Decoding the Age of Ultron (SDCC Recap Part Two)

On the opposite side of the coin from my previous post, Marvel added some revelations of their own to the SDCC mix, not the least of which was a bald Amy Pond (Karen Gillian) surprising everyone in the middle of her panel by revealing her always gorgeous ginger locks had been cleanly removed for her role as Nebula in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. What is it with departed Doctor Who actors suddenly shaving their heads? Anyway…

In what will likely be the most speculative announcement coming out of Con from the movie side of the Big M was the title of the 2015 Avengers sequel.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Those of us familiar with the current comics may clearly recognize this title as identical to the latest in a long running line of books dedicated to post-apocalyptic alternate universe scenarios in which one specific villain has accomplished their goals of world domination. Somehow, I doubt that this title would hook-up with anything remotely related to the current Age of Ultron now reaching its zenith on a comic store shelf near you.

While Ultron is probably the most classic villain of the Avengers as a team and while I have no doubt that the Avengers vs. Ultron would play incredibly well on screen, I have some reservations about this overly obvious mission statement which I will now list for you here.

1. WTF happened to Thanos and my Infinity Gauntlet Movie???

Putting Ultron’s name in the title gives most Marvel fanboys (like myself) a general plot outline, none of which involves anything that was teased at the end of the first Avengers. Ultron, for those of you who spent your youth outside and not buried up to your nose in comic books, is a sentient, ultra-intelligent, and practically indestructible robot. Nothing in that sentence is at all related to Thanos or any other greater cosmic threat. As I just said, this battle will play well for the screen and will likely make for an awesome movie, but at a highly reduced scale to the Infinity Gauntlet movie that has been dangled in front of us ever since the Gauntlet itself went on display at SDCC in 2011 in the official Marvel area (next to Cap’s shield, Thor’s Hammer, and a set of Iron Man armor). They’re holding filet mignon under our noses then feeding us hamburger on this one.

2. WTF happened to Hank Pym?

Dr. Henry Pym – AKA Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Yellowjacket, and Goliath among others – is the creator (more like Father) of Ultron in the comics, not to mention a founding member of the Avengers. One would assume that as goes Ultron, so goes Hank Pym. The problem is that, in the Avengers Panel, it was revealed that Ultron would be created without Pym’s influence due to the fact that he has not yet been established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I know that as far back as 2010, when the Avengers movie was still a fanboy’s sick fantasy on the verge of becoming tangible, it was announced that Edgar Wright (of Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim fame) would be helming the Ant-Man movie as a precursor to the Avengers (along side Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America).
This film has been largely up in the air. Rumor had it that the comedic vibe with which Wright approached the initial screenplay wasn’t jiving with the studio’s long-term vision for the universe and would make Dr. Pym seem out of place if suddenly pressed in with the more “serious” cast of characters. Two complete re-writes later and Wright’s Ant-Man is now slated for a post-Avengers 2 release. In my opinion, this kinda puts the cart before the horse as far as comic book canon is concerned and takes away the creator/creation relationship which made Ultron a more interesting machine of mass distruction. I’m sure Joss H. Whedon knows what he’s doing by taking this step and he’ll likely come up with a good end around, but it runs the risk of decreasing Hank Pym’s character. Ultron was simultaneously his greatest achievement and his biggest failure. On that note…

3. Ultron is supposed to be Hank Pym’s biggest failure. Who does that fall to now?

The reason Hank Pym is essential Ultron’s creator is that Ultron’s artificial intelligence is based on Pym’s own thought patterns. Ultron shows the dark side of Pym’s genius, making both of them more sympathetic characters. It also adds that faint glimmer of humanity to Ultron even if it was in the form of jealousy and cruelty. It foreshadowed the eventual reveal that Pym was a wife-beating scumbag, but that’s a story for another time and could be another reason they wanted to leave Pym out. I mean, Stark’s an alcoholic, but at least he’s not a domestic abuser. Kinda hard to justify that sort of behind-the-scenes action in a superhero movie and still have you rooting for him.
The most likely choice of main characters the creation of Ultron (and its subsequent brain patterns) would fall to would be one Mr. Tony Stark. We’ve already seen the capabilities of his AI-tech thanks to Iron Man 3 (house party protocol!) and we know he’s capable of creating robots with personality (the dunce-cap lab-bot). If he’s serious about quitting as Iron Man, Ultron might be his next step.

Oh crap, guys, I think I just figured out the whole plot of Avengers 2 right there.

4. Screw the rest of this list, I just figured out the plot of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Tony quits being Iron Man, but the Avengers still want him. Since Pepper doesn’t want him putting his life on the line anymore and Tony seems to want to concentrate more on their relationship, he has to figure out another solution.
Operating the armor remotely (as seen many times in IM3) won’t cut it because Pepper will be up his ass to stop playing superhero. He’ll feel obligated to do something about it and will create Ultron, implanting that robot with his personality as a guide for its AI. At first, it will seem the perfect replacement for Tony and Iron Man on the team, but it will quickly fall to the dark side, likely by realizing that its father has it better than it does (a la Hank Pym) and not enjoying being referred to as “it” just as I’ve done for the last paragraph.
Ultron then goes rogue and will need a helper. He creates The Vision (as he did in the comics, and as is rumored to be played by Vin Diesel) but this backfires on him as he creates another being similar to himself, with the capacity for all human emotions, and the Vision grows compassionate toward humanity eventually siding with the Avengers in the final battle and surviving the ultimate destruction of his creator.
Tony will also feel obligated to get back into the armor after his creation goes crazy and either him or the Vision will land the final blow on Ultron.

Maybe in Avengers 3 we’ll finally get that Infinity Gauntlet movie.

Remember you heard this here in 2015, kids. I would love to be right this far in advance.

Keep fighting the good fight.

—end transmission—

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