The Marvel Cinematic Universe is renowned for its extravagant and perfect combination of action and sarcasm superhero movies that fans just can’t help but fall in love with. But among all the superhit blockbusters that went big on the budgets and even bigger at the box offices, there have been some critically ‘ponderous messes’ as well, despite starring some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, specifically in the MCU franchise.
This included one $1.4 billion installment from the Avengers film series–Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)–which was inevitably a ponderous mess, as admitted by the Marvel executives themselves, even though it starred the fan-favorites: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson.
Marvel Executives Admit To Avengers 2 Being A ‘Ponderous Mess’
Joss Whedon has been one of the most acclaimed yet questioned filmmakers to have worked on Marvel projects. The mastermind behind the superhit The Avengers, he directed the $1.4 billion sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well, which was… let’s just say not as big of a masterpiece as the first one. And the filmmaker agrees.
As per MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios:
“After the movie [Avengers: Age of Ultron] wrapped principal photography, [Kevin] Feige asked the director if he’d be interested in taking on the next two Avengers movies. [Joss] Whedon declined. […] An exhausted Whedon could barely see his way to the end of his current Marvel movie, let alone two more.”
Not only this but even most of the executives of the studios all agreed that the film was ‘a ponderous mess’.
“The rough cut achieved the rare feat of uniting the East Coast and West Coast Marvel executives: They all agreed that the movie was a ponderous mess.”
Furthermore, even Whedon was more than done with putting up and unwillingly fulfilling almost every demand of the studios. As mentioned in the book:
“The more a wrung-out Whedon talked with the press, the clearer it became that he had grown frustrated with Marvel Studios. ‘With so much at stake, there’s gonna be friction,’ he said. ‘It’s the Marvel way to question everything. Sometimes that’s amazing. And sometimes’—Whedon growled through gritted teeth, his hostility clear—‘that’s amazing.’”
Nonetheless, having Chris Evans‘ Captain America, Robert Downey Jr.‘s Iron Man, and Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow in the film did end up helping the film more or less from being dumped in the trash can as the action sequences made up for most of the flaws in the movie.
Joss Whedon Was Done With Marvel After Avengers: Age of Ultron
As surprising as it might be, working on Avengers: Age of Ultron was much worse for the scriptwriters and filmmakers than it was for fans to watch the film and satisfy all their unanswered questions through it.
Not only were the studios insistent on things that went against the director’s creative choices but the reshoots and rewrites that would help the ‘individual MCU installments would fold easily into the larger saga’ drove almost everyone among the main crew insane. As per the book:
“By the time Age of Ultron was finished, Whedon was something of a broken man. He had already told Feige of his intentions to move on from the MCU, but he emerged from the editing room hoarse and hollow-eyed; his bottom lip was split and scabby.”
What’s more heartbreaking were Joss Whedon’s words afterward which clearly stated how done he was with the studios.
“I have been to the other side of the mountain,” Whedon said. “I gotta say, it’s been dark. It’s been weird. It’s been horrible. About a month and a half ago, I said goodbye to my kids, and I’ve been living in Burbank next to the studio. I feel every day like I didn’t do enough, I didn’t do enough, I didn’t do enough. I wasn’t ready. Here’s failure. Here’s failure. Here’s compromise. Here’s compromise.”
Considering how traumatizing all the events must have been for him, most fans don’t blame Whedon for giving up on the franchise. Nonetheless, Avengers: Age of Ultron was created, and it holds the record of being the least-rated movie among all the other installments of the Avengers film series.