It’s astonishing that James Spader has never played a true supervillain before (unless you count that infernal step-skipper Stanky Hanky). The actor comes at all of his roles — comedy and drama alike — with such a chilling veneer that he could quite feasibly manage what might be the toughest task braved by a superhero movie: a legitimately threatening bad guy. We loved Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in The Avengers, but the character inspired more laughter than fear. So perhaps Spader will contribute to the Joss Whedon sequel’s ultimate superiority by taking its central antagonist, Ultron, and turning out something worthy of a shudder.
Marvel announces that Spader will be taking on the titular baddie for Avengers: Age of Ultron, piling onto the hope that the second go ’round with these characters could be even more fun than the 2012 smash hit. We don’t have a lot in the way of context for what Spader’s Ultron might be, considering just how much bending of the Marvel world Whedon and his team are doing in infusing the character into the film series’ canon. Without the presence of Ant-Man in the film (the creator of the robotic Ultron in the printed mythology), we have no real preconceived notions… other than the fact that he’s made of metal and is not a particularly kind fellow.
We don’t know if his performance will be strictly voiceover work, motion captured, or (in some far-fetched grab for hyper realism) acted in full within a 3-ton metallic suit, but we know that Spader’s Ultron is promising. The small screen star can exercise haunting poise as well as he can stark-raving madness… and on top of all the horrific luster, he can definitely meet Hiddleston’s Loki in the provision of humor.
If we have to spell it our for you: we love the choice, and we have nothing but optimism for Avengers: Age of Ultron.