Prognostications for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Part 1

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If you, like me, had the pleasure of watching Marvel’s The Avengers when it came out in theaters in 2012 then you are probably as eager as I am to see the upcoming sequel to the film.

Scheduled to hit American theaters May 1, 2015, Avengers: Age of Ultron will bring the entire cast of the first film back – with some new arrivals to spice up the story.

These new characters will be Avengers Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Vision. The lead villain of the film is the fella whose name comes after the Avengers’ in the title: Ultron, the adapting, self-teaching android from the comics who is determined to wipe out humanity in order to save us from ourselves. Since Ultron actually stands higher on my “I HATE this guy!” list than Loki does, I am hoping he will get pancaked in the upcoming movie. Whether or not it will be a permanent cooking heaven only knows, but I can cross my fingers that it will be.

Anyway, I was at first determined to wait and let the sequel Avengers film surprise me. But one thing led to another and here I am: sitting down studying bits of leaked information on the sequel and choking with laughter (or disgust) over some of the rumors surrounding it. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Several theories spring to my mind over the news and rumors I have heard about the film since I began keeping my finger on the pulse of news (or lack thereof) coming from Marvel about Avengers 2. I thought I would posit some of those ideas here in this post.
Now, if you are a stronger-willed fan than I am and are determined not to read anything about the movie until a few weeks from its release, you should probably stop reading right about here.

If you are one of those curious people who just has to have something to mull over until the movie hits theaters, or if you are one of those people who was fortunate enough to see the trailer Marvel previewed at the San Diego Comic Con this July, then read on, fellow True Believer! Let’s theorize and speculate, shall we?

Black Widow

Rumor 1: Black Widow and Bruce Banner will be an item in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Apparently someone, somewhere, started saying that Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner would be an item in the upcoming sequel.  I did not hear about this rumor until I began trying to hunt down footage of the trailer for Age of Ultron after it was released at the San Diego Comic Con on July 26.  (I did not attend the event but I heard about the trailer’s preview at Comic Con.)

As soon as I read of this rumor, I had to fight my gag reflex.  Who in the world would make Black Widow and Bruce Banner a couple?!?  Are you out of your mind, rumor monger?!?

Quite frankly, I do not see how such a match up could possibly work.  That Joss Whedon might – MIGHT – decide to put Natasha and Bruce together is certainly an option, but I do not know of any precedent for it.  The two characters have never been anything more than friends in the comics, as far as this reader/writer is aware.

Some say, however, that there is ‘proof’ for this rumor.  This ‘proof’ is a scene in the Age of Ultron trailer where Widow, scared and sad, is once again at the Hulk’s mercy.  Barely managing to stop his rampage, the Hulk apparently has one huge fist very close to a shaken Black Widow.  In an attempt to cut through his rage to help Bruce calm down so he can gain control the Hulk, Widow reaches out and gently runs her hand over the Hulk’s giant, trembling fist.

This sounds more like a sad moment between friends than the whiff of romance to me. There is a fifty-fifty chance that Natasha and Bruce will actually be an item in Age of Ultron, but I am inclined to doubt that.  First, the two characters are polar opposites. Second, Bruce already has a love of his life: Betty Ross.  Ruffalo has recently stirred up hype by saying Marvel is considering a new Hulk film; if such a film were ever to be made, one of the characters in it should be Betty Ross.  I do not see Marvel sweeping Betty aside to replace her with Natasha because she has been his love interest since his debut in the comics.

It is possible that they would do this, but it seems unlikely from where I sit.  The only way to know for sure, of course, is to watch the movie when it hits theaters next year.

Assemble!

Rumor 2: Thor chokes Captain America.

This scene requires a little more conjecture than the first one, obviously.  It also demands some background information.

The first scene introduced in the Age of Ultron trailer apparently shows the Avengers relaxing after a battle.  Hawkeye pipes up during the R&R and starts needling Thor about the worthiness enchantment on his hammer, saying something to the effect of, “Come on, you can’t be the only guy in the universe who can lift that thing! We’re all fighting the good fight – at least one of us has to be worthy to pick up that hammer!”

Thor gamely puts the hammer on a table and lets his teammates have a go at lifting Mjolnir.  I do not know if Hawkeye took a turn at hefting it – it sounds as though that was what he was aiming to try and do when he began nagging Thor about the weapon’s enchantment – but I have heard that Tony, Rhodey (yes, he will be in Age of Ultron), and Bruce each took a turn at lifting the hammer.

None of the three men manage to so much as budge the hammer.  Even with the help of an Iron Gauntlet each, Tony and Rhodey are forced to admit defeat.  Widow declines to try and lift Mjolnir, adding self-deprecatingly that she knows she is not worthy to pick it up and is likely the least worthy person in the room. That is when Steve takes a turn – and manages to move the hammer a little.

Thor blanches at the sight, but Cap leaves the hammer on the table and makes no mention of moving it to anyone.  It seems that Thor is the only Avenger who has noticed that Cap has done the supposedly impossible feat of moving Mjolnir.  To get over his shock, Thor jovially picks up the hammer, tosses it into the air, and then catches it as he states, “You see? None of you are worthy.”

But I think we can all imagine that the Mighty Thor has been given a mighty fright.  It seems the Thunderer has already forgotten the most important part of the enchantment Odin put on the hammer: dear old Dad never said that Thor was the only one who could lift Mjolnir. What he said was, “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall wield the power of Thor.”

This means that, as long as someone is worthy, they can pick up Mjolnir any time they want to and swing it with all Thor’s power.  And the Avenger most worthy of wielding Mjolnir after Thor is, unsurprisingly, Steve Rogers.

