After helping take down a corrupted S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain America now finds himself helping to keep the world safe with his fellow Avengers…and the Earth needs them now more than ever before.
With the rise of a new villain in Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” May 1, Chris Evans leads the team once more as the Fighting Avenger. The malevolent artificial intelligence Ultron has designs for humanity—namely, wiping it off the face of the Earth—and in the absence of S.H.I.E.L.D., only the Avengers can step in to stop him.
In “Marvel’s The Avengers,” the team fell under the jurisdiction of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury. Now, without Fury in the picture, Cap finds himself with even more responsibility as the team’s leader.
“The team doesn’t have anyone to report to now,” Evans points out. “There’s no more S.H.I.E.L.D., so we’re all kind of depending upon one another. But that gives him an opportunity to take more of a leadership role, since there’s no one else giving him orders, he doesn’t have to question the chain of command or anyone’s motives, but it does mean he needs to rely on his team a lot more. It’s added a little bit more tension to the actual dynamic of the Avengers.”
According to Evans, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes come together once more “out of necessity” as their latest adventure picks up.
“Once S.H.I.E.L.D. fell, [that] affected everybody,” the actor elaborates. “There is something that affects all of us that requires us to come back together and fight as a unit. Cap’s just more than willing to take a leadership role. He’s been in wars. He understands the dynamic of a team. He’s not doing it out of arrogance or ego, he’s doing it out of necessity and functionality.”
While some fans might expect friction between some of the Avengers over who should lead the team, Evans sees it as more about each character understanding their role within the whole.
“Certain people are moving on into different things,” explains Evans. “So for someone like Tony, maybe he may not want to be anything but the front man. But there are people like Thor, [who’s] a soldier. I mean he’s just a soldier in another world, so there’s an understanding between those two men, Captain America [and] Thor. Same with Hawkeye. These guys have all been in battle, so I think for the most part, there aren’t as many conflicting egos in terms of who’s leading this crew. It’s more personal conflicts and more personal questions about who they are as people and what they’re looking for and what makes sense, and what’s right and wrong.”
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” marks the fourth time Evans has picked up the shield as Captain America, and after so many times in Cap’s suit the actor has developed a deeper understanding of the character.
“You know, the first movie, you’re terrified,” recalls Evans. “The second [time] you’re just intimidated because there are so many great people [in ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’]. But by ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ is when you really start hitting your stride and feeling like you’re making some core progress with the character, and you get a little more comfortable speaking up when you have opinions. The Russo [brothers, directors of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’] are so great and I love that movie, and it all just kind of worked out in terms of the evolution of my personal connection with character.”
Given his strong connection to, and opinion of, the character of Captain America, Evans did have one thing he told “Avengers: Age of Ultron” writer/director Joss Whedon he wanted to see more of in this film.
“In terms of the character, Joss got it right with the first [Avengers],” exudes Evans. “He’s loved comic books, so it’s not like you’re talking to someone who might not have a handle of what audiences want, [or] who this character is at his core. The only thing I talked to him about was [Cap’s] ability consistency. With the second Captain America we really pushed the envelope in terms of what this guy is capable of, which I was excited to see because [in] the first Captain America he’s just strong. In Avengers it was still, in my opinion, a little bit punch, punch, kick, kick. We have to see this guy do stuff that [makes you realize] he deserves a spot on this squad. In ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ he’s pin balling off of jets and doing unbelievable things. I don’t want to take a step back, so his fight style needs to advance a little bit.
“I’m trying to incorporate a lot more reflexes. I’d love to get some scene where you kind of understand it’s not just speed and ability. It’s the fact that he can move. Even if his hands were bound you couldn’t get a finger on him. He can still react incredibly fast so we’re trying to incorporate that, but by the same token we’re also trying to show what this foe can do. It’s just a matter of maintaining the speed and strength and agility and all that stuff.”
Cap will need all of those abilities to face off against Ultron, perhaps the most physically-challenging foe he’s fought so far—but it’s not just Ultron’s strength that makes him so terrifying, according to Evans.
“It’s not just about the power of the villain or his shiny lights or his ability,” the actor elucidates. “It’s the mentality of the villain. It’s Joss. He’s a very clever writer, so there’s an ideology behind Ultron that makes him more unique than just a bad guy. He doesn’t want to just kill the Avengers. He doesn’t want to just destroy the world. He has these monologues and these beautiful speeches that kind of embody a certain mentality about what’s wrong with humanity. It represents something deeper than just, ‘I’m evil and I don’t like the good guys.’ That’s what makes you care a little bit more about the story than just ‘I’m an evil bad guy.’
“Look at what [Tom] Hiddleston did with Loki [in ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’]. He made a real character. He made a real conflict and Loki could have a movie that has nothing to do with super heroes. It would just be a really interesting character study, like this guy needs a therapist. But it’s deep and that’s what makes you [care]. I think that’s what we’re going to have with Ultron.”
In addition to Ultron, the film will introduce even more new faces with the additions of Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), and Paul Bettany (Vision).
“It’s got to be tough coming in [and] being the new kid in the playground,” relates Evans. “But everyone’s so talented and professional. I don’t know what you want to call it but it just feels right, when we’re sitting there having a scene with Paul, Aaron, [and] Lizzy, and it’s like, ‘You guys weren’t in the first Avengers?’ It just feels right. It feels normal and they’re so cool and so good. Every couple of days Joss will show clips of what these abilities are going to look like and how Lizzy’s gonna see things. They’re going to do so many cool things. I’ve never been a part of a movie where everyone just gets along so well so consistently, and even when you add new people the dynamic doesn’t shift at all.”
The Avengers sequel will also help to further Steve Rogers’ emotional arc that began with Marvel’s “Captain America: The First Avenger.”
“This is a guy that wanted the family, the wife and kids and stability and normalcy. He wants to serve his country, but what he really wanted was a normal life, and then he went into the ice and things changed. So it’s a matter of where is home? He’s always been a little lost, and even in Cap 2 it’s very much about [him asking], ‘What do I want? What am I supposed to be doing? What completes me?’”