Avengers: Age Of Ultron

As previously noted, almost every flaw in Avengers: Age Of Ultron (of which there are many) can get a pass for one, simple reason: James Spader’s superintelligent, megalomaniacal Ultron is great. But when it comes to inhuman monsters, Ultron can’t hold a candle to Robert California. Originally meant to be single-episode cameo for The Office, California was so perfectly conceived and inhabited by Spader that he became the natural choice as Dunder-Mifflin’s next branch manager. California then spent an entire season torturing employees with head games, arcane references, and bizarre innuendo.

It’s fair to say that there’s a bit of California in Ultron, and that’s why this mashup by Red Letter Media works so perfectly. Instead of merely kvetching about mankind’s inferiority, this upgraded Ultron waxes philosophical about the crushing banality of the Black-Eyed Peas, grouses about the real-estate market, probes the cultural significance of Elmo, and considers the fluid spectrum of human sexuality—all with his smug hubris perfectly intact.

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The mashup is so perfectly aligned, it stands as a compelling argument that The Office’s writers’ room should have been involved in punching up Ultron’s dialog. Just compare Ultron’s response to Thor’s challenge, “Is that the best you can do?” In the original film, Ultron simply boasts, “This is the best I can do. This is what I’ve been waiting for.” However, Ultron California uses verbal jujitsu to cut his opponents down to size. Laughing, he replies, “Extraordinary… Did you plan this? You’re better than this. Everyone is better than this. Because this is the worst thing I have ever seen.”