Unless you were traveling the road last night like Bill Bixby, hoping to right the wrongs committed by the monster lurking inside you, you probably heard some chatter on the interweb — and by “some chatter”, I mean the internet ‘sploded about a leaked trailer for director Joss Whedon’s highly-anticipated sequel to The Avengers.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer was originally set to be released during next week’s episode of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but someone beat Marvel to the punch. In a savvy PR move, Marvel Studios blamed the leak on a villainous group from the Marvel universe, the nefarious global organization Hydra. What’s more, they just said, “Fuck it,” and unveiled the Age of Ultron trailer meant for Tuesday’s release.
And a kickass trailer it is to behold. If you haven’t watched it yet, just a word of warning: The trailer is so full of win and sheer awesomeness that it melted off part of my face. Just a little, so don’t worry, I’m okay. Just have to hit the doctor later. But yeah, just prepare yourself. I’m wearing a welding mask next time I decide to watch it again. Safety first.
But which kickass moments were the most kickassiest? We’ve got the rundown here.
1. Hulkbuster Armor Revealed!
While we got a glimpse of Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor a few months back in some concept art for the film, getting to see the armor, often used to curtail the Hulk’s rages, in action made my 13-year-old heart swell. I mean, seriously: Most comic book fans thought, many years ago prior to Marvel’s current golden age of movie dominance, that we might get to see the Hulk on the big screen, possibly Iron Man. Not only have we seen the characters share the screen in the first Avengers, we might also be getting the superhero brawl between the Green Goliath and the Golden Avenger that we’ve always dreamed of seeing. Yeah, the skirmish between Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man might have been neat in the first film, but, as we all know, “Hulk smash!”
2. Avengers… Disassemble?
Speaking of infighting, one of the shocking blink-and-you-missed-it still as the image of Thor grabbing Tony Stark (not in his Iron Man costume) by the throat and lifting him off the ground. By the end of the first film, everyone on the team seemed to be hunky-dory friends. However, Stark’s dabbling in A.I.-gone-awry resulting in Ultron may have pushed the Norse thunder god to his breaking point, especially considering the damage in the trailer for which Ultron seems responsible.
3. Ultron Makes His Move
Literally. Sure, Entertainment Weekly showed off concept art of James Spader’s world-dominating robot bad boy Ultron back in July, and Marvel gave us a feast for our eye-holes in the form of art showcasing Earth’s Mightiest Heroes fending off a swarm of Ultron drones, but until I saw the CGI rendition of the character, I wasn’t going to be convinced. And hot damn if the trailer didn’t convince me. The murderous mechanized villain feels like something that takes up actual space and contains real matter, which sound like something stupid to be excited about, but I have to admit that it was a concern. While Marvel has been doing high-quality CGI work for a while now, I thought that if anything would give them a hiccup, it might be animating Ultron’s interaction with the flesh-and-blood people. The trailer certainly put my fears to rest.
The silky menace of James Spader’s voice, something that he has perfected on NBC’s The Blacklist, is in full effect here, the right mix of cautionary hiss and the hint of robotic modulation. The monologue he gives to a group of shell-shocked Avengers brings all eyes on him, and Spader’s delivery makes you have to know what he’ll say next. His commentary about how humans are all puppets on strings echoes Tony Stark’s original intent for creating Ultron in the film’s story to serve as a peacekeeping force in place of the Avengers. Spader’s barely buried subtext says, “Who now is the puppet?” Also, did anyone else notice Spader singing the song from Pinocchio toward the end of the trailer? How creepy was that?!
4. Tiptoe Through the Tulips
I might be the only one who thinks this is cool, but the shadowed images of ballerinas on screen might be an indication that we’ll get more of a glimpse into the origins of the Black Widow. In the comic book stories, the Widow is given false memories during her training by the Russians to ensure loyalty to the state. Her false memories included her being a ballerina. Either that, or Nick Fury is deploying super ninja robot ballerinas from wherever he’s hiding.
5. Darkness Falls
Much was made a few months ago of the rumored “no jokes” policy DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. put into place in regards to their future films. I was one of the guys who said you don’t have to unilaterally take levity out of a film to make it pack an emotional wallop or have a sense of gravitas about it. That’s a good thing because, man, does the Age of Ultron trailer look bleak. Bleak. I don’t think I saw anyone with any sort of joy outside of Spader’s Ultron as he declared his independence and plans for humanity. From the destruction of city-scapes to the Hulk losing control to what appears to be a fractured Avengers team, the film doesn’t look like it will be letting up in terms of emotional weight. And lightness? No matter how dark the movie might look, this is Joss Whedon we’re talking about here. He’ll surely comfort viewers with humor before smacking us back down with pain.
All of our speculation will be answered… next May. Too. Far. Shut up and take my money now, Marvel.