“Age of Ultron” is Marvel’s Pledge to Its Kingdom (Opinion)

This is neither a review nor defense of Avengers: Age of Ultron. This is an analysis piece in which I explain how wrongly we’re looking at Marvel.

I spoil everything except Ant-Man.

Next year’s big splash, Civil War, is right around the corner yet has no clear road leading to it. Whereas Phase I was effectively about “is what we’re doing possible?” which The Avengers answered decisively: “hell yeah!” the question of “what’s next?” never left Phase II. That might be a problem in itself, but it illuminates another one – Marvel’s perception.

Marvel has become known as today’s ultimate producer-driven model, with Emperor Kevin Feige directing the directors and setting the goal post limits. Film Twitter and jaded critics have stressed it because of the television formula – i.e. “were it not for the sub-genre variety this would be a corporate assembly line of movies with none standing out as a uniquely creative vision, a la Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy.”

This tired talking point isn’t wrong but it is massively overstated. We’ve elected to perceive the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Phase II in particular, as an attenuated string of lucrative one-stop story points than a holistic illustration of broader ideas.

Consider how little of the story Phase II actually changes. We have three more infinity stones and some new worlds, but the core remains. The twist in The Winter Soldier at the time likely felt akin to overhauling the foundation of a skyscraper, but Hydra went from being the central threat to the function of Batroc to bare relevance in Ant-Man. Thanos went from a cameo to a nebulous presence in Guardians to putting on the Infinity Gauntlet.

So if Phase II simply rearranges its game board and adds a few pieces, what have we been watching? In last year’s ranking piece I said that Phase II is about scope expansion and character introspection. Iron Man Three is about how Iron Man is supposed to exist in a post-Avengers universe; The Winter Soldier is about Steve Rogers’s struggle to adapt while resisting post-9/11 cynicism. Guardians is about misfits brought together by family issues. Ant-Man is about how even bad guys can be heroes.

And Age of Ultron? Well, this is where our wired perception of the MCU (Phase II in particular), being no more than the sum of its parts, becomes truly misleading, for this film is the apex of Marvel’s self-reflection and commitment to upholding the responsibility that has come with its ubiquity – House Marvel’s coronation speech to the genre realm The Avengers won it.

It’s easy to think that Ultron comes down as an easy cash-grabbing sequel, but if that was the case, why is this film the same length as its predecessor? The Avengers spun a fabric of complex character drama to earn a spectacular payoff while subtly powering the engine of its own hype. What’s Ultron’s excuse? If Marvel just wanted to reignite the fireworks and do Avengers Disassembled with Ultron and the Miracle Twins swooping in, wrecking the tower, breaking our heroes, and then creating Vision to finish them, only for Vision to turn and reunite the team for one last victory with the future uncertain, that’s an hour and forty minute movie. To some extent, that’s even what the trailers were selling.

A shorter film would have helped it at the box office (100 minutes is the sweet spot for maximum show times) and have made the raw serializing easier, given what comes next. Whedon and Feige had seemingly every reason to make a safe and easy party sequence which would have made just as much cash. They didn’t.

One of Ultron’s flaws is that it feels a little too held back for such a comic-book-y movie. It doesn’t top the Battle of New York. Whedon even cut out a spectacular Hulk sequence because it didn’t fit. The question rises… why hasn’t this ostensibly producer-dictated studio settled for indulgence yet? Sure, Marvel needs to last long enough for its coup de grâce – Infinity War – but that just means the movie needs to be passable. What’s going on?

Superheroes and their films have not always been received well, and it’s easy to see why. A key assumption to them is that the world is so dangerous that the people must invest their hopes in an unaccountable brute vigilante, framing him as a righteous individual rising to the occasion. As they go on, these films get more violent, have bigger and flashier toys, and their worlds get nuttier & gloomier.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe does not do this.

From the spinning rims to space guns to a helicarrier, Marvel’s ultimate weapon turns out to be a handful of freaks. The Avengers’s central conceit is that good ol’ fashioned teamwork almost always advances a better solution than amassing and stockpiling weaponry. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s secret continuation of Hydra’s weapons initiative is said to be the reason Loki came to Earth in the first place. What the film was literally calling “Phase II” was the unpleasant contingency Nick Fury assembles the Avengers to prevent. When it looks like the battle is lost and the shadowy council launches a nuke, the team redirects it and seals their victory.

Kismet then that Phase II is more about Marvel disarming itself. It begins with Iron Man Three.

