Avengers: Age of Ultron, the most highly anticipated movie of the year so far (at least until that next most highly anticipated movie of the year is released in December), will be in theaters on May 1. Robert Downey, Jr. (The Pick-up Artist) is back as Tony Stark, who, in an effort to protect Earth, builds Ultron, a robot who decides that he wants to destroy Earth instead. Is this Avengers sequel even better than the first movie? Is there any chance you won’t see Avengers: Age of Ultron? As always, we answer every question that you could possibly have about Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Q: When the movie starts, what are the Avengers up to?
A: Like the first Avengers film, it starts with a huge action set piece. As opposed to the first film, the Avengers are in full team mode this time.
Q: What is their mission?
A: The Avengers — Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk — are after the Chitauri Scepter.
Q: Wait, still?
A: Since the events of the first film, the Scepter has fallen into the hands of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker.
Q: The guy from Rock of Ages?
A: No, you’re thinking of Wolfgang von Colt.
Q: How do I know Baron Wolfgang von Strucker?
A: We met him during the mid-credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He’s also in possession of two “miracle” twins — Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) — who have the power of telekinesis and the power of a horrible Eastern European accent, respectively.
Q: Is the opening 15 minutes of The Avengers: Age of Ultron just as convoluted and overstuffed as the opening 15 minutes of the original Avengers?
A: Yes, to the point that I had to remind myself that the first film was the same way when I kept losing track of what was going on.
Q: What is Ultron?
A: Tony Stark (Downey) has taken it upon himself to develop a self-reliant global protection system that he calls “Ultron.”
Q: That sounds nice, what could possibly go wrong?
A: The Ultron program becomes sentient, disables the old system, J.A.R.V.I.S., then embeds itself in an 8-foot robot that is constantly upgrading itself, who wants to rid Earth of all life.
Q: Why does Ultron want to rid Earth of life?
A: Ultron loves the planet, and, in his mind, the only way to save it would be for a mass extinction to take place.
Q: In the first Avengers film, they fought space aliens and a demigod. How does a robot up the stakes?
A: I’m not sure the stakes are upped, and that’s probably the point. But, Ultron controls an army of robots and is constantly upgrading, so it’s not just one robot.
Q: What kind of robot is Ultron?
A: He’s a lot like James Spader, who voices Ultron.
Q: James Spader would like to cause a mass extinction?
A: Spader’s feelings toward mass extinction remain unknown, but Ultron has all of Spader’s personality and dry humor. Ultron is a very snarky villain.
Q: What is Avengers: Age of Ultron’s greatest weakness and, at the same time, greatest strength?
A: There is so much going on in Avengers: Age of Ultron and so many characters, it feels like a minor miracle that not only the film makes sense, but that it’s also somehow enjoyable. But after the movie, you do feel like you just got your ass kicked. I mean this as a compliment.
Q: Is it as thrilling to see all of these characters together a second time around?
A: Yes and no. There was that, “Wow, they pulled it off,” aspect of the first film. Now, it’s just expected. But, as fun as it was to watch Steve Rogers interact with Tony Stark the first time, it’s also quite interesting now that their relationship has (ahem) progressed.
Q: Who has the most fleshed out role in Avengers: Age of Ultron?
A: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), of all characters, surprisingly.
Q: Will there ever be a Hawkeye movie?
A: Yes, it’s called Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Q: Do we see any conflict between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, leading into Captain America: Civil War?
A: Some sparks are there, yes.
Q: Is there a relationship between Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)?
A: Some sparks are there, yes.
Q: Does Avengers: Age of Ultron directly react to the new DC Cinematic Universe?
A: Let’s just say that the lives of civilians in danger becomes the Avengers’ main objective, which was the main criticism of Man of Steel.
Q: Will I like Avengers: Age of Ultron?
A: Quite a bit. It’s a heck of a lot of fun. But, again, there’s just soooooo much going on.
Q: Does Avengers: Age of Ultron have one of those, “Holy shit, I can’t believe this movie exists,” moments?
A: If you grew up with comic books at all, then there is definitely a moment when you take stock that you are watching a live action movie with all of these characters participating side by side.
Q: As a comics fan, what’s the most impressive moment of the movie?
A: When Vision (Paul Bettany) shows up. He looks perfect.
Q: Is Avengers: Age of Ultron the best Marvel movie?
A: Again, kind of by design, it feels like more of a transitional movie than a true standalone film. So, I’m not sure it’s The Best Marvel Movie, if there’s even a such thing as The Best Marvel Movie. So, I’m going to say no. (Personally, I’m still partial to Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man 3, but ask me again in a month, and that could be different.)
Q: Is Avengers: Age of Ultron better than the first Avengers movie?
A: This is a close call, but, right now, I’m going to say yes.
Q: So, do we actually ever find out Ultron’s age?
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.