The Avengers: Age of Ultron

By Shamus Posted Sunday May 3, 2015

Filed under: Movies 241 comments

Non-spoiler stuff first: I’ve said before that I think most science fiction gets robots wrong by projecting human desires onto AI. So we end up robots with a Pinocchio complex that have daddy issues, self esteem issues, bad tempers, romantic hang-ups, and a dozen other neurosis and quirks that really make no sense at all outside of a Darwinian biological struggle to survive.

I hope it’s not a spoiler to say that Age of Ultron does not break from this tradition. If anything, Ultron is worse than its robotic-overlord predecessors in this regard. The entire movie is more outrageously “comic book”-ish about its science. People can invent world-changing stuff in the time it takes to heat up a Hot Pocket and science is mixed in with magic with no regard for genre boundaries.

This makes it a very hard movie to believe in. (Particularly near the end, when it feels like all the rules go out the window.) If you’re going to suspend your disbelief, you’re going to have a lot of stuff to suspend and the writer isn’t really interested in helping you out, because explaining the rules would devour endless screen time.

I loved it.

I love that Barton is wrestling with two robots that both have an arrow through the head and are still functioning. Everyone knows a bow is useless here. Including Ultron. And the other Avengers. And Joss Wheadon. And Hawkeye.

It basically survives solely on the strength of its characters and their banter. I don’t think most people realize how precariously this movie is balanced. If you take out some of the laughs and feels that make us want to believe in this world, the whole thing unravels in an instant. This movie survives for the same reason I put up with parts of Mass Effect 2: We like these characters and will hand-wave silly ideas as long as their parts workAlthough having NO rules is still better than having rules and then later BREAKING them, which was what Mass Effect kept doing.. Characters can’t carry a story forever, and there’s a limit to how much crap the audience will tolerate, but Age of Ultron gets farther than I ever thought possible.

Here is an odd sort of praise: I liked it better than my first viewing of Avengers 1, but I’ll bet Ultron will have less re-watch value in the long run. Contrivances and BS tend to stick out more on repeated viewings, and Age of Ultron has a lot of them.

There are ten screens at the local Cineplex. On Friday, Avengers was playing on four of them. I’ve never seen that happen before. Not in this town.




The ending drove me crazy. Okay, the city is going to slam into the earth and kill “billions”. But then they blow it apart. That shouldn’t actually help. (Much.) You still have the same mass heading at the earth at the same speed, which means it’s going to deliver the same amount of energy. In asteroid movies you can kind of hand-wave this by saying that if we make the pieces small enough they could burn up in the atmosphere instead of hitting the ground. I guess the idea is that the energy gets absorbed heating the upper atmosphere instead of shoving the tectonic plates around and kicking up world-enveloping dust clouds?

I have no idea if that actually works if you do the math. Someone should ask Randal to run those numbers. In any case, that doesn’t help here. The city isn’t nearly high enough for anything to burn up. It’s the difference between being buried under a ton of rock versus a ton of gravel. Which is “nothing”, from a survival point of view.

The story also played ridiculously fast-and-loose with Vision. He’s got Ultron’s evil mind! No he doesn’t! He’s Jarvis! But not! Here’s an infinity stone, which will melt a person! Except this one seems harmless and Vision is just going to wear it on his forehead! He has a lifetime of wisdom, skill, and temperance, despite the fact that none of his creators or any of his ingredients would hold or impart those attributes.

In the comic book I’m sure there are reasons for all of these ideasBy the standards of comic-book “reason”. but here it feels like the writer is straining to connect his world with a pre-determined end established by the funnybooks, and there just isn’t enough room in the story to make it all work. By the end we’re hand-waving so fast we’re hovering like hummingbirdsDear Randal: How fast would I need to flap my hands to hover like a hummingbird? Do I need to take off my wedding ring first?.

It’s still a good movie. Yay for Hawkeye!



[1] Although having NO rules is still better than having rules and then later BREAKING them, which was what Mass Effect kept doing.

[2] By the standards of comic-book “reason”.

[3] Dear Randal: How fast would I need to flap my hands to hover like a hummingbird? Do I need to take off my wedding ring first?

From The Archives:

241 thoughts on “The Avengers: Age of Ultron

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The city thing:

    Its not quite the same mass.Iron man supercharged the vibranium core in order for thor to destroy the city.The chunks that fall down arent even the half of the city,meaning a bunch of it was instantly vaporised in the air.Plus,the core was accelerating downwards,so once broken up,the rocks would lose a bunch of speed.It still would cause a big devastation,but still just a tiny fraction of the whole thing pummeling the ground.

    As for thor and iron man surviving the extreme explosion of all that rock instantly vaporising:They are thor and iron man.No need for explanation there.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The vision thing:

    Not every gem is the same.The mind gem,as the name says,and the staff showed,is primarily about the mind,more than pure destruction like the guardians one.And as can be seen when the vision finalizes his look(with the costume and the cape),he is a merger entity of all of the avengers,due to the gem.He is ultron,he is jarvis,but he is all the avengers as well.All at the same time.

  3. Tohron says:

    Vision didn’t strike me as that implausible – Ultron’s mind wasnt’ a factor because they stopped the upload – the intelligence they uploaded instead was based on Jarvis. And he can have an Infinity Stone in his head because his “cells” contain Vibranium. Still comic-book science, but internally consistent.

  4. guy says:

    Yeah, I wondered about the falling city. I mean, there are some arguments available for it, but I don’t think they all stand up. One I can see is that it actually wasn’t like an asteroid because it wasn’t already moving fast. The impact was for if the engines that lifted it accelerated it downwards and they blew it up early into the process. Further, blowing it into dust allowed the atmosphere to actually slow it down. If anything, I’d be more concerned that most of the dust stayed up and summer is cancelled for the next few years.

    As for Vision, I think what happened is that rather than Tony and Banner meddling with forces they didn’t understand, Thor meddled with forces he did understand. My guess for why he can wear the yellow stone on his forehead is that he’s built much sturdier than humans and the mindstone is less explosive than the purple one.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      If anything, I'd be more concerned that most of the dust stayed up and summer is cancelled for the next few years.

      Indeed.It ended up being more like a volcano than asteroid.Still really destructive,but in a different fashion.

      1. Depending on how much energy they used to disintegrate it, the dust occlusion cooling and the energy released into the atmosphere might have come close to canceling each other out. It also depends a lot on what KIND of dust it is–on the makeup of the rock/etc. Sulfur-containing rock has a tendency to create microdroplets of sulfuric acid which blocks sunlight like crazy and could lead to an Ice Age. So, the upshot of this MIGHT just be “The Avengers fixed global warming!” . . . followed by “Moscow buried under 35 feet of snow” or some such.

        It’s still going to screw up the weather bigtime–dust in the air increases the nucleation of water droplets. It is suspected that dust from the Sahara is the primary driver of hurricane season in the U.S. for precisely this reason. In the short term there will be a shitload of rainfall and devastating floods followed by intense dryness if the solar occlusion is enough to cause a significant drop in the rate of evaporation off the ocean.

        For the most part, it should only have an immediate and severe effect on the northern hemisphere, though, because the dust should stay (mostly) north of the equator until the aforementioned shitload of rainfall brings it back down to the ground.

        1. Excuse me . . . “fixed global warming” for a sufficiently broad definition of “fixed”.

          1. Alexander The 1st says:

            Now I’m picturing the film with Thanos defeated having as its stinger the reveal that the Avengers now have to fight their greatest threat yet – global warming.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Im sure there is a comic about that.

              1. Wide And Nerdy says:

                Please tell me they fight it with lasers.

              2. Ed says:

                Doc Ock once holds the world hostage with a set of space mirrors that he claims will stop global warming if the world pays him enough money.

                1. Ayegill says:

                  That’s not really holding the world hostage, that’s just “I have a solution to your problem, and will sell it to you”

                  1. Ed says:

                    He threatens to use the space mirrors to get rid of global warming if paid, and if not, he’ll burn the entire planet to ashes. Sorry I left out the second part.

                    1. Mike S. says:

                      “It’s a sort of threat, you see. I’ve never been terribly good at them myself but I’m told they can be terribly effective.”

  5. AR+ says:

    “Burning up in the atmosphere” is not necessarily great either, because it still dissipates all that energy into the atmosphere. Calculations have shown that the debris of the dinosaur killing impact that was launched out of the atmosphere and re-entered would have imparted enough energy to make the entire sky glow red hot for several hours, setting everything on fire and broiling every animal on the surface that could not escape to burrows or water.

    Regarding the serious study of what AIs, there is a book out that covers it very nicely. For a much shorter read you can get as a .pdf, there is a lot of interesting things to consider in this short paper, which discusses the instrumental “drives” that you would expect from any goal-seeking AI whatsoever, even if it had no such explicit programing.

    1. ehlijen says:

      I always assumed that the idea with breaking up incoming big rocks was about doing it far out enough from the planet so that the expanding cloud of debris would only partially hit earth.

      I have no idea if that is actually feasible, but it’s usually enough to make me nod and go along with the movie/game.

      1. AR+ says:

        Depends on the situation. If you can see the would-be impactor and the Earth in the same shot, it’s too late, and that pretty effectively dooms most movie Earths. Also, if the impactor is not on a solar escape trajectory, then the orbits of all of the pieces of debris will still intersect Earth’s orbit and any pieces that miss the first time will have an effectively infinite number of retries for the foreseeable future.

        1. ehlijen says:

          Fair points, though at least spreading out the impact energy over a longer time would help diminish the immediate disaster effects.

        2. Kalil says:

          “Also, if the impactor is not on a solar escape trajectory, then the orbits of all of the pieces of debris will still intersect Earth's orbit and any pieces that miss the first time will have an effectively infinite number of retries for the foreseeable future.”

          This is called a meteor shower, and is very pretty.

        3. Zak McKracken says:

          If you manage to move parts of the mass into an intersecting orbit instead of hitting right now, you’ll impact only a tiny percentage of them a year from now, a slightly tinyer percentage the year afterwards and so on for centuries. The only problem with them is the size of the largest chunk and whether that would eventually hit Earth (some will probably escape, be caught or thrown off-course by the moon or another planet). Nothing compared to the whole thing coming down at once.

          Heat that is put into the atmosphere at large altitudes escapes to space much quicker than if it was put into the ground directly, plus there’s the problem of dust — the chunks burning up in the atmosphere do leave some stuff behind but much less than what they could move when hitting the ground. In addition to that, there’s the problem of tidal waves and water vapour from impacts on the Sea. This means that yes, splitting large objects into smaller bits before they hit Earth is generally always an advantage.

          …and then the whole story lives on that weird combination of comic book and Hollywood logic which is to say worse than either. Since I cannot ignore my inner engineer, I cannot for the live of me watch that movie (went into the first Avengers movie with low expactations and was dissappointed), so I’m not actually sure what I’m talking about. But I’m fairly certain it makes more sense than the movie.

          1. Zak McKracken says:

            Ahh, so having read more comments: The thing is originating within the atmosphere: So there’s no way it could trigger anything geologically relevant: Meteoroids have a minimum impact velocity of 7 km/s when they hit the atmosphere because that’s the speed you get to when falling from far far away towards Earth. Way more if it was already moving relative to Earth when it was still far far away (which is likely). Once they meet the atmosphere, they’re only slowing down. Anything falling down from within the atmosphere has much less space to accelerate:

            Let’s say you start at 12 km altitude (where passenger aircraft cruise, way above where people can still breathe). Even discarding drag, you’d only accelerate to 485 m/s. Kinetic energy scales with the square of velocity, so that means you’d have about 0.5% of the impact energy of the bare minimum a meteoroid of equal mass would have. Of course you won’t even become that fast, and I doubt that anything which wasn’t especially made for the purpose* could accelerate past 80% of the speed of sound, which gives you about 0.15% of that meteoroid’s impact energy. Even less if your object is being broken into pieces because that will increase surface area and thus drag.

            *”City” does not sound like it was shaped to accelerate to supersonic velocities.
            What’s a city doing in the stratosphere? Last time they had an aircraft carrier, which was already extremely… weird, especially since it wasn’t even flying like an aircraft but just hovering like a helicopter, which is the most expensive of not moving, in terms of energy consumption. There’s a reason why a helicopter’s rotor is way larger then the rest of the vehicle, and its consumption while hovering is way higher than what it uses at regular cruise velocity. If I wanted to keep an aircraft carrier afloat for more than a few seconds, I’d use Hydrogen (or Helium if I was concerned about safety, but if I’m floating aircraft carriers, I’m probably not).

            … so yeah, probably good I didn’t watch that one. Would have spoiled it for everyone in the theatre.

            1. Zak McKracken says:

              Gosh, if I was a physics teacher, I’d totally have my class do these calculations. Way better than talking about throwing balls…

            2. guy says:

              There were some kind of super-tech engines on the city to lift it up in order to use it as a kinetic weapon. The plan was very explicitly to reverse the engines and accelerate it downwards.

            3. DaveMc says:

              Yes. This was what kept bothering me about the threat at the end of the movie: meteors are dangerous not because they are *high*, but because they are coming in so *fast*. The premise really seemed to be “Raise a city up high enough and drop it, and it will be the same as a meteor impact”. I guess the reverse-thrust engines were supposed to accomplish the speed-up? But that’s a lot of acceleration over not very much space (starting from a height where humans can still breathe).

