The last time we saw the Avengers, they had just saved New York City from an alien invasion. Now its time for our heroes to square off against a monster that was created by one of their own: Ultron. The first time that the team will meet their robotic adversary is when he utters his very clear intentions: “I know you mean well. You want to protect the world but you don’t want it to change. There’s only one path to peace: your extinction.”
With those words of proclamation, one of the Avengers’ greatest enemies begins his war against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. This battle will be the backbone of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the sequel to the 2012 film “The Avengers”.
Returning are each of the members of the original Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. In addition, their support staff of former Director of S.H.I.E.L.D Nick Fury and former S.H.I.E.L.D Deputy Director Maria Hill, who now works for Stark Industries following the events of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” will return.
Joining the original team will be the brother-sister tandem of Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, aka Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, as well as the Vision. As mentioned above, the villain will be Ultron, who is an AI/ robot made of an indestructible blend of adamantium and vibranium who can possess any type of technology and make it do his bidding. This is will be the Avengers’ hardest test yet and will make Loki and his army of Chitauri look like child’s play.
“The Avengers” made over $1.5 billion in the worldwide box office and is the third highest grossing film ever– expect the sequel to smash that number. More heroes and a bigger, badder villain might allow “Age of Ultron” to push the $2 billion mark when it comes out on May 1.
The second film featuring the silver screen’s top superhero team isn’t the only Marvel film coming out this year. On July 17, “Ant-Man” will hit theaters. The last installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Phase Two, “Ant-Man” will follow former thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) as he takes over the mantle of Ant-Man from his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). With the use of Pym Particles, Lang is able to shrink down to the size of an ant, but his strength increases as well.
According to the official Marvel synopsis of the film, Lang and Pym must team up in order to protect the Ant-Man technology from various new threats, as well plan a heist that will save the world. The film also stars Corey Stoll as Darren Cross, who is Pym’s former protege and uses the Pym Particles to create the Yellow Jacket suit to oppose Ant-Man. The role of Hope Van Dyne, Pym’s daughter who later becomes The Wasp, is played by Evangeline Lilly.
The film had suffered a bit of a setback when the original writer and director team of Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright left the film last May, but Marvel brought on Peyton Reed to direct and Adam McKay (who has directed such comedic hits as the “Anchorman” films and “Step Brothers”) to polish the film’s script off along with Rudd. Ant-Man was one of the original Avengers, so if Marvel can nail this character come July, then it will have another tentpole franchise as well as another member to add to the MCU’s version of the Avengers.
The third and final film based on the comic book canon to come out this year will be Fox’s reboot of “Fantastic Four.” Although this is a Marvel property, Fox owns the film rights, so unfortunately, it will not be a part of the MCU. However, judging by the film’s first teaser which came out in late January, it looks like Fox might have another flagship Marvel movie franchise on its hands, along with the X-Men series.
Directed by Josh Trank, the reboot features younger versions of Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), and the Storm siblings, Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) and Sue (Kate Mara). Their classic arch nemesis from the comics, Victor Von Doom, has been renamed Victor Domashev, and will be played by Toby Kebbell. Fox’s official synopsis says that the Fantastic Four will gain their powers when they are transported to an alternate dimension, and must harness their abilities and work together to stop a former friend turned enemy. Sounds like another showdown between the team and their greatest enemy is in order here.
Once “Fantastic Four” finishes its theatrical run, this could be the highest grossing year in history for superhero films. However, if that does happen, don’t look for that record to stand. The superhero movie is here to stay, and with Warner Brothers and DC beginning to churn the wheels on its own universe of films, it looks like a box office war filled with superpowered beings will be waged. These next few years should be super.
Jordan Llanes can be reached at Jordan.Llanes@theminaretonline.com