“The city is flying and we’re fighting an army of robots. I have a bow and arrow. Nothing makes sense.”

Avengers: Age of Ultron

The big six are back together and working on taking down Hydra.  James Spader (he was Dr. Daniel Jackson in the original Stargate movie) voices Ultron, while Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen (yes, she is the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashely Olsen) join as Pietro and Wanda Maximoff [in some versions of the comics, they are Magneto’s children, which explains their abilities.  In the MCU, they are not, and instead volunteered for the program.]  The Avengers find Struker’s facility and attack.  Strucker is holding Loki’s scepter, but he doesn’t want to risk the twins yet.  He tells his men to not surrender, but he is fine with surrendering himself and tells someone to destroy their evidence.

The team jokes around like many teams do in battle situations, Steve inadvertently calling Tony out for his language; and no, Tony is not going to let Steve live that down.  Steve continues to use his motorcycle as a weapon, tossing it when needed to.  Tony has built new suits, as an Iron Legion, to help protect the city as it takes fire during their assault.  He manages to bring down the shield and get inside [and his dialogue is funny at times, which helps the film].  The Maximoff twins have run off into the battle as well and manage to get Clint hit.  Natasha is called upon to calm the Hulk down once they’re finished.  Tony retrieves the scepter, but not until after Wanda has shown him a vision; of everyone dying and blaming him.  (She’s first shocked at his vision, then smiles when he takes the scepter; not making her the most trustworthy at the moment.)  The flight home is subdued, though Tony gets permission from Thor to check out the scepter before he returns it to Asgard.  Tony also makes a crack about Steve being the boss of the team, while Tony just pays for everything, but he is concerned about Clint and calls in a doctor friend.  (We do get a bit of the Avengers’ theme when the tower comes in.)

Steve finds out more about the twins [and Maria Hill’s explanation that “he’s fast and she’s weird” is a bit rude, in my opinion.  Though she did try to give a more technical explanation, but telekinesis is so much for than “weird,”] and makes a crack about “what kind of monster would let a German scientist experiment on them to protect their country?”  Proving that Steve recognizes he’s not so different from the twins, even if they’re not on the same side right now.  Tony and Bruce work on the scepter and discover that the gem at its center is actually protecting something else inside it; something they describe as a mind, similar to Jarvis.  Tony theorizes that it will help them create Ultron, in order to protect the world and bring about peace.  And no, he doesn’t want to debate it with the team because he doesn’t want them to say no, so he works alone with Bruce.  Once Bruce and Tony leave, Jarvis makes a connection with Ultron and tries to explain things, but Ultron makes the wrong conclusion and attacks Jarvis.

Meanwhile, Tony hosts a party and we get to see Sam Wilson and Rhodey for a few minutes.  Sam is happy to not be part of the firefight and carries on the search for Bucky for Sam.  Steve and Thor hang out with some veterans, while Bruce attempts to flirt with Natasha.  Once the party-goers have left, leaving our main team, they decide to test who can actually lift Thor’s hammer [best scene of the movie].  Clint can’t figure out the trick, Tony calls upon Rhodey and parts of their suits and still fails.  Steve gets Mjölnir to scootch just a smidge (Thor’s a little concerned in the background) and Natasha refuses to join in.  Ultron makes an appearance and ruins the party; he deploys Tony’s suits, one of which grabs the scepter and escapes.  Ultron believes that in his quest for world peace, he has to destroy the Avengers.

Once he leaves, this leads to a discussion amongst the team, who are not happy Tony did not share his plan with them.  Tony is more concerned with the big battle he saw as the endgame [they title dropped that one well in advance.]  Steve insists they’ll go at it together, Tony retorts that they’ll lose.  “And we’ll do that together, too.”

Ultron, in a new shiny body, finds the Maximoff twins; he knows that they blame Stark for some of their lot in life; it was his missiles that struck Sokovia and trapped them in their house.  So Wanda showed him a vision, knowing that Tony’s fear would control him and make him self-destruct.  Ultron agrees that everyone creates the thing they dread and repeats that in order to save the world, the Avengers have to be destroyed.  He will use Wanda to get in their heads.  Ultron then kills Struker, which gets back to the Avengers.  They begin to look through his connections (using files and paperwork) and find that he’s connected to a man called Ulysses (played by Andy Serkis [most notably Gollum in Lord of the Rings]) that Tony had knowledge of back in the day.  Thor notes the brand on his neck and Bruce discovers its from Wakanda, which Steve and Tony pick up as the place where vibranium is from, which makes up Captain America’s shield.

