An Exclusive Review of ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Script
We should begin by making this very clear: we are not involved with the production of Avengers: Age of Ultron and have not had direct contact with any member of the cast and crew. It was through two degrees of separation that our lucky little eyes were cast on a PDF scan of the bulk of the shooting script for this upcoming epic. By all accounts this is the final version, the one they are currently filming with and aside from last minute changes this is an accurate version. We’re going to avoid major plot points and twists because you’ll want to see it unfold on the screen. Today we’re going to reveal some interesting tidbits about the cast!
Without any further pomp and ceremony…and NO SPOILERS (calm down).
We have got the core team back from the first film: Nick Fury, Iron Man, Capt. America, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Thor. Maria Hill returns as Fury’s right hand and Rhodey serves as a military liaison between The Avengers and the US government. Sadly he doesn’t suit up as War Machine on this outing, the military being unwilling to utilise the Iron Man technology again after the events of Iron Man 3.
One of the first things noticeable in the script is the lack of new character development for Stark, Rogers and Thor. Apart from the bombastic action scenes they take a back seat in scenes featuring newer characters (who we’ll come to in a minute), and the events at the close of Iron Man 3 reduces Stark’s role in the action for most of the movie.
If you remember, Tony Stark has finally had the shrapnel and the arc reactor removed from his chest rendering him incapable of powering the Iron Man suits himself. Instead he has created a VR construct that allows him to control the suit remotely. By wearing bracelets and anklets the suits mimic the movements he makes in the lab, and he can even control several Iron Man suits at once. I’m not a fan of the scene where a bunch of Iron Men mash together to form a giant fist, but in the future it could lead to an awesome Voltron sequence.
The first time this VR system is seen in action is when Banner helps him test out the ‘Hulkbuster’ suit. Notes on the script suggest that the decision to remove Downey Jr. from the suit is to allow more “physical comedy” in the performance rather than constant close-ups on his face. During this scene Stark quickly regrets the feedback he programmed into the system when the Hulk’s attack send him bouncing around his lab.
Coming back to the Hulk, the notion of Banner being ‘always angry’ as his method of controlling the Hulk is expanded on. Through mentoring with Stark he has been able to further manage his control of the beast within and spends much more of the film in Hulk form. There are scenes of Banner in Hulk form working in the lab, helping Stark with his experiments by positioning heavy equipment for a laser array. There is a nice bonding scene where Stark cobbles together a giant pair of glasses for Banner to wear in Hulk form, but Rhodes referring to him as a ‘Nerd Hulk’ almost triggers a rage attack. The dynamic between Ruffalo and Downey Jr. seen in the first movie is built upon and used to good effect, and it’s going to be fun seeing Stark riding Hulk’s shoulders into the final confrontation with the remote controlled Hulkbuster following them.
Hawkeye had the role of being a total badass in The Avengers and now…well…I’m not sure they had something for him to do this time around. Most of his lines are disparaging putdowns aimed at Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. When he gets paired with Black Widow he’s more interesting as they wax lyrical about their mysterious past. During a prologue (one that introduces the origin of Ultron and his ties to Nick Fury and Ant-Man…nothing more said here) we get to see the two of them on a genuine covert operation. Black Widow leaping between skyscrapers and catching a rifle dropped by helicopter on the way should be a high point. Hawkeye pulls out a seemingly endless supply of novelty arrows such as nets, electroshock…pretty much everything but the boxing glove.
Now for the scoop you’ve been waiting for: the newbies. Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver get some scenes early in the film to establish their background as orphans on the streets of Eastern Europe. When Iron Man, Hawkeye and Hulk are looking for information about Ultron in Hungary they meet these new heroes (no mention of Big M though) and decide to take them in. Scarlet Witch plays the more integral role in the conflict with her reality shifting powers being the only thing that can confuse the super-logical Ultron. We’re guessing that we’ll have to see the effects in action because the explanations of how Scarlet Witch’s powers will be represented is difficult to visualise. The script describes objects being manipulated by her powers as ‘shifting through their past and future forms before settling on the chosen alternative’. Take from that what you will.
