Avengers: Age of Ultron
May 12, 2015 | 8:00 a.m.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is dominating the box office, earning more than $312 domestically so far. But when director Joss Whedon was in the thick of production on the Marvel sequel, he was terrified of failure. Whedon — previously best known for creating cult darling TV shows such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” its spinoff series “Angel,” the sci-fi Western “Firefly” and the short-lived “Dollhouse” — hit box office gold with his 2012 blockbuster “The Avengers,” the first tentpole film in Marvel’s mega-franchise. “Avengers” was praised for its wit, warmth and careful balancing of its all-star superhero roster. Before that film’s opening, Whedon said he had mixed feelings about the possibility of directing its sequel. “You know, I’m very torn,” Whedon told Hero Complex in 2012. “It’s an enormous amount of work telling what is ultimately somebody else’s story, even […]
May 05, 2015 | 11:59 a.m.
Warning: This post contains spoilers. Rumors are buzzing about the reasons behind “Avengers: Age of Ultron” director Joss Whedon’s decision to leave Twitter, with some observers blaming fan backlash about Black Widow’s role in the Marvel film. Portrayed on the big screen by Scarlett Johansson, Black Widow, a.k.a. Natasha Romanoff, is a spy who abandons U.S.S.R. secret ops to fight for the good guys, joining S.H.I.E.L.D. and later the Avengers Initiative. One version of her origin story in the comics reveals that Natasha was raised by the so-called Black Widow Ops program at the covert “Red Room” complex, brainwashed from childhood and trained in combat and espionage. It’s this back story that makes its way to the silver screen in Whedon’s “Avengers” sequel in an emotional exchange between Widow and Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, with both characters lamenting their inability […]
May 04, 2015 | 5:30 p.m.
Marvel fans have been wondering whether Scarlett Johansson will ever suit up for a Black Widow solo movie, following in the footsteps of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America. If the studio ever gets around to it, they now have a hilarious “Saturday Night Live” spoof to remind them of what not to do. When “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” co-star Johansson hosted “SNL” this weekend, it didn’t take long for her perpetually supporting role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and the state of onscreen female superheroes — to be skewered on the episode. The spoof arrives at a time when Marvel Studios — and the superhero genre at large — has come under fire for the representation of female heroes on the big screen. A new batch of leaked emails from the Sony hack, posted at Wikileaks.org, indicates that Marvel Studios is still wary of […]
May 02, 2015 | 9:00 a.m.
Marvel’s lastest tentpole film “Avengers: Age of Ultron” introduces several mysterious new characters to the superheroic team. One of the most intriguing additions is the Vision, played by Paul Bettany. For those who haven’t seen “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” be warned: Spoilers lie ahead. The film sees Tony Stark’s operating system and virtual butler Jarvis (a name derived from the acronym for “Just a Rather Very Intelligent System”) transform into a being not unlike the villainous Ultron in terms of power and intelligence, but on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of worldview. Hero Complex sat down with Bettany, who voiced Jarvis in the previous Marvel films, to talk about becoming the Vision. When did you find out that your role was expanding? About three years ago I got a phone call from Joss Whedon, and it was […]
May 01, 2015 | 12:05 p.m.
Chris Hemsworth has been a god for many movies now. In “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” director Joss Whedon’s sequel to 2012’s “The Avengers,” the Australian once again picks up the hammer of Thor, an Asgardian prince and the Norse god of thunder. Hemsworth’s Thor continued his feud with his brother Loki from the original “Avengers” in two solo features, with a third arriving in 2017. Being a warrior deity is a demanding job. “The last couple of years have been nuts, kind of since ‘Thor 1.’ Last year was the hardest because I did two films back to back and was trying to lose weight through all of them,” Hemsworth said. With such a powerful character, many of Hemsworth’s concerns for “Age of Ultron” and his character were physical. Weight was an issue (“Losing the weight is being underfed and […]
April 30, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.
Elizabeth Olsen is doing more than bringing the Marvel Comics character Scarlet Witch to the big screen in Friday’s tentpole film “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” She’s also doubling the number of women on the Avengers roster. “It’s really cool, and I don’t take it for granted,” said Olsen, 26, a self-professed fan of the comic book film franchise. Previously, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, was the sole female member of the muscle-bound team of super-studs, comprising Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. With four Marvel movies under her utility belt and a fifth (“Captain America: Civil War”) slated to begin filming next week, Johansson, 30, is a veteran of the flourishing Marvel Cinematic Universe. And she’s eager to welcome more women to the franchise. “For […]
April 28, 2015 | 11:04 a.m.
Last summer, Elizabeth Olsen starred opposite Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Gareth Edwards’ big-budget reboot of “Godzilla.” On Friday, the duo is back on screen once more, playing twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff in Joss Whedon’s highly anticipated Marvel sequel, “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Olsen, previously known for her acclaimed turns in such indie films as “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and “Kill Your Darlings,” said she’s enjoyed helping the sequel move in a somewhat stranger direction. “I think she allows the Avengers universe to become a little more supernatural, which I think is a cool access rather than just having Asgard as their access to something supernatural,” Olsen said. Hero Complex caught up with the actress on the “Ultron” set in London to discuss her relationship with Scarlet Witch, working with Whedon and her rapport with Taylor-Johnson. Were you familiar with Scarlet Witch […]
April 27, 2015 | 1:37 p.m.
For Chris Evans, wielding Captain America’s shield is nearly second nature by now. Friday’s theatrical release of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” marks the fourth time Evans has portrayed the star-spangled superhero on the big screen (not including a funny cameo in “Thor: The Dark World”). “Certainly I feel more comfortable with the character,” Evans said on the film’s London set last summer. “Every time you play him you peel back a layer.” “Age of Ultron,” director Joss Whedon’s sequel to 2012’s blockbuster “The Avengers,” sees Evans reuniting with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), along with newcomers James Spader, as the titular villain Ultron, Paul Bettany as the Vision, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver. Hero Complex caught up with Evans during […]
April 25, 2015 | 6:00 a.m.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has much to celebrate these days. The architect of Marvel’s movie landscape has presided over an unprecedented string of hits — to date, the company has released 10 films that have brought in more than $7 billion. Under a deal announced earlier this year, he will have an opportunity to reframe Marvel’s most iconic character, bringing Spider-Man into Marvel’s blockbuster cinematic universe before the hero goes spinning back to anchor his own franchise for Sony Pictures, his movie home since 2002. And that doesn’t take into account a range of future projects that will likely extend Marvel’s box-office dominance well into the next decade. That Feige was able to construct Marvel’s foundations without the presence of its most well-known hero makes the company’s fortunes that much more impressive to industry observers. Once Marvel began making […]
April 24, 2015 | 5:30 a.m.
LONDON — A helicopter hovered in the July afternoon sky, cameras rolling on board, to capture the cascade of glass raining through the sky. An ear-shattering explosion had just blown out the windows of a multi-story structure, sending civilians running for cover and Captain America straight onto the windshield of a nearby car. Actor Chris Evans winced with pain as he peeled his battered superhero frame off the shattered vehicle. Moments later, he was in top form once more, striding through a field of crumpled vehicles next to Chris Hemsworth’s Thor to do battle with the mighty foe that gets title billing in this summer’s highly anticipated Marvel outing, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” arriving May 1. “Some days, you’re like, can’t they just talk?” quipped writer-director Joss Whedon as he worked out some last-minute fight choreography with a stunt coordinator […]