Avengers 2 – Three breakdowns – Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat and Anatomy of story 22 steps

Avengers 2 is a massive movie so I’ve done a massive breakdown using three popular templates; Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat and Anatomy of Story 22 steps. And also because I have delusions of grandeur and I like getting abused by total strangers on the internet I’ve included some thoughts on improving it’s structure.

Hero’s journey 

Call to Adventure

Tony Stark wants to create an artificial intelligence to defend the Earth

Refusal of the call

Bruce Banner warns him against it

Supernatural Aid

The stone inside Loki’s sceptre gives Stark and Banner the huge leap of knowledge to create the advanced level of artificial intelligence required for the Ultron project

Belly of the whale

Belly of the whale often has something to do with travelling to another place and the first hint of death. This happens in the cyber world when Ultron kills JARVIS.

Crossing the First Threshold

The Avengers fly to South Africa on the trail of Ultron

The Road of the trials

Road of the trials – All the Avengers, except for Hawkeye, must deal with their haunting hallucinations.

Meeting with the Goddess

Black Widow is the Goddess for The Hulk. His feelings for her inspire him to make a sacrifice at the end of the film to protect the one

he loves he must leave her

Woman as Temptress

Banner releases Natasha from Ultron’s prison and tells her we’re done, let’s leave and let the rest of the Avengers finish the job. She kisses him and sends him over the edge so that he transforms into the Hulk.

Atonement with the Father

The Atonement stage is about learning what’s right and getting an understanding of how you should be acting. Wanda learns of Ultron’s plans for human extinction and turns against him. She reveals to Captain America that Ultron gets his idea for saving the Earth by destroying it from Tony Stark.


Thor visits the magical pool and has a vision which reveals the meaning of his hallucination, he has had a vision.

Ultimate Boon

The Vision is created, the good embodiment of Stark’s original plan to defend the Earth. Now they actually have the ability to defeat Ultron

The Magic flight

Magic Flight – The city takes to the air with Ultron’s plan to wipe out the human race by turning a city into a giant meteor. The Avengers fight to stop him

Rescue from without

Nick Fury arrives with the Helicarrier

The crossing of the return Threshold

Hawkeye gives Wanda the speech about stepping out of the door and becoming an Avenger.

Master of two worlds

Master of two worlds – Vision destroys the final Ultron. We create that which will destroy us.

Freedom to live

Freedom to live – Hulk goes into hiding, Thor returns home, Hawkeye and Ironman appear to have retired. Captain America will lead the new team of Avengers.



Save the Cat

Opening Image

The Avengers working together as a team

Theme Stated

“We create that which destroys us” Ultron. It’s not at the start I know but it’s the theme of the film and he said it.

The Setup

The Avengers are a united team and recover Loki’s stolen sceptre

The Catalyst

Tony Stark wants to use the stone from the sceptre to create the Ultron Global defence program


Banner tries to convince him not to do it and they keep it hidden from the rest of the team but when the rest of the Avengers find out what he’s done they are less than impressed

Break into Act 2

The Avengers chase after Ultron to a South African ship yard

B Story

Banner and Black Widow are flirting with the idea of a relationship but Banner is wary of it because of his out of control condition

Fun and Games

Fighting against Ultron and the Twins. Hulkbuster vs Hulk

Mid point

They escape to Hawkeye’s secret farm and although they are slightly reeling from their fight against Ultron and the twins, Nick Fury arrives and tells them, previously they’ve had technology and resources but now they only have each other.

Bad guys close in

Ultron forces Dr Helen Cho to use her synthetic tissue technology to build a new body for him.

All is lost

They chase after Ultron through the streets of Seoul and recover the partially complete body for Ultron but Black Widow is captured during the fight

Dark night of the soul

Wanda reveals to Captain America she’s seen into Tony Stark’s mind and that Ultron’s insanity mirrors that of Tony’s. The Avengers fight over whether or not to install JARVIS into the partially completed body.

Break into three

The Twins and Vision join the Avengers in the attack against Ultron at his stronghold in Sokovia


Gather team

Black Widow kisses Banner and shoves him over the edge so that he transforms into the Hulk. The whole team is now assembled

Storm the castle

They attack Ultron’s stronghold but Ultron uses the Vibramium to lift the entire city into the sky so that it will crash down back to Earth like a meteorite and be an extinction event for the humans, similar to what wiped out the dinosaurs

Dig down deep

They evacuate the city and defend the trigger against a final Ultron onslaught

Execution of new plan

Iron man from below and Thor from above detonate the evacuated city and save the world

Final Image

A new team has been assembled


The Anatomy of story 22 steps

Act 1

Self-Realization, Need, Desire

Tony wants to use his brilliant mind to create something that can protect the world, but he does so with a recklessness that disregards risk

Ghost & Context

Tony has a fear of the world destroyed and the Avengers defeated by an alien invasion and he didn’t do enough to save it. Remember in Avengers Tony put his life on the line to save the Earth but in Iron Man 3 he was struggling with his nightmares of it.


