Over the past decade we have watched Marvel adapt their comicbooks for the big screen. A few years ago we finally got to see the Marvel Studios shared universe come to fruition, leading up to the 2012 release of The Avengers, one of the largest critical and financial pay-offs in cinema history. So obviously there is alot of anticipation surrounding the release of the upcoming sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron. Here are 5 Things you should know before seeing Avengers 2 from our friends at AgeOfTheNerd.com!
1. This movie is a cumulation of multiple plot threads, laid out in the many MCU installments. Unlike the first Avengers film, this movie definitely assumes the audience is up to date on the lore of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Although each installment in Phase 2 succeeds as a stand alone film, they also add to the shared universe and continue to expand on the over arching storyline that this is all inevitably leading up to. I’m not saying that every open-ended plot point will progress or even be adressed, but would like to remind the audience that this film is more of a continuation of Phase 2 than it is a direct sequel to The Avengers. Similar to the first time around, its fair to expect writer/director Joss Whedon to make mention of the of key story arcs and characters, along with quick ways to write them out of the film.
2. ‘Agents of Shield’ is irrelevant. I’m sure plenty of sites will sit down and point out all the tv show tie-ins and easter eggs, but at the end of the day that show is pretty much irrelavant when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In my opinion 2 seasons attempting to generate a fan following, and coming up short is a pretty big failure. I find it kind of insane because anything live-action for Marvel sells itself at this point, yet ‘Agents of Shield’ just can’t seem to grab the viewers attention. Despite gaining some critical steam over the past season, the show still doesn’t pull in strong numbers. Maybe its because the show is poorly promoted and they have yet really sell me on the idea that it ties in the to the larger shared universe. This show is supposed to provide me with my weekly fill of the Marvel universe. Not even the fan favorite Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) can draw me in and except for the ocassional theatrical tie-in episodes, which are still often lack luster and few and far between, there is nothing compelling about the show. Overall I would have to say ‘Agents of Shield’ fails to properly utilize the Marvel brand.
3. This is not the same Quicksilver as depicted in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
In this film Quicksilver is portrayed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, not Evan Peters. There are obviosuly similarities between the two, but there are also some major differences. Some of these differences are related to the studio rights, which prevents Marvel Studios from reffering to any character as a mutant or using any of their mutant backstories. This leaves Whedon and company in charge of creating a fresh origin for the character, along with a unique film technique to showcase the characters’ powers (X-Men really set the bar for Quicksilver if you ask me). In the end we can debate over which version is better following release, but just know this is 2 different intrepretations of the character performed by 2 different actors.
4. If you can’t sit down and watch them all, here are ‘The 3 Marvel movies you should see before Avengers 2.’
As I previously mentioned this film definitely makes the assumption that the viewer is fairly up to date on the overall shared universe. You don’t half to watch all 10 of the previous MCU installments to be in the know but there are definetely a few you should check out before hitting the theater. Here is what I consider to be the three most important films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date.
- Lets start off with Marvels first installment in their shared universe, Iron Man. This is one of the most relevant standalone films in the MCU, at least as far as the pre-Avengers movies go. Tony Stark is not only one of the main characters of the Avengers, but is also the center point for many key plot threads throughout the film. Eleven movies deep and the actions of Tony Stark are still rippling through the MCU and effecting the universe in unpredictable ways. If you dont have the time to sit down and watch the entire Iron Man franchise, make sure to at least check out the first installment.
- After Iron Man was firmly established Marvel moved on and used Phase 1 to begin development on the rest of their shared universe, introducing the other key characters, mainly through stand alone origin films. Despite the fact that I enjoy these films and could make a compelling argument on why each one is a necessary viewing experience, the truth is that if your not interested or your pressed for time you can skip ahead to our next main title, The Avengers. Like I previously mentioned Avengers: Age of Ultron is not really a direct sequel but it is still a sequel nonetheless. This is cause enough to go back and revisit the teams’ first outing before heading to the box office. The Avengers was the first time we finally got to see all the key players on screen together and kicking @ss. This film was also the worlds first real look at this shared universe fleshed out and really coming together. And lets not forget to mention you need to see the first installment so you can join the inevitable “which was better” debate that has really already begun.
- Excluding Iron Man 3, I pretty much like every movie in the Marvel phase 2 line-up. We got follow-up sequels to all of our main characters, plus the addition of The Guardians of the Galaxy. We can quibble over the best phase 2 installment all day, but I have to say Captain America 2 has the most impact on the shared universe, at least for the immediate future (GOTG arguably has larger long-term implications). Although every installment in phase 2 has tie-ins to the larger story arc and shared universe, its Captain America: The Winter Soldier that really feels like a follow-up to the Avengers, and a lead-in for the sequel.
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron is not the final installment of Marvel Phase 2. Just 2 months after the events of Avengers 2, we will finally get to see Marvel’s tiniest hero on the big screen in Ant-Man. The first Avengers film ended the Marvel’s phase 1 initiative and returned to the big screen with a group of sequels designed to further develop the characters and lay the ground work for the future of the shared universe. This time around, we will be introduced to a new character in the final chapter of Phase 2. Weather this is due to the fact that Ant-Man is an essential aspect of Phase 2, or they just decided this would be the best time to introduce a new character, is not yet clear and honestly I feel it could go either way. It seems to me if they just planned on introducing us to a new character in a fresh solo film, Edgar Wright would still be attached to the project. At the same time there really isn’t much to suggest that Ant-Man will tie-in to The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Honestly only time will tell (Thank god we don’t have that long to wait!).
Avengers: Age of Ultron will be hitting theaters in the U.S. on May 1st, 2015. Let us know what you think about the return of Earth’s Mightiest in the comments below!