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Joss Whedon very proud of Age of Ultron, but still has issues with the film

04.19.2016

Joss Whedon Avengers: Age of Ultron

Even though AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON proved to be a success at the box-office, it wasn't met with the same critical praise which Joss Whedon's first AVENGERS flick enjoyed. One person who didn't seem all that pumped about the film during its press-tour was Whedon himself, who seemed exhausted and beaten down as he described conflicts with Marvel and juggling all the Marvel Cinematic Universe plot-lines. Whedon and Marvel would soon split, which was apparently amicable, but the time away has given Joss Whedon a chance to reflect on his final Marvel film. While chatting with Mark Ruffalo during a Tribeca Film Festival Q&A, Whedon spoke about AGE OF ULTRON as well as his own feelings towards the film.

Ultron, I’m very proud of, there are things that did not meet my expectations of myself, and I was so beaten down by the process. Some of that was conflict with Marvel, which is inevitable, but a lot of that was about my own work. And I was also exhausted, and we went right away and did publicity, and I sort of created the narrative, wherein I’m not quite accomplished at it, and people just ran with that: ‘Well, it’s okay, it could be better, but it’s not Joss’s fault.’ And I think that did a disservice to the movie and to the studio and to myself, ultimately. It was not the right way to be, because I am very proud of it.

The things that are wrong frustrate me enormously, and I probably had more of those than I had on other movies I made, but I also got to make, for the second time, an absurdly personal movie where I got to talk about how I felt about humanity and what it means in very esoteric and bizarre ways for hundreds of millions of dollars. The fact that Marvel gave me that opportunity twice is so bonkers and so beautiful, and the fact that I come off of it feeling like a miserable failure is also bonkers, but not in a cute way. It becomes problematic.

Even though Whedon swore off doing another Marvel film, Mark Ruffalo told the Tribeca audience that he begged him to return for another couple of AVENGERS movies; Whedon's response? "I'll never do it again." There's plenty to like about AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON but there are also several aspects which keep it from feeling like a complete film. Anyone who creates something artistic can attest to looking back on your work and feeling like you could have done better, granted it's not always a $250 million blockbuster, but its a feeling we can all relate to. Marvel's latest film, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, is set to hit theaters on May 6, 2016.

Now that it's been nearly a year since the release of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, have your thoughts on the film changed at all?

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Source: EW

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5:43PM on 04/21/2016
Age of Ultron was one of the biggest dissappointments of last year. Hot mess of a movie.
Age of Ultron was one of the biggest dissappointments of last year. Hot mess of a movie.
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1:29PM on 04/20/2016

I enjoyed it.

It continued the tension and build up of the next chapter in the MCU. The new characters we've been waiting for finally showed up.
It continued the tension and build up of the next chapter in the MCU. The new characters we've been waiting for finally showed up.
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10:45AM on 04/20/2016

He shouldn't be so hard on himself.

I think it's healthy that he examines the elements of the film that he thought could have been better. There's always going to be culpability for mistakes/unfulfilled potential. There's no reason to take a complete "Pollyanna" view of a project, just because you want to be diplomatic or promote the film. Look, if he saw flaws in the film, or the creative process with Marvel, why not be honest about it.? It's valid. No one is suggesting it's a wholesale indictment of the product or the process.
I think it's healthy that he examines the elements of the film that he thought could have been better. There's always going to be culpability for mistakes/unfulfilled potential. There's no reason to take a complete "Pollyanna" view of a project, just because you want to be diplomatic or promote the film. Look, if he saw flaws in the film, or the creative process with Marvel, why not be honest about it.? It's valid. No one is suggesting it's a wholesale indictment of the product or the process. If there's any indictment, it's his unwillingness to ever do it again. THAT speaks volumes. And louder than a few side comments in a narrative. I think he's showing both class and honesty, simultaneously, in his latest comments. I welcome that.
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8:10AM on 04/20/2016
I've come to appreciate the film a lot more than I had initially had the first time I had seen it. I just think my expectations were too high in terms of trying to top the first Avengers film. I just do wish the film was a bit longer since that may have helped the narrative of the film for me (especially Thor's vision scene with Asgaard) and the fact that the film introduced so many new elements to the MCU and for future MCU films.