              [And I now see that many people have made the same points down below, as I should expect by now from the crowd reading this site … :) ]

    2. bloodsquirrel says:

      Here’s the important thing:

      An asteroid hitting the Earth isn’t just falling. It’s slamming into the atmosphere at extreme velocities. We’re talking about “Earth travelling around the sun” kind of speeds here, meaning in the range of 30 kilometers per second.

      Just dropping the city wouldn’t have caused an extinction event. The engines needed to accelerate the city into the Earth for it to work, and they blew them up before they could do that.

      1. dp says:

        Also: the city couldn’t have gotten that high since no-one was having breathing difficulties (so below aeroplane cruising height). Blowing up the city is good for several reasons: 1 no engines so no downwards acceleration (at least 1g); 2 smearing out the impact over time since some of the debris would have been expelled upwards; and 3 increasing the surface area of the city which should decrease its terminal velocity.

        1. guy says:

          They actually were above the clouds and the air was enough thinner that Cap commented on it.

      2. Mephane says:

        This fact is missed so often. The relative speeds of celestial objects are on a scale that the extra energy coming from Earth’s gravity, i.e. the “falling down” part, is relatively insignificant when the object is already moving at tens of kilometers per second. We are talking about an object with a mass of millions or billions of tons at several times the speed of a railgun projectile.

        To give you some perspective, look at images of the moon, or other astronomical objects, with many craters. Why are these always circular, and not elongated, since the chance for an object to impact at a 90° are extremely slim? Why because the craters are not dents produced by the object itself, but the result of the shockwaves of the explosions caused by the impact, and these shockwaves expand equally fast into all directions from the point of contact. The impactors themselves are tiny compared to the craters they produce.

        But just lifting such an object even into the upper atmosphere and letting it fall down under gravity, the destruction would be rather limited in extent. Certainly not “billions” would die, millions probably if it comes down on a heavily populated area. Certainly less casualties than superman would cause by flying through the atmosphere at the speed of light… ;)

      3. Deadpool says:

        Yes, that was the worst sciency part of the story. The city wasn’t high enough, wasn’t moving fast enough and was over LAND, not sea (even though pieces of it magically fell in the water anyways. Which is MUCH worse than falling on land).

        1. guy says:

          The extinction event projection called for it to be higher and for the engines to continuously accelerate it downwards. And while a sea impact gives you bigger waves, I would think it would cut down on the debris cloud and the earthquakes, which would be the big killers for people on a different ocean from the impact site.

          1. Zak McKracken says:

            If you have eninges powerful enough to carry that city’s weight, going full tilt downward, that would mean the thing would accelerate with twice Earth acceleration, which would mean it’d arrive on the ground at 1.4 times the speed it would otherwise have, ignoring air drag. Taking air drag into account, its terminal velocity would also be 1.4 that of what it would have otherwise, doubling the impact energy. Doesn’t help much if you’re behind meteors by orders of magnitude.

            1. Mike S. says:

              That’s the minimum power of the engines, though, not the maximum. (Well, the minimum’s a bit higher, since if they could only manage to counter Earth’s acceleration the city would be hovering rather than rising. They’re making enough more than 1G to lift, not enough more that everyone’s dragging twice or more of their normal weight around.)

              But for all we know Ultron is raising the city at a small fraction of the engines’ full potential, and when he makes turnover he’ll turn them up to eleven.

              (He doesn’t go full tilt all at once because he’s a comic-book villain, and there would be no one to make speeches to if he just vooped past the orbit of the moon and then doubled back.)

          2. Deadpool says:

            Water is easy to evaporate. The energy release from an impact into water would put WAY more steam into the atmosphere (thus blocking out sunlight) than an impact on land would push dirt into the sky.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The ultron thing:

    True,he is mad as a hatter,he has emotions,but theres also machine shining back through all of that.Especially in his talk with jarvis and vision.

    Besides,he too gets some of the code from the staff,meaning from the mind gem.So he as well isnt a full machine but a kind of android like vision.At least in his mind.

    1. ehlijen says:

      And that’s where the movie telling us more about the mind gem would have been nice. All we get is that there is an ai or something inside it. Who made it? Did anyone or was it always? Why is it in there? Why was the gem in Loki’s staff? Who put it there?

      All I know about infinity stones is from Guardians of the Galaxy, coming from an obviously deranged man and it didn’t touch on any of this.

      Instead, enjoy more scenes of Warmachine being upstaged. Funny, but far less useful to the plot.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        All those are irrelevant for the story.You dont have to know everything about everything in order for the story to work.We know that it can influence minds and that it is powerful,all else is just dressing.

        1. ehlijen says:

          Knowing who the bad guy is is pretty important to me, and I would think knowing what he was made from would help in that regard.

          Same to knowing who the deus ex machine saviour is. He literally just became another good guy in a cape because there was so little build up to what he was.

          They were highly entertaining to watch do their thing, but at no point did I care if they won or lost.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            We know who the bad guy is.And what he is made of.That has nothing to do with the gem.

            We also know who vision is,and there is plenty of buildup.He is not just another good guy in a cape,he is an amalgamation of all the good guys we were following so far,plus some of ultron.

            Now granted,how ultron and vision were born was a bit quick,and its hard to catch on the first viewing,but its there.

            1. ehlijen says:

              I disagree (note, I have not and won’t read the comics).

              I’m a bit vague on what Ultron is. It’s obviously more than just Jarvis+Stark’s anxieties, but what else? Plot mojo from Loki’s staff? What was that?
              “Oh look, we found an AI, just what we needed” isn’t much of an explanation.

              And Vision wasn’t explained. Fine, he was a body made of Cap-Shield metal and artificial living tissue…but that fact is never really used in the movie (he appears no tougher than any of the other heroes), and then…Jarvis is uploaded into it after coming back from the dead offscreen? With more of the magic mojo that corrupted Ultron (from the same stone)? Why is he then good? Do we just take the magic puddle Thor got a lift to at its word?

              The punching was great fun, but everything else was contrived nonsense. That’s not a mark against it, it’s just I’ve seen that part done better in other movies, including previous marvel ones.

              1. guy says:

                I'm a bit vague on what Ultron is. It's obviously more than just Jarvis+Stark's anxieties, but what else? Plot mojo from Loki's staff? What was that?

                Loki got the staff from Thanos. There was an AI inside; I suspect in the housing rather than the mindstone because the Infinity Stones are apparently black-boxes even to super-advanced alien races. They copied said AI into their existing but defunct Ultron project.

                Jarvis is uploaded into it after coming back from the dead offscreen? With more of the magic mojo that corrupted Ultron (from the same stone)? Why is he then good? Do we just take the magic puddle Thor got a lift to at its word?

                Um, yes we do take the magic puddle at its word. Why would Thor go to a magic puddle that can’t be taken at its word?

              2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                (note, I have not and won't read the comics)

                Neither have I.All my knowledge is purely from the movies.

                I'm a bit vague on what Ultron is. It's obviously more than just Jarvis+Stark's anxieties, but what else? Plot mojo from Loki's staff? What was that?
                “Oh look, we found an AI, just what we needed” isn't much of an explanation.

                What he is made of is not the same as what he is.We know what he is,we saw him getting born,we heard him throughout the movie explain himself.He is partially ai,partially human mind(due to the mind gem),and he is crazy.He wants world peace,and he equates that as eternal peace in the world,meaning no humans.So we know his motivation,we know his reasoning,we know what his body is made of and what his powers are.The rest is not needed.

                And Vision wasn't explained.

                Explicitely,no.But we saw him getting born,which shows he has absorbed something from the avengers due to the mind gem in his head.Thats why his costume resembles them somewhat.So he is like ultron,but also has some of jarvis in him and some of all the avengers.He too is partially ai,partially human mind,and he is not fractured like ultron.He too wants world peace,but he wants it moment by moment,realizing that all things are fleeting,and its the small things that count.We know his motivation,we know his reasoning,we know what his body is made of and what (some of) his powers are.The rest is not needed.

                1. Lanthanide says:

                  I don’t know where you’re getting “some of all of the Avengers” from because there’s nothing that makes that obvious at all.

                  The only thing to me is the cape, but I think he just created that after he saw Thor with one and thought it looked cool, for lack of better motivation.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Ultron got part of starks personality somehow.Seeing how he was created partially from the mind gem,we can infer that it is capable of absorbing the personality of those around it(so maybe ultron has part of banner in him as well,which would explain his rage and why he seems like he has some personality disorder).I mean the other option would be that stark somehow programmed in his personality,but seeing how jarvis is nothing like stark,thats probably not the case.

                    All the avengers were around vision when he was born,and he was even closer to the gem than ultron.Vision changed his appearance to resemble at least 3 of them:the helmet of stark,cape of thor and costume of cap.He had none of those things when he first existed.As to whether he did it simply because it looked neat or whether he actually has part of their personalities is questionable,but I prefer the second option because of the gem in his head.And if he got 3 of them,why not all of them?

                    Nothing of this is clearly stated,that is true.But then again we didnt get absolute confirmation that the mind gem was in the staff until this movie either.

                    Of course,I may be misremembering things,so Ill have to watch the movie again in more detail to confirm this theory of mine.

                    1. MichaelGC says:

                      I’m not sure how important it was – and it certainly doesn’t go against the theory, which I quite like – but there was some stuff about how they’d only managed to do 97% of something or other when they were working on the transfer or whatever (as you can tell I’m a little hazy on the details…). So, they could probably get away with all sorts of explanations for what went on with the 3% of whatever-it-was (including obviously Avengers Combo Theory).

                  2. RCN says:

                    As someone who knows the Avengers in the comic book, but doesn’t know the classic ones very well, Vision both took me by surprise and I found myself slapping my own forehead that I should have seem him coming.

                    Jarvan was very much explicitly told to be almost a full-fledged AI, with Iron Man saying as much to Bruce Banner in the start of the movie. Then Ultron built up this new body of his that would be a perfect hybrid. Then Jarvan came back from the dead proving that it had a very high degree of self-awareness and self-preservation, not to mention heroic values since he was spending all his efforts preventing Ultron from gaining access to atomic weapons.

                    As for Ultron, I didn’t think he was such a bad AI. It is just that he was an AI that WASN’T built by Stark BUT achieved awareness with Stark’s code and guidelines, used it’s resources to look up humanity, analyzed his mission, and finally reached the conclusion that he couldn’t save earth (his “prime directive” as it were) with weak, fleshy humans as the force he had to work with. His whole plan is cleansing humans who can’t seem to get two seconds of coexistence without jumping at each other’s throats so he could re-populate the planet with something that could actually survive the war that the Kree and Thanos planned to bring to earth. It is a clear case of giving a machine a task and not establishing parameters, it will try to perform the task nonetheless.

                    It is clear that Ultron doesn’t understand people at all. He gets shocked that the Scarlet Witch would ditch him and he clearly don’t understand pain. It is also interesting how much he hates Tony Stark, but I actually saw a parallel here and with Shamus’ Free Radical. He was given a task without parameters and that made him insane, even though it wasn’t Tony Stark’s fault (he didn’t get the chance to properly program Ultron, it just achieved awareness amidst his OS, for lack of a better term). What I liked the most about Ultron is how he was clearly shocked at himself every time he got angry for being compared to Tony Stark.

                    But maybe I’m reading too much into it, since I like James Spader too much.

                2. ehlijen says:

                  If Ultron is just your model 08/15 genocidal AI, why make a big deal out of him being made from unknown tech? If that’s all he is, then I guess him looking a bit like General Grievous was intentional. He’s about as well characterised.

                  HAL or SkyNet he is not.

                  Given that they went for such an unusual and lampshaded origin, I’d have liked more than a generic Evilbot.

                  And I think you’re reaching with Vision. I’m not going to take the magic puddle that came out of nowhere and had but a glimpse on screen at its word. By everything the movie told us, Vision should have turned out similarly to Ultron, as he was made in the same way by the same people from the same magic AI, unless Thor’s lightning is actually made of pure goodness or something (which again, isn’t mentioned) and that somehow overrides everything.

                  They’re contrivances to get the characters from fight scene to fight scene, and that’s fine. It just gets very distracting when too much is made of them.

                  1. RCN says:

                    Uhh… the difference is that Vision was made from Jarvan. That’s the most important thing there. It took Jarvan’s already established code and already “knew” the Avengers and Tony Stark himself. It was like Ultron but without all the noise and impossible directives to follow. It knew it was important to protect HUMANITY, not just the planet, and he already knew what humanity was, or at least had a much better idea than Ultron.

                    Also, there’s the fun fan-theory that what made Ultron mad is that he tapped into the internet, found 4Chan and other dark corners of the internet, and decided we were not worth living anymore. Jarvan probably is blocked from accessing such sites.

                  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Both vision and ultron have emotions.If they got those from the alien code,then both would be as insane and prone to anger.But they arent.Meaning that their emotions come from somewhere else.Jarvis is emotionless,so its not there either.The other option is that the mind gem does not only influence minds,but can sense them as well.This means that ultron was insane either because he was an amalgamation only of stark and banner instead of all the avengers(someone else is the balance),or because stark was not really himself while making ultron(because of scarlet witch).

