Sure, Ultron was the villain of Avengers: Age of Ultron but was he wrong? The answer isn’t as simple as you may think.
Ultron may be the villain of the story and had to be stopped but his intentions were noble, he just wanted peace (same as Tony Stark). Ultron sought out what he considered the greatest threat to life on this planet and he wanted to destroy it, to bring order to the chaos, to usher in an age of peace. The problem is that the greatest threat to life on this planet (and the planet itself) was human existence. And while Ultron may have been right in viewing humans as violent, greedy, and often cruel beings he was wrong to assume that it isn’t just a phase in human existence and that we may learn from our mistakes, growing stronger and more civil eventually as a result. In essence he tried to interfere with the natural process of things (evolution) by forcing an artificial biological imperative and it cost people their lives (something he had no right to do).
Ultron’s philosophy in the movie has been described by some as nihilism but this isn’t correct. Nihilism is the philosophy that life is fundamentally without objective meaning. Ultron believed that the meaning of life is freedom, the path to perfection through evolution and would do anything no matter what it took to achieve that goal. In fact, towards the end of the movie he says to Vision “they are doomed” and Vision is forced to agree. On top of this he saw the Avengers as an impediment to human evolution and a major cause of instability in the world. To be fair, he was, after-all, living proof of this claim being that he was the creation of Tony Stark. Ultron’s motivations for his actions can be summed up in the following quotes:
Ultron: Everyone creates the thing they dread. Men of peace create engines of war, invaders create avengers.
Ultron: [enters] Worthy? How could you be worthy? You’re all killers. You want to protect the world, but you don’t want it to change. There’s only one path to peace… your extinction.
If we take a close look at Tony Stark we see man with too much power and too much ambition. His vision of peace, one that was manifest in the form of Ultron, ultimately led to mass destruction and the loss of human life. It brings to mind the story of the monkey who reached down into the water to save the fish that was drowning only to have it suffocate and die once out of water. His intentions may be well but his actions proved brash and irrational. The worst part about Tony’s decision to create Ultron was that he kept it a secret from everyone else. Why? Because he knew they would object and he didn’t want to be proven wrong. This is exactly the type of behavior we can expect from a man drunk on power who thinks that he knows what’s best for everyone else. This is what leads to a dictatorship and with the level of power and influence Tony has; a totalitarian, global dictatorship would be nearly inevitable. Unfortunately what ended up happening was much worse (Ultron attempting to destroy the human race). At the end of the day, Ultron is Tony’s fault and the actions the Avengers took, the lives lost and the damage done is all on Tony. In fact, in some ways Tony Stark is just as much the villain of the movie as Ultron is. The difference is that Ultron took things a step too far and had to be stopped.
“I tried to create a suit of armor around the world, but I created something terrible.” - Tony Stark
As we can see, the entire crisis would have never existed in the first place if not for men with too much power messing around with things they don’t understand. It can be argued that Ultron was just doing what needed to be done and mirrored the ambitions of his creator. Ultimately Ultron and the Avengers were fighting for the exact same thing. It’s interesting to note that in Captain America: Civil War Tony will be the main proponent of the Superhuman Registration Act (meant to protect humanity from Superhumans) and rightfully so.
“It’s the end, the end of the path I started us on.” - Tony Stark