“I see a suit of armor around the world”
As Avengers: Infinity War and it’s unnamed sequel begin filming, i’ve decided to look back at Avengers: Age of Ultron and share what I believe to be one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest mistakes: killing off Quicksilver instead of War Machine.
One of the main relationships we see develop throughout the Iron man movies (and in later Marvel Cinematic Universe movies) is the budding friendship between Billionaire Tony Stark and Air Force pilot James Rhodes. A close confidant and source of advice, James always has his back, despite any differences they may have or conflict they may come into. Tony needs James just as Steve Rogers needs Bucky Barnes. Introduced in Age of Ultron, Quicksilver never develops this close of a relationship with any of the avengers.
Shattered after the lost of their home and their family due to Stark weapons, the Maximoff twins sign up for Baron Von Strucker’s scientific experiments, hoping to gain the power necessary to have their revenge on the man in the Iron Suit. Despite this being their entire motivation for fighting the Avengers, we never really see them (especially Quicksilver) interact with Stark for more than a couple of seconds. Instead we see Pietro frequently fighting and quipping with Hawkeye, easily the least developed member of earths mightiest heros. Although it adds some humour to the movie and ties in with the characters heroic death, the decision to often pair up Pietro (as well as Wanda) with Hawkeye as opposed to Stark is a confusing decision. For characters whose main motivation is to get revenge, they never really seem to try too hard.
As The Avengers take apart Von Strucker’s castle, Wanda Maximoff sneaks up on Stark (with help from her brother) and uses her powers to reignite his posttraumatic stress disorder. Seeing visions of the future in which The Avengers die and the Earth falls to ruin, Tony Stark decides that the world needs more than his team of heroes to protect itself. Enter Ultron.
Although created by Hank Pym (portrayed by Michael Douglas in Ant-man) in the comic books, the MCU decided to take a different route, having Tony Stark bring the sentient robot to life with the help of Doctor Bruce Banner. From a story perspective, this decision makes complete sense. Stark has been a central figure in the universe thus far and introducing Pym, than Ultron than Vision would make for a disastrously convoluted and overly extended plot. Created as a means of defending the earth from any external threats that may arrive, Ultron breaks free from his creators and take matters into his own hands.
As the film rolls on it becomes abundantly clear that this version of Ultron is very much a product of the MCU. Quipping with his enemies and a possessing a smug attitude, the character we end up with is essentially an evil robotic personification of Tony Starks ego come to life.
By the time Age of Ultron rolls around, we’ve already seen Tony and James relationship develop through three Iron Man movies. Having Tony’s creation kill his best friend would have been exceedingly more impactful on him than the death of Quicksilver, a character who’s only real interaction with Tony cames from trying to kill him. Tony’s standpoint in Civil war and the arguments over the Sakovia accords could have been made more meaningful and emotional if they were sparked by the death of James and not some kid whom neither Tony nor the audience ever met.
Quicksilvers death has all but little impact on the events or characters in Civil War. The Sokovia accords would still go through and his sister would still have reason to be scared of her own powers whether he’s alive or not.
I for one thoroughly enjoyed Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s portrayal of Quicksilver, though his short stay in the MCU didn’t really give him any time to develop the character the way Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch developed further in Civil War.
I like War Machine and what he brings to the franchise, but I firmly believe his death would have better served the stories and the characters in the MCU than the death of Quicksilver.