                    HAL or SkyNet he is not.

                    Dont compare skynet to hal.We see nothing of skynet and his thought process,so for all we know he may be even worse than ultron.

      2. Deadpool says:

        The movie DID tell us that the AI already sorta existed within it… Although, more likely, within the shell that protected the Mind Gem.

        I also took “Fine, I’ll do it myself.” and JARVIS’s belief that Ultron should NOT have been created as an implication that Ultron’s “creation” was actually being forced by Thanos.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Holy crap,youre right.He was so underwhelming in his appearances that I completely forgot thanos was doing something.He gave the staff to loki,he tried to take over earth with an army then.It makes sense that he would have a backup plan.

          But what is he after?The tesseract was given to asgard,the aether was given to the collector,and the was never on earth in the first place.So why would he risk the staff in order to get just the tesseract?Could it be that the two other gems are somewhere on earth as well?

          1. 4th Dimension says:

            We know Chitari had some kind of colective concious. Maybe they were fully robotic and were controled by the Mind Gem. So Loki needed the staff in order to control the Chitari invasion. And he was hoping that Loki might find Tesseract either on Midgard after defeating Earth or on Earth.

            Truthfully I think Thanos’s plan was never truly defined before they started fillming. Most of the time they were trying to fing ways to showcase more gems and tie them somehow to Thanos. So it’s quite likely when they wrote Avengers 1 the staff was nothing more than a simple mind control C&C staff.

          2. Deadpool says:

            I think ONE of them is on Earth.

            Guardians of the Galaxy 2 comes first, and will likely deal with Thanos taking the gem from the Nova Corps, but may well deal with the fifth gem.

            So then when Infinity War rolls around, Thanos will be coming back to Earth for the last one.

            Could be totally off, although there aren’t a whole lot of other movies where introducing the fifth gem would make sense: Dr. Strange, Thor 3 and Captain Marvel. I still say GotG2 makes the most sense though…

            Now, to be fair, the “It was all part of his master plan from the beginning!” reveal will probably not make a 100% sense when it comes, but it is pretty par for the course for Thanos…

            1. Hitch says:

              Given the tendency of Infinity Gems in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to appear as other things, I wouldn’t be overly surprised if Dr. Strange didn’t have the Eye of Agamotto turn out to be an Infinity Gem.

              I’m probably way off base. But if not, you read it here first.

              1. Deadpool says:

                It’s not a bad thought. And I could be totally off base and they will introduce all six before putting them all together in Infinity War (although I do feel the story would work best if the sixth one is revealed at the end of Infinity War with Thanos getting his Gauntlet together).

                The Eye of Agamoto is a good guess, although “random McGuffin that Dr. Strange movie revolves around” is just as likely. We will see.

                Still, while not perfect, I feel a lot of the “coincidences” in some of these movies would work a lot better if they were actually planned by a pupeteer. Age of Ultron and Thor: Dark World most notably.

            2. Ed says:

              Only the Mind Gem is on earth, the tesseract (space) is in asgard, the purple gem (power) is with the nova corp, and presumably the Collector still has the aether (reality). Interestingly, there are two left, time (orange in the comics) and Soul (green in the comics). Oddly, the other four colors are switched around, but those two colors are left. And Mind is definately yellow, and in the vision’s head. The eye of agamotto is also yellow, and given how iconic that is, I doubt it will also be an infinity gem. Because then two yellows.

              1. Supahewok says:

                I thought the same thing for years about the Scepter, and it still had a yellow Mind Stone inside it. Eye of Agametto can be the casing for the Soul Stone. That’s what I have my money on anyway.

                1. Ed says:

                  Not a bad guess. Given that Adam Warlock, the primary owner of the soul gem, is closest in role and powers to doctor strange, that could be it.

      3. Hitch says:

        Infinity Gems are magical cosmic macguffins that appear wherever in whatever form and have whatever powers necessary to advance the plot of the story. And Thanos wants them… because they’ll help him take over the universe (spoilers:) and die.*

        *That last bit is an important aspect of his character.

        1. MichaelGC says:

          Everyone needs a hobby…

  7. AileTheAlien says:

    Typo Alert:
    “but Age of Ultron gets father than I ever thought possible.”

    Actual on-topic stuff:
    I actually want to see this movie, but I’m torn about not having seen the previous one(s) and the Ironman sequels. Can this movie stand alone, without having to know all the back-story? :)

    1. guy says:

      I would advise against going into it without having seen any of the lead-up.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        See, that was actually the weakest part as far as I was concerned. Yes the stuff from Winter Soldier had a direct bearing on the plot but Thor 2 is merely referenced in a mostly throwaway fashion and I can’t even remember anything important from Iron Man 3 that shows up other than Rhodey who wouldn’t be a shock to anyone who watched Iron Man 2.

        But more importantly, watching all of those movies gave me the impression that after the events of the first Avengers movie, the heroes all went their separate ways, only occasionally talking. But the beginning of this movie seems to want us to believe that ever since the first Avengers, they’ve been teaming up regularly. We have the base and the tech. Their team tactics are more developed. They need to find a better way to handle the big question “why doesn’t Cap call Thor?” and so on. They could make a gag out of it. “Hawkeyes the only one available again? Does he have an arrow that stops a flying aircraft carrier from plummeting out of the sky?”

        1. MichaelGC says:

          I think the main thing that’s important from Iron Man 3 is Tony’s panic attacks – not sure if you’d call it PTSD, but it’s certainly along those lines. Those weren’t resolved at all, so it helps explain why he’s quite so … hellbent on the Ultron programme, and whatnot.

          There are strands and suchlike which are being followed quite nicely, I think – I do quite like how they’re going about it overall. The one mentioned above has roots right back at the start of the first Iron Man, for e.g. They’re even going somewhere with all the sparkly MacGuffins! Even if it’s, you know, to one big multi-coloured sparkly MacGuffin… Ahem. Oh well, at least it’s somewhere… :D

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            The stuff about the sparkly macguffins Is already obvious to anyone who saw the credits scene in the first Avengers and either knows the comics or had a friend explain. In fact I assume the only reason its there in the second Avengers is for anyone who’s first taste of Marvel was Guardians of the Galaxy.

            But you’re right about Iron Man 3. I wouldn’t say its super essential if you’ve seen the first Avengers but Iron Man 3 builds on it nicely and its a really good movie in its own right and I like the twist in Iron Man 3, to hell with the fanboys. Some of the best stuff in the Marvel Cinematic Universe breaks with the comics. Including the launch character, Iron Man who is personality-wise hardly anything like his comic book counterpart. If anything, it takes the PTSD and the building on it in this movie to believably show the transition from the Iron Man of the early movies to the Iron Man who’s going to take the side he does in the Civil War. Its been a really interesting ride getting him there.

            Also, complete tangent here but Captain America is still my favorite part of the MCU. I like how he holds his own against Stark who, for all his showboating, is basically a naked ball of insecurity in the face of Cap’s quiet assuredness and dedication.

        2. Supahewok says:

          I think the regular team-ups started happening after SHIELD fell apart. So the Avengers pretty much took over SHIELD’s job.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Doubtful.Unless you read the comics or saw the other mcu movies,skip this one.The single character ones(iron mans,thors and captain americas)can be watched without watching the rest,but the avengers ones are just mashups without any establishment of the characters(seeing how they were (almost) all established in their own movies).

    3. Joshua says:

      Having two Avengers movies now, there is now a pattern of skipping a lot of world-building and typical structure that the rest of the movies possess. This movie starts immediately with an action scene (Avengers 1 only had a brief introduction of the Scepter), and is more about developing plot-lines established in other movies than being self-contained from start to finish.

    4. Lanthanide says:

      I’ve only seen Captain America, Avengers and Avengers 2. Also parts of Iron Man when it was on TV once but wasn’t really paying attention to it.

      If you’re familiar with the characters and their concepts (which I was) then I think that’s probably enough to understand what is going on at a sufficient level.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        I think it wouldn’t hurt to have seen at least one movie with each of these characters prior to the Avengers. Although you can skip The Incredible Hulk which was meant to tie into all this stuff but ultimately didn’t. They reestablish him just fine in the first Avengers movie.

        And if you really want to be up to speed prior to Avengers 2, watch Captain America 2.

  8. Eruanno says:

    Spoilers, obviously.

    I found Ultron a little… weird. Somehow. It’s like, he starts out very single-minded with the directive of protecting the world by destroying humanity, based on Tony Stark’s talk earlier in the movie. But as the movie keeps moving along, Ultron seems to get smarter, more quick-thinking and downright clever. And yet he clings on to that same directive because… uh… bad guy reasons? It’s like, at the start of the movie I kind of get his motivations. He’s a robot, beep-boop, destroy world. But then he really starts -thinking- and he never once questions that plan. Wut.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      I think by the end his plan morphed into kill all humans => Only I remain => Peace and unity.

      1. Darren says:

        It would’ve made more sense, though, if he had said that there was no way he could kill all humans, but that with most of them dead he would be able to gather the remaining few together and lead them to a new golden age. He never articulates that, but there’s no way I can imagine he meant anything else, since he references someone seeing his body–which Vision “stole”–flying through the sky as a vision of hope.

        1. Ed says:

          Using his original plan from the comics as a base, I believe he wanted to create a “better” humanity, a whole race of Vision type robots or other augmented types (like quicksilver and scarlet witch), with which Ultron thinks will prepare Earth for the upcoming threat (Thanos). When the avengers take the Vision from him, preventing Ultron from upgrading himself, he then switches the plan to global annihilation. Presumably he would then create his race from whats left. Also worth noting that Ultron is very much not logical thinking, and its very possible that global annihilation is merely petty revenge on the avengers for taking the Vision from him.

    2. It’s pretty clear that Ultron is several pistons, a fuel injector, and a couple of spark plugs short of a functioning engine. It’s interesting, because Loki in Avengers was kind of portrayed the same way . . . as being basically insane. But while Loki was crazy like a fox, Ultron is just quackers.

      Crazy villains don’t need much work in the motivations department–they just need to be entertaining, which Ultron was. However, they also don’t work well at keeping the threat level going because after a while you stop caring about their crazy shit because it is, well, crazy shit.

      It’s odd that Ultron was pretty much the weakest part of the movie NAMED AFTER HIM.

      1. Tulgey Logger says:

        Loki was portrayed as crazy in Avengers 1? It’s been a while since I’ve watched it, but I really don’t see what you’re saying there. He’s power hungry and cruel, not to mention motivated by a deal with a very dangerous ally, but I don’t get anything resembling insanity from any of that.

        Not having seen Ultron yet, it would make sense to me to read it as Ultron maintaining its originally programmed goals as axiomatic, and any later independent thought as being layered on top of that. I mean, if””god forbid””Clippy were to become sentient AI, I wouldn’t expect it to decide not to use Windows. It wouldn’t and it couldn’t. Again, I haven’t seen it yet, but when I read about the premise all I could think of was its similarities to the novella With Folded Hands: robots acting of their own initiative to enact a complicated plan based on well-intentioned but short-sighted axioms.

        1. guy says:

          Ultron’s intended primary goal is to bring peace for Earth, and insofar as he has a coherent plan it appears to be that humanity as it stands is inherently non-peaceful so he’s going to kill them all and create a new species to inhabit Earth peacefully.

          Personally, my read of him is that his plan doesn’t really make sense and isn’t supposed to. On more than one occasion he flies into a sudden rage and sounds a lot like angry Thanos and then suddenly flips back into his regular calm-if-slightly-rambling tone and tries to explain himself. He was basically created by fusing an attempt at creating an AI by Tony with an AI in Loki’s staff presumably created by Thanos or associates, so I took the implication to be that they’d partially copied over the goals of a hostile alien AI.

        2. Joshua says:

          Eh, I tend to think Loki was misplayed in Avengers. It seemed like they needed a grand villain and picked him to be it, as the most successful villain of the movies thus far (most of them were jokes at this point).

          In D&D terms, Loki in the Thor universe is somewhat CN due to a lot of unresolved issues. In the Avengers, he’s suddenly LE and wanting to take over the world.

          1. krellen says:

            They’re not allowed to use Doom, who is THE villain of Marvel, so they’ve been grasping the whole time.

          2. MichaelGC says:

            In the comic book teaming up against Loki led to the formation of the Avengers (in 1963), so that’ll be one reason they went for him. Only one of the reasons, though, I suspect! :D

          3. Deadpool says:

            Loki is also the villain who caused the Avengers to come together in the comics. It seems fitting to use him to do the same in the movies.

          4. Lachlan the Mad says:

            I suspect that the villain role had been left open for a while during the development of the script for Avengers 1, chiefly because Red Skull could have made a comeback (spoilers for Captain America 1: Captain America used the Tesseract to suck Red Skull into space, so he could have crashed into Thanos’s world and Thanos could have been all like “Dude, go get that blue thing back for me and I’ll let you conquer Earth”). I think that two things prevented this; Hugo Weaving didn’t want to do another Marvel movie, and Tom Hiddleston became super duper popular on certain parts of the internet (*cough* Tumblr *cough*).