Now this is my theory on the scene where Thor is seemingly trying to strangle Cap: Remembering this incident in the Tower, if Thor thought that Cap was trying to take Mjolnir from him, he would be desperate to stop him.  Mjolnir is the source of Thor’s power and his best weapon; if he loses his ability to lift his hammer now, then he is in a worse spot than when Odin dropped him in New Mexico.

Cap, of course, would never steal so much as a paperclip from someone he considered a friend.  And there is no way that Steve did not know he had managed to shift Mjolnir.  But since he considers Thor an ally and a friend, he would not take Mjolnir from him because the hammer is not his.  He simply answered Thor’s challenge and proved that, yes, he can wield Mjolnir.

That, however, is all he did and all he intended to do, beyond perhaps satisfying his own curiosity about how worthy a man he actually is.  Much like Sir Galahad of old, Cap is the best knight that was or will be; he can sit in the Siege Perilous as easily as he could lift Thor’s hammer.

Thor may not see things this way, having become so accustomed to the idea that he alone is worthy to wield Mjolnir’s power.  The sight of Captain America, a man he considers a great friend and whom he deeply respects, moving his hammer is enough to terrify him. Letting this fear weigh on his mind makes Thor vulnerable in the worst kind of way: he is no longer focusing on his enemies but on his friends, and he is starting to become jealous of the latter.

This would be something the Scarlet Witch – who is said to be able to hypnotize people in the film (Joss Whedon has stated that she can “get inside your head”) – could play on to great effect.  If she could somehow trick Thor into believing that Cap was trying to steal Mjolnir from him, then Thor would attack Cap in order to protect his power.

That is my theory about this choking scene which someone said was in the trailer.  Since I have not yet seen the trailer, I do not know if the scene was actually in the footage shown. But if it was, then this is the only logical hypothesis I have to explain why Thor would try to kill Cap – although an argument could be made that Wanda somehow convinced Thor that Cap was Loki in disguise, since Loki pulled that trick back in The Dark World in an attempt to get under Thor’s skin.  We will have to wait and see what happens.

Hulk SMASH

My Theory, #1: Scarlet Witch will convince the Hulk to attack Tony Stark in the Hulkbuster armor.

In the first Avengers film, Banner proved he has some control over the Hulk. It takes something pretty drastic to make him release Marvel’s not-so-jolly-Green Giant in an unplanned manner. Yet footage of this film is said to show him Hulking out fairly frequently; it even shows him going head to head with Tony while the billionaire is shrugging on his Hulkbuster armor.

Unfortunately, as the most easily upset member of the Avengers, Banner is the one who could be quickly pressured into causing the most harm.  Some are suggesting the Scarlet Witch would be the person most likely to provoke the Hulk by using her hypnotic abilities.  If she could make him think there was a dire enough threat occurring before him, then Banner would certainly allow the Hulk to step onto the scene to stop the catastrophe.

Of course, once he is out of the bottle, Ol’ Green is not very eager to go back inside. Wanda could throw impossible scenario after impossible scenario at the Hulk and, infuriated by the changing threats that disappeared when he tried to attack them, Hulk would start smashing everything in sight.  Banner would not be able to stop him because he could no more tell up from down or left from right than the Hulk could; they share the same eyes, after all.

If Bruce has been hanging out with Tony since the first Avengers film, as the end of Iron Man 3 suggested, odds are he was not sitting idle while he was crashing at Tony’s place. And, ever the pragmatist when it comes to “The Other Guy,” Bruce might have helped Tony design and build his Hulkbuster suit, just in case he ever lost control and the Hulk had to be stopped by force.

This would explain, to me, the fight between Tony and the Hulk which fans have been anticipating since Marvel let slip that the Hulkbuster armor would be in Age of Ultron. Sent into a rage, perhaps through Wanda’s manipulations, the Hulk barrels around a city and Tony suits up to at least slow him down and possibly make him revert back to Bruce. I for one am not willing to believe that Tony’s first instinct would be to kill the Hulk, since he and Bruce struck up a very strong friendship in the first Avengers film – a friendship that seems to have grown over the course of time since that movie.

Again, we are going to have to see Age of Ultron before we know which theory is right and which theory is wrong.

 

Wow, that was a lot of theorizing, wasn’t it?  I think for brevity’s sake it might be better if I stopped here and picked up again tomorrow.  If you want to hear more of my ideas about what might happen in Avengers: Age of Ultron, then come on back tomorrow for part two of Prognostications for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Later,

The Mithril Guardian

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About The Mithril Guardian

I like stories.  Whether they’re on film, in song, or in print, I always remember a good story.  They remind me of paintings.  People cannot see them without learning something.  So it’s a good idea to look at a story from as many angles as possible.  I can watch the same movie a million times and still I will learn something that I did not know before.  Thoughts on the Edge of Forever is where I get to focus on what I learned from stories; what was not obvious the first time, the second time, or the umpteenth time. Earlier posts are written in the form of letters, usually to specific characters, to point out what I saw in a particular story or heard in a piece of music. Some of those letters, though, are like letters to the editor. Why did someone write a story this way and not another? Would the story have turned out better if the writer had done something different? These ‘letters to the editor’ will probably never be answered by the writers - the characters certainly will not answer anything - but their contents are still up for debate. After all, unless you ask a question, you will never get an answer. Still, civil ground rules apply. Any foul language or other form of abuse will not be tolerated in Thoughts on the Edge of Forever. I mean, who wants to be around the guest at the dinner party who is being nasty? Practically nobody, since people go to a party to have fun, not to hang around a grouch. So let’s have fun! The Mithril Guardian
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