It's the sequel to the third highest-grossing movie of all time (having racked up $1.5bn in ticket sales). Worryingly, The Avengers came out in 2012, when everyone thought the world was going to end because of a Mayan prophecy, and were using the iPhone4S. Simpler times. Maybe it seems like The Avengers only came out yesterday because you can't go more than three months without an Avenger headlining their own solo movie.
Anyway, next summer it will have been three years since The Avengers dominated summer and earned Robert Downey Jr more money than the GNP of a small eastern European country. And this means THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON will be snapping at its heels for box-office moolah. Will it out-perform James Cameron's almighty Avatar, which is still sitting pretty at #1 with a mind-blowing $2.7bn? Or James Cameron's Titanic, on $2.1bn.
The signs are good...
Joss Whedon is returning as writer-director, and the Avengers actors have all assembled as before. There's a chance audiences will actually like Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow this time, too—as she was rehabilitated in Captain America 2. Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye may also be someone fans are exci—no, no, wait, that will never happen. We only tolerate Hawkeye and his "super-power" of amazing accuracy with an outdated weapon that last scared a mediaval knight.
But there's Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and Captain America back for battle. They're joined by newcomers Quicksilver (confusingly, the same speedy character from X-Men: Days of Future Past, but played by a different actor, and contractually obliged to never refer to "mutants" or "Magneto"), and magical Scarlet Witch—who's something of a precursor to Marvel introducing Doctor Strange into their cinematic universe.
Oh, and the eponymous Ultron.
Ulton's a character, not a material. Ultron doesn't follow Stone and Bronze in the timeline of human civilisation, no siree. And it's not a new brand of dishwasher tablet, either. He's a scary robot voiced by The Blacklist's James Spader, who was created by Tony Stark but runs amok after gaining sentience and becoming Pinocchio-meets-The Terminator. I'm hoping a fully CGI creation will be as entertaining to watch as Tom Hiddleston's Loki from the first Avengers, but have some doubts. He'll certainly be a lot meaner and pose a bigger threat than fey Loki and his silly green costume, which is a trade-off I'm content with.
The teaser trailer itself is quite a substantial few minutes of footage, thankfully. You get a good feel for the tone and storyline, plus there are lots of shots fans have vidcapped and concocted wild theories about.
It all seems a lot darker than The Avengers, which is the direction most sequels go within the superhero genre. Captain America 3's already confirmed to be rehashing a celebrated Mark Millar storyline called Civil War, pitching billionaire arms dealer Tony Stark against jingoistic super-soldier Steve Rogers. Oh no, our heroes are fighting each other! It's all going DARK. It can't be long before Thor's injecting cocaine directly into veins between his toes, and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy gets jailed for having sapling porn on his computer. Dark, dark times ahead...
But for now, there's The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Or is it Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron? Or maybe, for the UK marketplace, Avengers Assemble: Age of Ultron? Let's just simplify it to TA:AOU.
It features Iron Man wearing 'Hulkbuster' armour, fighting the angry green man in city streets. James Cameron's looking worried..