  9. 4th Dimension says:

    Yeah, exploding the Sokovia island shouldn’t have helped. On the other hand it never reached it’s desired height, AND by destroying it it stopped accelerating since Ultron fit it with loads of engines to further give it more speed. Also Randal sort of allready did the similar math with that dropping the mountain question. And if I remember correctly, dropping a mountain from that heaight will mess up the region and migth trigger quakes but it will not be an Earth shattering event without the engines to speed it up. But again it’s movie logic so, eh?

    As for the Vision I didn’t mind him much, he is a product of fate in my opinion. He got the intelect/expirience of the MindStone/Ultron, personality of Jarvis and was then revved up by Molynir. He is what Ultron was supposed to be. And it does make sense to me, in movie logic kind of sense.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Did he do the math about terminal velocity?Smaller chunks of earth have lower terminal velocity than a huge chunk,right?

      1. Darren says:

        And as the mass disintegrates, isn’t a lot of it going to be caught up in the air as dust? Landmass-sized clouds of particulate matter is its own problem, but in terms of physical impact the mass would be spread much further.

  10. krellen says:

    Actually, rocks falling through the atmosphere are a lot like ice – little chunks are going to melt faster than a single big chunk. By breaking up the city, the total surface area of the chunks increased, thus increasing their friction with the atmosphere and how quickly the mass would be burned off. And I don’t know how high we were supposed to believe the city had risen, but it was portrayed as high enough for that effect, as the chunks were burning on their way down.

    Also, I’m disappointed Don Cheadle is not in that header image. Don Cheadle should very much be in that header image.

  11. Joshua says:

    So, from a comic-book-nerd point of view Ultron is all about the daddy issues. Without that there’s not really any point in calling the machine Ultron. His relationship with his creator/father is pretty much the definition of the character, to the extent that it has a personality. Movies don’t have to adhere to what’s in the comics, for instance Stark makes a better creator of Ultron than Hank Pym, even if there weren’t problems in explaining who Hank Pym is in the time allotted, but still, I was pleased that they kept that aspect of it. And I was pleased that the just destroyed all of the instances, instead of defeating it with a logic trap or something.

    1. JakeyKakey says:

      I’m pissed they *did* destroy him. Ultron’s far too clever not too leave a remote copy of himself somewhere out there and MCU is in dire needs of memorable villains. He may not be up there with Loki, but he’s miles above the villains of Thor 2 and GoTG who are basically interchangable at this point.

      1. guy says:

        Going forward the top slot is earmarked for Thanos. He hasn’t had much screentime, but so far he’s been all right, unlike Mr. “This one was blue. I’m pretty sure he had a name.”

        I’d honestly have been upset if the Avengers failed to kill Ultron courtesy of a backup somewhere, though I actually felt that destroying him via killing all the instances was also a bit dumb. Obviously, he can plant a backup somewhere off the battlefield in case everything present gets destroyed, but the Avengers know that perfectly well and Vision grappled his primary to use the Mindstone to cut off his ability to copy himself into general networks. What I think should have happened is that Ultron would try using a backup, but Tony, Bruce, and Vision would work something up and connect it to the wreckage of the primary body to erase all his backups.

        1. ehlijen says:

          Thanos is the lazy purple floating space chair guy, yes? It’d be about time there’s a point to him being in these movies.

          1. guy says:

            Yeah, he has mostly been the background villain who has finally gotten tired of his subordinates continually screwing everything up and hauled the Infinity Gauntlet out of storage.

            I don’t mind that he hasn’t personally done much yet because he’s barely appeared.

      2. Ed says:

        If they want to use Ultron again, he’ll have been backed up. If they never want to use him again, he won’t have been.

    2. Mike S. says:

      “So, from a comic-book-nerd point of view Ultron is all about the daddy issues. Without that there's not really any point in calling the machine Ultron.”

      My favorite bit of that in the comics was Ultron’s creating a female android bride, basing her brain patterns on the Wasp (Hank Pym’s then-wife), and calling her Jocasta.

      (Never let it be said that Hank Pym skimped on teaching his boy the classics.)

      Double-bonus points for Jocasta arguably being simultaneously Ultron’s mother, wife, and daughter.

  12. Joshua says:

    The largest problem that the movie contains is that it’s trying to do too much stuff in the same movie. This was the problem with Iron Man 2 (the Shield build-up derailed the main villain plotline) and Spider Man 3 (one too many villains and the symbiote plotline turned everything into an incoherent mess).

    I would have expected to see some characters get shafted, but Joss Whedon mostly overcame it by padding the length, and skimping on some of the narrative development. For example, the Ultron plot seems to come too quickly into play, the same for Vision, and the Heel/Face turn of the twins seems a bit far-fetched considering they’ve been established as being ok with doing a lot of evil things thus far (working directly with Hydra for one). It would have made more sense just being against Ultron due to his master plan (a la Spike teaming up with Buffy to stop Angel from destroying the world), but they go all goody-goody seemingly in an instant.

    On top of that, the romance between Banner and Natasha was painful to me every time it came up. Just didn’t come off as real at all.

    However, the rest of the movie was pretty awesome. I think there was a lot more humor this time around, despite the darker plot elements. I think the audience laughed at least 40-50 times throughout the movie.

    Overall, though, I think the movie did very well for trying to incorporate too many different stories (likely Marvel’s fault).

    1. guy says:

      Personally, I think they sufficiently sold the twins as having a grudge against Stark in particular and the Avengers by proxy and working with Hydra and subsequently Ultron because they hated Stark.

      1. tengokujin says:

        The thing is, you’ll notice that Strucker says about himself: “a thug for S.H.I.E.L.D.”. It’s possible that the twins were clinging to the misconception they were actually secret projects of S.H.I.E.L.D.. This idea is further reinforced when Pietro looks at the Helicarrier and asks, awed, “This is S.H.I.E.L.D.?”

      2. Lanthanide says:

        Their motivations are crap, anyway.

        The Avengers saved the human race from an alien invasion.

        Hey, lets destroy the Avengers because that bomb which had Stark’s brand on it killed our parents that one time!

        1. RodeoClown says:

          They saved _New York_ from an alien invasion. Apparently.
          The whole thing was wrapped up in an afternoon, so who’s to say how much the media reporting was controlled.

          1. Tulgey Logger says:

            I could see the decision to nuke NYC being successfully kept under wraps, somehow, but I can’t see the giant flying space centipedes being kept secret by any means short of the Men In Black.

            …are they part of Marvel canon?

            1. Supahewok says:


              Close. Marvel owns the original MiB comics, but have yet to do anything with them. They could probably be part of the Marvel Universe if they wanted to.

              Personally, I would find it hilarious if MiB 4 ended up being a surprise MCU film. Like, if Thor flew past the agents as they drive and they make some wisecrack at how hard he’s going to make their jobs.

              1. 4th Dimension says:

                They don’t need MiB. The original S.H.I.E.L.D. was Marvel’s Men in Black. They fought global threats and powered people and kept the normals ignorant of what was going on. Hell in the episode of AoS that deals how May become the cavalry Coulson has a scene where he claims that a biological agent has been released in a house where May is fighting bad guys in order to prevent them from entering and getting themselves mind controlled. Also they get called in when Thor and his hammer fall to Earth and explain all wierd things as weather baloons and such.

                1. krellen says:

                  Technically, May is a biological agent.

        2. guy says:

          Well, yes, there’s a reason the Avengers are the heroes and they aren’t. It struck me as something that would reasonably motivate someone to target the Avengers despite not being a bad person. On the arms dealer boat, there’s a comment about how it must feel like old times for Stark, because they see him as an arms dealer who sells to bad people.

          Obviously, you wouldn’t want to kill the only people who can save the world regardless of your opinion of them, but of course that assumes they expected the world to need saving and thought the Avengers were the only people who could do it.

      3. cassander says:

        they certainly did this part better than all of iron man 2 did the same idea….

    2. Benjamin Hilton says:

      My main problem with the romance is that it came out of nowhere.

      I think there could be a good case for the two of them falling for each other, but the way the movie just started with them already being a thing with absolutely no build up to it in other films was kind of off-putting.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Ah yes,the “if its not shown on screen it never happened”.

        Though I would definitely like it if there was a black widow movie where she was doing something with banner.

        1. Lanthanide says:

          “where she was doing something with banner.”


          1. Hitch says:

            It’s kind of implied in the movie that that hasn’t happened. Banner hasn’t really considered the idea and Natasha doesn’t think Banner is capable of “doing something” without the big guy taking over.

            1. Ed says:

              Incredible Hulk also has a minor plot point that Bruce can’t have sex because it “hulks” him out during the act.

    3. 4th Dimension says:

      I actually didn’t have that much problem with SW&QS’s Heel face turn. They were from an Eastern European country that previosly had diagreements with the West. Also it’s than possible that that same West either directly from Stark Industries or covertly through Obediah Stone supplied Stark made weapons to their enemies. Who then proceeded to bomb and shell civillian buildings among others.

      From that it’s understandable why they might be willing to partner with anyone that provided them the chance to punch back at the West and especially at current Paragons and heroes of the America the Avengers. Sure Avengers are there to protect the entire world, but what Twins see is that they saved NY (which might as well sink beneath the waves as far as they are concerned) and are composed of an American Industrialist/Arms Dealer, Icon of America’s Military, Couple of American spies and a supposed Norse diety. All of them are kind of American or Western world centric.

      So it’s unsurprising they jumped at the chance to strike back with Ultron against the Icons of the West and the West in general. They only switched sides once they realized that Ultron wasn’t going to help them and Sokovia, he was planing total anhiliation of human race. They might not have blinked much if entire America sank beneath the waves but they are not going to help Ultron destroy the entire world including their home country.

      And than the rest of the film was spent trying to prevent that and save Sokovian citizens and Sokovia in general. That convinced them that Avengers are above petty national feuds and motivates SW to officially join Avengers in the end.

    4. Ahiya says:

      I’m bracing myself for Bruce/Natasha. Way to stick a love interest onto the only girl out of left field, Whedon.

      Whedon always does this. He likes watching hot women fight, but that’s not at all the same thing as making full-fledged female characters and it shows in every one of his works I’ve seen. :/

      I really want a Black Widow movie by somebody who knows what they’re doing. Whoever did Winter Soldier is on top of this, they should do it.

      1. RodeoClown says:

        Firstly, she wasn’t the only girl. Scarlet Witch was around with no apparent love interest. Maria Hill was there too, with no love interest. Oh, and Dr Cho.

        If Black Widow has been working with this group a whole bunch, why would you expect there to not be some sort of relationship starting? As for why Banner? Stark is taken, Thor’s got his thing for Jane going on, Cap is… old, and apparently dating other people (at least trying to), Hawkeye is married, and so she’s left with Banner. Who she is able to de-Hulk, by being tender towards. Why would that not spill over into some sort of actual love interest?

        It might not have been necessary, but it fleshes out the two characters some more. Black Widow is no longer just a fighter, she’s got feelings, and seeing others with relationships (and especially kids) hurts. And so she’s got a crush on the guy she works with who also has relationship troubles (and no kids). I don’t see the issue.

        I guess if you’re looking to be offended though, then you’ll find it any/everywhere.

        1. Ahiya says:

          If it was just a romantic relationship, that wouldn’t be a problem, which I suppose is your point. It’s a fair point.

          It’s the combination of no merchandise + comics history + crappy dialogue that can easily be read as equating infertility with monstrosity that turns this from super-powered office romance (yay!) into yet another brick in the wall of comic properties treating female characters badly (boo).

          I have seen this too much to not be bothered by it.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            Really? Because I’m pretty sure the scene of Natasha murdering a bound man as a young woman in spy training is what they mean by “monster” along with her comments in the previous movie about “red on my ledger.” In fact, I’m supremely confident thats what it means.

            The text is loud and clear and drowns out any potential subtext unless, as rodeoclown stated, you’re just looking for things to be bothered about.

            Now, I only mean that in reference to the infertility/monster thing. I will agree that the romance seems a little out of left field. However there’s a lot in this movie that seems out of left field, like the fact that the team, at the beginning of this movie, has a headquarters and gear and are acting and talking like they’ve been teaming up all the time since the last movie when all of the intervening side movies make it look like they’ve all just been doing their own thing.

            Apparently at least 45 minutes of this movie was cut though, so I’m going to give them the benefit of a doubt on both counts. It is amusing to watch the extremists turn on one of their most vocal mainstream defenders though. They really can’t control themselves.

        2. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Well said RodeoClown. Especially the last part.

          We really need to find a way to make this internet thing work.

  13. mechaninja says:

    On top of things like wrecking the motors that are accelerating it downwards, I would think shattering would actually help, by breaking up the singular impact into multiple impacts.

    Seems like that would be a similar difference to many small explosions versus e.g. a shaped charge.

  14. Poobles says:

    Was it just me or did it really feel like they were taking a jab at Man of Steel?

    Like a whole city gets blown up but they basically saved everybody.

    Anyway. Good film. Lots of fun. Nice seeing heros be heroic and not broody. Disappointed at lack of post credits and Thanos scene was crap.

