You can’t fight technology. Marvel found that out today when the trailer for AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, which was originally scheduled to debut with next week’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., leaked online. Marvel wisely decided the best strategy was to simply join in on the fun by officially releasing the trailer six days ahead of schedule. For good measure, the studio also added the first one-sheet from the film. 

As you can see, The Avengers are having their own problems in their seemingly futile battle against the technological, homicidal villain- Ultron (voiced brilliantly by James Spader). The action is big, bold, and epic just as you would expect with visual marvels like Tony Stark’s shiny new Hulkbuster armor, complete with an especially angry Hulk to fight. What sets this trailer apart, however, is the very noticeable tonal shift this movie proposes to send through the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The MCU is known for many things with two of its key features being the high amounts of humor and fun included in most of the ten films Marvel Studios has released since 2008. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON looks and sounds darker and more grim than its predecessors. While there will undoubtedly be laughs and fun to be had, this looks like yet another calculated risk that could payoff in a big way.

Marvel Studios has already shown its ability to set the tone for the superhero genre, making escapist entertainment cool and not campy to pry audiences away from the grim and gritty, black costumes era. Now, the studio is casting a shadow over the good time had by all approach not for the sake of going dark, but because the story being told so obviously demands it.

There is no way to make 2012’s THE AVENGERS all over again. It was executed about as well as anyone could have imagined and received all the critical acclaim and box office dollars it deserved. The reverence for that film is too high to go for the same thing, but better. The sequel has to be a completely different film, as writer/director Joss Whedon has told us all along.

Things have to get ugly in order to create sufficient, genuine drama and peril for the team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Based on the ubiquitous nature of Ultron and the fact that he was created by the most popular Avenger, Tony Stark, it is safe to say that The Avengers will be unsafe and, in some cases, unhappy with each other.

Ultron is the most formidable test The Avengers have faced in any of their team up or solo cinematic adventures to date. I cannot wait until May 1, 2015 to see if they pass.

Avengers Age of Ultron

When Tony Stark jumpstarts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as they battle to save the planet from destruction at the hands of the villainous Ultron. 

Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk.  Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.

Written and directed by Joss Whedon and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Patricia Whitcher, Stan Lee and Jon Favreau serve as executive producers. Get set for an action-packed thrill ride when The Avengers return in Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on May 1, 2015.