Love. Control. Creation. What we have with Avengers: Age of Ultron is not just a superhero movie, but a story about creating our own worst enemies.
In Entertainment Weekly’s Summer Movie Preview, we devote our cover—four collectible covers, actually—to the May 1 movie about the malevolent artificial-intelligence and the team of heroes he hates more than life itself.
Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is struggling to hold together the superhero team he assembled as they face Ultron (James Spader) and a set of troubled twins: Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver. These new characters are the products of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), a new villain from HYDRA, which infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. long ago and raided its most powerful technologies.
Strucker has been using Loki’s scepter for human experimentation, which bestowed the siblings with powers of magic (Scarlet Witch) and speed (Quicksilver). But the bad baron piques the interest of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark for other reasons. “Von Strucker was working on a lot of stuff, including robotics,” says Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. “Tony realizes, ‘[Those robotics] might be able to help me get over the hump of some of the AI stuff I’ve been working on.’ ”
Stark’s invention, Ultron, is born from the marriage of both men’s technologies. Alas, adolescence is a bitch, and Ultron goes rogue, shreds Stark’s other artificial-intelligence program, J.A.R.V.I.S., and gives rise to his own awesome creation: the synthezoid known as the Vision (played by Paul Bettany, who previously voiced J.A.R.V.I.S.).
Meanwhile, there’s some serious interpersonal drama brewing between the superheroes themselves. For starters, that romance hinted at in the trailer between Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk alter ego, Bruce Banner, is real. Though this isn’t completely new territory for Marvel movies—see: Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, Thor and Jane Foster, Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter—this is the first time any of the actual Avengers have been tempted to fish off the company pier. In EW’s story, writer-director Joss Whedon explains why he decided to play matchmaker for the Big Green Guy and the Black Widow.
We also talk with Spader about the birth of Ultron—this version anyway—and how the star of The Blacklist got recruited to Marvel Studios’ gallery of rogues. “I am aware that you get one entrance into this world,” he says. “If I’m going to do it, I want it to be something that’s really fun and great.”
This year’s Summer Movie Preview (on sale April 10) also gives you details on Tomorrowland, Inside Out, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, Terminator Genisys, Spy, San Andreas, Fantastic Four, and many, many more…