And Ultron does go after Ulysses (and cuts off his arm), but it’s also a trap for the team.  Wanda hits Thor, Steve, and Nat with her powers.  Thor sees Heimdall, then destruction.  Steve imagines himself with Peggy, and Natasha remembers the Red Room.  Clint manages to stop Wanda, who is then rescued by Pietro.  She recovers and goes after Bruce [which, if you see one of them coming, why didn’t you attempt to lock the door?  Let’s just hang out in the open and become a target].  Bruce Hulks out and can’t control it, and creates havoc in the nearby city.  Tony goes after Bruce and uses a new suit to control him.

In the aftermath, the Avengers need to lie low.  Natasha, Steve, and Thor are all recovering from their visions and Bruce is upset about the destruction he caused.  Clint has a place they can go; his own farm.  The team meets the family (and Natasha is an honorary aunt to his children).  Thor needs answers about his vision and flies off.  Bruce talks to Natasha about leaving and she offers to go with him.  Steve and Tony take some of their frustration out by chopping wood (admittedly, impressive that Steve can just rip a log in two), but end up in an argument.  Clint’s wife, Laura, pulls Tony aside to have a look at their tractor.  Fury is actually waiting for him and Tony admits that he saw the team dead, because of him.

That is after Nick admits he cares about Tony…which, let’s unpack that a little.  Earlier, both Thor and Tony attempted to make light of the fact that their significant others are not at the party.  And Tony’s getting a lot of flak from everyone on the team, heck, even Fury was joking about it a minute before.  But Tony is shouldering the burden of this knowledge he was shown and he can’t share with his team.  So he throws himself into a project in order to protect the team and the world…which admittedly was maybe not fully thought out.  But it all boils down to, no one is on Tony’s side.  And he’s just had someone he does respect; because if Tony didn’t respect Nick Fury, he wouldn’t help him as much as he does or even pay attention to him if he didn’t want to, admit he cares about Tony.  There’s not a lot of that going on at the moment.  So Tony is honest with him.  And Nick tells Tony it’s not all on him, and he also understands that Tony is dealing with the knowledge that he lived, while all his friends died.

So Nick gives the team a pep talk.  While he does this, Thor goes to Erik Selvig for help.  Erik leads Thor to a pool that is similar to others on other worlds where Thor can go back into his vision and find answers.  And while all of that is going on, Ultron has hunted down the Avengers’ doctor because she has a “cradle” that can create skin and cells and essentially a human body.  He has to use the scepter to convince her a little, but she starts work.  He plans to upload his mind into the new body, along with binding vibranium to the human cells, making him nearly invincible.  Ultron also brings the stone out of the gem in the scepter and sets it in the head of the body.  Wanda can now read this being’s mind and sees the destruction that will come.  She’s horrified, but Ultron shoots the doctor and escapes with the body.

The Avengers have a new mission; get the body back.  Natasha gets her own motorbike this time and races after the truck, Clint calling out locations from above.  Steve takes on Ultron.  Pietro and Wanda come along to help the Avengers; Wanda slows down a runaway train while Pietro gets people out of the way.  It is nice that Steve accepts them when they show up; he cares more about saving people rather than why someone is doing it.  Yeah, they fought each other before, but if you want to help innocent people, that’s okay.  Natasha manages to get the cradle to Clint, but does not escape herself.

Back at the Tower, Jarvis is back.  And Tony wants to put him into the body Ultron was creating.  When Steve and the twins show up, the argument begins all over again, until Thor flies in and superpowers the cradle.  The body emerges and at first, tackles Thor, but stops when it takes in the window and the city outside.  Thor explains the Infinity Stones, one of which is the Mind Stone that now resides in this new body, which has Jarvis’s voice [and now Paul Bettany doesn’t get to just read lines], but he is neither Ultron, nor Jarvis, he is something new.  Thor warns of the destruction the Mind Stone can bring, but with it on their side, they stand a chance of defeating Ultron [and Thanos].  The most important sign that they can trust this new being?  He can lift Mjölnir.

