“Avengers” Assemble for New Blockbuster
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
“Avengers assemble!” That’s the rallying cry of the famous Marvel Comics team of superheroes. And they are assembling again at theaters nationwide.
Stan Lee told me the story of how he came up with the idea for the Avengers: He stole it. Seems founding publisher Martin Goodman used to play golf with his competitors and heard talk about a
new group of superheroes called Justice League of America. Returning to the office, he told his young cousin Stan to come up with a similar team.
Avengers #1 appeared on comic book racks around September 1963.
Now it’s a blockbuster movie franchise. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is the eleventh installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), that on-screen world where superheroes live these days. It’s currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.
Written and directed by Joss Whedon (“The Avengers,” TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Killer”), this latest ensemble features Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Helmsworth), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
As the title implies, this time around Ultron (James Spader) is the enemy, a Chitauri artificial intelligence created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner that has developed a god complex, causing it to run amok. Its goal is to eradicate all humans.
Despite its subtitle, the film is not based on the 2013 comic book miniseries Age of Ultron. Another separation between the cinematic and comic book universes.
“Age of Ultron is a great title,” says producer Kevin Feige. “So we’re borrowing that title, but taking storylines from decades of Avengers storylines.”
Ultron’s origin also will differ from the comic book’s storyline, in that here Hank Pym (Ant Man et al.) will not be involved with Ultron’s creation. Ant Man is being saved for another movie.
Stan Lee and the late Jack “The King” Kirby are credited with creating the Avengers. As expected, Stan has a cameo in this movie -- kind of like a comic book geek’s version of “Where’s Waldo.”