'Avengers' expands universe with 'Ultron' as Marvel goes dark
By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The caped crusaders are back in force in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," but this time, the evil they battle is bringing them face to face with the darker consequences of being a super hero.
"Age of Ultron," the sequel to Walt Disney Co's 2012 Marvel blockbuster "Avengers" and out in U.S. theaters on Friday, will see its star-studded super hero ensemble - Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, The Hulk and Hawkeye - tackle their own fears.
Writer-director Joss Whedon said he wanted to "perform a little open heart surgery" on the Avengers, and "let the audience experience them on a more personal level than they ever have before."
In "Age of Ultron," Marvel's super hero worlds come crashing together as the super heroes tackle a complex villain in Ultron (James Spader), spawned out of artificial intelligence and evolving into a megalomaniac.
With help from twins Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), known as Quicksilver for his super speed, and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), the Scarlet Witch with thought-altering magic powers, Ultron makes the Avengers at times turn on themselves.
Robert Downey Jr., Marvel's Iron Man and patriarch of the franchise, said given the present day "world stage," now is the time for the Avengers to get real.
"This is where you have to actually start dealing with the ramifications of saving the world," he said.