Ultron makes the perfect foe for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
Over the past several years, Marvel Studios has become synonymous with the summer blockbuster.
Beginning with the release of 2008’s “Iron-Man,” the studio has learned superheroes equal big box-office success. Even movie-goers who aren’t well versed in comic books pack theaters to see our heroes save the world … again. As much as we love to see good triumph over evil, who doesn’t love to hate a good villain?
If you were to ask for a perfect villain in the world of comic lore, he would have to have the adamantium metal structure of Wolverine, the powerful shape and design of Iron-Man, the intelligence and leadership of Captain America, the vengeance of The Hulk and the vile, evil persona of Dr. Doom as he attempts to overthrow all of humanity.
In a word, you would have Ultron.
The Avengers movie franchise is bringing to life one of the most widely feared, soulless creations that the Marvel Universe has ever known in their latest installment, “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” In the comics, Ultron himself is the creation of Avenger Hank Pym (Ant-Man), who will be introduced to movie audiences in July. Ultron dates back to the late ’60s, but the movie places him in a current timeline, as he attempts to bring our heroes to their knees. Director Joss Whedon has crafted his own origin story in the sequel, now involving Tony Stark (Iron-Man) in Ultron’s creation.
Much like a smartphone, Ultron’s incarnations are numbered, as each defeat brings us a newer, more sinister version. We saw Ultron-5 in the late ’60s, Ultron-8 in the ’70s, Ultron-12 in the ’80s and so on. There was even a female version of our robotic foe in 2007. What we haven’t seen, at least until now, is an Ultron with the tranquil, yet daunting voice of the star of NBC’s “The Blacklist,” James Spader.
If the movie follows the comic series, Ultron will be using a familiar adversary for fans of Marvel’s “X-Men” movies. Ultron launches his brand of Sentinels to take over New York, hunting down his hapless victims. In the books, many of the heroes see their ultimate doom at the hands of Ultron. It wouldn’t be a Marvel Comics mini-series if there wasn’t some time travel and team cross-overs, although the movie will probably forgo these for continuity and keep things in the present and strictly with The Avengers.
This will be a darker, unnerving installment when it comes to Marvel movies. Unlike Loki, Ultron isn’t driven by an emotional need to outdo his brother. He’s driven by a logic that punishing humanity and molding it into his image is necessary for its evolution.
Ultron differs from any other villain we’ve seen in Marvel films. He has the typical super-human speed and strength, but has the ability to heal himself, mind control, optical sensors that fire deadly beams from his hands, hypnosis, flight, a superior intelligence and the ability to convert electricity into energy that he can use against his victims. Ultron’s powers, in other words, consist of the powers of most of the heroes he will be facing and then some.
What will be different for moviegoers in this Avengers installment is the post-credit scene. Whedon has said there will be a tag midway through the credits, much like the reveal of Thanos in “The Avengers,” but we won’t have to wait until the last credits roll for that extra surprise.
Ultron has been defeated. He’s lost many times. The difference in this villain and others is that he leaves a horrible mark with each appearance, often taking out entire cities or heroes we’ve come to love. So even though he’s lost battle after battle, Ultron is always destined to return in a stronger, more threatening version of himself. Let’s hope, for the sake of humanity, The Avengers turn the age of Ultron into a very short season.