Late Monday evening, the second trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron was released, and it was a doozy. Beyond the threat of human-hating AI, it appears a lot of the drama will occur internally within the Avenger group. We have Hulk vs. Iron Man, Thor vs. Iron Man, and a horrific army of robots intent on wiping out humanity. Just another day in the MCU! There’s only about a minute and ten seconds of footage, but it gives us a pretty solid idea (based on no small amount of speculation on our part) of what to expect come May 1.
The trailer begins with chaos, a bone-wrenching chime, and a scene of frightened people. Hawkeye is there, ushering a group into an unfamiliar dropship (maybe left over from S.H.I.E.L.D.?). The presence of the Avengers hints that something bad is happening (obviously), though it’s unclear what. A terrorist attack, maybe? There’s destruction everywhere; it looks like the end of times. We get a wide shot just as Tony Stark mutters the words “vulnerable world.”
Humans aren’t safe without the help of our heroes. Or are they more in danger because of them?
I don’t think the destruction is a result of the fight between Hulk and Iron Man, which we see later in the trailer. The color grading is different—cool as opposed to warm—and the location looks similar to when we first see Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Could they be responsible for the destruction? We do see them casually hanging out with Ultron in the previous trailer, so perhaps he influenced them to take out their anger on humans.
Captain America’s suit now has an Avengers logo, suggesting our superheroes finally consider themselves a team. Cute. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are getting along, though, but it’s symbolic to their overall importance to the world they’ve agreed to protect. But, as Tony Stark says, they may not be powerful enough to save the world they live in, which is why the robotic peacekeeping program exists.
And then James Spader’s menacing Ultron chimes in, “Everyone creates the thing they dread,” with a shot following Tony Stark as he enters an unknown military factory full of bombs and other destructive weapons. Are these the creations of Stark Industries? Very likely. As opposed to Stark’s bravado in the first Iron Man film, he seems almost horrified by the ruination he’s wrought. In the next shot we see a destroyed robot—likely Ultron—spark to life, who then shambles into an Avenger pow-wow; Bruce Banner seems genuinely shocked—and pissed—Ultron is still alive.
Stark has a look of “oh crap” on his face before a duo of sentinels come flying through the wall behind Ultron. And so begins the biggest threat to the Avengers yet; a robot with a God complex and an army of autonomous Iron Men. What could possibly go wrong? The shot of Ultron here is significant on three fronts: on the one hand this is probably the most vulnerable we’ll see him; he’s been torn to pieces and can barely walk, but he survived. He’s also essentially in Avengers garb, with a logo and the patriotic red, white and blue colors.
The shot is also important in the way it specifically focuses on Banner, Stark and Ultron, as if to signify the fragile relationship between the three. Stark and Banner have the ability to connect on a deeper intellectual level, somewhat keeping Banner from entering into his Hulk-fueled rages. But beyond intellect, Stark is the only one who appears to accept the Hulk part of Banner, in the first Avengers film saying how he was a “huge fan” of the way he would lose control and turn into a “green rage monster.” Ultimately their intellect is manifesting in Ultron.
But, as we’ve learned from the trailers, the honeymoon period doesn’t last, and the two eventually partake in some next-level fisticuffs. The part we’ve yet to see is why Banner is so stinking upset. He’s like, really, really mad, to the point where Stark needs to use a suit dedicated for such Hulk-related temper tantrums.
The trailer quickly cuts between a shot of Nick Fury, presumed dead following The Winter Soldier, and a mysterious lady disrobing in a cave. Who is she? Your guess is as good as ours. Both the cave and person have to be significant; some people have pointed out that it could be the younger sister of T’Challa (Black Panther), whose name is Shuri. In the comics, she later went on to assume the Black Panther identity, but she has a more immediate role to play here.
Thor spouts off a dramatic one-liner, and then we cut to a younger Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), who looks absolutely terrified before a hand (a lady hand?) grasps her mouth and forcefully lays her down on a gurney. Just before this, Romanoff says, “We have no place in the world.” After the first trailer hit, it was clear Age of Ultron would reveal more about Black Widow’s past, and this is yet another glimpse as to why she is the way she is. Finally we’ll get to see what makes her tick.
A few action sequences, and then another brief glimpse of Andy Serkis, who is believed to be playing Ulysses Klaw. Klaw is important because he’s an expert on Vibranium, which many believe will be applied to Ultron’s body to make him nearly indestructible. (We actually see a shot of this in the first trailer.) That sounds like an incredibly dangerous combination, so Klaw’s involvement will obviously be key to Ultron’s reign of terror on the Avengers crew.
Here is one of the more touching moments of the trailer. The majority of it is doom and gloom, but this shot of Hulk and Black Widow identifies a stronger emotional connection between the two characters. Yes, these characters ultimately care about each other. The color grading here is different from the fight between Hulk and Iron Man, making it unclear if this moment is taking place before or after the much-anticipated MMA battle. My inclination is that Black Widow is calming Hulk down, but it could also be a realization from both characters that Hulk might not be able to control his anger any longer.
Finally we get to what is turning out to be one of Age of Ultron’s most pivotal scenes: the Hulk vs. Hulkbuster fight. It’s difficult to extract much information from what we’re shown, but is anyone else concerned with how casually the bystanders are watching Hulkbuster choke-slam Hulk? I mean, it’s like the CGI characters aren’t even there. Food for thought. Another quick glimpse of Hulk shows him with bloodshot eyes, suggesting he’s angrier than he’s ever been. Or sadder.
All that from a single trailer, but it’s important because it gives us more insight into why things are happening. Otherwise it would just be some guy in a Transformers suit body slamming some angry green alien man. We’re halfway through January, which means we’re that much closer to Age of Ultron’s May 1 release here in North America (sooner in other parts of the world). I just keep telling myself that I can handle the three month and some-odd-day wait, but the truth is I’m more impatient than ever.