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Some Thoughts on Age of Ultron

Ever since EndGame came out, I’ve been re-watching all the Avengers Infinity Saga Marvel films–albeit rather slowly. And since I’m now roughly in the middle, I thought it might be time for an update!

Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy still number among my favorite Marvel films, with the first Iron Man a strong contender as well. The surprising standout for me, though? Avengers: Age of Ultron. I really enjoyed my re-watch of the film, and it led me to think about how underrated it is.

Sure, I could talk about how much I dislike Hawkeye’s family farm (yawn). Or go into my thoughts on the Black Widow’s infamous “I’m a monster” discussion which I personally–and I respect all views on this–never interpreted as tied to her sterility, but rather an extension of her spy-vs-hero struggle that shows up in both the first Avengers movie and, to greatest effect, in Winter Soldier.

But what stands out in this movie to me is that Ultron as a villain works so, so well. Much better, from this vantage (having only seen Infinity War and Endgame once each) than Thanos.

Tony Stark creates Ultron because he sees Thanos coming–if not Thanos specifically, aliens in general; certainly he has reason to, and it’s in Ultron that he first uses the term Endgame. Essentially, Tony foresees the Thanos troubles and looks for a patch.

What fascinates me about Ultron, aside from great writing and James Spader’s can’t-look-away voice performance, is that he is a distorted reflection of Tony’s own fears. He’s created straight out of Tony’s worst nightmares, and becomes them. And I just think that’s so much more interesting than Thanos’s “cleanse half the universe” stuff.

Ultron is funny, and philosophical, and thus borders on sympathetic at times. More than Thanos, who as far as I can see doesn’t care about the meaning of humanity. Which is funny, since Ultron and Thanos both have a “kill them to save them” mentality. Ultron’s works for me–and gives Captain America a chance to refer to Winter Soldier (and look ahead to Civil War) when he says that trying to take out a threat before it happens is never a good idea.

It’s that reflection of Tony, though, that really has me thinking: if the Avengers Infinity Saga has a main character, is it Tony Stark? Maybe so. 

As Marvel villains go, I rank Ultron right up there with the sometimes-villainous, sometimes-anti-hero-ish, aways-rogueishly-charming Loki–and even almost as interesting (if not as sympathetic) as Erik Killmonger, as portrayed by Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther

Plus, the Scarlet Witch totally shows up to blast stuff around. And that’s badass.


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About Kate Sheeran Swed

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