But I was glad to see Hawkeye get more of a vital role in
I've come to appreciate the film a lot more than I had initially had the first time I had seen it. I just think my expectations were too high in terms of trying to top the first Avengers film. I just do wish the film was a bit longer since that may have helped the narrative of the film for me (especially Thor's vision scene with Asgaard) and the fact that the film introduced so many new elements to the MCU and for future MCU films.

But I was glad to see Hawkeye get more of a vital role in Age of Ultron and learning about his character much more than we had seen in previous Marvel films. Added a nice touch to the dynamic of the group that one of them was a family man.
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8:09AM on 04/20/2016
It's not a terrible film, and has a good few important scenes for the development MCU that were handled well, but I feel it's biggest flaw was Ultron himself. By the end of the film he's a cowardly comic-relief type of villain which suggests a general misunderstanding of the character.
It's not a terrible film, and has a good few important scenes for the development MCU that were handled well, but I feel it's biggest flaw was Ultron himself. By the end of the film he's a cowardly comic-relief type of villain which suggests a general misunderstanding of the character.
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5:19AM on 04/20/2016
There's isn't a Marvel film without a great/cool scene or two - overall, most of them I've enjoyed - nothing more (other than Winter Soldier which knocked it out of the park). For me, like nearly all of the MCU movies, Ultron was no more than a 7 out of 10 so I don't think Whedon should have too many regrets about it. Still, if I start adding decimal places to that score, the films fall in to a ranking position, like the first Thor and Captain America movies are a low 7, where Incredible Hulk
There's isn't a Marvel film without a great/cool scene or two - overall, most of them I've enjoyed - nothing more (other than Winter Soldier which knocked it out of the park). For me, like nearly all of the MCU movies, Ultron was no more than a 7 out of 10 so I don't think Whedon should have too many regrets about it. Still, if I start adding decimal places to that score, the films fall in to a ranking position, like the first Thor and Captain America movies are a low 7, where Incredible Hulk is something like a 7.9...possibly 8 (it was my best MCU movie at one point). Ultron might actually be a low 7 too - I don't remember coming out of it...thinking I enjoyed it in the way I came out of Iron Man 3 ...having really enjoyed it...before the dust settled and I realised I didn't get the movie that epic trailer promised - that bought it down a decimal or two - but looking back, I'm still sure, I did enjoy the movie. Ultimately, I shouldn't complain - I'm getting comic books in movie form...something I never thought was ever possible growing up watching things like Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge and The Trial of the Incredible Hulk multiple times to get my live action Marvel comic book fix.
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3:38AM on 04/20/2016
Has he seen Civil War?

Whedon argued with Fiege over the tone of Age of Ultron. It was, after all, a sequel to Avengers Assemble. The tone of Avengers Assemble was perfect but Age of Ultron fell flat. Both Whedon and Fiege compared Age of Ultron to Empire Strikes Back.

[link]

“[Empire Strikes Back] committed the cardinal sin of not actually ending. Which at the time I was appalled by and I still think it was a terrible idea.”

“Well, it’s not an ending. It’s a Come Back Next Week, or
Has he seen Civil War?

Whedon argued with Fiege over the tone of Age of Ultron. It was, after all, a sequel to Avengers Assemble. The tone of Avengers Assemble was perfect but Age of Ultron fell flat. Both Whedon and Fiege compared Age of Ultron to Empire Strikes Back.

[link]

“[Empire Strikes Back] committed the cardinal sin of not actually ending. Which at the time I was appalled by and I still think it was a terrible idea.”

“Well, it’s not an ending. It’s a Come Back Next Week, or in three years. And that upsets me. I go to movies expecting to have a whole experience. If I want a movie that doesn’t end I’ll go to a French movie. That’s a betrayal of trust to me. A movie has to be complete within itself, it can’t just build off the first one or play variations.”

Whedon has a point. I think it would have hurt the movie if the ending were a set up for Civil War.
Fiege, on the other hand, saw Phase 2 as darker than Phase 1: Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and Avengers all had a light, jokey tone with Incredible Hulk's Banner being much more serious than the Banner in the Avengers. But Phase 2 was darker with Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Winter Soldier and Guardians being darker than most of the Phase 1 films. Like Fiege said "Okay, is Phase Two our Empire Strikes Back?’ Not really, but tonally things are a little different." meaning that Phase 2 was supposed to be darker than Phase 1.