The film features a reclusive Tony Stark, after having obsessively constructed a suit for every threat, trying to be Iron Man in a shared cosmic universe that the demons he and his ego created are literally exploiting for political power. Three films of increasingly cooler suits but with Stark finally learning how to be a hero, he has now internalized the problem the wrong way, locking himself into a singular self-destructive life. The film strips them away and makes an organic problem-solver out of him, resolving that as the real essence of Iron Man’s strength and heroism, not the reactor in his chest powering his metal cocoon.

When Stark first said “I am Iron Man,” he meant “I was in the suit.” When he says it in Iron Man 2 he is again asserting his bond with the suit. This time it means “Iron Man is me; I am no longer confined to the suit.” His PTSD didn’t die (it never will); he learned to deal with it with the help of the people around him. The suit is just a vehicle.

Marvel’s first move after their triumph of the century was to look inward at one of its biggest weapons and straight-up morph it. If that doesn’t repudiate every “same-old-capes***” scoff out there I don’t know what does. Those glorified house-party toys in Stark’s basement would be an easy example of that “fascist superheroes” applesauce, but Iron Man Three goes without them for the full duration, until trotting them out for a background pyrotechnical carnival before blowing them up for the larger metaphor. Even when he used the suit for the mid-air rescue (where the film momentarily forgot that his mission to save the president had failed), it was framed as a physical limitation to overcome. More to the point, Ultron reveals what this was for – to mature him so he can screw up on an even more global level, because he’s still Tony Stark.

Continuing with this theme, The Winter Soldier begins with Fury showing a skeptical Cap all the awesome new military tech S.H.I.E.L.D. has in its security arsenal, and then reveals that they are actually the tools of HYDRA’s new world order. This is today’s world, and Cap makes it his purpose to change it. The film ends with S.H.I.E.L.D. exposed and dismantled, with Black Widow telling Congress that she, Cap, and the Avengers, for all of their faults, are better, more trustworthy global defenders and peacekeepers than a corrupt monolithic military industrial complex pointing giant guns at everyone’s head. It’s no accident that when next we see Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., they have come as a civilian rescue crew and armed with Rhodey.

While Dark World and Guardians leave Earth to enhance the universe, the meat of Phase II is character-centric introspection, where Marvel resolves to retract its claws. An odd path for a bunch of happy-meal popcorn flicks with Bruckheimer-levels of big budgets to take, but sure, I guess that running theme makes them the same. What are the Buy n Large producer overlords of this art-sapping toy line thinking?!

When viewed only as a product of its linear franchise, Age of Ultron appears on its face as just a film about a disastrous miscommunication between heroes culminating in a villain whose bane is the next evolutionary generation, and forming the centerpiece for a new team. Yet those aren’t the terms the film establishes for itself.

Devin Faraci has already spilled a lot of internet ink on the specific themes Ultron toys with, and this is where I admit that I’m piggybacking off most of his words (hyperlinked below) and hopefully synthesizing them into a larger point that I think he (and everyone else) missed.

The film begins with Stark’s PTSD rearing its ugly head again as his worst fears come to life in front of him. No longer the naïve care-free showboat of Iron Man nor the insecure misanthropic workstation junkie of Iron Man Three, Stark seizes the moment and spearheads the next step in the evolution of global security because the Avengers are too stagnant a force for it, busting runaway Hydra cells all the live-long day with no plan for the real threat.

Ultron represents a nihilistic extreme of Stark’s entire character evolution. Every move he makes is about proving himself, whether it’s the “more than a man” gotch’a on Scarlet Witch, playing tag-you’re-it with the Avengers (Stark in particular), violently upgrading himself in front of Black Widow, or turning a city into an extinction-level meteor. He uses Stark witticisms and takes it personally when his allies abandon him.

In other words, Ultron is a literal embodiment of Stark’s nuanced heroism having run amok – a consequence of that exact reckless vigilantism the skeptics fault superheroes for. Obviously this isn’t the first time a hero unintentionally created his villain, but here the theme is clear, further hammered in by the Twins’ origin story, orphaned as children by Stark’s bombs.

It’s considerably rushed but what’s important is the duality of perspective. We see the Avengers cleaning up by hunting the scepter and dismantling another “Phase II” type weapons project, but the twins and the people of war-torn Sokovia see an invasion by an unfairly mighty force backed by dirty American money. The heroes and liberators, for all the good they did, left a lot of rubble in their wake and, as Faraci explains, became the faces of imperialism, something global audiences undoubtedly recognize when they look to America. Ultron thus does for the Avengers what Iron Man Three did for Stark and The Winter Soldier did for S.H.I.E.L.D. – looking inward.

