There are few movies this summer that will be as big as “Avengers: Age Of Ultron,” and there are probably few people as big as Robert Downey Jr. to talk about it. The actor recently got on the phone with Empire for an extensive conversation about all things comic book movies, and there are interesting observations about the broad perspective we can expect from the upcoming entry in the Marvel-verse and beyond.
“‘Age Of Ultron’ feels like a beginning and an ending,” Downey Jr. tells the magazine about the movie that will help wind down Marvel’s Phase Two. “In the script there’s a lot of references to that – it’s the ending of the beginning, the beginning of the ending – and honestly, what I was marveling at in being there, back and forth to Shepperton and staying in Richmond up the road from Hemsworth and hanging out with Jimmy and getting to know Aaron Taylor-Johnson and all these new cast members, it’s just wild. It’s just incredible what’s occurred and how part of the furniture of popular entertainment it’s become. It’s become the gold standard of this genre of filmmaking, and it’s just a bunch of really cool, nice, talented folks who are all kind of scratching their heads but will roll up their sleeves and say, ‘Okay, let’s not take ourselves too seriously but let’s continue to take this as seriously as we did when we were wondering if we should join the party.'”
And that seems to be the current allure for the actor who has at times openly talked about hanging up the “Iron Man” suit and walking away. But with a Phase Three appearance slated for “Captain America: Civil War,” the actor seems more excited than ever to be playing Tony Stark.
“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,” he said. “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.”
And it must also feel nice to see his character evolve as both the world of the movies and world in reality has shifted. “…it’s natural to change your views. The main thing to me is, and this is where I think the Russos are quite brilliant and where Kevin [Feige] backed the play, is what sort of incident could occur and what sort of framework could we find Tony in? The clues are in Ultron about where we might find him next,” Downey Jr. teases. “But what would it take for Tony to completely turn around everything he’s stood for, quote-unquote, because he was the right-wing guy who could still do his own thing. When the first Iron Man came out the liberals and conservatives were both like, ‘You’re our guy’. Yes! Score! But the idea of Tony being able to march into Washington and say, ‘I’ll sign up,’ wouldn’t have made sense if the political climate in the real world hadn’t shifted the way it has. It’s a little bit of things following a real world continuum in, ‘What would you do?’ There’s always the bigger overarching question, that Joss brings up all the time – it’s kind of weird that these guys would have all these throw downs all over planet Earth and it looked like a little collateral damage happened over there, and yet when the movie’s over, it’s like nobody minds. You have to figure, ‘Were you to ask the question, what would the American government do if this were real? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Tony doing something you wouldn’t imagine?’”
So, it’s a lot to think about in a movie that is also introducing new players like Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). In fact, an Australian cinema chain already lists the movie at two hours and forty minutes, and while that is not official, it would be about twenty minutes longer than “The Avengers.” Be prepared to sit for a while.
“Avengers: Age Of Ultron” returns on May 1st.