***There be Avengers: Age of Ultron spoilers ahead!***
Avengers: Age of Ultron is here, folks! Yours truly did a double feature with The Avengers on Thursday evening, and it was awesome. True, narratively The Avengers doesn’t lead directly into Age of Ultron, but it was still tons of fun seeing the two back to back.
What does exist between the first two installments of the The Avengers franchise, then? Well, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Yes, a lot has happened between the two movies, and true to the ways of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), each movie is interconnected. Foreshadowing abound! So, how exactly is Age of Ultron connected, and what does it foreshadow? Well…
Let’s start with the movie’s big bad, himself: Ultron. He’s a learning, cloning, Pinnochio-obsessed robot with daddy issues. I’m sure that somehow Ultron has a backup of himself somewhere in the cloud, and/or on another planet, or maybe even stored inside The Vision, which totally means he’s going to come back at some point. After all, isn’t that what great villains do?
Interesting to note, though, in the comic books Ultron isn’t a Tony Stark creation at all. He was created by Dr. Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, who’ll be portrayed by Michael Douglas in the upcoming MCU film of the same name. He’ll be playing across the ever-affable Paul Rudd, who’ll be portraying Pym’s suit-successor, Scott Lang.
In the second act of the film, the Avengers track Ultron’s movements to a southern African country called Wakanda, via an arms/vibranium dealer Stark had a previous run-in with: Ulysses Klaue. Who happens to be the ruler of Wakanda? T’challa of course, better known as the superhero Black Panther, who’ll be making an appearance in the next Avengers movie, as well as in his own solo project, the aptly named Black Panther, set to be released in 2018. And who’s Black Panther’s arch-nemesis? None other than Ulysses Klaue, aka Klaw. Why’s he known as Klaw? Well, in the comics, he’s missing a hand that he replaces a-la-Mr. Han, with all sorts of kooky gadgets.
Perfect, seeing how Ultron Skywalker’ed Ulysses during the film.
Fun fact: T’challa is totally partnered up with Ororo Munroe (a.k.a. Storm) in the comics. In the movies, they’ve been separated by pages and pages of red tape.
Captain America/Iron Man
It’s no secret that Marvel has Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War on the horizon. Age of Ultron played a little more toward the growing schism between Captain America and Iron Man, a schism that eventually ends up in an all-out Battle Royale in the comics.
Yes they had already firmly established some ideological differences between the two characters in The Avengers. Age of Ultron plays it up a bit more. In print, the rift between the two is catalyzed by the Superhero Registration Act, legislature passed by the 616 U.S. Government. It required all superpowered people, regardless of the source of power, to be registered as living weapons of mass destruction. Spider-Man, unsure of his thoughts on the matter stands between the two, playing peacemaker and getting caught in the superpowered crossfire.
Not sure what will happen to set off the fight in the MCU, but it’ll be interesting, especially now that Marvel can now use Spider-man in the movies.
Scarlet Witch/The Vision
Fun fact: The Twins don’t get referred to by their code names in the film. It’s always ‘Wanda” and “Pietro” or “The Twins.” Also, now that Quicksilver is running around the race track in the sky (T.A.H.I.T.I., maybe?) that means Marvel and Fox each have one of the twins alive and well in their cinematic universes. Marvel has Scarlet Witch, and Fox has Quicksilver. Arranged? A little light ribbing? Who knows?
Anyway. Scarlet Witch and Vision are totally a thing in the comics. Also, she has crazy make-believe demon babies.
The Infinity Gems
So, we finally have an explicit mentioning of the Infinity Gems from one of the Avengers (Thor). If you’re not all up on Marvel comic lore, these gems/stones/orbs/aethers/tesseracts that everyone and their moms have been chasing after are part of a matching set (so fetch) of gems. These Infinity Gems as Thor stated, when unified, give the owner power over all reality. Loki had one in his staff the entire time, the Mind Gem, which is now firmly planted in The Vision’s forehead.
Well, actually the complete gem set isn’t enough to grant the wielder omnipotence. They’d need one more piece to hold it them all together. Grip them, you could say, in some type of glove or something.
That brings us to:
The Mad Titan makes another quick appearance in the mid-credits scene of the film. In it, he is shown retrieving a gauntlet from a safe of some kind, stating, “I’ll just do it myself.”
This gauntlet is none other than The Infinity Gauntlet, the binding piece to the Infinity Stones/Gems. Once Thanos gathers all the gems and attaches them to the gauntlet, well then… we have Avengers: Infinity War.
In the comics, the Infinity Gauntlet is the subject of several multi-issue crossover arcs, including Secret Wars, Infinity Gauntlet, and Infinity War, where not only fate of the earth is at stake, but the fate of all existence.
At the center of most of these arcs. Thanos. Mother effin Josh Brolin, man.
If you thought Guardians of the Galaxy was bonkers with all the cosmic entity stuff, wait til Infinity War comes around. Bananas. B-a-n-a-anas.