Ultron addresses the popular sentiments against superhero films by creating a crisis of image and making our self-doubting heroes ask themselves hard questions about their culpability with it. Whereas Iron Man Three was about trying to make Tony Stark a person again, Ultron beseeches similar empathy for all of our heroes. I shan’t repeat Faraci’s words on the subject because he explains it perfectly, and this is about the resolution.

Most good superhero movies that show even a trace of this consciousness resolve it just by having the heroes make the “right” choice, stop the bad guy, save the world, etc. in an emotionally satisfying way. As such they often take themselves for granted and do the bare minimum of the things that actually make the heroes real heroes, like Rocket Raccoon shooting the falling bombs in Guardians, or Bruce Wayne saving Coleman Reese in The Dark Knight.

Age of Ultron increasingly highlights those would-be small deeds with each major action set piece. In the first, Stark dispatches the Iron Legion to protect civilians. In Wakanda, Stark catches a falling elevator and lets the people out before swinging it, and drops Hulk on a building only after confirming that it’s clear. In Seoul, Cap orders Quicksilver to get civilians out of the way and Scarlet Witch to stop the train, while he braces incoming rubble from the front. The movie milks the awesomeness of it, making instant heroes out of the twins.

For the final showdown – you already know it – Ultron makes it not about saving the world, but saving people while saving the world. Not only that, but Ultron’s plan is almost hilariously designed to tempt the young overeager filmmakers looking to devise some delicious destruction porn. He carves out the perimeter of a made-up city into a fault line and launches it into the sky!

Joss Whedon, however, understands how soulless that can be if there isn’t a crucial human element involved. A seasoned filmmaker, he knows nothing brings the genre’s healthy skeptics out for blood faster than a CGI-plastered explosion fest with no auteur focus. Under Whedon’s direction, the Avengers head into battle with their top priority being to safeguard those caught in the crossfire. The highlights get to be Iron Man carrying a family in a bathtub, Thor and Cap working together to save a falling woman, Quicksilver sacrificing himself to save Hawkeye and the boy, and of course, the arrival of Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. on that helicarrier.

Contrast this with Avengers, where this helicarrier, one of the film’s most fantastical elements is presented with pomp for its own sake but only used as a base of operations.

Here the helicarrier’s arrival has meaning, not just because it resolves narrative clarity at the perfect moment. Yes, the time between Stark planning to vaporize the city and Nick Fury’s arrival is an uncomfortably messy stasis period. Yet at this ultimate high point, Ultron not only answers its own central question that Cap explained in his battle speech (“Ultron thinks we’re monsters, that we’re what’s wrong with the world. This isn’t just about beating him; it’s about whether he’s right…”) in a grand payoff, but also slams down Marvel’s royal decree. Superhero movies cannot assume our empathy or trust. They must do the real work to earn it.

On its face the two Americas theme is as clear as it was in the beginning. Cap’s America, the country of the Marshall Plan, redeems itself for the sins of Stark’s America, the corrupt warmongering empire Sokovia resents, and establishes an optimistic legacy of responsibility over neglect. Yet the film’s and franchise’s display of self-consciousness collectively create an even greater mission statement. After spending half of Phase II and the exhausting length of Ultron lowering its weapons and inviting us to see the proud triumphant heroes of The Avengers as flawed, doubting, and stumbling human beings whose legacies are interwoven with that of America itself, Marvel resolves to show what real stakes and real heroism look like, and how they pay off.

It can be this, or even something as simple as that mid-air rescue in Iron Man Three.

Thus, with Ultron, Joss Whedon actually uses the American imperial allegory as familiar cinematic language to reflect his film’s real ethos. This wasn’t about the Avengers earning their praise or some political statement; this is a message aimed straight at the superhero blockbuster genre at large. Superhero films will be mindful of their image, and their filmmakers will work to prove the skeptics and “fascist” cat-callers wrong. Superheroes, comic-book stories, movies, and their mass cultural consumption can be – and are – a force for good.

The ending reaffirms this, with the Vision speaking to Ultron’s last form. Superheroes are worth following because they’re flawed characters with evolving story arcs. They’ll err, as all humans do, but if they’re really heroes they’ll embrace their responsibility and create a better divine legacy, like a new and more colorful team. Their films can thrill us and also inspire us to hope for the best –action blockbusters with real moral centers.

