After the critical praise and universal hype surrounding the release of the first Avengers movie, a sequel would undoubtedly have very big shoes to fill. Loki, the villain of the first ensemble movie, was a fan-favorite ever since his debut in Thor, and he was as crucial a part of the movie as any superhero. This sequel would have an unenviable task of introducing a new villain that hadn’t been properly built-up in any previous movie, a villain that had to set a lot of things in motion and pose a very real threat to a now well-oiled fighting machine.
The prospect of classic Avengers comics villain Ultron coming to the big screen was one that got every Marvel fan excited, but alas some people came out of Avengers: Age of Ultron sorely disappointed with the cinematic interpretation of the titular villain. They lamented his lack of impact and destruction, his personality and his quirks. Perhaps expectations were set too high thanks to a phenomenal first movie, but the truth of the matter is that Age of Ultron was just as much of great movie as its predecessor. Today, CBR lists 15 reasons Ultron was in fact the best villain the MCU has to offer.
15. HE IS TERRIFYING
Part of the mark of any good villain is his ability to strike fear not just in his enemies’ heart but audiences as well. The very introduction of Ultron immediately showed us how frightening he was. Constructing a body made entirely out of discarded Iron Legion parts, Ultron crashed the Avengers’ party as he slowly hobbled into the room, repeating after them.
Truth is, in this very scene, he didn’t pose a physical threat to the heroes at all, but he didn’t need to. His mere presence was enough scare us, as well as the Avengers, and it made us quickly realize that this was no simple foe they would be facing. The fact that he was then able to summon and control the other Iron Legion suits was even more imposing, and his subsequent death and rebirth to the chimes of Pinocchio‘s “I’ve Got No Strings” was all we needed to be rightfully terrified of this new villain.
14. HE IS THE PRODUCT OF THE AVENGERS (AND AN INFINITY STONE)
Loki was a villain because he was a villain. He was a Frost Giant and the Asgardian God of Mischief, and that made him who he was. But Ultron was much different, because he wasn’t already a presence. He was the very product of the work of Stark and Banner and their meddling with an Infinity Stone. But even then, it was the Avengers’ actions that truly motivated Ultron to fight against them.
Plus, Ultron was a direct creation of the Mind Stone. If there was any doubt about his power, the fact that he is a result of an ancient cosmic power of the Universe should tell you all you need to know about why he’s not only one of the most powerful villains out there but also one of the more important. He ties into the larger narrative sure, but he also carved out his very own place in this Universe.
13. HE’S A REBELLIOUS SON
The thing that is easy to forget about Ultron is that even though he appears as a very big machine, imposing and massive and frightening, he is still a rebellious, petulant child at heart. He turned on not just his father figure Tony Stark but also the entire Avengers, and the family unit they represent to him. He hates them so much that he went so far as going out on his own and creating his very own family.
He acts childish, he gets angered easily and he’ll cut off someone’s arm on a rage-filled whim. When Captain America comes to attack him on-board his truck, he whines and he lashes out at him and everyone like he is somehow treated unfairly. And when his very own creation, the Vision, turned against him, Ultron had nothing left but his anger.
12. HE GOT INSIDE THE AVENGERS’ HEADS
From the moment he was created, Ultron had a plan, a goal. He knew that the Avengers would be there face and stop him, so his first action was to seek out the other two creations of the Mind Stone, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff . In a way, they are his own siblings, another product of the Avengers and their influence on the world.
Ultron unleashed Wanda on all of the Avengers, allowing her to make them see visions that would shake them to their core. Steve Rogers saw a different time and faced the question of a different life, Thor saw where his path would lead him, Black Widow saw her past and the Hulk was loosed upon the world – all of which resulted in the Avengers needing to lay low, regroup and remain hidden for a time.
11. HE WAS RUTHLESS
When Doctor Helen Cho walked into her lab to find Ultron in the shadows, threatening to kill her entire staff if she would scream, there was no doubt about how ruthless the robot could be. Same goes for when he cut off Ulysses Klaue’s arm, when he likened him to Tony Stark or when he set a train filled with civilians derailing, just so he could make his escape.
Ultron was created by Tony Stark to protect people but he only ended up seeing them as a nuisance, something to be dealt with and dusted off of the Earth. He may not end up being the villain who has killed the most people in the MCU (not for lack of trying), but he did prove to us many times what a real threat and absolute danger he was not only for one person in a room, but the entire planet.
10. HIS PLAN
Some people have been vocal about their letdown when it comes to the title of the movie — “Age of Ultron” — seeing as how Ultron was alive for only a few days. But it’s important to remember that the movie’s title didn’t summarize the story of the movie. The “Age of Ultron” wasn’t an era or a saga, it was a plan; the ultimate goal the villain sought to bring to life.
To usher in this age of metal, Ultron first went after all of the nuclear weapons of the world, which made his idea all the more simple. But Jarvis was blocking him from inside the Internet, and so Ultron had to find other means to annihilate all human life on the planet. Only with vibranium could he build his perfect body, and only with this mineral could he create his ultimate weapon.
9. HE DOESN’T WANT TO BE ALONE
From a villainy standpoint, Ultron has many flaws that make him a ruthless and haunting antagonist. But as a robot, there are also qualities that make him all the more human. The one thing that humanizes him the most is his need to have someone around him. For all his talk about killing everyone on Earth, Ultron would actually have had a hard time ruling the planet alone had he been successful in his endeavor.
From him seeking out the Maximoff twins to create a family of his own to battling the one he rejected to kidnapping and holding Natasha Romanoff captive in his castle, Ultron has proven that he doesn’t want to be alone. He even went as far as telling Natasha, rather thoughtfully and regretfully, “I… don’t have anyone else.”
