It’s officially the dawning of a new age, the Age of Ultron and with that phase 2 has come to a complete end and Phase 3 of the Marvel cinematic universe comes into play. It took quite a while to get to this point and time after 11 films, several shorts, 3 TV series and several tie in comics. So what do we need to know?
Tony Stark is Iron man. He becomes this after he is taken hostage by a group known as the 10 rings. He is gravely injured and uses his technical know how to build an armour and escape. Once he Returns home he begins a one man crusade to save the world.
Along the way he has help in the form of a computer program that acts as his personal butler named Jarvis. He would later integrate this into his more advanced armour.
Unfortunately he ends up having to battle another suit, similar to his and controlled by someone he once thought of as a friend, Obadiah Stane, for control of his company. Tony, wants to take Stark Industries into a more positive direction while Obadiah wants to do some under handed dealing and sell to anyone. Tony defeats him and announces to the world that he is Iron Man.
Tony is approached by Shield – Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division for some sort of Avengers initiative.
Before all this back in the days of World War 2 – Tony’s father was a part of Project Rebirth that helped turn Steve Rogers into Captain America. He falls in love with a British agent known as Peggy Carter, but crashes a Nazi air craft loaded with missiles into the freezing Atlantic to save the United States and countless lives. Years later he is found and revived by Shield to become their poster boy and champion.
During Captain America’s adventures he comes up against an artifact simply known as the Tesseract
Meanwhile Peggy ends up working for a Shield precursor and they start capturing Hydra scientists and artifacts.
And Tony’s father at one point goes on the run after being framed by Russian spies, but eventually he is proven innocent and returns to his old ways.
Years later, the US army is still trying to create a new super soldier, they accidentally create the Hulk.
Shield also uses Tony for some comical purposes in this little short film.
At the beginning of Thor we find out that this Tesseract was once used by the Frost Giants to wage war across the stars. Eventually it was seized by the forces of Odin, as well as a small blue child, in the climatic battle of an epic war.
At the start of Thor he and his brother Loki are told by their father that they were both born to be Kings, cryptic but important to everything else.
Loki is hungry for power and sick of growing up in Thor’s shadow, He see’s his brother as unworthy of being King, which is kind of true. So Loki makes plans to banish his brother and kill all the Frost Giants. It’s a little over complicated but fails because Thor in the end proves him self to be worthy and defeats his brother. Loki is now driven mad with the revelation that he was the baby frost giant at the start of the film.
Meanwhile Tony has become kind of a dick, he is facing his own mortality and dealing with his fathers legacy. Fortunately Nick Fury shows up and points him in the right direction. Along the way he donates one of his armors to his best friend James Rhodes, who becomes War Machine.
Along the way he meets the beautiful Black Widow and being that he is Tony, he is quite happy to add her to his staff.
We also find out that Iron Man 2 and Thor are happening at the same time as Agent Coulson leaves half way through Iron Man 2 to appear half way through Thor, what he gets up to is explained in this short.
Eventually Loki returns, this time as the head of an alien army armed with a magic scepter and the Tesseract.
The Avengers defeat him and he is taken by his brother, which leaves behind a lot of alien weapons and technology to be scavenged in New York.
Strangely enough the latest Marvel series is set just after this, Daredevil deals with the the rebuilding of New York.
Tony begins to suffer from PTSD after nearly dying in the battle for New York. In his new workaholic mode he builds his own fleet of Iron Man suits that he controls with voice commands known as the Iron legion. Meanwhile mistakes from his past come back to haunt him and he is stripped down to nothing in his battle against the Mandarin. We are led to believe that the Mandarin is the leader of the 10 rings group in Iron Man 1.
Meanwhile War Machine,now Iron Patriot is the poster child for the US military.
On a side note a little bit more is revealed to us about the 10 rings and the true history of the Mandarin, in the short film All hail the King.
During the Avengers we are led to believe that Coulson was killed, but in Agents of Shield he is revealed to be alive and in charge of his own group of Agents. It’s later revealed that less than above board methods where used to keep him alive, more like bring him back to life.
In the second Thor we are introduced to the latest mystical artifact, the Aether, which we later learn is an infinity stone. This was used by the evil Dark Elves in the time before Odin, it was lost to them but has reappeared and Thor with the help of his allies, not the Avengers, defeats the Dark Elves, faces the perils of the London underground in rush hour and manages to misplace his brother. In the end he chooses to stay on Earth with his human girlfriend Jane Foster.
