Study Guide

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron Summary

We start off with a bang—actually a lot of bangs. The Avengers are attacking the heavily-defended research lab of one Baron von Strucker, a Hydra baddie. The Avengers make mincemeat out of his soldiers, but they have a tougher time with "the twins"—Pietro and Wanda Maximoff. Pietro makes life tough for them with his blazing super-speed, but eventually all the Hydra butt is suitably kicked.

Inside Strucker's lab, Tony Stark discovers Loki's scepter. He goes to grab it, but Wanda Maximoff jumps out from behind him and hits him with spell that causes Tony to hallucinate. He sees all of his Avenger buddies lying dead around him, while the Chitauri aliens from the first Avengers invade a defenseless Earth.

This bums Tony out (natch'), but he shakes it off and the Avengers, having captured Strucker and the scepter, regroup at headquarters. Tony's computerized helper J.A.R.V.I.S. detects a kind of super-intelligence lurking in the gem in the scepter, so Tony works with Bruce Banner to transfer that into "Ultron."

What's an Ultron? Good question. It's Tony's vision for an Earth defense force, powered by artificial intelligence. One, small problem: this intelligence is so, er, intelligent that it shuts J.A.R.V.I.S. down and begins to think for itself. It decides that the best way to protect Earth is to wipe out humanity (an extreme view, but we'll just teach the controversy). To that, he needs to wipe out the Avengers first.

After uploading himself into a robot fashioned from spare parts, Ultron crashes the Avengers' victory party (rude), with some of Tony Stark's re-programmed Iron Legion bots in tow. They're destroyed, but not before one of them takes off with the scepter. Ultron downloads himself on the internet (shouldn't have given him the WiFi password) and makes his getaway.

For his next trick, Ultron hooks up with the twins from earlier. He grabs some rare, vibranium metal to build his next body. When the Avengers try to stop him, Wanda Maximoff zaps a bunch of them and puts each of them on a bad trip.

The Avengers take a quick va-cay at Hawkeye's family house in the country in order to get their minds right. In the meantime, Ultron uses Loki's scepter to hypnotize the brilliant Dr. Helen Cho. Under his spell, she starts to build him a new body out of the vibranium. The Avengers track him down again and, with the help of the Maximoff twins (who have finally realized what a jerk Ultron is), they have a bit more success. They steal back Ultron's new android body, but not before he can take Black Widow prisoner. We'll call this one a tie.

The Avengers go back to base and argue about whether to activate this new android, but Thor ends all nonsense that by zapping it with lightning and bringing the cyberdude to life. With this new Avenger's help, the team goes to the fictional country of Sokovia, where Ultron is waiting for them.

After a long fight—and the senseless death of thousands of Iron Legion robots—the Avengers put Ultron down, but not before he launches a good chunk of Sokovia into the air. His plan is to turn it into a meteor that will crash back to Earth and wipe out humanity (hey, it worked on the dinosaurs). Not so fast, Ultron. Nick Fury shows up in a Helicarrier to evacuate the civilians, then Iron Man and Thor destroy the would-be meteor so that it lands harmlessly in the sea.

