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Point of Geeks

A Point of Geeks report

The release of the upcoming blockbuster sequel [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035) is less than three months away and anticipation for the movie is growing exponentially. The movie will lay the groundwork for almost all of Marvel's upcoming films, so it is crucial that it delivers on many levels. As the release approaches, the actors involved will able to open up more about their roles in the movie. Empire caught up with Robert Downey Jr. recently and got him to explain Tony Stark in relation to both Avengers 2: Age of Ultron and the upcoming Captain America: Civil War.

Tony Stark is Iron Man!
Tony Stark is Iron Man!

When the first teaser trailer for Avengers 2: Age of Ultron was shown at Comic Con two years ago, featuring an Iron Man helmet being reforged into Ultron's face, comic book readers read the signs immediately. In the comic's history Hank Pym aka Ant-Man created the maniacal robot. Since that character will not be introduced in the Marvel cinematic universe until the movie Ant-Man debuts later in the summer, it was clear that Stark would be the new "father" of Ultron. Since that point, we have uncovered that Dr. Bruce Banner is involved in the creation as well.

In the movies, Stark has been portrayed as an arrogant know-it-all...that typically does actually know it all. However on more than one occasion his cockiness has gotten him in over his head and it seems that will again be the case in Age of Ultron when he designs Ultron. Downey elaborates on Stark.

Interestingly enough, it’s the ironic flip side. The thing I’m trying to create was to stop all this. It’s a ‘damned if you do’ type thing. Look, in some ways it’s just a device. Every character has to have something to do that makes sense to set up. What I appreciated was that it was a new flip for Tony without seeming out of character. What I appreciate is that he is maturing and that he is becoming a benefactor of something vastly different than his father ever could have imagined. The promised legacy of Iron Man 2 has really been realised in a way that I go, “Oh, that’s creative and smart and it keeps pushing the peanut forward and it’s interesting and new and it makes space”. Tony has always been interested in how he can make more space for himself under the guise of having a moral psychology and a spiritual awakening of sorts in the cave, but now it’s about being a worker amongst workers and trying to find his place and go back to the simplicity of where it all started, which is that a gal who used to work for him became his love. That’s been such a huge part of what I think differentiated him. I think Tony’s the only guy who actually, except for when he was really having a ball when we first met him, is in a committed relationship that he doesn’t waver on for years and years and years. That to me is cool.

That is a definite change from the traditional interpretation of Tony Stark from the comics. Stark was always portrayed as an eternal bachelor, however Stark seems to be implying that Pepper Potts is his anchor. It is hard to agree with his interpretation, because Stark has historically been motivated by arrogance and scientific curiousity, not love. However, his statements seem to indicate that we will be seeing a lot of Gwyneth Paltrow in the future as well.

Ultron: created by Tony Stark?
Ultron: created by Tony Stark?

It has been widely assumed that Avengers 2 will see Stark being the primary creator of Ultron. There are clear similarities between the upcoming film and the classic story of Frankenstein. Downey was asked if that was an accurate description of the relationship between him and Ultron.

Well, yeah. Except that, unlike Dr Frankenstein, Tony was never attempting to do this. I just love the idea that he can have an impulse to do good that finds its way back and becomes something else. Every time you roll the dice with your own best thinking, regardless of your intention, these things take on a life of their own. Tony’s Ultron defence system is supposed to let everybody retire and for a guy who’s still got a lot of piss and vinegar - in Iron Man 3, when we left him he was basically saying, “You know what, I don’t even need the suit. I’m just a badass.” Then what I feel happened is he went back east and he does the responsible thing for all these other people and puts a roof over their head and has an idea.

Tony Stark is a very flippant character. Much of the portrayal has come from Downey's off-the-cuff, improvisational interpretation. He is not only the smartest person in the room, he also has the quickest wit. However much has changed in the world of Marvel since Iron Man debuted in 2008, when Downey put a stamp on his trademark style. The stakes have been raised with every Marvel release and when Captain America: Civil War hits theaters in 2016, the characters of the Marvel universe will have all grown and changed. Downey explains.

It’s so funny. My old material, those 15 minutes don’t hold up anymore. And yet it was such a strong 15. You have to grow up and say I don’t need to tap-dance and have the room turn upside-down anymore. I need to be true to the character and I need to be true to what the filmmakers and the studio are doing with the trajectory of this whole big juggernaut. As far as Tony’s guilt, I think it’s always tougher when you had a pure heart going in. I think that’s the rough part. ‘I don’t operate like I used to. This is a really good idea, don’t you see?’ But he missed something. I think it’s the guilt of recognizing that my best thinking can still bring me back to a place where I wish I’d just kept my mouth shut.

Prior to last summer, the Marvel cinematic universe seemed as though it was ready for a complete overhaul. Downey's contract was winding down and it seemed that the rumblings of a new actor taking on Iron Man were coming sooner than later. However, Downey surprised many by joining the fight in the third Captain America film and beyond, while extending his contract with the movie studio. Downey was asked what exactly was the cause in his refocused passion for the character and the universe.

