The big news in superhero movies today is that Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron will have the most visual effects of any Marvel movie to date. That sounds like a bunch, but – if you think about it – it makes perfect sense.
Avengers: Age of Ultron will try to replicate the success of the first Avengers movie, which made more than $1 billion at the box office and cemented Marvel as a true, bankable brand. In order to top the original, though, Age of Ultron is going to have to up the ante.
Already, we’ve been hearing reports that Age of Ultron could result in the Avengers squad splitting in half, leading into a Civil War of sorts that kicks off in Captain America 3. Age of Ultron will also likely set the stage for an eventual team-up between the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, which will probably come about in Avengers 3.
In the mean time, Joss Whedon and crew still have to outdo the wildly successful first Avengers movie. In part, that’s going to be accomplished by Avengers: Age of Ultron having more than 3,000 VFX shots, according to Hollywood Reporter. That total would put it ahead of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which had 2,500 VFX shots, and Guardians of the Galaxy, which had 2,750 VFX shots.
Marvel isn’t just showing off, though. Those shots will likely be absolutely necessary to show off the skill sets of these six characters.
Ultron, of course, will be super important in the next Avengers movie, which is why it bears his name in the title, no? Well, Ultron isn’t exactly a robotic character you could accomplish with a guy in a suit like C-3P0. He’s a cloud-connected super intelligence, and if Marvel’s Age of Ultron promo art tells us anything, he’s going to be inhabiting a veritable army of doubles. That means a lot of Ultrons on screen at once, and that means visual effects. Think The Matrix Reloaded‘s “100 Agent Smiths” fight… except, y’know, not sucky.
Another big source of VFX in Age of Ultron will be the Vision. We’re still not quite sure on the full origin of the Vision in the next Avengers flick, but the promo artwork looks like he’s fighting alongside the Avengers at some point against a sea of Ultron drones. Paul Bettany, who plays Vision, might be able to pull off the interpersonal interactions with other Avengers, but it’s going to take some special effects to pull off Vision’s power set.
That’s because, in addition to being an android, the Vision can fly, fire beams of radiation, and manipulate his own density. That means he can phase through objects a la Kitty Pryde, and that means more VFX.
Two other additions to the Avengers lineup will require their own dedicated effects as well. Captain America: The Winter Soldier introduced Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, but Age of Ultron will put the two “miracle” twins front and center.
Marvel, no doubt, will be looking to show up Fox’s take on Quicksilver – the one that appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past – and that’s going to take more than slow-mo shots. The promo art shows Quicksilver pretty much all over the place, battling Ultron clones all over the map, and the movie likely will have the same thing going on.
As for the Scarlet Witch, those reality-bending powers are only accomplished through computer graphics, so we’re bound to see tons of effects for her.
Those are the new reasons for Age of Ultron having a ton of visual effects, but there are two returning old reasons that will definitely have an impact as well. We’re speaking, of course, of the Hulk and Iron Man. Mark Ruffalo, of course, plays the always-angry Bruce Banner, but the on-screen Hulk is entirely computer-generated. Meanwhile, Iron Man without the VFX is just Robert Downey Jr. in a funny suit.
Of course, this probably doesn’t cover every reason that we’ll see more than 3,000 visual effects in Avengers: Age of Ultron. There’s still the possibility that Marvel might introduce new characters for the film – say, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther, perhaps? – and they’d make sure to have them debut with a splash.
Also, odds are there’ll be tons of explosions. We’re pretty confident in that. Age of Ultron or no, it can’t be the Avengers without stuff getting blown up.