Frankenstein Meets The Avengers

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So, my husband and I went to see “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” last night…because we are both superhero aficionados from way back, and because we’re both kinda immature that way. I expected to see Thor and Iron Man flying, Black Widow seducing, Hawkeye bulls-eying, Captain America leading, and the Hulk smashing.  Imagine my surprise to see them “creating.”

(If you haven’t seen the Marvel series, or don’t care to, I will only explain enough of this movie for you to follow my meaning.  For Marvel fans who haven’t seen the new Avengers—spoiler alert.) An interesting take on the Frankenstein theme, there is already a “life force” that exists in a jewel from another world.  This jewel has made its way into our world via Loki’s sceptre—which he was good enough to send through the portal to the bad guys.  That Loki…tsk! The jewel, basically, is a living computer program, and it is this program that makes Ultron live and have being.  But Ultron sees in his first moment the history of Man—via the World Wide Web—in all its unbridled savagery and violence, and instantly hates all humans.  Well…of course he thinks we need to be exterminated.  So begins the conflict of the film and the Avengers get to show off their Avengerness.

Ultron believes he needs to “evolve” into something more than his first self.  He therefore begins to build an android/biological “body” in order to house his consciousness—a creature after his own improved image with whom he can unite.  However, the “body” is hijacked by the Avengers, and once in the hands of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner (aka Ironman and Hulk who also happen to be genius scientists—I know, I know, lol) they consider their options.  Stark suggests they upload Stark’s personal computer program, J.A.R.V.I.S., into the body.  They do, with the help of Thor’s lightening hammer, and what they produce is an amalgamation of Stark’s program, the Hammer’s energy, and the body originally created by Ultron.  Very much alive, this creature is unbelievably powerful and good, and a respecter of life.  And—joins Odin and Thor as the only creatures in the universe able to pick up the Hammer.  This new creature’s name is “Vision” and is one of the established Avengers in the Marvel comic book series.

So, how is Vision identified with Frankenstein?  Aside from the obvious, Vision is a sensitive and moral creature of light.  Unlike Victor Frankenstein’s pitiful and rejected creature gone mad with heartbreak, Vision is beautiful and embraced by his Avenger “community.” Frankenstein’s creature has no place in the world, yet Vision’s place in his new world is immediately established.

On a side note, that phrase “has no place in the world…” was one that was used more than once in various paraphrases—not that it belongs to Marvel.  But it’s interesting that many of the “superheroes” that comprise the Avengers are like the Frankenstein creature in so many ways:

Captain America began his life as a short and scrawny weakling with a heart of burnished gold.  He kept getting rejected from the army during world war two as he tried to enlist and “do his duty.” However, he was discovered by Tony “Ironman” Stark’s father for a “special experiment” that reformed his body into his imposing 6’2” and 260 lbs of “I will beat the crap out of bad guys.” He is created out of “worthless” parts to become something unique—a being made according to the vision of a man.

Black Widow was recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. to become a spy.  She was broken down psychologically and sterilized to prevent pregnancy.  Then she was rebuilt physically and emotionally to be the creature that S.H.I.E.L.D. would be able to use.  Along the way, Black Widow, like Frankenstein’s creature, suffered a break that sent her careening into the dark side.  However, unlike Frankenstein’s creature, she had a friend who led her back into the light.

While the Hulk is more closely referenced to Jekyll and Hyde he still bears some similarity to the Frankenstein creature.  Both Jekyll and Frankenstein reject their “creatures” as the vile other, and likewise, Bruce Banner rejects the Hulk as such.  He sees the Hulk as a destructive creature beyond any control and the entity that has ruined his life.  Unlike Jekyll’s Hyde alter-ego but much like Frankenstein’s creature, the Hulk seeks his own purposeful identity that can co-exist with Bruce Banner.  Hyde wanted to dominate and eventually eliminate Jekyll where the Hulk fiercely protects Bruce Banner—even from Bruce Banner.  Hulk seeks a compromise with Bruce, much like Frankenstein’s creature who asked Victor to create another like him to be his life’s companion.  In this film, the audience begins to see “the being” that is the Hulk—that he is not necessarily a mindless monster.

In any case, now that I am looking in on Frankenstein’s creature, I see him everywhere—just like zombies are everywhere I look.  Lol.  By the way, zombies also show up in the Marvel Universe.  So, not completely my imagination for you nay-sayers out there. Hehehe.  There you have it.

And now, back to paper writing….

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3 thoughts on “Frankenstein Meets The Avengers

  1. Excellent. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but most likely will soonishly (I’ve got several fans in the house who’ll want to see it – and yes, I forwarded this post to the chief one). Isn’t it fun to be able to see literary parallels in popular fiction? Literature is everywhere – muahahahah!

    So, I wonder: making Vision a “positive Frankenstein’s Monster”, as it were – why is that? What might have motivated it on the part of the filmmakers (is that a Marvel thing, or unique to the movie?)? And does it have anything to do with society the way it is right now vs. the early 19th century?

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    • Thanks A! I think your questions will be answered in my next post. I had some of the same questions myself after I posted this one, so, hang on a sec… 🙂

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  2. We watched it Tues. night (cheap Tuesday), and I kept thinking about your Frankenstein analogy, which is totally apt! It slaps you right in the face when Thor does that thing with the hammer – kchchchzzzzp, lightning flashes all around… 🙂
    And what did you think of Vision rising up and going “I Am!!”?!?

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