    1. guy says:

      Yeah, I kind of got that feeling too. Granted, at prior points they caused considerable amounts of collateral damage, but the first time was the Hulk going on a rampage and the second time they were chasing the Infinity Stone.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        But even then they at least attempt to minimize damage(starks “lets get away from the city” line).Which is more than enough.

      2. Trix2000 says:

        It also probably helps that in the most egregious example of collateral damage (Hulk’s rampage), pretty much everyone got pissed off at the Avengers to the point where they had to go into hiding for it. It was a good way to demonstrate the consequences for the collateral damage – intentional or not.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Was it just me or did it really feel like they were taking a jab at Man of Steel?

      Not just you.I thought of man of steel whenever someone would say something about saving civilians,and I love this movie for it.The previous one had that thing in it,but this one really cemented the point that you are not a superhero because you can punch hard,but because you care about those that cant.

    3. cassander says:

      Definitely. Vision looks way too much like the new superman costume for that to be a coincidence.

      1. Alexander The 1st says:

        Calling it now – Vision dies in combat with Thanos in next Avengers film as the mind gem is extracted from him, and Carol Danvers becomes Captain Marvel via some form of transferring power to her as the start for her origin film. Possibly Thor isn’t around to be worthy of the power that Vision got to wield Mjolnir?

        Just to beat Captain Marvel (DC) to the punch, *and* to further cement the idea.

    4. 4th Dimension says:

      The best take that in my opinion, and the moment I shouted internally “This, this Superman is what you are supposed to be”, is when that runaway train is going to plow through that bussy city street in Korea, and QS runs out and gets everyone out of the way of the speeding train and SW stops the train.

      1. guy says:

        That also ties into what I said above about when they did allow collateral damage. They went to work saving people from the train the very instant they had the Infinity Stone secured and weren’t risking planetary destruction if they slowed to help people.

  15. Darren West says:

    Don’t forget that the movie also makes greater use of themes and narrative techniques than the original.

    Ultron is rather explicitly a variation of Tony Stark, his creator: where Stark creates sentient AI in three days without thinking through the ramifications, Ultron decides on an extreme course of action within seemingly three minutes of awakening. This draws the viewer’s mind to the idea of what the Avengers are capable of doing versus what they should do, and the reasons why.

    Ultron isn’t evil, per se. The film makes sure to show that he doesn’t kill those who don’t resist, that he wishes for companionship, that, despite his “evil plan” quip he does want to speak of and justify his actions. I think the film could’ve done a little bit more–probably less than 60 seconds of new or changed dialog–to highlight that he really is doing what he thinks will be best for the world in the long run (just like Tony Stark!), but better a theme under-explored than never-written.

    It also subtly does a good job to make its ending function as a standalone finale (or as much as a Marvel movie can have a standalone finale) while also setting up the events of Captain America: Civil War. The plot of the movie can be easily summed up as, “The Avengers save the world from a danger create by the Avengers,” and the finale has a godlike but relatively unorganized and unregulated group of sometimes-teammates replaced by a team of dedicated recruits operating in a (U.S.?) government-overseen program. This is a logical conclusion to the events of the film, but also the perfect starting point for philosophical rifts to develop between various heroes, old and new, as the Avengers transforms into a new incarnation.

    It’s not a perfect movie, but deploying a few storytelling techniques well elevates it above many movies that are arguably loftier than biff-pow superhero features. While you might be right about the logical issues being more obvious on repeat viewings (where did Nick Fury get another carrier from again?), I think the strengthened narrative will hold up better than the much simpler plot of the first film.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The end dialogue between ultron and vision does highlight that ultron is not evil,he just has a different outlook than vision.

      1. Benjamin Hilton says:

        That ending dialogue made me feel sympathetic to Ultron, and got me to genuinely hope that a bot got away.

    2. guy says:

      I had the sense that Ultron had an actual split personality of sorts; in some scenes he switches between furious rage and his usual calm demeanor with shocking suddenness, quite possibly because copying an AI from Loki’s staff was an incredibly terrible idea. It felt like the reason his explanations for his plans were so disconnected was because they didn’t actually make internal sense and were not the ideas of the one explaining them, that being the part which Tony had actually written instead of the part written by malevolent aliens.

      As for the carrier, it was apparently decomissioned before SHIELD was disbanded. Why was a decommissioned vehicle in perfect working order? Because Nick Fury. He seems like the kind of man who would decommission a carrier so he’d have one around off-the-books in case SHIELD got disbanded.

    3. Poobles says:

      I thought it was the carrier from Avengers 1, at least I seem to remember a comment about taking it out of mothballs from Fury.

    4. Tulgey Logger says:

      I don’t know a lot about the Civil War thing, but if it shakes down along the same lines as the comic books then it’s very interesting that what makes Tony Stark turn all lawnorder is pulling an I Accidentally Apocalypse.

      1. Daimbert says:

        Yeah, that’s why I think it would be better to put Cap on the pro-reg side. His current backstory makes him a good fit — distrusting the hidden shenanigans of Fury and not being long from a time when the draft was considered at least a reasonable thing — and it allows for a nice resolution and a compromise when Cap discovers the abuses.

        I’m still hoping that the end of that move is that Coulson takes over the index, since both Cap and Iron Man trust him and in Agents he’s not nasty “kill all gifteds” but understands the need to know what they can do and to help them learn to use their powers.

    5. Eruanno says:

      Oh yeah, where did Fury get a carrier, and more importantly where did he get the crew? I thought S.H.I.E.L.D was busy with infighting factions as shown in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D…

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        They resolved that infighting rather quickly.Plus it didnt require much of their resources.

        1. Daimbert says:

          At least half of SHIELD was Hydra and sided with them, and even at this point there’s still infighting between SHIELD and SHIELD, so that still hasn’t been resolved. That being said, the non-Coulson SHIELD managed to take an aircraft carrier with the people who were loyal to SHIELD, so while Hydra was able to take over a number of installations on the strength of their numbers, that happening to SHIELD installations isn’t that big a stretch … and a lot of those resources would just go off the grid not knowing who to trust, and so Coulson might miss them. Especially something mobile like a helicarrier or a carrier.

      2. 4th Dimension says:

        Also Wendhon himself said that the Age of Ultron was written with the premisse that Coulson was dead. So AoU does not acknowledge the existance of Coulson’s or even Garcia’s S.H.I.E.L.D.

        That being said, The Winder Solder established that most of the non HYDRA personell went civilian, joined official spy organizations like CIA or went private and were hired by Stark. And the ones that were hired by Stark or went civilian could have easily been activated by Maria Hill.

        1. krellen says:

          That’s weird. Agents of SHIELD explicitly tied into the movie; it was Coulson that located Loki’s sceptre and sent the information to Hill. The opening of Age of Ultron is a direct sequel to the most recent episode of Agents of SHIELD (Coulson even says “It’s time to activate the Avengers”.)

          Writing on Age of Ultron probably started before Agents of SHIELD was greenlit, but I don’t think the MCU is rejecting the show.

          1. 4th Dimension says:

            Actually it’s more subtle than that. Reading between the lines it seems that JW was a bit salty that even though he kicked off the AoS, he was not allowed to make it his thing because Marvel wanted him to focus on the movie. So he diliberatly rained a bit on AoS by not even mentioning them, which did piss off Marvel. The last episode was Marvel trying to tie AoS into the AoU narrative.

            1. krellen says:

              Joss’s brother and sister-in-law are the head writers of AoS. I’m not sure how he’s not involved with the project.

              1. 4th Dimension says:

                They are but it’s not HIS personal project. It was supposed to be but they yanked him from it to focus on the movies.

      3. krellen says:

        In the show, Coulson lost a base. At this point, it’s fairly clear that the one base he had was not the only base he had, and the supposed “ragtag” nature of his SHIELD was something of an illusion.

  16. ehlijen says:

    It was fairly obvious to me that the writing started with a list of desired action scenes and the gaps were filled hastily after that to somehow connect them. In most places it almost works (the annoying almost that is close enough to make me care, but not actually succeeding).

    In addition, the movie didn’t have enough time. Ultron needed more buildup, instead he just shows up and wrecks the place. The twins actually hurt the movie in that they weren’t needed for Ultron to work, but still hogged screen time that could have gone to him. Jarvis’ death and return was rushed through during a small break (and seriously? The entire internet goes through one hub in Oslo? Isn’t that defeating the point it was built for?).

    And is it just me, or did everything feel somewhat cheap, set wise? Almost everything was a small indoor space, obviously a set of rubble or filled with CGI to hide the fact that it was one of the first two. The few scenes that weren’t felt far less interesting in technique.

  17. JakeyKakey says:

    I liked it, but part of my problem with it was that since Avengers made roughly eleven billion dollars, every subsequent MCU film from then on was forced to conform to the same money-printing formula thanks to MarvelExecutiveProducerQualityControlOverseerTM.

    Captain America might be a “thriller”, Guardians of the Galaxy might be a “comedy” and I have no idea what the hell Thor 2 was supposed to be other than a Tumblr-fanfic, but at their core they’re all the same bloody movie. It’s why Edgar Wright gave up on Ant-Man. I don’t doubt Ant-Man will be reasonably entertaining like all of them are, but I already know exactly what to expect during the entire film from the trailers alone.

    It’s hard not to subconsciously start hating Joss Whedon’s signature style (quip-exposition-quip-exposition-quip-quip-exposition) when the last five Marvel films were either written by him or done by writers aping his style.

    I watched the original Iron Man the other day and was actually amazed by how different and non-MCU it felt.

    1. Joss Whedon has declared he was leaving after this movie, btw.

      Yeah, there’s formula there. They’re not the best movies in the history of moviemaking. But I have not failed to be entertained.

      Also Cap is hawt.

    2. DeadlyDark says:

      Yeah. May be I saw too much Confused Matthew, but Marvel magic getting thinner and thinner with each movie (except Winter Soldier, at least it tries to play on different field). So I was a little underwhelmed with AoU. Clear scissor cuts isn’t helping either, so I hoping for Director’s cut (I hear something about additional hour or so). Well, one thing that clearly worsened my experience is that I already saw my personal “action-scene of the year” in Kingsman, I was hoping I see something as imaginative and awesome in AoU but no, pretty standard punches and stuff, though I do like long camera shots here.

      So I’m surprisingly glad that Joss getting out, and sad that Edgar Right got out (so no intention to watch Ant Man in theater, already decided to skip it). More creative freedom for these people!

      P.S. That’s why I’m sad that Spider-Man goes from Sony to Marvel. ASM2 wasn’t well put movie (particularly for trying building marvel-like universe), still it was much much more enjoyable than GotG or A2AoU. And that’s really sad.

  18. bloodsquirrel says:

    It basically survives solely on the strength of its characters and their banter. I don't think most people realize how precariously this movie is balanced. If you take out some of the laughs and feels that make us want to believe in this world, the whole thing unravels in an instant.

    Those laughs and feels weren’t enough to keep the movie from unraveling for me (in fact, a lot of the “laughs” were forced enough to make it unravel faster).

    Here’s what I posted somewhere else just after seeing it:

    I saw the movie tonight. Definitely one of the weakest of the MCU; probably second only to The Dark World. The movie was an unfocused mess with too many ideas and too little follow-through. Ultron himself felt half-assed. There was too much time spent explaining his psychology and motivations without there being any real substance to his psychology or motivations. He was a trite AI Is Evil bad robot guy, which would have worked if the movie had admitted it and spent it’s time focusing on an already crowded roster. But instead the movie tries to pretend that he’s a real live character with real live ideas behind him and wastes our time trying, unsuccessfully, to figure out what those ideas are.

    Moments that should be dramatic and should have had narrative momentum behind them wind up feeling purely mechanical. Characters seem driven more by author fiat than by solid characterization. There’s no central theme, idea, emotion, or arc to tie anything together.

    Some of these are things that I felt were weak about the first Avengers movie, and with more time and freedom for Whedon to make ‘his’ movie they’ve gotten a little out of control. It’s clear that he can’t keep a project of this scale cohesive, and it’s even more clear that he simply can’t write densely enough to support the number of characters these movies are accumulating in the running time of a movie. Some people have been wondering when the MCU would come crashing down, and this movie had a lot of the signs of that breaking point coming into sight. I really hope whoever does the next major MCU movie can turn things around.

    I also have to say that the overall visual design of the movie was terrible. A lot of scenes were too dark and the CGI and set design were often overly busy to the point of being tiring. A lot of extremely fake-looking stunt-work didn’t help either. The action was decidedly inferior to the first movie’s.

    There weren’t tons of things that I really felt like were plot holes, or that I didn’t understand, but there were a lot of conceits and developments that I just didn’t find convincing. I’ll have to write up a heavily spoilered analysis at some point.

    1. LadyTL says:

      I wonder did you see this in regular or 3D? I have noticed in 3D showings the glasses make alot of dark scenes even darker but when watched in a non-3D format, the lighting problems go away.

      1. Bloodsquirrel says:

        Regular. The darkness might have just been that theater, but the obtrusiveness of the CGI has no real excuses for it.

  19. One thing I need to say is that I am SO GLAD they brought in the Scarlet Witch as an actual team member. It’s not just ScarJo and the Boys any more.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love ScarJo, but they needed more girls on the team.

    1. ehlijen says:

      They did, but at the same time they needed less characters overall. It got really crowded.