Tony is brilliant but reckless. He may act without thinking. “I have a plan, attack.” (from the first Avengers)

Inciting Incident

They recover the stone from Loki’s scepter to create an artificial intelligence with enough power to defend the world.

Overall Desire (start low)

Tony wants to create an armour around the planet to protect it in the same way the Ironman armor protects him. – The Ultron project.


The Avengers Team




The Twins

1st Reversal & Decision: changed desire & motive

The Avengers are attacked by Ultron

Act 2


Track down and destroy Ultron

Opponent’s Plan & 1st Counter Attack

Recruit the twins to help him and then obtain vibramium to help him annihilate humanity


Pursue Ultron to a shipyard in South Africa and fight Ultron and the Twins

Attack by Ally

There is a physical attack by Ally in Hulkbuster Vs Hulk but a moral one comes later at the farm when Captain America and Tony Stark have the argument over “Every time people try to win a war before it starts, people die, every time.”



Apparent Defeat

Ultron escapes with the Vibramium and the Avengers are not the most popular people in the world because Hulk destroyed a city

2nd Reversal & Decision: obsessive drive, changed desire & motive

Chase Ultron to South Korea and stop him from uploading himself into his perfect form

Audience revelation about opponent-ally

The Twins discover Ultron’s true objective and they turn against him and join the Avengers

3rd Reversal & Decision

With the Vision as part team they are going to confront Ultron and eliminate him.

Act 3

Gate, Gauntlet, Visit to Death

Attacking Ultron’s stronghold in Sokovia


They fight Ultron and his robot army as they evacuate the city

Self-Revelation/Thematic Revelation

Before Vision kills the final Ultron they both articulate their views on humanity and world order. Ultron represents Tony’s dark side and Vision represents his good.

Moral Decision

Tony decides to retire on a farm with Pepper.

New Equilibrium

A number of the original members of the team have gone their separate ways and Captain America is going to lead the new team of Avengers



Suggestions on how to improve it

Ultron killing Jarvis and going crazy seems more like the Mid point of the film rather than early on in Act I. If Tony had started the Ultron project in secret and it worked well at first, then Ultron slowly realised he was a sentient being. Then, the revelation to the team that Stark was hiding it from the team the whole time would have been stronger and led to the team breaking up somewhere towards the end of Act II. That’s a more classic structure framework for this set up.

Not sure about how they played the Black Widow/Banner love story. I would have liked to have seen Black Widow attempt to calm the Hulk when he was angry in South Africa but in the process Hulk injured her. This would have added to Banner not wanting to get involved with her because he doesn’t want to hurt her. In the film, it’s not quite perfect because at the start of Act III Banner wants to run away with Natasha and let the rest of the team fight Ultron. There doesn’t seem to be any moment in Act III where Banner’s motivation has changed and yet it does.

Not sure what they got out of hiding out in Hawkeye’s farm? Ultron is stealing vibramium and attempting to steal nuclear codes and they’re going to kick it back for a while on a farm. It took away from the urgency a little.

Did Ultron really need to recruit the twins? There was nothing compelling for him which required the use their powers. He’s got thousands of robots, why involve those two? He even uses the sceptre stone on Helen Cho, he should have used Scarlet Witch for this but even then he didn’t really have to as he could have just used the threat of violence on her.




4 Replies to “Avengers 2 – Three breakdowns – Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat and Anatomy of story 22 steps”

  1. Hi,

    Great breakdowns, however, and this is in relation to the Save the Cat breakdown, I would have said the theme was about how far Tony is willing to go to save and protect the world. Seeing as Ultron is his shadow and he wants to rid the world of humanity to save it, while Vision becomes that combined synthesis.

    Although your theme still works as Vision goes on to destroy Ultron, who was (mostly) his creation. However, the discussions during the movie seem more about Stark acting alone, his reckless desire to protect the world, wanting to rid the world of it’s need to have the Avengers, while he seems to need to learn that by working in Harmony they can protect the world.

    1. Hi Lee

      Have you got a quote from the film when someone says that out loud and I’ll include it in the breakdown. STC requires the theme to said by one of the characters early on which I don’t necessarily agree with because by definition the theme of the film should be through out the entire film and not expressed only through dialogue. How’d you go with the film? Did you enjoy it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *