Marvel's Age of Ultron Trailer: What's With the Ballerinas?

The first glimpse of 2015's likely biggest blockbuster promises James Spader's mellifluous menace, more cities turned to rubble, and some mysterious dancers.

Hey, awards season: Take a break for a minute. The summer blockbusters get one last hurrah for the year as the much-anticipated first trailer for Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron—the follow-up to one of the most successful blockbusters of all time—leaked online today.

When footage of Ultron screened at Comic-Con over the summer, the talking points were about James Spader's performance as Ultron (he's the voice of the all-powerful robot that comes to wipe out our titular heroes) and the absolute dread awaiting both the Avengers and the world. This first trailer doesn't go as far as that Comic Con footage reportedly did, but we do see glimpses:

  • The Avengers—joined by, from the looks of freeze-framing on the tableau, Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)—gathered at Tony Stark's pad, interrupted by the arrival of Ultron
  • Tantalizing snippets of new characters Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
  • Iron Man in his "Hulk-busting" super suit (above)
  • A grim shot of Captain America's broken shield that cuts off just as it begins to pan across a person

This CinemaBlend report of the Comic Con footage describes the rest of that shot, which you can avoid if you're particularly spoiler-averse. Today's trailer wasn't built to give anything away.

"I Got No Strings"

The most immediately grabby element of the trailer is the song, an eerie, ghostly rendition of "I Got No Strings" from Disney's Pinocchio, a clever bit of keeping things within the corporate family that reflects the content of the movie, as we see Ultron repeat the movie's dialogue ("I had strings / but now I'm free / there are no strings on me") to sinister effect. The song's unsettling, and has gotten a lot of viewers talking, though people have seen this trick before in the trailer for Maleficent, which already went to the Disney song vault with Lana Del Rey's similarly droning "Once Upon a Dream" cover.

A Tale of Two Scarlet(t)s

The brother/sister duo of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are certainly among the more intriguing elements of the upcoming film since we know the least about them. This being a teaser, we don't see much beyond Scarlet Witch screaming among rubble and Quicksilver doing his fast-running thing.

Meanwhile: a frivolous but nonetheless urgent observation. Why, why, WHY after all the effort to get Scarlett Johansson's hair looking great in Captain America: The Winter Soldier do we once again have to go back to that sad, poofy Raggedy Ann hairstyle from the first Avengers. Look:

No, look:

For one thing: Respect your timeline, Marvel. Black Widow moved on to a more sleek, battle-ready 'do. For another, it's just distracting watching someone about to fight for the survival of the planet looking like Andrea McArdle.

Our Cities in Ruins

Critics of the superhero genre who'd grown tired of seeing whole metropolises (and sometimes actual Metropolis) laid to waste by warring superheroes and supervillains will probably not be overly encouraged by this teaser, which appears to amp up the urban destruction beyond even the first Avengers, which you'll recall left Grand Central Terminal and much of midtown Manhattan ruined. Ultron appears to be taking that kind of decimation worldwide.

The Ballerinas

It's merely one shot in the trailer, but it is easily the shot that leaves me most intrigued.

Who are these ballerinas? What significance do they have to the story? Is Ultron trying to mimic their movement in his final stage of assimilating all human knowledge and behavior? Did Maria Hill take up a hobby after S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsed? So many questions.