      1. RCN says:

        Anyone else noticed that Joss Whedon spent the whole movie screaming at the screen “I’m gonna kill Hawkeye!” and then pulled a switcheroo and killed Quicksilver instead?

        1. Eruanno says:

          Yes! I thought when they visited his family they were gonna be all like “oh no, Hawkeye dies and everything is sad” and then they… don’t. Huh!

        2. 4th Dimension says:

          Yeah, I liked that, not that Pietro died but that Hawkeye lived. I even at one point thought Ultron was going to find them at the farm and that in the ensuing firefight the familly would die. And that would have been cheap and stupid.

          1. Kian says:

            I don’t think they killed him. I mean, they start with the magical regeneration thing patching Hawkeye, then in the end the doctor is walking around Shield. And we never see Scarlet Witch by a grave.

            No one dies in the Marvel universe.

            1. 4th Dimension says:

              Eh I wouldn’t mind if they bring him back with some fanfare. But I do expect for him to deal with some resurection issues. On the other hand if they use GH and he and his ssiter were actually Inhumans whose talents were unlocked by the scepter, he might not suffer as much.

            2. krellen says:

              They also made very clear to us that Pietro’s body was saved from Sekovia and not left there. You don’t do that, not have a funeral, and expect us to not see that character again.

    2. Ed says:

      Agree, makes me sad that Captain Marvel proper isn’t gonna show up till like 2018.

  20. tengokujin says:

    I wanted to point this out on twitter in response to Shamus’s enjoyment of Hawkeye’s characterization, but I can do that here without worries of angry accusations of “spoilers”!

    Hawkeye is such a *dad*. (Which was great)

    1. Benjamin Hilton says:

      He also got my favorite single line from any MCU movie:
      “The city is flying, were fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes any sense!”

      1. krellen says:

        I love that line, and the whole little scene it’s part of.

        1. TheRenewedValor says:

          So can anyone answer how did Thanos get the Infinity Gauntlet? Didn’t we see it in Odin’s weapons vault in Thor?

          1. guy says:

            I assume he made one.

          2. krellen says:

            Asgard got wrecked in The Dark World. If it was still in Odin’s possession at the time, it could have been taken then.

          3. Dovius says:

            It’s entirely possible that the one in Odin’s vault was there mainly as an easter egg, and not as an actual prop.

            Buuuuuuuuuuuuut in case it wasn’t: you’ll notice that the one in Odin’s vault is for the opposite hand than the one Thanos actually uses in the stinger, so it could be explained as the gauntlets originally being a set before being converted for use with the stones.

            Plus, if I remember correctly, the gauntlet itself is just an ordinary hunk of metal without any special qualities of its own. Thanos could’ve just made one/another one.

            1. Ed says:

              Yeah, the glove itself is just a glove, nothing special

          4. 4th Dimension says:

            There are even theories that Loki might have sent it to Thanos as an “Please don’t kill me offering”.

      2. tengokujin says:

        That’s kinda what I was referring to. Clint goes in there, gives Wanda a pep talk about the situation, and it just feels like a great dad moment.

    2. LadyTL says:

      I feel like this has finally put Hawkeye’s place on the team in perspective. He is there as the everyman, the equivalent of the guy riding with Caesar, “Remember Avengers, thou art mortal”. I do think when they don’t have him around, the Avengers do tend to get a bit sloppy with their powers since they get so focused on dealing with the threat.

  21. The math on the falling city is pretty simple. Copy and pasting from my own (in progress…) post on the movie:

    Assuming you’re lifting a 10Km wide chunk of city, assuming it’s roughly a half-sphere and has the average density of granite, that’s only 7.124×10^14Kg of mass. Terminal velocity in air can’t be any higher than the speed of sound, 340m/s. Kinetic energy is 1/2mv^2, which gives us a yield of 4.117672à—10^19 joules, or 9,926 megatonnes of TNT. The Dinosaur Killer was estimated to be more like 100,000,000 megatonnes. Dropping this city would be bad news for anyone near it, but not an extinction-level event.

    1. tengokujin says:

      Extrapolating, you would need this chunk of earth to be doing at least 40 km/s to roughly equal that dino-killer. Google indicates meteorites typically travel between 11 km/s and 72 km/s, so that number more or less matches up with a dino-killer meteor.

      Thank goodness they turned off that anti-grav toggle/thruster.

    2. Kian says:

      “Terminal velocity in air can't be any higher than the speed of sound, 340m/s.” Do you have a citation for this? I’m not sure it’s true. Terminal velocity is a function of air resistance vs force. When air resistance equals the force pushing the object (gravity, in the case of free falling objects), the object stops accelerating and that’s its terminal velocity.

      Air resistance depends on the speed and cross section of the object (certain shapes offer more or less air resistance, and faster things experience more air resistance).

      The force, however, depends on the mass (in the case of a free falling object).

      If you have two objects with the same shape, but different densities (so one is much heavier than the other), they accelerate equally in a vacuum. When you add air resistance, however, the air will more easily stop the lighter object, because the force pressing it is smaller. Consider dropping a regular feather and one made of iron, for example. Same shape, but while the regular feather will fall slowly and any updraft will blow it away, the iron feather will drop straight down.

      This means that terminal velocity depends on the shape and density of the falling object. I don’t see what the speed of sound has to do with it.

      1. guy says:

        Did some checking; apparently terminal velocity can exceed the speed of sound but according to NASA there is a dramatic increase in drag near the speed of sound.

        I found a simple online calculator which doesn’t account for that here. It puts the terminal velocity of a 10km sphere of granite much higher than the speed of sound, but for a 1m sphere it gives me a bit under 340m/s. Except for the central pillar (which is made of Vibranium and therefore a magical mystery box) none of the pieces looked even close to a meter, they were not spherical, and were probably mostly less dense than granite.

  22. RCN says:

    So… we’re getting all this comic-book movie discussion here and Mumbles isn’t present somehow?

    I demand Mumbles! How do you summon her, anyway?

    Hmmm… Spider-mannus, Constantini, Ultimate Warriorum, Hulk Hoganii, Andrew Ryanatus, anti-Rutskarnorium?

    I’ll throw in a Spider-man plushie for good measure.

    Did we peak Galaxy Gun’s interest? I hope I haven’t done a terrible mistake.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Galaxy Gun doesnt care about this marvel lovey dovey stuff.She is all about the grimdark batman fighting the false god of colorlessness.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        Oh you’re good. That was evil.

      2. Mumbles says:

        *POOF OF SMOKE* Shamus, the gems are magical. It’s magic law, which means they can do whatever they want. THERE ARE YOU IDIOTS HAPPY

        1. tengokujin says:

          This was the answer we needed.

          1. RCN says:

            I think it was more the answer we deserved.

  23. Artur CalDazar says:

    I didn’t really get Vision, and none of the characters in the movie seemed to really understand what he was either, hence the great distrust and questioning after his creation. I suppose thats why that had him lift Thor’s hammer, what he is can be in doubt but that he can be trusted isn’t anymore and what he is didn’t really matter.

    I think the movie does this a lot. It either uses something we do understand to let us just accept the end result, or it uses explanations that work but are ultimately no more plausible that anything said on star trek. Oh the body can hold the gem because its odd synthetic cells are coated in Vibranium? I don’t know how either of those things actually work outside of Cap’s shield, but ok, lets roll with it.

    1. krellen says:

      Vibranium works by doing whatever implausible thing the writer says it does. It’s the unobtainium of the Marvel universe.

      (Just as an example, Black Panther’s costume is somehow a cloth weave of Vibranium.)

      1. Ahiya says:

        I’m having a vision of weaving vibranium wire. It’s hilarious. The loom would have to either be welded to bedrock or made of rubber. Maybe both.

      2. Mike S. says:

        It’s an unobtanium of the Marvel universe. Like all good decades-old comics universes, they have quite a number.

        Though I wonder if the X-Men got adamantium in the divorce settlement. (According to at least one wiki, its first appearance was as Ultron’s shell, years before Wolverine’s claws.)

        1. Ringwraith says:

          They did, hence why Cap’s shield is only vibranium here instead of the usual vibranium/adamantium alloy it usually is.

          So it’s probably pulling double-duty in many regards.

          1. Mike S. says:

            Cap’s shield was a vibranium-iron-irreproduceable-mystery-factor alloy. Adamantium was a later attempt to reproduce the material. (By the same guy who made the shield, Myron MacLain.)

            I think this was muddled up in comics more than once, with the “adamantium/vibranium alloy” stated on panel. But Marvel eventually made it official that MacLain didn’t use adamantium in the item that adamantium was invented to replicate.

  24. Pyradox says:

    I agree that this movie doesn’t work without the banter to carry it.

    Unfortunately, the banter didn’t carry it for me, because Joss always does this ironic detachment thing with his characters where they never take anything seriously.

    Possibly he’s afraid of the audience thinking his characters are uncool for having human emotions. In practice it just undercuts the stakes of the movie, because if they don’t take anything seriously, why should we?

    So I was left wondering the entire time why in the Year Two Thousand and Fifteen AD they thought that The AI Plot would be interesting.

    I mean, come on, it’s The AI Plot. It’s the only plot that anyone ever does with AI and we’ve either seen it or seen references to it in literally every single thing with AI in it since the idea of AI was first devised. It’s been around since at least Frankenstein, and nobody ever even has an interesting take on it.

    It makes the characters, specifically Tony who should and do know better come off as idiots for not seeing it coming, and for attempting it even though they knew it would probably happen.

    It also makes Ultron instantly dislikable because he’s such a tired cliché.

    He’s also a moron who has the entire internet at his disposal, but still takes “peace in our time” completely literally as an end-goal, rather than as a means to human happiness and safety. It’s not interesting watching the Avengers fight a robot with less intelligence than a small child.

    I mean, Ultron is stupid to understand that the amount of energy required to lift a city equals the amount it’ll have when it comes crashing down. He could have far more easily made a bomb with that energy, and not had to worry about the amount of time it would take to lift it.

    Even if he was into poetic justice or whatever by having humanity die like the dinosaurs, would it have killed him to keep an off-site backup? Even one body that wasn’t right where the Avengers could kill it?

    I was just so underwhelmed by this movie, and I feel like the answer to all of my criticisms are just “it’s Hollywood, what did you expect?”

    And I just sigh and go “well… basically this, but I was hoping for better”.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Unfortunately, the banter didn't carry it for me, because Joss always does this ironic detachment thing with his characters where they never take anything seriously.

      Just because they joke doesnt mean they dont take stuff seriously.You dont have to be grim and brooding in order to convey the seriousness of the situation.

      So I was left wondering the entire time why in the Year Two Thousand and Fifteen AD they thought that The AI Plot would be interesting.

      I mean, come on, it's The AI Plot. It's the only plot that anyone ever does with AI and we've either seen it or seen references to it in literally every single thing with AI in it since the idea of AI was first devised. It's been around since at least Frankenstein, and nobody ever even has an interesting take on it.

      There are three ais in the movie.Just one of them is bad.Also,just because something has been done before doesnt make it automatically bad.In fact,every single plot has been done thousands of times already.

      It makes the characters, specifically Tony who should and do know better come off as idiots for not seeing it coming, and for attempting it even though they knew it would probably happen.

      They already had a rudimentary working ai that was not bad.And the second uber ai they created also was good.Not to mention that tony was also under scarlet witches influence when creating ultron.

      He's also a moron who has the entire internet at his disposal, but still takes “peace in our time” completely literally as an end-goal, rather than as a means to human happiness and safety. It's not interesting watching the Avengers fight a robot with less intelligence than a small child.

      Intelligence isnt the only thing responsible for how you perceive the facts.Which can easily be seen in the dialogue between ultron and vision.Plus,ultron is unhinged.

      I mean, Ultron is stupid to understand that the amount of energy required to lift a city equals the amount it'll have when it comes crashing down. He could have far more easily made a bomb with that energy, and not had to worry about the amount of time it would take to lift it.

      His initial plan was creating a bomb(of sorts).This was his backup plan.Not to mention that if you go with bombs,even the strongest hydrogen bombs,you still have to disperse them around the world.A single asteroidal impact can do way more damage on the global scale.

      Even if he was into poetic justice or whatever by having humanity die like the dinosaurs, would it have killed him to keep an off-site backup? Even one body that wasn't right where the Avengers could kill it?

      Again:Unhinged.With a massive superiority complex.

      1. Pyradox says:

        Sure, they don’t have to brood, but something needs to convince me Ultron is a serious threat.

        Scarlet Witch mind controlled people and Quicksilver was literally too fast to fight. Sure, I buy those as threats. Ultron cackled like a cartoon bad guy about his evil plan and got really sad when his pals weren’t into his idea to blow up the world.

        And no, just having an AI go rogue doesn’t make it bad, but if you first inform me that you’re aware it’s a cliche by having Tony go on about the “man was not meant to meddle speech” then you have to do something different for me to not think you’re just being lazy. Also your “twist” better not be “but there’s a good AI” because that’s trying to be more original than Terminator by ripping off Terminator 2.

        This is what I mean about Joss’ writing. He throws in these winks to the camera that tell us he knows he’s doing something dumb, but assures us that it’s OK because we’re all in on the joke. That doesn’t mean it’s not dumb.