So the team gears up for a new fight.  Tony puts a new interface into his suits, Friday.  They land in Sokovia and Steve states that their primary mission is to save the people and get them out of the city.  Pietro and Wanda help with that.  Bruce rescues Natasha, then wants to run and offers Natasha to come with him.  She kisses him, but pushes him off the rising city, because she needs the Hulk at the moment to take down Ultron.  He plans to lift Sokovia and then crash it to Earth, creating a massive explosion and global extinction.  Tony works on a way to minimize damage.  Steve tells everyone to take out the suits Ultron has sent out.  “If you get hurt, hurt ‘em back.  If you get killed, walk it off.”  Clint gives Wanda a pep talk; she can stay safe where she is and he’ll send Pietro for her, but Clint has to go out and help the people.  If she comes out that door, she’s an Avenger and has the same job.  When she walks out, she’s ready to fight.  When Pietro runs by Clint again, he jokes to himself about getting the guy.  The fight continues.  Ultron takes on Thor, which is just a distraction.  Tony and Steve debate the best way to finish the fight; Steve wants everyone rescued.  And Fury comes in with the helicarrier and SHIELD.  The rest of the Avengers start getting the people away and even Rhodey is there to help.

The team converges.  Thor taunts Ultron “is that the best you can do!”  And more suits show up.  As Steve says, “you had to ask.”  The fight intensifies.  At one point, Clint is about ready to leave, but realizes there is a kid still in the city, so he goes for him.  Pietro notices that a suit is lining up at Clint and runs between them, taking the shots.  Wanda feels her brother’s death and screams.  Clint takes Pietro with him.  Hulk rescues Natasha, then takes a Quinjet.  Wanda goes after Ultron, wanting to cause him pain.  One of the suits manages to drop the city, so Tony has Thor help him stop the crash.  Vision rescues Wanda, then speaks to Ultron after the city is back.  They speak of humans, but Vision is on their side and uses the Mind Stone to destroy Ultron.

There are some happy moments in the ending.  Clint is back home and his wife gives birth to their third child, a boy they name Nathaniel Pietro Barton.  Tony drives to a new facility and we catch a glimpse of Erik Selvig.  There’s a funny bit between Steve, Thor, and Tony discussing the hammer again.  Vision is worthy, but would an elevator be worthy?  Thor flies off to continue tracking the stones.  Tony is thinking of trying the simple life, and Steve admits he’ll miss him.  As for Steve, he’s staying at the facility, more comfortable with who he is.  He’s not the same man who went into the ice.  Instead, he’ll have Natasha help him train some newbies who aren’t a team yet (as we hear the Avengers theme).  Rhodey, Sam, Vision, and Wanda are waiting for them.  Steve calls them to order, “Avengers…” and the scene cuts [in a blooper, Scarlett shouts “assemble!”].  In the credit, Thanos picks up a gauntlet, declaring “I’ll do it myself.”

I’m not as fond of this film as other follow-ups in the MCU.  It’s setting up Civil War; a lot of fans, me included, are not fond of the idea of our favorite superheroes fighting amongst themselves.  Lines are starting to form between them; a lot of blame gets placed on Tony and okay, his idea wasn’t the safest, but he apparently doesn’t trust talking about what he saw in his vision with the rest of the team, so he made a bad decision, though Thor approved of part of it, I guess.  It gets a bit confusing.  But there is definitely a separation between Steve and Tony and at the end of the first Avengers, we hoped they were getting over it.  Which is why fanfiction includes Tony looking in on Steve at the end of Winter Soldier.  Dear Marvel, we want our characters happy.

And I don’t get how the Ultron project was supposed to actually work or how it really went wrong.  But faceless suits of armor attacking are a bit creepy.  Also, in regards to pairing Natasha and Bruce, my comment is why does there have to be a romantic couple at all?  Do we have to pair Natasha off with one of the guys on the team [yes, we were kind of rooting for a Natasha and Clint pairing at one point, but it’s also sweet that he has a family totally outside of Shield].  But why can’t she just be friends with these guys?  Why does there have to be a strained relationship going on?  She could be Bruce’s friends and the story will still stand.

Admittedly, there are a few funny parts, such as everyone joking about Steve’s “language” comment.  (As fans have pointed out, Steve probably swore a lot as part of the Army, despite coming from a generation that looks down on casual swearing.)

Up Next: Ant-Man

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