News and rumors on the casting for Avengers: Age of Ultron is accelerating, so now’s a great time to catch up and reflect on the announcements. Here’s the cast with my casual commentary and arbitrary grades assigned.
Note: I’m only looking at only cast who will appear for the first time in Avengers: Age of Ultron. I’ll get around to the characters introduced in other movies (like The Falcon) in another post.
Ultron: James Spader
I think it’s great that we’re getting Ultron as a villain in Avengers 2. Since Scarlet Witch is in this movie (more on that in a minute), and Ultron created Vision, is it too much to hope that Joss Wheedon will use Avengers 2 as a launching pad for that Vision and the Scarlet Witch TV series I’ve been pining for?
Yes, it probably is.
Anyway – this is a weird choice. I’ll watch James Spader in almost anything. I did sit through Crash, after all. It sounds like Spader’s only supplying voice-over work, which makes some sense. I don’t recall Ultron ever having a remotely human form.
So, if Ultron is CGI, voiced by Spader, I’ll buy it. The CGI Iron Man with voice by Robert Downey, Jr. worked. And, Spader’s dry, sarcastic delivery should add an edge to the robotic would-be conqueror.
So then googling James Spader and Robert Downey, I found this classic still:
Wanda Maximoff / The Scarlet Witch: Elizabeth Olsen
I honestly don’t know too much about her. Olsen, that is – I know everything there is to know and more about The Scarlet Witch. More than any casting, to-date, this is the one I really care about.
As the younger sister of the “Olsen Twins”, I’m going to assume that she’s got some kind of hex powers. Escaping the spectre of her older sisters and developing a legitimate, critically-acclaimed acting career is heroic enough for me to give her a chance.
Most photos I’ve seen of Olsen are of her as a blonde, but I didn’t buy Scarlet Johannsen as the Black Widow until I saw what the hair, makeup, and costume people brewed up for her.
Photos like this one with darker hair give me hope that she can get the look right for Scarlet Witch.
So, she looks like she could pull it off, and she continues Marvel’s ability to bring people with real acting chops (Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Hopkins, etc.) into their comic book films. She’s got a good chance at succeeding here.
Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver: Aaron Taylor-Johnson
A bit inspired, if you ask me. Taylor-Johnson starred as the titular hero in “Kick-Ass”, which was really good and “Kick-Ass 2”, which I didn’t see.
For those of you who have only seen him in those films, you might not know that he’s actually an English actor. He does a more than passable job with his American accent, so I’m actually most interested to see what kind of accent they try and have him pull off in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Pietro and Wanda spent their formative years in Wundagore. Are they going to go for the gypsy accent for these twins?
In the comics, Quicksilver cranks his jerkitude to 11 quite often. From his turns in “Kick Ass”, I think Taylor-Johnson can handle it.
Baron Wolfgang von Strucker: Thomas Kretschmann
I have very little idea who von Strucker is. His Marvel wiki page is unbearably complicated, as I would expect for a character whose first appearance was in “Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos” #5 (1964). The wiki page says Strucker used to work for Hitler, so I expect Captain America is going to want to whomp this guy in the gonads – with extreme prejudice.
I do like that, at one point, von Strucker was foiled by infamous Marvel old guy Dominic Fortune, star of one of my favorite issues of Web of Spider-Man.
I know I’m on a tangent, but that’s because I don’t have much to say about this actor either. Looking at his IMDB profile, though, he’s got a ton of experience playing nobodies in genre/sub-genre/sub-sub-genre projects. “Highlights” of his career might be stretching the word, but here’s what I found:
- “Prince Valiant” – Thagnar (1997)
- Total Recall 2070 (TV movie/series) – Nick Blanchard (1999)
- Relic Hunter (TV Series) – Kurt Reiner (1999-2001)
- Blade II – Damaskinos (2002)
- The Karate Dog (TV Movie) – Gerber (2004)
- Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 – Roscoe (2004)
- Resident Evil: Apocalypse – Major Tom Cain (2004)
- King Kong – Captain Englehorn (2005)
- Bionic Woman (TV Series) – The Man (2007)
- Wanted – Cross (2008)
I could go on… Suffice it to say, I have no idea where they found this guy. But, I also have no idea why they have von Strucker in the movie either. Doesn’t sound like a hugely important role, so I’ll give it a pass for now.
So those are the big new additions to the Avengers Universe, so far. I’ll recap the new cast for the other Marvel films soon.