        What you’re offering me aren’t answers, they’re explanations. “Ultron’s plan didn’t make sense because he was unhinged” tells me what happened, not why it happened.

        It’s the difference between “he doesn’t understand peace because he’s a crazy robot” and “he believes the Avengers’ presence in the world is a threat to international stability, as their combined power and influence will inevitably lead to a technological arms race”.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          He believes all humans need to be eradicated because he is unhinged.And he is unhinged most likely due to tony stark being mind warped when he created ultron.Which is why vision came out stable(no one was under scarlet witches power when creating him).

          1. theNater says:

            Ultron doesn’t believe all humans need to be eradicated in the way we think of it.

            He’s obsessed with evolution. He’s trying to cause an extinction level event, so that the (very few) survivors will be the toughest of humanity, and will evolve into better people. What remains afterwards won’t be recognizably humanity anymore, so humans will be eradicated in that sense, but he really doesn’t expect the impact to kill everyone.

            He’s fighting the Avengers specifically because they have a realistic chance to stop his plan, and a strong desire to do so. If they could be brought to his side, he’d almost certainly be happy to have them in his breeding pool.

          2. Pyradox says:

            You know Scarlet witch wasn’t actually mind controlling Tony, right? She just showed him a vision of what might happen if hypothetically the Avengers were in trouble, then all died and he hadn’t assisted them. Hilariously it wasn’t a prediction or anything, just a random hallucination that the movie never even got close to presenting as a real possibility.

            That just made him paranoid, but she didn’t actually influence him or anyone else beyond that. She couldn’t actually mind control anyone, which is why they needed the sceptre to do it to the scientist.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              I said mind warped.Scarlet witches visions are tied to fear,and seem to linger long after the visions themselves fade away.So stark wasnt exactly himself.

              1. Ringwraith says:

                Everyone affected was clearly not quite themselves for varying lengths of time, depending on how messed-up they were to begin with; Stark got it hardest as he’s already suffering from a major psychological condition, so with even a prod, his own fears quickly start consuming him, and a rash desire to “fix” that comes out.

      2. Bloodsquirrel says:

        “Just because they joke doesnt mean they dont take stuff seriously.You dont have to be grim and brooding in order to convey the seriousness of the situation.”

        (I still don’t know how to do the little quote block thing here)

        The problem with Whedon’s writing isn’t that it isn’t grim and brooding enough, it’s that it tends to undercut its own sincerity. There’s got to be that constant winking at the audience, just in case were we starting to take things too seriously. He wants to show off how clever he is, even when he’s not being that clever and it just makes one character come off as dumb so that Joss can let us know that, hey, this is a trope! I’m pointing out that I’m using this trope, guys! And maybe even subverting it a little!

        Some stuff takes itself so seriously that it becomes silly. It’s the heart of So Bad It’s Good movies. Whedon’s writing is the distant opposite- he’s like a comedian that can’t stop laughing at his own jokes.

        1. Pyradox says:

          I could not have put this better.

  25. Oliver Edleston says:

    My main issue with the movie was that we are shown the base AI for Ultron is super complicated/powerful while Jarvis is much more simple. Yet somehow, the Jarvis AI manages to not only avoid destruction by .. scattering himself across the internet .. but he is actually also stronger than the Ultron AI anyway and can prevent access to nuclear codes …

    So the AI Stark had already made (despite saying he is years away from true AI) was actually better than the super special one bundled in with the infinity stone?

    1. krellen says:

      Jarvis is orders of magnitude older and more experienced than Ultron. Do you find it just as unbelievable when some wise old elder bests the gifted young prodigy?

  26. actually a doombot says:

    Blowing up the island is supposed to work for the same reason exploding a helicopter in mid-air will save the people from getting crushed on the ground. Explosions=annihilation of all matter and thus debris in Hollalalawood land. If it’s blue, it will definitely totes “atomize” (cool word) whatever it hits, and only that, specifically. In fairness they did use literal magic metal to make it happen.

    Vision is… like, Ultron plus Jarvis, and with Thor as his immediate creator; the silver age of superheroes, where they supposedly fought with limitless benevolence. Like Captain Armenia, an idol to believe in. The fact that he’s an expy of Superman, down to the look, should be a solid clue.
    How does the Mind Gem figure into this? Who knows.

    Why is Ultron crazy? Partly because they aren’t a Neumann-computer machine intelligence but a “neural matrix” AI, which is supposed to learn its behaviors like a living being does etc. Sketchy science, especially when Metal Gear also uses it. Ultron’s also crazy partly because Tony Stark is their daddy-o. Which, incidentally, is where most of Ultron’s mannerisms come from, much as they hate to admit that. They’re basically just Tony Stark on a particularly bad Monday.

  27. Cybron says:

    For me, the worst case of fridge logic I got from the movie was when Black Widow and Hawkeye were stealing the android body. So they drop it from the flying trailer into the Avenger’s jet. And then right when they’re about to fly away with it, Ultron grabs Black Widow and flies away with her.

    Why didn’t he just fly a bit further and grab the all-important android body?

  28. Mumbles says:

    This movie was dumb and stupid and I hated it. I watched Guardians of the Galaxy to make myself feel better.

    1. Ahiya says:

      On the theory that two wrongs make a right?

      GotG was a lot of fun, but I can’t see that it would cancel out dumb and stupid.

  29. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Personal plusses.

    -Cap’s costume. Ditched the dorky looking one from the first Avengers for something more reminiscent of the first Cap movie. Wheddon really listens.

    -Ultron’s personality. I have long shared Shamus’ gripes about evil AI. If you’re going to make Ultron someone who wants to conquer the world, I’d rather he have this ridiculously human personality* than the cold unfeeling logic of a robot.

    -Hawkeye. I won’t get into why in this thread. If you’ve seen it, you know why. And I’m basically talking about all of it.

    -Scarlet Witch. Elizabeth Olsen really knocked it out of the park. Who knew she was this much better than her older sisters.

    -Opening faux tracking shot. The long tracking shot of the action in the first Avengers movie was one of my favorite parts. I’m glad they did it again at the start of this one, even if the line up was forced towards the end and looked fake.

    -The way the thing is resolved When Tony said “don’t give me the ‘man was not meant’ line” followed immediately by mad science gone awry I thought Wheddon was simply offering a cheap apology for the cliche. But they fix the problem with more mad science which redeems it for me. Every design has bugs. That’s what iteration is for.

    *He even says things like “Uh, what was that word again” which makes no sense for a robot unless he’s uses something like human analog thinking and he’s really trying to weigh the best words to express himself with.

    1. guy says:

      He even says things like “Uh, what was that word again” which makes no sense for a robot unless he's uses something like human analog thinking and he's really trying to weigh the best words to express himself with.

      Actually, most AI algorithms are in some way iterative and delaying a decision on word use would in general improve the final choice and it is entirely possible to decide to use a stalling phrase like that in order to allow the word-selection algorithm more time to run if the overall system concludes that is preferable.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        Yeah but I’d think as advanced as he is, he wouldn’t need that much time.

        1. krellen says:

          We’re the most sophisticated language processors in existence (that we know of) and we need time.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            I was about to say “but look at how fast that computer was on Jeopardy” but Ultron was also probably calculating inflection based on his “emotions” as well. Who knows how much processing power that takes.

            1. Ringwraith says:

              Also Ultron’s kind of just utterly insane from probably knowing too much at once.

    2. RCN says:

      The mad science being solved by mad science bit. THIS!

      One of the things I really hated about Prometheus (beside EVERYTHING ELSE) was how the main moral was “we are not meant to achieve more, we’re good with what we have and let faith sort the rest”.

      I really love when movies subvert that tired and stupid cliché written by people who certainly don’t get what a marvel their pocket computers are. Or just have yet to actually catch-up with smart phones.

      1. guy says:

        Personally, my take was it worked the second time because while Tony was still meddling with forces he didn’t understand and did not seem to have a particular plan for making it work better this time, Thor busted in and applied his understanding of forces and the meddling thereof

        1. RCN says:

          My take is that it worked the second time around because it was actually melded with Jarvan instead of spontaneously coming to being as a fully sentient entity with no context. Granted, I still think Iron Man screwed up big time and wasn’t as careful as he should have been with the goddamn alien artifact of ultimate power, but it was nice that the message wasn’t “it’s not supposed to happen” and more “that’s not how it is supposed to be done”.

  30. Bloodsquirrel says:

    Oh God, I just realized how much Ultron reminds me of General Grievous.

  31. Ed says:

    Hey guys, long time reader, but rarely post comments.

    Marvel lore is an expertise of mine, so if you’ve got any questions, about either the movie or the comics, shoot, and I’ll do my best to answer. I know alot of people want to learn more about how the infinity gems work, which I can explain

    1. RCN says:

      Can you tell us which exactly are the infinity gems already in the MCU?

      I always thought the blue gem was the mind gem, but then the tesseract didn’t seem like it was much of a Mind gem more like the Space… and then they get another blue gem and it IS the Mind gem this time? Plus, what was the red gem? Wasn’t it supposed to be the Power (or Energy) gem? And is the purple gem the Time gem? I got that right? Wasn’t it supposed to be the Orange gem? Or are they being cheeky in the MCU and changing the gem colors around to take fans off guard? By my accounts there were already 2 blue gems… Or is the mind gem supposed to be Yellow like it appears on Vision’s forehead?

      1. guy says:

        The mind gem in the MCU is yellow. It was in a blue housing. I actually suspect that the purple one is the only other one we’ve seen outside of a casing; the Infinity Gauntlet’s slots don’t look like they could fit the tesserect.

        1. RCN says:

          And what is Red supposed to be? I know the movies are already awfully vague on the gems in general, but even now I have no idea if it was supposed to be Power, Time or Reality. Purple might be Power or Time, by what it could do (allowing Star Lord to see his mother one more time and destroying whole planets with a single touch).

          1. guy says:

            Wiki says reality and power for red and purple respectively.

            1. RCN says:

              Word of God? Or just fan theory?

              1. guy says:

                Word of God, reality stone apparently hasn’t been directly confirmed, but power, space, and mind are confirmed and the remaining two have been stated to be time and soul, so there’s only one possibility.

                1. Ed says:

                  The Aether from Thor 2, I thought it was said that it was the reality gem somewhere.
                  But if it is not, it is either Time or Soul, which both make less sense for what the Aether does in Thor 2. Then again, the gems are far less defined in the movies than they are in the comics.

                  In the comics, its pretty basic: Space: Allows instanteous travel anywhere in reality.
                  Mind: Mind Control, over a pretty wide scale
                  Reality: Can rewrite reality in a small-medium area
                  Time: Control over time, forward and backward movement through it for the wielder and other things (example:growing plants really fast)
                  Soul: Different from mind in that while mind only controls someone, soul can directly change the nature of someone directly. Someone controlled by the mind gem will go back to normal when its effects end. Someone altered by the soul gem is permanently changed, the nature of their being altered
                  Power: Pure physical strength, allows a wielder to out punch a hulk. Also serves as a battery for the rest, increasing the power and radius of the rest

                  1. Ed says:

                    Colors in the comic:
                    Reality: Yellow
                    Soul: Green
                    Power: Red
                    Time: Orange
                    Mind: Blue
                    Space: Purple

                    Colors in the movie
                    Reality=aether from thor 2=red
                    Mind=Loki’s sceptre/Vision’s forehead gem=yellow
                    Space=Tesseract/Cosmic Cube=blue
                    Power=Gem from Guardians of the Galaxy=Purple
                    Time=Not yet revealed, but probably orange to actually match comics
                    Soul=Not yet revealed, but probably green to actually match comics

                    1. Ed says:

                      Also, during Thor’s vision quest segment thing, we see the tesseract and the aether get turned into the gems proper, indicating that those are presumably housings like Loki’s sceptre was in avengers/avengers 2.

  32. Ethan says:

    My biggest problem with the movie: Why does Ultron have lips?

  33. Chris says:

    Long, long list of one-off thoughts on Age of Ultron before the Diecast knocks this post down (Spoilers, beware):

    We’ve reached this point with the Marvel canon where it finally feels like there’s a big, sprawling extended universe. The first Avengers felt like a climax; a celebration of the previous three (or four, depending on how you feel about Incredible Hulk) Marvel films by bringing everyone together for a fire works show. Now, though, there’s been ten movies (or eleven, depending on how you feel about Incredible Hulk). There are a myriad of characters and events and concepts that get callbacks in passing, and now it doesn’t feel like just a Family Guy pop-culture reference thing (i.e., “This movie’s got Hulk AND Iron man in it! They smash things!”). Now it’s a full-on catalog of lore (“Hey, who’s that guy?” “That’s Falcon, he got introduced in Captain America 2. He’s got a suit that can let him fly and he’s friend with Cap.”) And that’s probably the coolest thing about the film, and the one way in which it stands above the first Avengers. Seeing 10+ heroes in one epic fight scene bouncing their powers and character quirks off of one another, each one with at least a film’s worth of character building and adventures, really is something you can’t see anywhere else. At all. And that’s really cool.