I’m crazy about Evans. I really am. I don’t know why or how to explain this particular kinship we have. By the way, he hasn’t called me in six months. Honestly, in order for this whole thing to have worked, I did my part, Hemsworth knocked it out of the stadium and then it fell on Cap. That was the riskiest. It was the one that had the highest degree of difficulty in making it translate to a modern audience. It was the Russos and Chris who, I think, really hit the line drive and won the series. I remember glancing through it going, “Wow, that’s a different way to go”. They said, “If we have you, we can do this or Cap 3 has to be something else”. It’s nice to feel needed.
At this point it ceases about being about announcements of contracts and deal points and Forbes and all that. And to see Chadwick being announced for Black Panther, I go, ‘Wow, man, Marvel is making all the right moves and they’re not doing it because it’s PC, they’re doing it because it’s exciting’. So why would I be the one to go, ‘I’m not going on the road. I don’t get along with the keyboardist’. Who cares? Who cares? And look, I also recognize that I’ll be turning 50 by the time I promote this movie. The clock is ticking down on the amount of memories and participation that I would allow myself and not embarrass the medium with. And when they pitched it to me and when I had a couple of ideas and when they said we like those ideas, let’s do those. Then there’s all this competition too. I don’t do this because I look at it as a competition, but I look at the marketplace and go, ‘Maybe if these two franchises teamed up and I can take even a lesser position in support, with people I like and directors I respect, maybe we can keep things bumping along here a little longer than they might have’.

Many feared that once characters begun crossing over into other films it would signal the end of the genre. Much like when Frankenstein and the Wolfman began crossing over, it began to dilute the horror genre decades ago. However it seems that Marvel is taking a long-range approach by carefully integrating characters, with an emphasis on the story at the forefront. (With the exception of Iron Man 2.) In the third phase of [Marvel](channel:932254)'s films, Downey and Marvel have found a way to actually extend the shelf-life of Tony Stark, by not having the burden of carrying billion dollar grossing films on his own. It reduces the screen-time and workload for the actor, while giving writers more freedom to make dynamic and unexpected character decisions for Stark.

Along that line, Downey was asked if he feels that Stark will be the villain of the movie.

I wouldn’t put it that way. Ultimately it’s Steve’s story; it doesn’t say ‘Iron Man 4: Civil War’. I think that’s great too. I think Chris [Evans] has been hungry to bring even more of an underside and some shadow to that. I remember the comics - on the surface you got the sense that Cap was baseball and apple pie, but underneath there was all this churning stuff of being a man out of time. Now we know he’s made his peace with that. What’s the bigger issue? It can have a little something to do with the past, but it can be about someone becoming more modernized in their own conflict.

Downey on more than one occasion has taken the opportunity to bring the focus back to Chris Evans' Captain America. It sounds as if screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, along with the Russo Bros who are directing, have come up with an extremely emotional arc for Evans. That may mean that there will be many questions about Stark's character that will be posed, but possibly won't be answered in [Captain America: Civil War](movie:994409).

However that movie is over a year away. In the upcoming Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, director and writer Joss Whedon will begin to expand the MCU by adding new threats and characters to the mix. One of the new additions is Vision, played by Paul Bettany. While Bettany and Downey have technically been in four Marvel films together. They have never physically shared the screen until now, since Bettany's presence was limited to a voiceover for Stark's computer system J.A.R.V.I.S. Downey was asked what is was like to finally work with Bettany and how Vision fits into Avengers 2's story.

[Jon] Favreau was visiting the set and went, ‘JARVIS, what did they fuckin’ do to you?’ I would maybe see Bettany on the street or at a premiere party, maybe. And the suit? Everybody has to pay their pound of flesh. I remember on Iron Man 2 when Cheadle came out in the Mark II, it’s the least comfortable suit, by their own admission, designed for any movie and he came out and stopped the party. I looked at him and it was right before lunch and he’d been in it for three hours. I thought, ‘Poor Don’, but you gotta do it. And for Bettany, they did a number on him with this absolutely awesome Ultron look, and it also reminded me of the times when I’ve been in special effects make-up. The very first thing he had to do was perch on the end of a precipitous ledge and stand up at the right time with the wind blowing and look right down the barrel, and 20 other things were happening, and it was like, ‘Yep, welcome’. But when - and I won’t give much of anything away - Vision gets to express and enter and find his place in earnest respect on the playing field, it was like an exceptionally well-executed, poetic, badass, “Aha!” moment for all of us. Joss was very particular about that in a different way than he was with Jimmy. I think people are going to get a kick out of the creative decisions about how Vision fits in.

Many have been wondering why there hasn't been any marketing for Vision. He has yet to appear in any trailer or TV commercial and he has only been glimpsed in promotional photos. Many are familiar with how he is created in the comics, but it seems that Whedon has a twist up his sleeve that may impact the entire film. In fact, the entire third act of the film hasn't been glimpsed in marketing materials, which is a great move on the part of [Marvel](channel:932254). Like a great comic book, they have made their fans eager to see what is on the page.

We will find out soon when Avengers 2: Age of Ultron is released on May 1st, 2015.

What most excites you about Downey's comments? Where do you think Tony Stark's character is headed? Let us know below!

Source: Point of Geeks


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