“Everyone creates the thing they dread. Men of peace create engines of war, invaders create avengers. People create… smaller people? Uhh… children! Lost the word there. Children, designed to supplant them. To help them… end.” – Ultron, Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Some minor spoilers for Avengers: Age of Ultron ahead… C’mon, if you care about this toy, you’ve already seen it right?
A new wave of Marvel Legends hit TRU last week; I almost got out of TRU without spending $120 on it. The theme for the wave is loosely based on Marvel’s upcoming Ant-Man film, very loosely. I’ll probably review most of those in the next few weeks as we get closer to the film’s release, but there is one figure I’m ready to review now. It’s also the figure that pushed me over the edge to blow $120 on all six figures, most of which I’m not likely to keep. Marvel Legends collectors know that hard decision well, we call it the build-a-figure. In this wave, the build-a-figure has nothing to do with Ant-Man, at least in the Marvel Cinematic Universe anyway, it’s from Avengers instead. It’s Ultron.
Since it was Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Hank Pym that built Ultron in the comics, I suppose it’s fitting that he be included with this wave. That’s a cool little nod for comic fans, but I still felt a little burned. It’s not a bad wave – we get a founding Avenger, three solid C-list villains, and a newer Giant-Man costume, but if you’re collecting MCU figures you only get Ant-Man and five guys you gotta buy to build an Ultron. It’s good business to mix things up a bit, but just one or two more movie figures might’ve been nice.
So there’s that. But what about Ultron? I did mention that I still almost walked away. That’s partially to do with the film. I had a great time watching Age of Ultron. I thought it was one more step in the right direction the MCU continues to march its way towards. And I really enjoyed James Spader’s Ultron… even though it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.
I got my first whiff of it not being what I was expecting in a preview clip that featured Ultron recruiting the Twins. It’s when he can’t think of the word children and then jovially laughs. It’s on me that I was thinking of a purely robotic villain – I should’ve known better considering Whedon’s involvement. Even though it was different than I expected, I still liked it. The difference from comic to movie is usually unimportant to me and, in this case, it’s even easily explained; this is Tony’s Ultron, not Ant-Man’s.
I did come to enjoy the portrayal though. Heck, I wish the movie just ended with the scene between him & Vision. I also liked the look, but in the end, Ultron just lacked any real resonance with me. He doesn’t have Loki’s charm, Red Skull’s menace, Pierce’s self-assuredness. Ronan, even with his basically zero characterization in Guardians makes more of a connection towards me. Ultron is superior to the forgettable Iron Man villains (credit, no doubt, to James Spader), but like them he is propped up more by other elements of the film being good rather than being a pillar the film relies on. Continue to Page 2…