At the end of the film we find out that the Aether and Tesseract are both infinity stones. The Asguardians leave this stone in care of the Collector.
During the Winter Soldier film we find out that Hydra was never destroyed but has regrown within Shield, during the film they not only attempt to kill Captain America but they take Shield out altogether. At the end of Season 1 of Agent Carter we see how Hydra came to play a role in what would become Shield
In a post credit scene we see Barn Von Strucker and he has possession of Loki’s sceptre, which he uses to created two new enhanced humans.
In a separate comic you find out that these two are civil war victims with a grudge against Tony Stark.
Meanwhile in the TV series Agents of Shield the remainder of Shield struggle to pull back together and rebuild. While also taking out Hydra strongholds and they mention one in eastern Europe. With many new Shield characters showing up and even revealing the In-humans and that Skye is actually Daisy Johnson, though to the hardcore fan boys and fan girls this was pretty easy to figure out. We also now have Director Coulson leading the good fight.
Guardians of Galaxy takes place very far away from the main Marvel universe but here we see another infinity, which makes four if you include Loki’s sceptor from Avengers.
Finally in Guardians of the galaxy we meet another infinity stone and finally see Thanos, though we saw him briefly in the Avengers post credit scene. He is big, bad and powerful. We know he will be the final villain of the series, so here’s hoping for a big finale.
That’s everything you need to know before you see this film.
Now for the movie……
The film was just wow. The beginning was an action packed roller coaster, which was beautifully shot. It was like Michael Bay meets ballet (I call that Michael Ballet), action packed yet so coordinated. The only flaw was some points felt rushed, I had heard that Whedon was forced to cut the film down and make it shorter, why would anyone make him do that? I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a director’s cut. Whedon takes an stellar cast that could terrify any lesser director, an epic plot that could make your head spin and mixes it together with action, comedy, dark storytelling and some out of this world awesomeness and what he brings is more than any fan boy could have dreamed of.
The main cast really gel well together, they seem more like a family now and maybe a well-oiled military machine too. The have a fantastic back and forth, witty banter. As much as I love Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and Hulk, this film was more about Black Widow and Hawkeye. We learn more of their pasts, now we knew a lot about Widow from Winter Soldier, but we get to see her training with the Russians and more of her darker side.
As for Hawkeye we see what kind of man he is, he really is an everyman and becomes so likeable and I really am glad that he was given this treatment, he was owed it and thank you Joss for doing the character justice.
I loved the twins, Aaron and Elizabeth where so good in this picture, Aaron playing off Hawkeye so well and Elizabeth being really creepy and showing off a confidence in her powers that would make her terrifying to challenge, she is as eerie as he is quick. But there is a love between them that makes them likeable. Andy Serkis made a surprising appearance as Klaw in a possible lead up to Black Panther; he was fantastic in his few scenes. I’m a huge fan of both Claudia Kim and Linda Cardellini and seeing them both in humanising roles in these films help remind us that these heroes though powerful are not gods, except maybe Thor who is sort of a God. Henry Goodman does a good turn as Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker, he is quite the Hydra hench man. Paul Bettany finally got his chance to shine as the Vision; he was funny and wise in this all powerful andriods body, bringing plenty of charm from his role as Jarvis to the physical world. All these new roles are great but over shadowed by the real star of the show James Spader as Ultron.
He is like a teenager learning politics for the first time, he has all this knowledge but lacks the ability to process it and truly under stand not only what he knows but the power he possesses, in the power he has he lacks the ability to use and control it safely, not that he would want to, he knows all but he is too naive to understand his limitations. In the end it’s a pity the film was cut as I think we could have stood to see more of Ultron especially his relationship with the Twins who acts like a big brother to0 or Tony who acts like a bastard son too, filled with rage and anger.
I said it before and I will say it again Whedon has done it. Though some scenes felt a little rushed but all and all it was a dam good picture. It is a great lead up to what happens next. After this event Stark is a lot more cautious and by the looks of it will be heading up the Pro-Super human registration act, a collective act that will mean no super hero can operate without signing away their identity, an idea which seems good but of course a lot of people want animinity, such as Captain America, so we will have the Secret Avengers vs possibly the Mighty Avengers. Phase two started off with a rocky start but its last 3 films have been hit after hit and that’s saying something. PHASE 3 BRING IT ON!!!!