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Why the Hulk and Iron Man are fighting in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

One of the showstopping scenes from the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailers is a throwdown between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo plus a lot of CGI). Cars are thrown like rag dolls, crushing punches are dealt, and all this destruction is wrapped around a mystery: why are these two good guys fighting each other?

The definitive answer came on Sunday night, when a brief clip from the movie debuted at the MTV Movie Awards. It's because of the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). Have a look:

"You listening to me? That little witch is messing with your mind." Tony Stark says. "You're better than her. You're stronger than her. You're Bruce Banner."

Stark is candidly referring to the Scarlet Witch, and affirming fan theories that the Hulk (and his red eyes) is under her control rather than having actual beef with Iron Man.

What can the Scarlet Witch do?

In the comic books, Scarlet Witch's powers have varied. Some of her past accomplishments have included affecting probability, manipulating reality, and wielding a power called "chaos magic." Scarlet Witch has a long and complicated story with her powers that would be really hard to translate into a movie without bogging everything down with explanation.

In Avengers: Age of Ultron, her powers have been simplified into some kind of telepathy and telekinesis."[She] can weave spells and a little telekinesis, get inside your head," director Joss Whedon said last year.

The Hulk isn't the only Avenger to get a dose of this mind control. In a previous trailer, we see the Scarlet Witch perform some kind of witchy mind-bending on Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson):

Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch messing with Black Widow's mind. (Marvel)

But we also see her team up with the Avengers and use that red energy as more of a weapon:

Scarlet Witch in the bottom right hand corner (Marvel)

Scarlet Witch in the bottom right. (Marvel)

In a little over two weeks, when Avengers: Age of Ultron premieres on May 1, we'll find out the full extent of Scarlet Witch's powers.

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