‘Age of Ultron’ was the second installment of the Avengers series and somewhat a victim of its own success. Marvel had created a monster with these movies, and surpassing themselves with each new movie is an almost impossible task. In situations like this, the challenge instead becomes a push laterally rather than upwards, which ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ did with such remarkable success.
In the comics, the robot known as ‘Ultron’ was originally a peaceful prison guard in the Negative Zone, built by Hank Pym. After Hank reprogrammed Ultron’s system to have the knowledge of violence, Ultron acquired the knowledge to attack people and protect humanity. But after a while when Ultron realizes that humanity is the cause of the ones who failed to bring peace and order they long desired, he decides to eliminate all life on Earth.
It is this author’s opinion that Marvel missed an opportunity to explore the issues of what might Artificial Intelligence look like or how that might influence surveillance and the prevalence of remote-controlled killing robots in a contemporary world. After all, what makes Ultron so frightening in the comics is that he’s a machine. You can’t appeal to his humanity because he has none. Ultron is meant to be portrayed as a remorseless robot with an intellect, like The Terminator described by Kyle Reese, “It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop… ever, until you are dead!”
But even if the film flirts with the idea of having a complicated villain in one of Tony Stark’s own inventions, an intimidating robot A.I with a HAL-type cold intellect that rationalizes its actions to save the world – ‘The Ultron Imperative’ – Ultron instead quickly becomes another interchangeable, somewhat forgettable villain.
But there is no denying that Age of Ultron looks fantastic for the most part, the CGI is noticeably expensive with much effort put into developing the world and characters. The film contains 3,000 visual effects shots, completed by ten different visual effects studios, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Lucasfilm’s VFX and animation studio Industrial Light and Magic opened a facility in London citing Avengers: Age of Ultron as a catalyst for the expansion and developed a new motion capture system for the film called Muse, which can better capture an actor’s performance and combine different takes.