Joss Whedon talks AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON – Powering down the big bad

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Loki, Iron Monger, the Winter Soldier. These are but just a few of the villains who have been present in Marvel movies so far. But the latest big bad, Ultron, is a whole new level of bad guy. A killer robot who wants to wipe humanity off the map, he’s one of the few antagonists in comics who has actually succeeded in taking over the world, beating Earth’s mightiest heroes.

Avengers AOU (15)

In the comics, Ultron is a whole new level of villain. Being a computer program more than an actual identity, any defeat he suffers is usually seen as a learning experience for the genocidal robot. Plus, there also happens to be the fact that he can control other machinary, has an Adamantium hide that can take some serious punishment, lasers, robot drones and the ability to hit people with an actual coma ray. Even when outnumbered, the odds are pretty much on his side.

And that’s something that director Joss Whedon toned down for the sequel, so that the Avengers would have a foe that can be beaten. Of course, no victory comes easy as he explained to Empire:

The powers in comic books – they’re always like, ‘And then I can reverse the polarity of your ions!’ – well, we have to ground things a lot more. With Ultron, we have to make him slightly less omnipotent because he’d win. Bottom line. Also, having weaknesses and needs and foibles and alliances and actually caring what people think of him, all these things, are what make him a character and not just a tidal wave.

A movie about a tidal wave can be great, but it’s different than a conflict between one side and the other. When Ultron speaks, he has a point. He is really not on top of the fact that the point he’s making has nothing to do with the fact that he’s banoonoos. And that he hates the Avengers for bringing him into this world, and he can’t really articulate that or even understand how much he hates humanity. He thinks he’s all that. That guy is very fun to write.

He combines all the iconic stuff. The powers he has are slightly different – he can control certain things, he’s not just firing repulsors.

The Avengers roster will also grow this year with the addition of “don’t call them the M-word” superpowered kids, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. According to Whedon, they’ll havea  backstory, but it won’t be explored to the point where it adds too much to the sequel and bloats the film:

[Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch] have an origin but it’s largely described. They’re already good to go by the time we’re up and running. You don’t want to fall into Spider-Man 3 territory – and I say that as a guy who actually thinks pretty well of that movie, there’s some great stuff in that movie – but there comes a point where you’re overloaded with frontstory, backstory, origin story and it becomes very hard to juggle.

My instinct is always, ‘Don’t put in more, work with what you have.’ But I insisted on putting in more in this movie because I felt I needed more villains. I needed someone for Ultron to talk to, and I need more trouble for the Avengers. As powerful as Ultron is, if he builds more Ultrons, they’re Ultrons. There’s no reason for him to ever to talk to them because they’re him. ‘I need you to – I KNOW! I AM TOTALLY YOU! I DID IT EARLIER! I know that because I am also me.’

That’s not a good conversation. Actually, it sounded pretty good there. I think I’m onto something.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron assembles on May 2.

Last Updated: February 23, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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