[link]

Phases 1-3 are like a long narrative that spans 21 movies starting with Iron Man and ending with Infinity War Part 2. (Inhumans is now reportedly part of Phase 4.) Whedon wanted each movie to be self-contained but Fiege wanted the audience to be in anticipation for the next movie.

I think Whedon's POV and Fiege's POV both have their own merits. I do think the quips fell a bit flat this time, but Avengers would have suffered if it had had a darker tone.

I imagine Whedon apologized to Fiege because Civil War reportedly has a darker tone and it works. Fiege might also have apologized to Whedon because he doesn't want to alienate talent. Many actors and directors have felt frustrated with Marvel. To be fair, Fiege also had people he had to answer to. Fiege, after all, doesn't want to go too dark because if you go too dark then Civil War would become Iron Man v Captain America. "Tell me, Captain, do you bleed?"
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2:25AM on 04/20/2016
The only issue I have with this film is the badly cut scene with Thor's magic paddling pool. The scene itself is fine, but it come out of nowhere because they cut the explanations of it out and cut the detail of the scene itself down. Other than that one small scene, everything else is roses as far as I'm concerned.
The only issue I have with this film is the badly cut scene with Thor's magic paddling pool. The scene itself is fine, but it come out of nowhere because they cut the explanations of it out and cut the detail of the scene itself down. Other than that one small scene, everything else is roses as far as I'm concerned.
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11:57PM on 04/19/2016

great movie, just 1'huge problem

the only real issue with this movie was people went in to it with HUGE expectations, what people didn't realize is that it's a huge movie with huge budget with a great director on a leash, He didn't have the same creative control as he did in the first movie because that movie was an introduction, AoU is a basically a baton in a Relay Race, nO freestyle, he couldn't change things or make it how he wanted because he had to go with the flow of the universe. For a movie on a tight leash I
the only real issue with this movie was people went in to it with HUGE expectations, what people didn't realize is that it's a huge movie with huge budget with a great director on a leash, He didn't have the same creative control as he did in the first movie because that movie was an introduction, AoU is a basically a baton in a Relay Race, nO freestyle, he couldn't change things or make it how he wanted because he had to go with the flow of the universe. For a movie on a tight leash I thought it was great, only thing that really bugged me was the idea that somebody had to give a robot lips aside from that it was a great movie, you could tell that he made the movie with some protest though. Russo Brothers are a GREAT duo directors to take over, Winter Soldier is in my opinion tied for 1st place w the first Avengers movie for best MCU movie
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11:04PM on 04/19/2016
It was a hot mess then and it's a hot mess now. He should never have made it as it reeked of a director who was tired of working in that particular universe.
It was a hot mess then and it's a hot mess now. He should never have made it as it reeked of a director who was tired of working in that particular universe.
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10:43PM on 04/19/2016
The more I think about this film, the more I'm disappointed by it. It's not really bad, but it just feels unnecessary and falls short of it's full potential. It's got a lot of eye candy, but lacks the character development and even emotion one would expect from Whedon.
The more I think about this film, the more I'm disappointed by it. It's not really bad, but it just feels unnecessary and falls short of it's full potential. It's got a lot of eye candy, but lacks the character development and even emotion one would expect from Whedon.
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10:33PM on 04/19/2016
Only thing I disliked was the way Ultron talked. The rest was all good.
Only thing I disliked was the way Ultron talked. The rest was all good.
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10:29PM on 04/19/2016

It was good

I enjoyed it, but it wasn't as awesome as BvS.
I enjoyed it, but it wasn't as awesome as BvS.
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11:59PM on 04/19/2016
BvS was a poor attempt to create something that could compete a Marvel. They're should just be focused on creating something that is there's rather then making something that is a direct opposite of Marvel
BvS was a poor attempt to create something that could compete a Marvel. They're should just be focused on creating something that is there's rather then making something that is a direct opposite of Marvel
+1
9:59PM on 04/19/2016
No, my thoughts haven't changed. I still love it. Flaws and all.
No, my thoughts haven't changed. I still love it. Flaws and all.
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