I am not here to tell you that Age of Ultron is better than or equal to Avengers, or that its flaws are mitigated by this greater compelling idea. I’m not here to call Ant-Man a lesser film because it doesn’t have this. On the contrary, Ant-Man is the perfect follow-up to this because it moves away from the big scale and imbues itself with a tremendous amount of raw heart, proving Marvel’s pledge in its predecessor true. Ultron follows in the spiritual footsteps of The Godfather Part II, expanding the thematic underpinnings of the world at large to make for a more enriching cinematic experience, and somewhat sacrificing the momentary spectacle everyone celebrated in the original masterpiece. There was plenty to chew on in this dense compendium-tier roll of digitized lore-laden craziness but the genre statement went unrecognized, despite how much it governed the entire narrative function straight from the core…

…A statement that goes amiss when all we choose to see is a linear corporate puppet franchise.

The Avengers birthed the team from the belief that the collective extraordinary whole could be greater than the sum of its parts, and then conquered the world. Age of Ultron showed us the kind of king Marvel intends to be.

Written By Vivek Subramanyam

Vivek is a handsome, talented, well-spoken political aficionado and part-time film critic who totally never ever writes mini-bios about himself.

Follow him on Twitter @VerverkS or check out his blog V for Verbatim.

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  • A couple of things (other than this is brilliant work, Vivek!) I thought about in the aftermath of my own review of AOU and reading this.

    I think the “face of imperialism” concept you tackled is spot on – the Avengers are seen as a force of American imperialism largely because they’re based there, so the way Whedon handled their insertion into Sorkova (or whatever the place was called) was, as you said, the Avengers thinking they’re liberators while the inhabitants see them as invaders. It’s this contrast of ideaology that I think is the most fascinating part of the superhero convention: who draws the lines on where these people do their work? Superman once proclaimed himself a citizen of the world, even though its obvious he spends a large portion of his time within the USA, and I think the Red Son comic took similar themes and gave them some meaty examination as well. It’s a common theme in most superhero comics at one point or another, considering the reduction – or eroding – of statehood in our global economy has affected, disenfranchised and often brought to conflict various parties. The team scenario of the Avengers brings together not only disparate people, but also aspects of political expediency and nationalism, generally the kind of thing the world outside the US looks at with a touch of aggravation. But you’ve unpacked this element of the film beautifully.

    Although he’s come out in pubic and stated that we’re unlikely to ever see a “director’s cut” of AOU, because the version released was what Whedon wanted released, but I’d love to know exactly was was removed from the final edit on this movie. AOU had so many competing narrative arcs, and i don’t think Whedon quite handled them all with the same grace he did with, say, his Serenity movie, or even the first Avengers; notably, Thor was shortchanged, and I felt the Widow/Banner romance was a touch forced and unremarkable, almost contrived. If they’re going to go this route, perhaps we could see more development of it from the ground up. I really thought the film hit a home-run with Hawkeye’s family, but part of me reflected on it that perhaps this wasn’t the film to bring that up? I’m not sure – the story needed a sense of humanity, a sense of grounding, but the secret family aspect kinda detracted from the rest of the film’s largely comicy overtones. IMO, naturally. But it makes me wonder what kind of film it might have been had Whedon had his three-hour cut out for public consumption.

    You mention that Phase 2 of the MCU has been primarily about breaking down the heroes before we approach Infinity War, which will no doubt be the Mother Of All Comic Book Movies. I wonder, though, whether this was the time to do it? Bear with me. Phase 3, which kicks off with Civil War’s conflict, will continue the fracturing of the various heroes as they grapple with what one would expect to be a two-sided deal with the devil. Then we kick into a new character (Dr Strange), a bunch from offworld (GOTG2) and then Spider-Man somewhere in there, before we even get close to an Avengers reprise with Thor: Ragnarok. Naturally, Ragnarok will shake the MCU to its core again (because Feige), but with the gap in time between AOU’s personality shattering events, followed by three films without an Avengers cast member in it (that we know of), the effects of AOU will be a distant memory by the time we get to either Ragnarok or, as I suspect, the first Infinity War film. Where’s the “build them up” trajectory following the “tear them down” arc? I can’t imagine that first Infinity War film will go over well if they need to spend half of it bringing us all up to speed on what Tony Stark has been doing in the years between movies. I just don’t think such a divisive fracturing so early is going to be able to maintain its natural anticipatory payoff if we’re waiting so long to approach the characters again. Naturally, I await the proof that I’m talking out my ass.

