Yesterday, Marvel Studios lifted the press embargo on Avengers: Age of Ultron, allowing outlets like like Entertainment Tonight and websites like SlashFilm and Collider to finally roll out interviews they conducted on the set of the film over a year ago. It was a precursor to the release of today’s brand-new Age of Ultron trailer:
Within minutes of that dropping online, places like ET published a collection of .gifs with funny titles. The truth is Marvel doesn’t need our help with promotion, what with this being the sequel to one of the biggest films of all time and everything. But, dangit, we desperately want to talk about it because remember that time when Iron Man flew down to the ground and the camera swooped around to give us that hero shot of all the Avengers finally working together as a team? OMG, so cool! So, it’s only natural that we’re going to be tempted by click bait like Jeremy Renner saying in an interview solo-Hawkeye movies are probably down the road. Now, this new trailer gives us more to discuss, such as an apparent Bruce Banner-Black Widow romance (don’t try to figure out the age difference between the two) or how Tony Stark appears to have definitely created Ultron as opposed to renovating Hank Pym (aka Ant-Man) technology.
I’m just heavily resisting the urge to take too deep dive into this new trailer because I know my obsessive-compulsive tendencies could result in my analyzing every frame for plot clues. Upon first glance, the trailer looks remarkable, more cinematic than the first Avengers, operating on a far larger scale (they filmed on multiple continents!), and hinting at some truly jaw-dropping action scenes (Hulkbuster Iron Man vs. Hulk, Thor inviting battle with an army of robots, etc.). James Spader continues to creep us out with his Ultron voice, and we get more of a sense than ever before that one of the main characters could truly die in this movie. We also get our first look at Paul Bettany as Vision. You can definitely see why Joss Whedon referred to making this film as being a “nightmare,” telling SFX Magazine:
“They’re very disparate characters. The joy of the Avengers is they really don’t belong in the same room. It’s not like the X-Men, who are all tortured by the same thing and have similar costumes. These guys are just all over the place. And so it’s tough. Honestly, this is as tough as anything I’ve ever done, and I haven’t worked this hard since I had three shows on the air.”
As for all of the new interviews, such as Chris Hemsworth’s at Collider or Chris Evans’ at SlashFIlm, I am reminded of the special features sections of the DVD for Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan which I recently watched while mourning Leonard Nimoy. You can watch archival interviews the key cast members conducted prior to the film’s release, and you can also watch a candid half-hour making-of created for the DVD in 2003. The difference between what Leonard Nimoy told the press about Wrath of Khan in 1982 and what he said in 2003 is staggering, praising the script and how great it was from the get-go in ’82 while explaining in ’03 just how much he hated the script and forced through re-writes. You can really see the difference between someone selling a movie as per contractual obligations, and someone being honest about the creative process.
That has been in the back of my mind as I have read the new interviews. They all seem to have loved the script, best exemplified in Hemsworth’s enthusiastic response to Collider’s basic “What did you think of the script” question:
It was awesome. I mean, coming off of Thor 2 and Avengers, you know, I couldn’t wait to read this. I just loved how it upped it in a way that wasn’t just bigger and flashier. I mean, everything had been amplified, but in an intelligent way. All the stories are relevant to what’s going on in the world, as far as the exponential growth of technology and artificial intelligence and the questions of good versus bad and the AI world.
What if we learn a decade from now that they actually thought the script was sub-par? Or good but didn’t have enough stuff for Thor to do until Chris Hemsworth demanded more lines? Plus, what if Jeremy Renner’s character is the one who dies in Age of Ultron. He can’t exactly tell us that right now. People selling Marvel Studios films have to perfect the art of speaking while saying nothing at all, ever fearful of the dreaded spoiler. The main thing they seem to have revealed is that we shouldn’t really expect the loose threads from Iron Man, Thor and Captain America’s most recent solo films to factor too much into Age of Ultron, Hemsworth telling Collider:
There’s a new conflict. There’s a new set of circumstances. I think we saved the complete tie-ups for our individual films. They don’t tend to cover too much of the previous and the next one. Hopefully, they all stand alone as their own story.
Ultimately, what we should expect is for Age of Ultron to be amazing, possibly over-burdened with characters, probably not perfect, but emerging as one of the most enjoyable films of the summer. I think I feel more confident about that after this trailer than I did the first two. What about you? What did you think of the trailer? Do you think I’m being just a wee bit too cynical about the interviews with the cast members? After all, thanks to the Joss Whedon biography that was published last year we have now seen the email Tom Hiddleston sent Whedon after reading the first Avengers script. He was adorably enthusiastic. Maybe we can trust the Avengers actors. Let me know what you think in the comments.