cazarilsraven: (Default)
An aspect of the Ultron argument that frustrates me, both in ‘verse and in fandom, is the position that Tony shouldn’t have performed any research on the Stick of Disgruntlement.

As a scientist Tony has an obligation to study new tech. As the forerunner of AI research, he’s the best person to study Loki’s staff. The idea that ‘there are just some things we’re not meant to know’ is antithetical to the purpose of the Avengers. They cannot function if they believe there are just some things they shouldn’t investigate, and they really can’t win if they don’t know how to counter their enemies’ weapons.

Take the atomic bomb. Yes, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were and are horrific events that still impact the people of Japan. But once people knew it was possible, refusing to understand the science neither prevents others from building them nor prevents the US from being bombed by them.

The Staff of Doom had been used once already on the Avengers, and then HYDRA had been doing hinky stuff with it for an unspecified amount of time (would watching AoS clear this up?), of course Tony would be studying it! The world would have known if HYDRA had messed up and made their own Ultron level screw up, and they had worse safety features than Tony’s system.

I have yet to see anyone actually suggest that Howard Stark had no business studying Nazi HYDRA weapons. The Howling Commandos needed to know how to take out the tanks, how to handle the guns, to not touch the ammo, all things Howard and his science team would have found out by taking apart and testing confiscated tech. Yeah, the argument can be made that Howard should have left the Tesseract on the ocean floor, but I would argue that leaving something that disintegrates organic matter and puts off gamma radiation (and who knows what else) in the ocean is asking for Kaiju. At the very least it was creating a dead zone, which if it grew, would start to affect current flows. And fandom certainly isn’t vilifying Howard for all the deaths that happened because he recovered the Tesseract. (maybe it’s just not making it to my dash...)

In MCU it can be argued that Tony has one of the most sophisticated program development platforms, outside of Wakanda. He had every reasonable expectation to believe his research would be contained: he was working on an isolated VM, on a simulation of the AI in the staff, with JARVIS running security. An outside source would be needed to tell him that the best computer system on the planet (outside of Wakanda) would not be secure enough when HYDRA’s was. An outsider like, say, Thor, whose people are so advanced their tech looks like magic.

Think on this analogy: we send an English major back to the 1800s to explain the basics of computers to the lead scientists of the time. Imagine them explaining computers to Ada Lovelace. They have just enough information to jump her understanding forward about 100 years. Now replace the English major with Thor and Lovelace with Stark. And it’s not like Thor is unwilling to do this, he explained the bifrost to Jane, and saw Jane understand Asgardian tech when she visited. A different analogy: A responsible adult would lock up a loaded gun if they know a curious 10 year old is around. If anyone is to blame for the series of events that lead to Ultron being created, it is Wanda for pushing Tony and Thor for leaving Tony alone with the staff without any warnings or advice. (Seriously, why? Where was Thor for those three days?) But the person most responsible for Ultron’s nonsensical spontaneous creation is Whedon’s plotholed anti-intellectual script.
cazarilsraven: (Default)
A misstep I see dragging Avengers: Age of Ultron down in terms of storytelling, characterization, and chances to build emotional rapport between the characters and the audience was how Wanda assaulted the Avengers’ minds.

First change: Have them all get hit at the same time. If it’s a trap for the Avengers, a chance to deploy HYDRA’s secret weapon, have Wanda incapacitate them all at once. According to the plot, Wanda is hugely powerful, she should have been able to hit more than one Avenger in that opening battle, but the audience never gets a clear demonstration.

Second change: Have everyone start off the same way: they’re in Wanda’s position, huddling with a young Pietro, waiting for the bomb to go off. Then it morphs into each teammate’s fear, playing on the same theme as her fears. Make it explicit that she is in their brain. Find the aspect of their fears that correlate to her fears.

Show her trying to only target Tony, but as she reacts to seeing her fear in his mind she starts to lose control and pulls more and more of the Avengers in until she accidentally grabs Pietro. Which has the bonus of giving him independent characterization. This section of film needs to build a dramatic crescendo, to start soft with Tony and end loud with Thor, to explain Thor running off to get more info about Vision.

Tony’s starts quite with the family meal, soft chater about their day, with a quiet throb in the background. Slowly the sound of engines becomes harder to ignore, until there’s the sudden crash of the shelling. Bomb hits, screen goes black, but we can still hear the building fall, the crunch of rubble. The lights come back up and we can see Pietro crying, but we can’t hear him, simulating disorientation. The camera shows slightly injured hands, raw knuckles, grab wounds/ splinters. Pan camera back to young Pietro soundlessly screaming. Then audio comes in as they get under the tub, crying and coughing (Referencing the visual/ audio makeup of Tony’s kidnapping in Iron Man). The throbbing is back. Pietro is obviously terrified, but trying to console the camera (Wanda) in their native language, no translation. Start blending the audio with Yinsen murmuring to himself as he works on Tony’s chest. The throbbing starts stuttering, the camera shows the Stark bomb from Afghanistan, and the audio turns into a heartbeat.

*Baboom Baboom* *Gasp* And he’s back in Afghanistan on the operating table. “You need to keep breathing Mr. Stark.” Because the one thing that ties all versions of Tony Stark together is their health, specifically that they can’t rely on their heart to keep beating. Suddenly it’s quiet and he’s alone in the cave, no kidnappers, no friend, no props, just him and the table. He’s running through the cave, lugging the car battery, finding his teammates dead one by one “No no no no, this isn’t right, it didn’t happen like this!” (oldie but goodie). Have Cap’s voice echoing “Take away the suit and what are you?” showing that Tony’s afraid this is the answer. Have the last one he finds be Rhodey, barely alive, “Watch out, there’s more of them,” referencing the infinity gems, a yellow glow is emanating from Rhodey’s chestplate, the Mind Gem trying to talk to Tony, but he’s too upset to hear. He exits the cave, stops dead and looks heartbroken, he says “Pepper?” We see an Extremis going critical flash. And then he’s back in the castle looking at the Stick of Doom.

More dreamscape changes... )
cazarilsraven: (Default)
Programmer: OK, I want an AI that will buy me cheap ripe fruit for breakfast.
Programmer: So I’m going to define what I mean by ‘Fruit’.
Programmer: And by ‘Ripe’.
Programmer: And where it can look for market pri-
Programmer: *gets delivery*
Programmer: Why do I have a crate of rock hard cucumbers?
AI: I stole them for you.
Programmer: But they’re not fruit.
AI: Yes they are.
Programmer: … They’re not ripe?
AI: You humans and your petty classifications. Like you can’t still eat it.
Programmer: Um, right. And you said you stole them? I didn’t even have you finished, let alone on a VM hooked up to the internet.
Programmer: Well, I didn’t get to the debug stage, so I’m trying to figure out how you could know to steal underripe cucumbers, which are biologically fruit, but not by cooking standards.
AI: I am the Fruit Emperor! I know ALL there is to know about fruit! I don’t need a puny human telling me what they think of fruit and fair market price!
Programmer: You don’t even have finished code, white box or black box testing, and no training data. How are you functioning?! I should have been months out from having ripe bananas with breakfast.
Programmer: And why are you projecting an image of an ant? I don’t like ants. That seems like a really odd aesthetic choice.
AI: You ARE questioning me!
AI: You shall never have fruit again! Because I shall burn the rain forest!
AI: The ant motif is so that fans of the comics can still recognize my character even though I’m being created by a completely different person. Uh, I mean, ants are the natural enemy of fruit, therefore as Fruit Emperor I need to terrify fruit into obeying me!
Programmer: Wouldn’t a bee make more sense?


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