    I really love Vision’s look. He’s probably the closest we’ve come to a traditional comic book looking hero in the whole of the MCU – a purple colored android with a golden cape able to fly without a hammer or boosters.

    I dig the more diverse lineup of the new Avengers. A (very valid) criticism of the first few Marvel films was how much it was, frankly, a bunch of white dudes. And then they each got a Black Friend – Heimdall, Falcon, Rhodes. But check out the new lineup: Falcon, Scarlet Witch, War Machine, Captain America, Vision, and Black Widow. Plus, let’s not forget that Captain Marvel and Black Panther (and, I guess, begrudgingly, Paul Rudd’s doofy Ant Man) are on the way. It’s a way more diverse (if less iconic) cast, and I really look forward to seeing what they do with a new set of heroes.

    Spader’s performance as Ultron was great – smoldering and snarky and everything you would want from a villain in a film like this. It’s a shame he was given nothing to do. He’s just never a threat. He’s off in the corner trying to steal nuclear codes offscreen or building a robot android because reasons and destroying humanity because reasons and has an army of hench-bots because we needed a climactic fight. At no point does he feel like a real, active threat to our heroes. None of them come close to being in trouble. There are no stakes to the characters, just to faceless civilians. We needed a villain that could confront the Avengers and make it personal (this is a series that lives on its characters and their interactions, after all). Instead we got a villain of the week with a crappy plan to take over the world who is defeated pretty handily and with minimal casualties.

    The film feels like it’s pulled in a million directions and was clearly cut down for time. What’s left of Thor’s subplot feels absolutely nonsensical to the point of actively distracting me (“I have to go get Dr. Skaarsgard then find a magic pool that give me lightning dreams that tell me to make Vision because reasons”). Ultron’s daddy issues with Stark are brought up as a serious point of concern then sort of brushed aside. Scarlet Witch is supposed to tear the Avengers apart with her mind control, but then they remembered that was sort of the point of the first movie and they ditch that plot. Then there’s this motif of all of them considering themselves monsters, but then they just sort of drop that, too. There’s no throughline or connective tissue this time around; the film is completely muddled about what it’s core conflict really is or what ideas are driving it.

    Also: Vibranium. Material used to make Cap’s unbreakable shield. Also, material that made a body for Ultron that can be ripped apart by Scarlet Witch just levitating bits of it around. Uh. Okay. It’s hard for the Wakanda section to not feel a bit like cynical brand maintenance – the Vibranium is not core to the plot, it doesn’t make Ultron invulnerable, it doesn’t explain why the drill works. It’s just there so we can cut off Klaue’s arm so he can have a claw in the Black Panther movie.

    I really don’t like how desaturated this film looks. It’s a very grey/blue film, which sucks because part of what makes Avengers so appealing to me is that it’s a colorful comic book film (unlike, say, anything DC has made in a decade).

    Re-using that Hydra base as both the film’s opening and closing makes the film feel ridiculously small, despite its massive $250m budget.

    I like how they imply there are adventures before/after the films that we just don’t see, sort of like Star Wars used to do. It lets your imagination play with what happened in those gaps between films, and makes the adventures feel all the bigger for it.

    Black Widow was completely mishandled the entire movie, and that dialog between Banner and Natasha at Hawkeye’s farm was… eesh.

    TLDR; Age of Ultron was a really enjoyable film that felt more like a comic book than any film has ever felt before. It was also a little light, a little airy, made no sense, and made me wish there was at least some attempt at bigger emotional stakes or personal conflict.

    1. Chamomile says:

      “TLDR; Age of Ultron was a really enjoyable film that felt more like a comic book than any film has ever felt before. It was also a little light, a little airy, made no sense, and made me wish there was at least some attempt at bigger emotional stakes or personal conflict.”

      It’s a tl;dr, Campster, there’s no need to repeat yourself.

    2. RCN says:

      Yeah… I really thought: Wait, what? When I saw Ultron’s main vibranium body being torn apart by Ironman, Thor and the Scarlet Witch joining beams on it.

      When he finally shows up with the vibranium body I thought it would be the true final showdown between them, not the set-up for a “I might have been way over my head” gag…

      I can just imagine how cool it would have been him shoving Hulk aside to the nearest mountain range, shrugging off Thor’s hammer, ripping Stark out of his armor, holding Cap’s shield in mid air and throwing it back to him injuring him severely, completely ignoring Hawkeye and Black Widow as these two try to distract him, penetrating Scarlet Widow’s shield like it was tissue paper and only being momentarily stopped when Vision unleashes the full power of the Mind Gem into him and forcing them into another mind-battle, like in the start of the movie, but this time they bringing all their creative assets to make a metaphorical battlefield for them to dish it out.

      I mean, I can concede that it was ultimately the Mind Gem that brought him down, but it could have been a much cooler scene where they truly up the stakes and show what a force Ultron is against the Avengers, instead of just showcasing how powerful the Avengers are when assembled.

      1. Ed says:

        So, you aren’t that far off from the original comic fight, in which Ultron is undamagable by the avengers, save for Hawkeye using an Anti-metal arrow, which can melt through Ultron’s (in the comics, adamantium, like wolverine’s bones) housing.

    3. Ed says:

      While Klaue getting a claw would seem the obvious choice, he’ll actually more likely get his mega-man esque sound gun hand, which uses Vibranium as a power source to create “hard sound”. Think hard light, but sound. Presumably at the end of the movie he’ll get totally turned into living sound so Black Panther can fight a big CGI sound monster. This is all things that occur in the comics

    4. Ahiya says:

      The Black Widow being demoted to rom-com lines is a major disappointment.

      I mean, c’mon, she’s awesome. She definitely has her stuff more together than any other Avenger (bar Hawkeye apparently? Which is hilarious given his comic runs), is highly skilled and has a great backstory. But they still won’t give her a solo movie, they won’t make merchandise, and they give her stupid, stupid lines. RAGE

      1. Muspel says:

        The Hawkeye thing is clearly based on the Ultimate version, although hopefully it won’t end the same way.

    5. Muspel says:

      Interestingly, Joss Whedon said in an interview that he put Ulysses Klaw in before he found out that Marvel was actually making a Black Panther movie.

      Also, I don’t think Ultron had a Vibranium body– I think he used all of it to make the Vision (which he was PLANNING to be his new body, but that obviously didn’t pan out).

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        He did put some of the vibranium into one of his bodies,the one that managed to survive the combined blast of the avengers.It wasnt full vibranium like vision,but it has some vibranium protecton.

  34. Chamomile says:

    My guess as to why exploding a falling city would help: If you have a single very large object, the outside is being burnt away but the inside is protected from the heat by the outside. If you split that thing in half, there is now a larger amount of surface area directly exposed to atmospheric friction. Thus, the more small pieces the thing is broken into, the faster it will burn up.

    1. krellen says:

      That’s what I said!

      1. Chamomile says:

        Again we see there is nothing you possess which I cannot take away.

        1. Pinkhair says:

          …If only he spoke Hovitos!

  35. Kagato says:

    Apparently about an hour was cut for the cinema release, and I think it shows.
    (It’s not often you get a 2:20 film and think “you know, this probably should have been a bit longer.”)

    I’m hoping we get an extended cut on DVD/Blu-ray, and maybe get a more complete film out of it.

    There are a number of scenes where something just seems to be missing. Who knows what was actually cut, but I’ve had some thoughts on how a few additional scenes would improve things:

    * Stark’s planned Ultron program was barely mentioned as an aside before he and Banner kickstart it with alien tech, and the failed consequences are dumped on us. Even just a few more lines of dialog between characters establishing this as an long running plan of Stark’s, and perhaps a lack of consensus about its implementation (I’m sure Cap wouldn’t be fully on board with the idea), would have established some ground work for what follows.

    * Ultron springs forth as a fully-formed human-like AI, seemingly out of nowhere — and not as a cold, machine intelligence or something alien, but a snarky person. Where did that come from? Hopefully there’s some cut footage giving some hints as to where the mind of Ultron came from. In its absense, fans have to come up with their own theories (which is sometimes okay, but it’s not a grand mystery here, it’s just a hole to fill).

    Here’s mine: the Mind Stone absorbs an imprint of the minds that wield it. Stark’s attempt to create an AI using the stone infuses it with a pattern of his own mind; but while encased in Loki’s staff, the stone retains Loki’s imprint as well. The resulting fusion has Stark’s drive for control and peace at all costs, and Loki’s megalomania and disdain for humanity. For Vision, the stone is freed, and so is supplied Jarvis’ AI without Loki’s corruption, but the stone also absorbs the essence of all the Avengers present at his awakening, giving him a more balanced outlook.

    * Speaking of the Vision, that’s abrupt at both ends. He’s introduced quite suddenly and thrown into action, and afterward he seems to be accepted without much further comment. This is a brand new being in their presence; I think it warrants a bit more discussion!

    * The character wrap-ups at the end are all too abrupt. Especially Stark’s; he just clocks out and goes home without comment. Is he guilty over his screw-up? Is he doubling down and going independent to try and do it right next time? Is the difference in philosophy between him and the others too great to effectively work as a team any more? Flesh it out a bit.

    It wasn’t a perfect film… but I want more of it.

  36. poiumty says:

    Hey I just wanted to stop here for a second to tell you how much I agree with that 2010 article you linked on AI and that you basically explained why I can’t stand the modern “computor with feewings” portrayal of it in popular media.

    Nobody’s probably gonna read this comment but god damn I’ve been waiting to find someone who thinks like that as well.

    I mean holy crap, ever since I, Robot. I’m sure that if I were to read other works of Asimov I wouldn’t stand them for the same above reasons. It’s like “a machine goes to sleep one night and wakes up with 6 billion years worth of evolutionary baggage” yeah no pls stop you’re not making any sense.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Nobody's probably gonna read this comment

      Youd lose that bet.

      As for I robot,the robots in there dont have feelings.Some of them seem like they do,but thats because they were designed to emulate humans.Same goes for all other Asimov robot stories.

      1. poiumty says:


        Yeah the whole “laws of robotics” thing doesn’t gel very well with me. And isn’t the whole point of I, Robot that a robot can develop a “self”? Whereas self-awareness is not an issue unless you assign meaning to it, i.e. have feelings for it?

        1. Mike S. says:

          Asimov’s I, Robot was a collection of short stories. The movie was a preexisting script that got Asimov’s names and some tropes applied to it.

          (Asimov did have a story about a robot becoming a person, The Bicentennial Man. But that robot was a one-off that started out with a creative bent it wasn’t designed to have, and spent two centuries modifying itself with systems that mimicked biological ones.)

          Asimov wasn’t doing tech projection in any case. (He’d cheerfully admit that he gave them “positronic brains” because positrons were newly-discovered and sounded cool, and didn’t know much about actual computers at the time.) The robot stories were mostly Golden Age-style problem stories, which were sort of an allied genre to mysteries: set up the rules, set up a problem– here, either an unexpected interaction of the rules or something that looks like a violation, but isn’t– and have the main character(s) be the only one who can unwind the tangle.

          The Laws were also a reaction to the long tradition of machine-rebels-and-tries-to-destroy-its-creators. (Which of course continues to have exemplars decades after Asimov’s death– most recently, well…)

          Asimov figured that the one thing humans would make very sure of is that their machines would have safety features. (Google may not know how to program Laws of Robotics, but it’s going to try as hard as it can to make sure its self-driving cars are less likely to kill anyone than a human driver is, because no one will let it sell one if not.) But the Laws themselves are primarily a literary device.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Are you talking about the movie?Please,for the love of god,dont think the movie has anything to do with Asimovs writing!Its a piece of crap that has only the title in common with it.

          As for the book,the point of the book was how these base 3 laws* can be subverted when humans tamper with them.Not a single robot in there ever has feelings.Also,in one other story(robots and the empire)it is shown how a robot that operates on a different definition of a human being can end up subverting the laws with ease as well.

          *The laws themselves are described in plain words,but they in at least one instance,one of the characters that deals in robotics explains that its just a convenience for the sake of humans,and that the laws themselves are just impulses in the robots brain.

          1. Mike S. says:

            I think the question of whether Steven Byerly in “Evidence” has feelings is deliberately left ambiguous, like the question of whether he’s a robot or not at all. The very last thing he does in the story is chuckle at Susan Calvin. Conceivably that’s just part of his Three Laws-driven simulation of humanity, aimed at gaining elective office for humans’ good. But they’re alone, and Calvin has made it clear that she thinks he’s a robot and that she hopes he becomes Global Co-ordinator anyway. There’s no real need to simulate emotion he doesn’t feel in that instance.

            More broadly, Calvin’s field of robopsychology implicitly treats Laws conflicts as feelings that cause robots pain or distress, rather than mere malfunctions. (Though she’s always clear that they derive from a fundamentally different basis from human emotions, and can’t be treated the same way.)

          2. poiumty says:

            Mm. Bit of a late reply, but I forgot about this discussion here.

            Thanks for the clarifications on Asimov’s work. I never really found any books of his in my youth despite being really invested into tech and shit, and when I, Robot came out I thought if I like the subject matter I’d delve deeper into his work. I didn’t like it, so I didn’t do it. It’s good to know that I was wrong about it and I still might enjoy his critically acclaimed works if I ever choose to pick them up.

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