    It’s getting late, and I’ve only read this once. I’ll reread and be back on the weekend with more thoughts. Nice job, V.

  • Oh, but I will stomp my feet of using the phrase “spiritual footsteps of The Godfather Part II” in this instance. In no way would I ever compare the MCU to a Godfather film, no matter the subtext. 😉

  • Brittani

    Excellent post! I had a few issues with Age of Ultron, but it’s over all a very good Marvel movie, and it’s on the higher end of my Marvel list. I like a lot of things you said here. And I’m looking forward to Civil War for sure.

  • Vivek

    Thanks, Brittani! I’m glad you like the movie and that you enjoyed reading this. “Civil War” should be fun. I know I say in the beginning that there’s no clear road to it (I’m patting myself on the back for the “Road to Civil War” pun), but Marvel has actually quite sneakily primed our main characters for it.

    Cap has struggled to find a purpose with the modern world, as indicated by his dilemmas in “The Winter Soldier” and moment of pause on the Barton Ranch. He fears being a stranger to the world yet he also is no longer suited to civilian life (even his deleted scene in “The Avengers” hints at that), so he makes his home with the Avengers.

    Stark has evolved from being too care-free to internalizing the entire problem of global security and tirelessly working to create solutions to it, often resulting in disasters like Ultron, but where he is able to salvage the wreckage of his failure into something better. And now that he has been vindicated by the baffling existence of the Vision, he will only be more emboldened going forward, provided he has a reason to come back.

    All it takes is one catastrophic accident involving Scarlet Witch’s uncontrollable powers to bring Stark back. Which means now the self-anointed arbiter of global security is about to rip into the man out of time’s sole reason for existing in the modern world.

  • Vivek

    I didn’t compare them. “Spiritual footsteps” means that it’s taking “The Godfather Part II”‘s approach to being a sequel. I would never actually compare the damn things.

  • Vivek


    Thank you for staying up late to read this, and for responding with such detail. I’m honored to have your time and attention.

    The Widow/Banner relationship made sense to me from the perspective of where they were coming from – i.e. two rather anti-social beings who are both looking to be something more than what they really are. Devin Faraci broke this down more eloquently in his “Monsters” article (see the link in this quote: “I shan’t repeat Faraci’s words on the subject because he explains it perfectly”) but essentially we’re dealing with the film’s narrative pushing hard against their efforts to be real people. Romanov wants Barton’s life for herself, and while Barton’s kids call her “auntie Nat” (she’s probably the godmother to the kids) her chance to actually be a second mother to an upcoming girl she hopes will have her first name meets instant disappointment when it turns out to be a boy – Nathaniel. She speaks of running away, as if forcing the life she wants upon herself will help, but she knows that it’s impossible. Her worst fears remind her of who she was made to be – something inescapable. Obviously a lot of people objected to the “I’m barren” thing, but its function was more literal than direct, if that makes sense. Banner, meanwhile, despite having come to terms with the permanence of his anger, stills fears the consequences of it. It’s telling that we don’t see the actual vision that prompts a wounded Hulk to run rampant through Wakanda because that vision became televised to the entire world. That entire Hulkbuster fight WAS Banner’s worst fear, and the film very, VERY subtly (I only caught one instance of it, but really it’s everywhere) drops hints that Hulk is less of an “other guy” than he is just a part of Banner. People were wondering how Hulk could just sit in a cockpit of a ship and fly it; that wasn’t Hulk – it was Banner. Faraci expects that the next time we see him, they’ll just be the same person. I agree – in the sense that I expect that the Hulk will be able to talk in complete sentences, and maybe even wax radiology eloquent. I also think this is the perfect set up for a future “Planet Hulk” movie. After all – there’s no Bruce Banner in that story. It’s ALL Hulk, gladiator battles, love tragedy, and everything.

    In any event, it makes sense that these two people are attracted to each other on the basis of their shared dreams, and also in the “want what they can’t have” sense. But the best thing the film does on it is to have Romanov’s one moment of weakness before unleashing the heroic Hulk, and then leaving it at that, with Romanov remaining an Avenger (like Captain America, it’s her home and family) and the Hulk (not just Banner) returning to self-exile.

  • Vivek

    I wrote a lot in response to your second big paragraph, so I thought I’d respond to your third in a new one.