Quicksilver is more action orientated, and seems burdened with the mantle of comic relief. He proves his mettle early when the three Avengers who find them try and take Scarlet Witch in and the protective Quicksilver gives Hulk a boxing before tripping him up in to a pit of mud followed by catching Hawkeye’s arrows mid-flight to return them to his quiver. Outside of the action scenes Quicksilver has trouble communicating with his new colleagues because of his rapid speech patterns. Whenever he tries to talk to people get confused by what he’s trying to say (it’s described as ‘gibberish all trying to escape his mouth at the same time’). He quickly gets frustrated by this and sometimes pulls pranks by moving things around, such as Captain America’s shield. At one point he tries moving Mjolnir but it brings him to a painful stop.
In the comics the relationship between these siblings has been a matter of contention, with The Ultimates Vol 3 coming straight out and calling it incest. Strangely enough this is hinted at in the film. After they’ve been with The Avengers for a few days it is noted that they share a room and are often whispering to each other in the background of group scenes. Maria Hill comments that they seem ‘really close’ and they’ve had to rely on each other their whole lives, which Stark follows up with ‘so long as it’s kept behind closed doors’. This whole dialogue seems to be courting controversy; it will be interesting to see if it makes the final cut.
The most interesting reveal we got from this script is the inclusion of two super-powered characters who haven’t yet been announced.
Pepper Potts has an expanded role in this film, mainly based around the powers she developed during the finale of Iron Man 3. The story opens with Pepper undergoing training in the new Avengers base, with Capt. America encouraging her to discipline herself but her clumsiness gets in the way, with her eventually setting the Cap’s suit on fire. Tony Stark feels conflicted about this development, his reduced role as a man of action coinciding with his girlfriend’s new-found abilities, not to mention her time spent in the training room with Cap and Thor. In a spate of jealousy Stark makes advances on both Maria Hill and Black Widow with some interesting (and funny) results.
But does Pepper join the Avengers in battle? That would be delving deep in to spoiler territory. I will tell you that things get quite…heated…when confronting Ultron. She doesn’t quite get a codename but there is a running gag through the film where the team argue over the best name. By the end of the movie ‘Cayenne’ is the one that sticks and she accepts. Some of the action scenes involving this new superhero are pretty rad sounding, unleashing some crazy fire breath. Pity she’s still played by Gwyneth Paltrow.
The second character initially looks like an introduction to Black Panther for future instalments, described as a completely black clad figure who is occasionally seen lurking in the background of some scenes. It seems to be the intent of the writer that the Avengers don’t notice him even though he eventually turns up in their base (which is touted as having DNA scanners to prevent intruders). It’s here that the figure is ambushed by Black Widow and the two have a close combat fight in the vents and between the walls. During the fight the stranger reveals high-tech lenses in his mask to see in the dark and through walls that he uses to get the drop on her, and golden coloured claws that spring from his gloves.
Sad to say, fans of the Black Panther are going to end up disappointed as he is revealed to be a more familiar face. Those who have read The Ultimates Vol 3 (seeming to be the primary source for this script) will see it coming. Part way through the movie we learn the important lesson that DNA scanners don’t work on robot clones of major characters.
Final judgement? It would be nice to see Hawkeye play a larger role since he hasn’t had a role in the other Marvel films to expand out in. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are nice new additions if their role is bigger in the next film. I’m hardly a Paltrow fan but Cayenne/Potts allows Tony Stark to face new challenges. ‘Black Panther’ could be a wasted role but there’s a note at the back concerning a post-credits scene that I’m not going to reveal. Overall I’d say we’re in for another great show, possibly one that’s a touch more cartoony than the last. If you remember that you’re watching a comic book movie you’re sure to have a blast.