Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron will be at the cinema before we know it, and it’s likely to be one of the two biggest film events of 2015 (though we’re betting Star Wars: The Force Awakens will contend for the top spot).
But the latest blockbuster project from Marvel isn’t just another big superhero film—it’s a major event for Marvel and Hollywood as a whole. To keep things in perspective, here are five things to consider about Age Of Ultron‘s release.
5. It’s Effectively The End Of Phase 2
Film geeks and Marvel fans will be familiar with the studios “phases,” which are basically chronological chapters of film releases. Phase 1, for instance, included all of the character introduction films, as well as the beginnings of collaborations. It has also been referred to as “Avengers Assembled.”
Phase 2, meanwhile, has consisted of escalation and collaborative projects, including Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians Of The Galaxy. According to CinemaBlend, Ant-Man, which comes out this summer, is technically the final Phase 2 film. But for all intents and purposes, Age Of Ultron is the grand finale showdown of this phase of Marvel films, just as Avengers Assemble capped off Phase 1.
4. It’s Only One Of Four Spring/Summer Marvel Projects
Avengers: Age Of Ultron is already grabbing all the headlines, but it’s far from the only Marvel project being released this spring and summer. We’ve already mentioned Ant-Man, which will introduce Paul Rudd in the titular role, in a more comedic superhero experience. However, two other projects are also coming out this year. Daredevil has just arrived on Netflix as a 13-episode show, and Fantastic Four, while technically a 20th Century Fox film, will feature a fresh team of Marvel heroes later this summer. And while still filming, it’s possible we could see Jessica Jones hit Netflix as early as September.
3. It’s A Harsh Reminder To DC
DC Comics has never had the same continuity or collaborative strength as Marvel when it comes to cinema. However, DC is making a clear effort to catch up with upcoming projects like Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad, both of which will combine heroes and villains from the DC comics in super-sized, Avenger-like efforts.
Even in gaming it’s clear to see that DC is attempting to seize more of the attention. The studio’s Injustice series, both in console and mobile app form, has done well as a playable collaboration of heroes, and at Intercasino‘s online gaming platform, DC is sponsoring a number of games featuring its top heroes. The latter is particularly interesting given that Marvel is known for lending its characters’ images to casino games and arcades across the Internet. Now, the Intercasino site features The Flash, Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, and other DC characters.
But even if DC is gaining ground in gaming, Avengers: Age Of Ultron is about to be a harsh reminder that Marvel is way ahead in film. It’s likely going to set the bar at an unreasonable height for the likes of Batman v. Superman.
2. It’s Got Major New Characters
Ultron is the obvious one, because every new superhero film needs a brand new villain. And if the trailers are any indication, James Spader has struck a pretty spine-tingling note in voicing the A.I. terror. But beyond the new villain, Avengers: Age Of Ultron is also introducing a host of new, second-tier Marvel characters, probably along the lines of Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow or Jeremy Renner‘s Hawkeye in terms of the size of their roles (although both are rumoured to be getting more of a presence in this and future films).
The two we know most about are the
mutant “miracle” twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, to be played by Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson respectively. A quick note: if Quicksilver sounds immediately familiar, the character did appear (played by Evan Peters) in last summer’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past, but this is a different version, an original in the Marvel cinematic universe.
Watching the trailers for Age Of Ultron, it looks as if the twins will play a pretty significant part in the action. And if that weren’t enough, numerous sources have now confirmed that Paul Bettany will be playing Vision, an android Avenger yet to appear in the films, and Marvel has worked hard to keep any details about the character under wraps.
1. Critics Are Already Pleased
The first batch of reactions to Age Of Ultron have started to trickle in, and judging by a number of them posted by ScreenRant, the tone is positive. Critics don’t seem to be as enthusiastically behind this film as the first, but they almost universally praise the film in one respect or another—and perhaps the most intriguing comment is that Age Of Ultron works because it’s so different from its predecessor.
Early reviews are interesting because they’re often the most honest. Critics inevitably influence one another’s opinions once everyone has seen the film, and it’s probably a good bet that an overwhelming wave of positivity ultimately gets attached to Age Of Ultron. But seeing mostly positive comments this early is a great sign!
Are you looking forward to Age of Ultron? Do you think it’ll out-perform its predecessor or will the Avengers fail to assemble the same acclaim twice? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!