MCU Rewind: Avengers Age of Ultron or 2 Whedon, 2 Much

Avengers Age of Ultron is a compelling follow-up to the original team-up movie, yet the distinct voice of the writer/director overshadows it.

Joshua M. Patton
11 min readMay 15, 2022

Image via Marvel Studios

There is no question that 2012’s Avengers movie was a triumph in every sense of the term, and much of its success was due to writer and director Joss Whedon’s efforts. Throughout his career, Whedon employed a distinct style and voice. One so clear even casual fans could identify which parts of Justice League are his and which parts were original storytellers’ Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio’s just by watching. And his alleged behind-the-scenes behavior aside, there is no denying that his schtick worked more often than it didn’t. In Avengers: Age of Ultron there is nothing about that distinct voice that is spiritually different from before. Yet, from the first word spoken in the film, the things that Whedon does seem to have lost their magic. It’s as if in putting it all into Avengers, the price he paid was that his battle-tested formula no longer worked.

On paper, Avengers: Age of Ultron is exactly what one would want from a sequel and these characters. They tie it to a magical item from the first movie, which gives birth to Ultron. This rogue AI builds itself a body and goes about doing what rogue AI do, exterminating humankind. While doing this, he and two characters who start as villains and eventually become heroes, successfully break the Avengers emotionally. There is also a gratuitous Hulk versus Iron Man fight, just for laughs. Most of the characters grow in some way, though Thor’s “growth” was more about sequel setup than anything. And we get both James Spader subsisting on a scenery-only diet, and our first step on the journey Elizabeth Olsen has taken us on with Scarlet Witch. We get our first taste of Wakanda, and Andy Serkis’ excellent take on Ulyssess Klaue. There’s even a big honkin’ rescue scene. These are all elements that should make for a great movie. But, alas, Avengers: Age of Ultron is the weakest of the Avengers films.

Now, Avengers: Age of Ultron is not a bad movie either. Being the weakest of the Avengers films is like being, well, the weakest Avenger. It’s still pretty impressive. By far the best thing about this movie is…

Joshua M. Patton

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