Final score: Avengers 1, Ultron 0.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • Did someone yell "action"? They must have, because right off the bat the Avengers are doing their thing, beating up on some faceless soldiers in a snow-covered wood. We almost feel sorry for these pummeled palookas.
    • Turns out that that we’re in the fictional Eastern European country of Sokovia, and the soldiers are members of that gang of evil-doers Hydra. Okay, we don’t feel so sorry for them anymore.
    • Inside his evil fortress, a guy named Baron von Strucker is rocking what looks to be a knock-off virtual reality monocle and planning to surrender. Before he can, though, he realizes two folks whom calls “the twins”—a man and woman in matching, sporty outfits—have escaped from under his nose.
    • One of these twins heads out to face the Avengers. Dude is sporting some super-speed, moving about the battlefield in a blue blur and conking various Avengers in the process. This includes Hawkeye, who takes a laser in the side. Ouch.
    • Meanwhile, Iron Man busts into the hideout and finds a secret room, housing one of the giant alien bus-beasts that transported the Chitauri invaders in the first Avengers. He grabs Loki’s scepter, which is also hanging out in the room, but not before the other twin can jump out from the shadows and lay some kind of mind melt on him. This causes him to hallucinate and see all his Avenger buds lying dead on some rocky, alien world. Foreshadow much? We sure hope not.
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • Captain America puts Strucker to sleep with a well-placed kick and the gang heads back to Avengers HQ. Hawkeye gets patched up and Tony Stark’s computer buddy Jarvis scans Loki’s scepter for clues.
    • It turns out that that scepter is housing some kind of advanced artificial intelligence. In Tony’s mind, this is just the thing to make “Ultron” a reality.
    • Great—so what’s an Ultron? We’re guessing we’ll find out more soon (it is in the movie title, after all), but a quick convo between non-Iron Man Tony and non-Hulk Bruce Banner suggests that Ultron is some kind of super-security protocol that can keep the Earth safe from aliens and the like, once and for all. Groovy.
    • It’s time for a montage, gang. The two most science-y Avengers try various high-tech ways to harness the power of this new intelligence, but can’t quite seem to get the interface to work.
    • One night, though, when all the superheroes are busy chilling at a party, J.A.R.V.I.S.—Iron Man’s virtual British butler—finally cracks the code. Yay.
    • Almost immediately after “waking up,” though, the computer program that is Ultron shuts Jarvis down. Boo. He (we’re just gonna go with “he” for now, based on the fact that Ultron is voiced by awesome and smug ‘80s movie villain James Spader) gets busy building himself a body out of discarded Iron Man suit parts, then crashes the Avengers’ party time with a group of reprogrammed Iron Legion droids. The best way to achieve peace, Ultron says, is to make the Avengers extinct. Sounds a bit extreme to us.
    • The Avengers smash up Ultron’s traitor bots, but not before one of them can grab Loki’s scepter and high-tail it out of there. Meanwhile, Ultron uploads himself onto the internet and flies the digital coop like the e-jerkface he is.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • After his getaway, Ultron downloads himself into a bigger, shinier body and hooks up with the twins—Pietro and Wanda Maximoff—from earlier. The new power trio heads to a scrapyard for decommissioned oil tankers, where a shady, South African arms dealer keeps a supply of rare vibranium on hand.
    • Ultron buys up the vibranium—an ultra-rare, ultra-tough metal (Captain America’s shield is made out of it)—but the Avengers show up to crash the exchange.
    • Fight, fight, fight—the good guys whip up on Ultron and his pals, but in the process Ms. Maximoff puts them all (with the exception of Iron Man and Hawkeye) under her spell, and they start having trippy freak-outs.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • Ever wonder how the Incredible Hulk might act under the influence of paranoid hallucinations? Yeah, it’s not good.
    • Iron Man tries to calm him down by lighting some candles and playing some smooth jazz. J/k—he hops into an even bigger, Hulkbuster suit (it’s like Iron Man is some kind of Russian nesting doll of fight suits) and tries to beat the Hulk into unconsciousness. Much violence and massive explosions ensue as the pair fight through the streets of Johannesburg.
    • After getting an entire building dropped on his head (it was empty, but still—who’s going to clean up this mess?), the Hulk is ready for a nap.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • The Avengers head to a super-duper-secret safe house: Hawkeye’s family home. Who knew?
    • They mope about for a while—that Maximoff mind manipulation really messed with their domes—but then Nick Fury turns up to put them back to work.
    • He’s been tracking Ultron’s moves, and it looks like he’s up to something: no good. Ultron’s been collecting vibranium from all over the world. But why?
    • Non-Hulk Bruce Banner notices a butterflying drawing done by one of Hawkeye’s kids, and guesses that Ultron is evolving, looking to use the vibranium to develop a super-android body that will allow him to end all humanity as we all know it. Eesh.
    • That’s a pretty good guess, as it turns out that he’s exactly right. (How Banner got all that from a kid’s picture, though, is a little beyond us.)
    • The Avengers re-assemble into their jet and take off to put a stop to Ultron’s evil plan.
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • In the meantime, Thor has taken himself to London. With the help of his old friend Erik Selvig—the astrophysicist from the first Avengers movie, Thor locates “The Water of Sight.” Imagine a big, dark puddle, only hidden underground and way more mysterious than your average puddle.
    • It turns out that this water acts as a kind of portal. Thor dives in in order to re-visit the hallucination-dream he experienced when Wanda Maximoff first hexed him.
    • The dip pays off (unlike most forays into hidden, underground pools of murky water). In the resulting vision, Thor sees that something was hidden inside Loki’s scepter. It’s a kind of jewel, exactly the same magic gem that Ultron is, at that very moment, installing in his new vibranium body.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • Once the gem is in place, it’s almost go time for his new body.
    • Ultron uses Loki’s scepter to hypnotize the brilliant physician Dr. Helen Cho, who puts her “cradle” invention to work for him, combining the vibranium core with organic cellular material.