    Go back and read what you wrote. Everything you said is a perfect indicator of why now is EXACTLY the time to do this. If Marvel got complacent now and indulged in the badassery of their heroes, still trying to build them up into something bigger, it might work, but it would make the Thanos battle too easy. “Phase I” is about making a team of heroes; “Phase II” is about growing the universe but also making our heroes people, soon to be wedged apart by a ferocious inner conflict that will begin “Phase III.” Presumably the rest of “Phase III” will be salvaging the ruins and making smaller heroes with smaller stories (“Ant-Man” hinted at this, though more aptly, the Defenders are being constructed on Netflix, while “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” works with the Inhumans in a “Heroes”-like thriller story). “Ragnarok” and “Guardians Vol. 2” will probably keep building the universe, but on Earth, the only superhero that I expect will have a rather sizable scope of function is Black Panther – the dude basically rules a country in the comics (and keep in mind that his film fills in the time gap between the two “Infinity War” movies. Otherwise, Spider-Man and Dr. Strange are mostly small-time dudes. The implications of Strange’s powers are…galactic…but he’s actually kind of a ghost during the big stuff. You almost never see him in the middle of a giant brawl.

    But you get the point. Marvel’s path as a franchise is literally to get smaller as it gets bigger. I expect it to be a little disorganized and chaotic, which makes for a tougher fight against Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet. The stakes write themselves. And that’s why you may be worried about the wrong thing. I have a feeling we’ll know full well what Stark will be doing between the end of “Civil War” and his next appearance, and we’ll likely find out about other tie-ins as the “Phase III” films get closer. What we conjecture about now will usually be taken for granted once the marketing campaigns kick back up.

  • Is it just me, or was the revelation about Romanov’s ability to bear children about the best moment of character development in her entire time in the MCU? I don’t remember any other moment where she was anything *other* than just an ice-cold assassin, including the “red in the ledger” scene in the first Avengers. I got more from Black Widow in this film than I have in any previous, and I legitimately don’t understand why people would find that moment worthy of criticism. Strikes me that it just made a largely inaccessible character a tad more relateable, if not somewhat sympathetic. Thoughts?

    The moment Hulk comes along and waves to the Avengers and says “Hi guys, how have you all been” will be the moment the entire comic geek family explodes with delirium, I suspect. Me included. I still say Banner needs another solo film to really set that up (for the non-comic-nerds, I think, because it’s such a significant shift to what we’ve seen previously) but I’d be happy either way.

    I get what you’re saying about the Banner/Widow relationship, inasmuch as it’s two kindred spirits coming together, I just felt that Whedon didn’t make it “click” as well as it probably needed to. I felt it came across as wooden and forced (a point I made in my own review of the film) but I suspect on recurring viewings I may soften that viewpoint.

  • Brittani

    I take it you read the leaked account of what happens at the beginning of Civil War then?

  • Vivek

    Yeah, and it makes perfect sense from where I’m standing. What do you think about it?

  • Brittani

    It does make sense. I like that Wanda struggles with her powers because she’s so powerful, but at the same time, I don’t want people to hate her because I love her so much. lol

  • Vivek

    I love her too, but it’s not like anyone gets mad that Marvel characters make mistakes. Half of Tony Stark’s character arc involves him screwing up in increasingly consequential ways. I envision an interesting and complex father/estranged-daughter-in-law relationship between Stark and Scarlet Witch. After all, she still doesn’t trust him, and I wouldn’t put it past Tony to exploit Scarlet Witch’s wide range of uncontrollable powers as a key reason why superheroes need some accountability. Have him say something along the lines of “it’s for YOUR sake, Wanda,” and mean it.

  • Brittani

    That’s true, but Stark also has penis immunity. I’m not sure if a female character could get away with some of the things he does. I can’t see Stark and Wanda having any type of relationship other than cordial. Stark’s weapons killed her parents, and his creation in Ultron killed her brother. She’s never going to trust Tony with anything. I think the potential for interesting relationships (outside of the obvious Vision) are with Cap and Widow. Wanda’s obviously going to be grieving Pietro, just like Steve will be grieving Peggy. And Natasha and Wanda could kick ass together. I’ve love to see more of the women together.

  • Vivek

    For the sake of another comment on this post (and to answer a question no one asked), here’s my new ranking of the films.

    12. Iron Man 2
    11. The Incredible Hulk
    10. Thor
    9. Thor: The Dark World
    8. Captain America: The First Avenger
    7. Ant-Man
    6. Guardians of the Galaxy
    5. Iron Man
    4. Avengers: Age of Ultron
    3. Iron Man Three
    2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    1. The Avengers

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