As with anything this large, Age of Ultron has been analyzed and nitpicked to death. But that whole contest aside, viewed from a strictly narrative scope, Age of Ultron is particularly interesting in how it has opened Marvel’s extended universe to go even broader. Director Joss Whedon has expertly crafted some enthralling characters who will no doubt cause a big splash in films to come. Whether it is the speedy and sly Quicksilver, the mysterious, magic-powered Scarlet Witch, or the masked android Vision, these three characters are now part of the Avengers, insight into their characters within Age of Ultron and further films will chart an interesting path.
First, we have Quicksilver, who perhaps is the most controversial character to be introduced in Whedon’s new film. Quicksilver is also part of Fox’s film superhero franchises appearing in the two most recent X-men movies, where he is played by the talented Evan Peters. Peters’ version is inspired by the Quicksilver that exists in comic form, where he has earned fans affection as a snide, tempered, sarcastic speed junkie. Simlarly, but to a more measured degree,Whedon was able to capture much of the comic book counterpart while introducing something new to the character. Taylor-Johnson’s portrayal of the character captured doses the sarcasm and temper.
Whedon also preserves a large portion of the origin story, a decision that allows the character to remain immediately familiar to his comic book fans. Fans want an Eastern The arc is traceable: a European orphan who grew up guarding over his twin sister, started as a villain, changes heart and joins the Avengers, but is always sarcastic, and frankly, a bit of an asshole. Whedon was able to juggle the many parts of the original character.
However, the most surprising turn and one of the more impactful narrative moments of Age of Ultron was the “death” of Quicksilver. Whedon exhibited guts to kill a character to whom individuals had a pre-existing attachment and the pay off was one of high emotion. However, I would not be surprised to see Quicksilver on another screen in the future. Marvel has quite the history in comic and film, of being quite liberal with their deaths (seriously just Google the list).
Shifting gears toward Quicksilver’s partner in crime, or should I say heroics is Scarlet Witch, portrayed by the up-and-coming and ever-talented Elizabeth Olsen. Not only was the re-imagined introduction of the character timely, as the audiences now aim a new skeptical focus on the portrayal of strong women in action films, but Marvel has been notoriously lacking interesting characters in the female department. Elizabeth Olsen and her less-sexualized helped establish the most promising female presence in the film.
More importantly, Scarlet Witch has the most to offer the story in upcoming installments. Her twin “dying” in Age of Ultron will trigger an emotional arc for her character that should hold bring with it a very emotional narrative path. Second, interestingly enough Scarlet Witch has connections to another certain Avenger. She and Vision, another new team member discussed below, have a strongly storied romantic relationship in past comics. It will be interesting to see if this storyline is approached in future movies, as the most contentious point in this film was toward an unnecessary romantic subplot (Black Widow and The Hulk).
That brings us to Vision. Originally created by Ultron in the comics to combat Ultron’s maker, Ant-Man (a noted change from the film), Vision is a complex character with a historically layered, diverse lore. But again, with Vision, Whedon was not afraid to shake things up. Starting with the fact that Ultron in the movie universe is the creation of Tony Stark, essentially being the “evil” embodiment of Tony Stark’s hubris. Beyond that, the new origin story for Vision creates a fascinating entrance of the character in the third act, played by a painted Paul Bettany, who before this served as the vocal talent behind Tony Stark’s artificial intelligence companion J.A.R.V.I.S.
Vision is a game changer and exactly what Age of Ultron needed. His grand entrance allowed an introduction to a stylistic character who is the perfect piece for the Avengers, donning one of the coolest looking costumes that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has produced since the Iron Man costume. Vision has less screen time than any of the three major additions to the Avengers, but it’s tough to imagine that this character won’t occupy a lot of space and attention in the upcoming chapters.
Avengers: Age of Ultron was a very exciting ride on its own and a fitting final gift from Joss Whedon. However, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Vision’s introductions are well-timed and well-conceived, each adding an exciting layer to expand the Marvel Universe forward.