    • The last step is for Ultron to upload his consciousness into the new super-android form, but Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Widow show up and spoil everything—or save the day, depending on who you ask.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • Ultron loads the cradle onto an eighteen-wheeler and skedaddles, the Avengers close on his heels. They race through the streets of Seoul, South Korea (where Dr. Cho’s lab is located) and the good guys get some unexpected help. The Maximoff twins have flipped their evil script, after they realized that Ultron wasn’t just going to stop at wiping out the Avengers. He’s out to eliminate all of humanity, which is just a tad too radical for their liking.
    • Thanks to the added firepower, the good guys eventually manage to snatch the cradle with the still-unactivated android prototype still inside.
    • It’s not all sunshine and lollipops, though. Ultron snatches Black Widow and takes her back to his creepy hideout.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • Meanwhile, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are checking out the cradle. They decide that bringing a super-android to life is actually a pretty good idea after all. Only, they want to upload J.A.R.V.I.S. into the body, not Ultron. When Captain America and the Maximoffs find out about this plan, they are less than stoked.
    • We have a stand-off: Stark, Banner, and Hawkeye vs. Cap and the twins. There’s a bit of pushing and shoving (okay, zapping and zooming) until Thor drops in (literally) and calls down some divine lightning to jolt the android into life.
    • Out pops our long-awaited super-cyborg. The parts of him that aren’t covered in high-tech circuitry are a deep red.
    • Everyone is like “woah,” but we’d say the same thing if someone who looked like he should be named The Amazing Beetroot suddenly sprang to life in front of us.
    • After some tense moments, the android starts to speak—in the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. Only he’s not quite the same ol’ J.A.R.V.I.S. that Tony Stark knew and loved.
    • Thor says that there’s something special about this android (more than his resemblance to a beet). He’s talking about the “mind stone,” which is that gem that Thor saw in his vision when he cannonballed into the Water of Sight. It’s now sitting squarely in the middle of the android’s head.
    • The mind stone is, Thor goes on to say, one of the six infinity stones, sources of the greatest power in the universe with the power to unleash unheard-of catastrophe. Good times.
    • Now for the big question: is this android a good guy or a bad guy? He says that he’s “on the side of life; Ultron isn’t.”
    • That’s good enough for the Avengers. They suit up and head over to Sokovia, where Ultron is keeping Black Widow prisoner.
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • After trying to evacuate as many civilians as possible, it is on—and we don’t mean a flash sale at Bloomington’s.
    • Iron Man confronts Ultron, who in turn unleashes his own army of Iron Guardian robo-clones. Captain America, the Maximoffs, and Hawkeye suddenly have their hands full.
    • In the meantime, non-Hulk Bruce Banner rescues Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff) from her cell. Romanoff is ready for Bruce to go all Hulk on everyone, but he’s worried that, if he does, he’ll stomp a few innocent Sokovians in his rampage. After the sexual tension that’s been building between this two finally boils over, Black Widow gives Bruce a kiss, then a loving shove off a cliff. Presto-Hulk-o. Now they both join the fight.
    • It’s a good thing, too. It turns out that Ultron has rigged the entire city with a series of vibranium boosters. It lifts off into the air, buildings and bridges crumbling in the process. It seems that Ultron’s move is to turn this giant chunk of land into a meteor, bringing it crashing it back down to earth to wipe out humanity. We’ll give him this: dude gets points for persistence.
    • Avengers are killing droids, but the city is gaining altitude. Iron Man runs some analysis with his new e-butler Friday, but the best solution is to blow up the entire city before it comes crashing back down to Earth.
    • Sounds like a plan to us, but there are still thousands of innocent civilians stuck on the now-floating chunk-o-land. What to do?
    • Enter the Helicarrier. Nick Fury makes a heroic appearance in the, um, nick of time (sorry), cruising up to the would-be meteor in his flying aircraft carrier. He dispatches flying lifeboats to evacuate the civilians to safety.
    • Meanwhile, the Avengers continue to smash Ultron’s minions like so many robotic piñatas. Then super-android (we’ll call him “the Vision” from here on out, since that’s his name in the comic books), Thor, and Iron Man let Ultron really have it with some triple beam laser and lightning action. The bad bot runs away with a few of his robo-minions in tow.
    • Just when it seems like everything’s going to work out, Ultron pops back up, this time flying a fighter jet that guns town poor Pietro Maximoff as he saves Hawkeye and an innocent kid from getting shot themselves.
    • After depositing Black Widow safely back on the Helicarrier, Hulk jumps onto Ultron’s plane and fires him back down to the city, where Pietro’s sister Wanda is waiting to rip out his mechanical heart. Vengeance is hers. Just before she does, though, he jumps into another robo-droid’s body and starts the chain reaction that will send the city hurtling back into the Earth.
    • Don’t sweat it, though, folks. Iron Man and Thor are on it. They reverse the vibranium’s polarity (this involves more lightning and lasers, but not much explanation) and the now-abandoned city starts to break apart.
    • Vision swoops in and scoops up Wanda, and the city falls in harmless chunks back into the ocean. Humanity is saved. Woot.
    • In the meantime, Hulk is stuck in Ultron’s plane, which seems to be flying itself. Black Widow radios in (really FaceTimes in) to get Hulk to turn on the tracking signal so that she can lead a crew to pick him up. The green guy is having none of it, though. He shuts off the signal and sits back in the cockpit, alone with his thoughts. And his giant, green muscles.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • Speaking of oddly-colored superheroes, meanwhile the Vision tracks down the last of Ultron’s robo-army, with the chief baddy himself still at the controls. After a quick back and forth (Ultron thinks humans are doomed and deserve it; the Vision thinks they are noble, flawed creatures), the vision puts Ultron, at long last, out of our and the Avengers’ misery. Buh-bye, ya bad bot.
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    • Elsewhere, the other Avengers are heading home—Hawkeye to his farm, Tony Stark to his business ventures, Captain America and Black Window to the new Avenger base. There they prepare to train the Avengers 2.0, including War Machine (who helped stave off robo-attacks during the evacuation of Sokovia), Falcon (who's been on the sidelines for most of this one), and the Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff’s superhero moniker).
    • We wonder if another Avengers movie is in our future. (Spoiler alert: you bet your sweet bippy.)