Avengers stars take to red carpet
Thousands of fans - many dressed as their favourite characters - turned out as t he stars of Marvel's Avengers re-assembled in London for their latest big screen outing.
Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans were at the UK premiere of Avengers: Age Of Ultron at Westfield shopping centre in west London.
British actors Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Paul Bettany also attended the event alongside the film's director Joss Whedon. Taylor-Johnson, 24, was accompanied by his wife Sam.
"This is pretty bananas. I'm glad that these films are so popular and people like it (the franchise)," Downey Jr, who returns to play Tony Stark and Iron Man, said on the red carpet.
The 50-year-old star joked he was "an assistant den mother" for director Whedon since he was the oldest in the group.
"I was pushing the younger talent and my contemporaries. I remember when I was that way. I kinda feel like I was the assistant headmaster," he added.
Johansson, who plays the Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff, showed off her slim figure in a colourful pleated dress by Balmain while Elizabeth Olsen - who joins the cast as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch - wore a black Yves Saint Laurent cape dress and studded heels.
The Lost In Translation actress, 30, revealed she was pregnant with her first child during the shoot, yet she threw herself into the action scenes. Johansson gave birth to daughter Rose Dorothy last September.
"I told them I was pregnant and they said, 'Great, we don't have to change anything. You're going to be working extra hard'. It was awesome," she said.
Johansson earlier told a press conference she would like her own Marvel spin-off movie, after she reprised the role of Black Widow for the fourth time.
"A Black Widow movie would be cool. I'm always happy to put the catsuit back on and looking at myself in all those mirrors," she said.
"What's great about playing this character is she's based in something deep and something I can hold onto. She's grounded and is very real. She has experienced a lot of trauma and she's never been able to make active choices for herself, and now she is ready for it."
Hemsworth, who portrays Norse god Thor, said on the red carpet that it had been great to reunite with his co-stars.
"The first film felt like the first day of school with nervous energy. This one felt like a high school reunion," he said.
Directed once again by Whedon, the Marvel superhero sequel - which comes three years after 2012's Avengers Assemble - sees the superhero team reunite to save the planet from villain Ultron, played by James Spader.
Bettany, who plays The Vision after being the voice of Tony Stark's artificial intelligence program J.A.R.V.I.S, said he had no hesitations about signing on for a bigger role.
"I took all of 40 seconds to decide," he said.
Comic-book fan Whedon, who will hand over directing duties for the next two-part instalment Avengers: Infinity War to Captain America film-makers Anthony and Joe Russo, joked he cannot wait to have a rest.
He said: "I don't think I'll ever get too far away from it because I love it too much. After my long rest, I plan a longer rest and then, eternal rest. I have no immediate plans, which is the best thing I've ever said.
"But I will be behind the barricades (with the fans) at the next one. That's where I belong," he added.
Avengers: Age Of Ultron opens in UK cinemas on Thursday.