Avengers: Age of Ultron is one of my favorite Marvel movies, mainly because James Spader brought a depth voicing the Ultron character and the Christian narrative that played out well throughout the film. I hold the conviction that the Christian theme was deliberate and as a Bible student. I wanted to highlight some of the references I noted.
“No Strings On Me”
Tony Stark created Ultron an Artificial Intelligence to fulfill a global peace initiative to combat apocalyptic alien threats but he resisted his programming. Ironically when he said these words, he looked like a puppet with wires dangling from his arms and yet set out to complete the mission in a twisted way by eradicating humanity which he considered as the way to keep the world safe. In the Bible, when Jesus was being arrested, he uttered these words, “for the ruler of this world (the devil) is coming and he has nothing in me (John 14:30) meaning no sin that could be used against or control him. The devil who had rebelled against God (his creator) , thereafter influenced the crucifixion of Jesus which completed Christ’s mission on earth and ushered in salvation for the whole word as God had predetermined.
“Geometry Of Belief”
Ultron set up his base at a church which he later installed the core of his destructive meteorite device, while talking to the twins Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch he says, “Did you know this church is in the exact center of the city? The elders decreed it so that everyone could be equally close to God. I like that. The geometry of belief.” In the Old Testament, the temple was the central pillar which influenced the Israelites way of life, it is no wonder in times of war, and it was a prime focus of attack and every time they neglected the temple, their enemies prevailed over them. Over the centuries, religion continues to influence how societies function and was used as a justification for the crusades and modern day terrorist acts.
“Upon this rock I will build my church”
At this moment, my theory was Ultron wanted to use the Vibranium to build a better body similar to Captain America’s shield. However, he had discovered that he could evolve by building a living body by combining Vibranium atoms and tissue cells in the regeneration cradle. The context in which Jesus spoke these words, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) refers to the revelation by which Peter knew Jesus was the son of the living God. And this is the same pattern by which the Church should operate; connection to God the Father will grant the Church access to intelligence which will cause innovations to prevail over opposition and establish the Kingdom of God in the hearts of men on earth.
"Some people think that - excuse my expression here - that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits."
“the guy is multiplying faster than a Catholic rabbit”
In January 2015, on his return from a trip in the Philippines, Pope Francis while speaking to journalists on the Church’s stance on artificial contraception, replied with the above quote. At the time, his comments predictably caused some controversy worldwide. These words were spoken by Nick Fury commenting on Ultron’s whereabouts, which is interesting. Considering the film schedule for Ultron which begun in February 2014 until August 2014 and the premiere was on April 13, 2015. My theory is that this was a means of social commentary and that this line must have been added during post-production.
After Thor brought to life the created body of Vision using a lightning bolt from his hammer, Captain America questioned him on who he was, he replied, “I'm not Ultron. I'm not JARVIS. I am...I am.” Coincidentally, this is the same conversation God had with Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:13 -14) when he asked who he should say sent him, and God said to Moses, ““I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.” This is also the same expression in the New Testament, Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58), this enraged the Jews as they consider it blasphemous as Jesus was comparing himself to God. The movie embellishes on this fact when Vision declares that he is on the side of life and when he effortlessly lifts Thor’s hammer and hands it to him, walks off and everyone stared in shock. Implying, that he was worthy to rule Asgard, the realm of the gods.
There were more memorable lines and it was a genius stroke having Ultron deliver lines that resonated with Christian audiences such as, “Captain America. God's righteous man, pretending you could live without a war.” And “When the Earth starts to settle, God throws a stone at it, and believe me, he’s winding up.” As for Joss Whedon, director/writer of the movie, it has been reported that he is an atheist, which surprised me, for he seems to have a deep understanding of scripture and to his credit, it was interesting how he wove Bible references throughout the movie. And given the success of the previous marvel movies, the commercial expectations for this movie were equally high. By Forbes estimates, Avengers: Age of Ultron worldwide gross was $1.405 billion and it holds the 4th rank in the list of highest-grossing superhero films. That shows, it is possible to make a profitable movie with covertly religious themes and it is time Christians adopt this template.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Victor Orare