Study Guide

Avengers: Age of Ultron Transformation

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Tony Stark: I don’t want to hear the "man was not meant to meddle" medley. I see a suit of armor around the world. Bruce Banner: It sounds like a cold world, Tony. Tony Stark: I've seen colder. 

Tony's got some transformations of his own in mind. Ultron wants to wipe out nearly all of humanity in order to improve it, but Tony wants to put a technological force field around the world to prevent anything bad from ever happening. This would mean shutting folks down for just thinking about causing harm. Are either of these guys in the right?

Ultron: How is humanity saved if it's not allowed to evolve?

Good question, U., but "allowed" is getting a little loose with the language. Your plan to drop a meteor on everyone's heads is more about forcing humanity to evolve—overnight. That Ultron's got a noble goal in mind is part of what complicates his character. He wants to do good for humans, but he's not going about it in the right way.

Ultron: The human race will have every opportunity to improve. Pietro Maximoff: And if they don't? Ultron: Ask Noah.

Yeah, a steady rain for forty days and forty nights is certainly going to cause some transformations. Ultron figures if God could do it, so can he. In making that connection, he highlights the kind of power needed to make large-scale transformations happen quickly. And he also looks to be playing God. Not cool, Ultron.

Ultron: You know what's in that cradle? The power to make real change. And that terrifies you. Captain America: I wouldn't call it a comfort.

Cap's honesty is revealing here. Do humans as a species really want to change? Just a casual glance at the news headlines will tell you that we are just…the worst. And don't get us started on YouTube comments. Still, what would it take to change our species' behavior overnight? The way Ultron sees it, Cap's just afraid to take the plunge. Of course, the prospective murder of billions is probably also going to get under Captain America's well-starched collar.

Ultron: I think a lot about meteors, the purity of them. Boom! The end. Start again. The world made clean for the new man to rebuild.

Ultron's vision of transformation is a wild hybrid of biblical and scientific transformations. He's just as inspired by Noah as he is by the dinosaurs, who were wiped out by a meteorite strike. We have to admit, there are days when think he might be on to something—particularly on days when we get cut off in traffic or watch too much cable news. Still, how much would humanity really change if it had to go through a meteor-induced holocaust? Might we all just turn out more like Mad Max than ever before? That possibility is not something that Ultron seems to acknowledge.

Captain America: Ultron thinks we're monsters, that we're what's wrong with the world. This is not just about beating him. It about whether he's right. 

Geez, thanks, Cap. No pressure or anything. In this line, C.A. puts the Avengers' conflict in terms of transformation: Ultron wants to destroy and change it; the Avengers want to protect and preserve it. In that, they're also saying, "Hey, we're okay with human beings just the way they are. They're good enough, they're smart enough, and gol-darn it, superheroes like them." Right back atcha, man.

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