8. HE HAS A GOD COMPLEX
Although he was created by man, Ultron quickly saw himself to be above mankind. He saw their flaws as things that couldn’t be overcome and thought the world would be better off without them — a true godlike motive that he carried out by quoting or referencing the Bible. “Upon this rock, I will build my church,” he said, when he acquired the vibranium.
When the Maximoffs turned on him, he referenced the flood Noah faced, and told them God was showing up to destroy the Earth once more. Only this time, he was that god. Ultron created his very own meteor, a biblical, cataclysmic event to wipe out life on Earth, with the idea that the only thing left would be to start again, to create a new world, and a new chapter for a new race of robots.
7. HE CAN LOVE
It took a while for Ultron to show the Maximoffs what he truly was, and what he truly wanted to accomplish, but even when the twins ran from him, Ultron wanted them to stay. His true affection for them, for Wanda specifically, was shown when she approached Ultron to kill him, moments before the floating city of Sokovia would fall.
“If you stay here,” he said, worried and saddened at the same time, “you’ll die.” There was no malice in his voice, no threats or machinations. He knew that even if she killed him, he would have other bodies he could transfer to. He wasn’t trying to save his own life. This was true worry and concern, as we saw that even this angry robot could actually care for a human, which is, in its own way, kind of terrifying.
6. IT TOOK HEAVY HITTERS TO STOP HIM
With his new vibranium body, Ultron wasn’t easy to dispose of. When it came time to face him, the Avengers sent their heaviest hitters to destroy him. Thor unleashed his lightning, Iron Man fired his repulsor rays, and the Vision let the Mind Stone on his forehead loose, all of which resulted in a hail of lasers and energy that managed to burn Ultron to a crisp.
Then, if that wasn’t enough, Hulk came in to knock him away, and the Scarlet Witch ripped his metallic heart out. Ultron then tried to escape in a feeble and broken body, but even then, the Vision was there to greet him, and didn’t hesitate to let the power of the Mind Stone shine through to defeat the villain once and for all. Simply put, Ultron was a powerful villain that no single Avenger could have defeated alone.
5. HE IS FUNNY
Some Marvel critics will always point out the humor factor of the MCU, but humor has its very own place in any movie. Sure, Ultron was terrifying, he was ruthless, petulant, childish and murderous, but he was also very funny, whether he wanted to be or not. Like his “father” Tony Stark, Ultron could crack wise and make a few jokes, but his superiority complex and his all around disconnect from what makes one human made him funny.
With instances like him forgetting what the word for “children” was and opting instead for “smaller people,” or putting a caption to the Avengers’ destruction of his robots by exclaiming “That was dramatic,” Ultron made us laugh. The MCU is a universe of movies where characters can be funny, but Ultron brought his very own brand of dark and wry humor.
4. HE WAS DRAMATIC
Ultron was a grandiose character with a grandiose plan for world destruction, and he had all of the traits of a grandiose personality to go along with it. It wasn’t just that he saw himself as a superior god-like entity, it was also that he talked and acted like one. He was incredibly dramatic when it came to his entrances – as a broken robot, a shadow-hidden menace, a window-smashing robot “in charge,” or a cloaked figure in a church.
He was also poetic and philosophical. He saw the Avengers as an extension of humanity and concocted a plan that could mirror them. Speaking of his meteor, he said of humans, “You rise, only to fall.” All of these characteristics helped make Ultron a villain unlike any other in the MCU, a villain that created his own motive and his own plan in his own image.
3. JAMES FREAKING SPADER
The character of Ultron, while obviously CGI, could have entirely been made in post-production, with an actor lending his voice to the villain. But, for his amazing portrayal of the titular robot, legendary actor James Spader went above and beyond by wearing a motion-capture suit to catch every one of his movements and expressions.
Not only did Spader bring his most chilling voice to Ultron, he also actually brought him to life, giving him his gut-churning personality. Each of his movements, each of his reactions and facial expressions were all Spader, and that helped make a villain that felt all the more real. Spader gave the performance his all and it showed in every scene Ultron was in, as he gave the actors opposite him someone, or something, to actually play off of.
2. HE DISASSEMBLED THE AVENGERS
While Loki brought an alien army to the world, all he did was make the Avengers stronger, as his continued assault only worked to strengthen the bond between them and unify them as a team. But Ultron managed to divide them. Even though they fought against him together, his attacks on them and the world reverberated and continued to affect the characters.
After creating Ultron and unleashing him upon the world, Tony Stark decided that it was time for him to leave the team. After attacking the people of Johannesburg, the Hulk did not return and left for parts unknown. And after saving the world, Clint Barton decided to retire and stay at home with his family. Sure, the Avengers would live on with new members, but Ultron still managed to disband them.
1. HE KILLED AN AVENGER
Now that the Avengers’ ranks had grown by three, with Vision, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, there were even more superheroes fighting against Ultron. But even when he was on the losing side of his fight, he commandeered the quinjet and unleashed a hail of bullets on them. Seeking to kill Hawkeye, Quicksilver stepped in to save the archer – but it came at the cost of his own life.
Many villains have gone up against the Avengers, separately or as a team, and all of those villains failed in their goals to kill them. Loki was the one who got closest, when he managed to fatally stab Agent Coulson in The Avengers. But then again, Coulson wasn’t exactly a member of the team. In the whole of the MCU, no real Avenger had really died. That is, until Ultron came along.
What do you think? Is Ultron still a jabroni, or did he get the job done? Let us know in the comments!
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