As fans everywhere know by now, Joss Whedon‘s experience in the MCU was not all roses when it came to filming ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ There were many factors of course, including increased studio pressure, a need to top the phenomenal ‘Avengers’ movie he released in 2012, and the sheer weight of a giant franchise and over a dozen characters riding on his shoulders. It was a burden that could bring down any director, and it did not help how often Marvel sent down directives to change things in the film that Whedon did not always agree with.
One of the biggest changes that Marvel suggested was in regards to the burgeoning romance between Scarlet Johanson’s Black Widow and Mark Ruffalo’s The Hulk, which had a much clearer arc in Whedon’s original cut of the film. Marvel decided to cut out much of that story with the intention of carrying on the romantic subplot in later films, which Whedon clearly felt made his own movie a little disjointed, as some of the character motivations and attitudes later in the film do not make much sense without the scenes that were cut between the pair. In Whedon’s own words:
“The word came down to cut out the ending. Which I understood. They were like, ‘Don’t resolve this, leave it in the air, and then we’ll solve it later.’ And I understood it, and agree with what they wanted. But I also underestimated, a) the ripple effect, and b) just the fact that it was really wonderful. It plays better if it finishes, it plays better within the movie. There are things later on where [Scarlett Johansson] was playing the kind of fatalistic cool that actually didn’t make sense without the resolve having already happened.”
Of course, we have all heard the rumors about the kind of control Marvel has over the MCU, and how they are always looking out for the bigger picture, even if it means going head to head with a director (*cough*Edgar Wright*cough*), but was ‘Age of Ultron’ a herald of what can go wrong with that system? The film was thankfully not terrible, but it was not the smash hit the studio wanted either, and that could very well be from the tight reign they kept over Whedon.
Do you think films are being hurt by Marvel’s directives about the “bigger picture,” or do you think Whedon was an isolated issue? Share your thoughts in the comments below!