New Avengers: Age of Ultron Footage Revealed at San Diego Comic-Con | Fanboys Anonymous
Marvel's The Avengers was the biggest hit of 2012 and has the third largest box office take in movie history at over $1.6 billion. This puts it behind James Cameron's juggernauts Titanic and Avatar. That's big business for Marvel, and the film changed the cinematic landscape forever. Superhero films were already blowing up thanks in part to mammoth hits like The Dark Knight, but The Avengers was different. Marvel changed things because now we have a slew of team-up films in the works, including DC's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is a precursor to a Justice League film.

HD desktop Marvel's The Avengers wallpaper
There is also a new Fantastic Four film in the works, some more of everyone's favorite mutant team, the X-Men, is getting another sequel, and some spin-offs featuring Spider-Man's villains are on the slate—most notably The Sinister Six. Seriously, film studios with any kind of superhero team-up potential are scrambling to get these films out pronto and take advantage of what Marvel's cinematic universe was able to capture in 2012. Who can blame them?

What some of us lose sight of is the actual film series, The Avengers, that started this whole craze in the first place. What about them, huh? Don't Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye get to come back for more and show these upstarts who is boss? Hell yeah they do, and they shall be unleashed next year in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. We've gotten a small amount of images the last few weeks leading into this year's San Diego Comic-Con, and this weekend they showed a sprinkling of footage from the upcoming film.

Iron Man Avengers: Age of Ultron Captain America

Some of the images, like above, are pretty gnarly, and show what is at stake for our heroes. A minor SPOILER about the plot: Tony Stark creates a robot intelligence named Ultron in order to protect all of the Avengers from harm; the thought is, this robot can go out and kick some butt saving the world while the living beings stay out of harm's way. Ultron does their job so they can live safely. Sounds like a plan but we all know what the road to Hell is paved with. Needless to say, Ultron goes haywire and things go downhill from there.

The Comic-Con footage shows some more tidbits like the Hulk battling some Stark robots, a team of superheros attempting to lift Thor's hammer, Mjolnir (with Iron Man joking about what happens if he succeeds), and then Captain America's shield, which happens to be split in half. Ouch. What worked so well in The Avengers was the combination of humor, pathos, high stakes, and how well both the characters and actors worked together. It's really a great film that does everything right. I saw it three times in the theater and from what I'm seeing so far with Age of Ultron, it looks like part two will pick up right where the first one left off.

Marvel's The Hulk smashing
Another thing they have hinted at is the idea the Hulk might be getting a solo film—the third one in a decade. Director Joss Whedon finally got the Hulk right in The Avengers, and I think they will set this separate storyline up by demonstrating how dangerous the character is and perhaps send him away from Earth, like in Planet Hulk. That fits the character and what he is capable of very well. For those that have seen the animated Ultimate Avengers, you know what I'm talking about. In that film, the Hulk becomes a menace to the whole team and must be put down.What follows is a slug fest beyond belief and I would love to see that on film.

So what else should we expect from Age of Ultron? Any ideas of how else they might use this sequel as a springboard for other Marvel films? If we know anything, we know they are great about weaving various films together in a cohesive whole; this should be no different, right?

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