ABC. Later in the month, Disney set a May 1, 2015 release date. When asked about his decision to return, Whedon said, "Avengers 2, it wasn't a tough decision. For a long time I thought, 'Well, it's just not going to happen.' Then when I actually started to consider it, it became so clear that I desperately wanted to say more about these characters, it would've been an easy no and it was a spectacularly easy yes. There was no wrestling." Whedon said that they intended for the film's production to not be as rushed as the first one.
In December 2012, Whedon stated that he had completed an outline for the film. In February, at the 2013 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, Whedon said that death would play a theme in the sequel, and in March, he said that he looked to The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and The Godfather Part II (1974) as inspirations.
Feige revealed that Captain Marvel, who is scheduled to appear in her own MCU film in 2018, appeared in an early draft of the screenplay, but was removed since the character had not yet been cast, saying, “It didn’t feel like the time. We didn’t want to introduce her fully formed flying in a costume before you knew who she was or how she came to be."
Filming[edit | edit source]
Filming began on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa, having been postponed that Monday. Second unit crews shot action sequences without the main cast, to be used as background plates for scenes featuring the Hulk, in the Central Business District of Johannesburg for a period of two weeks. By mid-March, principal photography, with cinematographer Ben Davis, had begun at Shepperton Studios near London and was scheduled to film there for at least four months. On March 22, production moved to Fort Bard, Italy and continued in the Aosta Valley region through March 28. The region doubled as the fictional Eastern European nation of Sokovia, with crews replacing local storefronts with Cyrillic script. Filming in South Korea began on March 30 on the Mapo Bridge and continued through April 14 at various locations in Seoul. While in Seoul, the production was able to attach cameras to drones and race cars to get unique camera angles and footage. An artificial island on the Han River known as the Saebit Dungdungseom served as the headquarters of an IT institute featured in the film. Scenes involving Ultron's attack on parts of the city were shot in the Gangnam District.
On April 8, shooting began in the Hawley Woods in Hampshire, England. In mid–April, Hayley Atwell, who played Peggy Carter in previous MCU films, was on set at the Rivoli Ballroom in London to film a 1940s flashback sequence. In mid-June, scenes were shot at the University of East Anglia in Norwich and at Dover Castle in Kent, while in July, filming took place at a training facility for London’s Metropolitan Police Service, which doubled as a city in Sokovia. Additional filming took place in Chittagong, Bangladesh, including the Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard and in New York. On August 6, Whedon announced on social media that he had completed principal photography on Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Filming at Shepperton as well as other locations in England allowed Whedon to get a "number of different looks and textures and moods" to give the film a different palette and fresh aesthetic from its predecessor. Whedon also stated that "we shot this movie very differently [from the first film]. I was running a lot of cameras, I was shooting long lenses, which I don’t usually do," and that he aimed to shoot the film almost like a documentary. Production designer Charles Wood built an enormous, new Avengers Tower set, one of the largest set ever built for a Marvel film. The set featured multiple connected environments and levels. To create the scenes depicting how Quicksilver views the world, scenes were shot with an ultra-high-speed camera and later combined with one of Aaron Taylor-Johnson running through the same frame at regular speed.
Music[edit | edit source]
In March 2014, Brian Tyler signed on to compose the film's score, replacing the composer for the first film, Alan Silvestri, while also marking his third film collaboration with Marvel following Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World in 2013. Tyler stated that the score pays homage to John Williams' scores for Star Wars, Superman, and Raiders of the Lost Ark and references the scores for the Iron Man, Thor and Captain America films in order to create a similar musical universe, saying, "That’s the goal for sure. You have to build in nostalgia and do it upfront so you can relate to it." Danny Elfman also contributed music to the score, using Silvestri's theme from the first film to create a new hybrid theme.
Release[edit | edit source]
Avengers: Age of Ultron will make its world premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on April 13, 2015, and is scheduled for release in France, Italy, Norway and Sweden on April 22, with other territories seeing releases in the following days, before it is released in North America on May 1, in 3D and IMAX 3D. In September 2014, TNT acquired the US cable broadcast rights for Avengers: Age of Ultron to air two years after its theatrical release. On March 4, 2015, ticket pre-sales for the film began. Variety noted "The two-month gap between advance sales and the release is much wider than normal and reflects the heavy fan anticipation for" the film.
Reception[edit | edit source]
Box office[edit | edit source]
Predictions[edit | edit source]
According to Boxoffice magazine, Avengers: Age of Ultron is projected to earn $217 million on its opening weekend in North America, surpassing the $207 million generated by The Avengers and making it the biggest feature-film debut of all time. Boxoffice chief analyst Phil Contrino said that projection was based on analyses of posts on Facebook and Twitter, with the number and intensity of positive posts on Twitter being the strongest researchers had seen for any movie since Boxoffice started monitoring the site. Additionally, Doug Creutz, an analyst at Cowen Group, agreed with Boxoffice 's projection of the film earning over $200 million in its opening weekend, but felt that the total global box office earnings would not be as large as the $1.5 billion the first film earned.
Worldwide[edit | edit source]
As of May 15, 2015, Avengers: Age of Ultron has grossed $343.2 million in North America and $656.9 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $1 billion. It is currently the 5th highest-grossing film of all-time as well as second highest-grossing 2015 film (behind Fast & Furious 7) and the second highest-grossing superhero movie of all time and the second highest-grossing entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film's worldwide opening of $392.5 million is the fifth-largest ever. The film set a worldwide IMAX opening-weekend record with $25.2 million (previously held by The Dark Knight Rises) and also broke the record for the fastest movie to make over $40 million in IMAX theaters, doing so in 12 days. According to some analysts, the opening weekend box office gross was lower than expected due to the weekend's featured boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
On May 15, 2015 it became the twenty-first film in cinematic history to cross the $1 billion threshold, as well as, the third Marvel Studios film and the eighth film distributed by Disney to generate $1 billion in ticket sales.
Critical reception[edit | edit source]
Avengers: Age of Ultron has received generally positive reviews. Reviewers called Avengers: Age of Ultron "eye-popping" and "better than the first film", and much of the praise went particulary to the action sequences, eye gouging special effects and the amazing visual style, the characters and great acting of the cast, while some criticized the film for having too many characters and for not being as dark as the trailers suggested it would be (misleading) and for having an overuse of humour and one-liners from the characters. However, Joss Whedon's directing, the new additions placed in the film, the performances of the cast and the new titular villain, Ultron, himself has received universal praise.
The film holds a rating of 75% "Certified Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 6.75/10 based on 360 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Exuberant and eye-popping, Avengers: Age of Ultron serves as an overstuffed, but mostly satisfying sequel, reuniting its predecessor's unwieldy cast with a few new additions and a worthy foe." On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 66 out of 100, indicating "generally favourable reviews".
The film already holds a strong rating of 8.0 on iMDB (where once the rating was 9.4) with users giving the film largely positive reviews, calling it an "Oscar caelibar", calling it "better than the first movie" and particulary praising the action sequences and the "Oscar worthy" performances of the actors, especially that of Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johanson, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany and titling James Spader's Ultron as a "show stealer".
Top ten lists[edit | edit source]
- 4th - Caillou Pettis, TwistedFalcon
Future sequels[edit | edit source]
Two Avengers sequels, Avengers: Infinity War, and a currently untitled fourth Avengers film are both scheduled to be released 2018 and 2019, with Downey, Jr., Johanson, Hemsworth, Bettany, Evans, Ruffalo and Brolin returning to reprise their roles. The directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be directing the two upcoming Avengers films.