Epic Age of Ultron Takedown

Age of Ultron opens.

Sometimes other people can express your views in a much more elegant way.  For me that is “most of the time.”  Wired published an epic dissection of the bleak future of the MCU that is to the beat of the drum I’ve been banging about shared universes since BEFORE Age of Ultron came out.

The article at Wired is a long form and recommended reading, but since our own Jimmy Impossible is king of the tl:dr fanclub, here’s the gist.

Some time in the middle of Avengers: Age of Ultron, I came to terms with the fact that there will never be any more decent Marvel movies. In fact, there can’t be.

A stupid popcorn movie by Joss Whedon has every reason to be a great experience. I’m no super-fan, and he’s done things that are pretty dreadful (if you’ve never seen In Your Eyes… look, do yourself a favor,don’t see In Your Eyes) but silly fun is his wheelhouse.Cabin in the Woods is hardly an intellectual little art-house film, yet when I saw it in theaters, my friend Kelly and I left the theater gasping and whooping with exhilaration, as if we’d just gotten off a roller coaster.

Too many characters. This is standard Marvel strategy — they go by the premise that all it takes to gratify their base is dropping a name that’s familiar from the comics, and so far, it’s paid off — but the never-ending quest to “improve” each movie by adding a sidekick, and another sidekick, and threevillains this time, plus that other superhero you might know about if you read every Avengers comic from 1971 through 1973, has resulted in a movie with, by my count, fourteen central characters.

The movie also has a pre-determined narrative, which we know because it’s the same narrative every Marvel movie adheres to, which is, roughly: There’s a thing and a bad guy and the bad guy steals the thing, so they fight. They lose one fight and then they lose another fight and then they win the last fight. The end.

Avengers: Age of Ultron wasn’t just bad. It was, to me, proof that Marvel movies, even at their best, can only be bad. And that they are going to get worse.

Since it has been successful, others will copy Marvel.  But now that we see Marvel isn’t getting it right, is the geek movie golden age doomed to come crashing down?

2 thoughts on “Epic Age of Ultron Takedown”

  1. I see it a bit differently. I think its more of a problem with sequels in general. Sequels generally take what people liked (or seemed to like) about the first movie and then just do it again, only ramped up. Making a good sequel (again, for any movie) is tough. I don’t think its a failing of Marvel movies in particular so much as it is a failing of sequels in general that goes back decades.

    The test for Marvel, as far as I can tell, is to see what happens when they bring out another solo film that has absolutely nothing to do with the Infinity Gems (maybe Ant-Man, but I’m thinking not in this case given the troubled production history). The best Marvel sequel, arguably the best movie in their line to date, was Captain America 2, which had absolutely nothing to do with Thanos, kept the number of main characters fairly low, and didn’t set up the next Marvel movie (added epilogues aside) so much as set up the next Cap movie…which will be crowded with other characters that hopefully won’t be asked to do much, keeping the focus on Cap where is belongs since its his name in the title.

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