While promoting ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ last year, director Joss Whedon definitely didn’t pull any punches when talking about his second Marvel Cinematic Universe film. He openly talked about his frustrations regarding the various compromises and cuts that had to be made to the movie. He also candidly discussed his feelings about Agent Phil Coulson’s resurrection on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’, Edgar Wright’s departure from ‘Ant-Man’, and more. Ultimately, Whedon became burned out and decided against sticking around the MCU for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ or any other Phase Three production. But now that there has been distance between the fan favorite filmmaker and the House of Ideas, Whedon has had some time to reflect on his comments and their impact on the movie.
During a recent event at the Tribeca Film Festival, Whedon joined ‘Age of Ultron’ star Mark Ruffalo to discuss his influences, his career, and their connections to New York City. But when the topic shifted to his last Marvel Studios feature (at least, for the foreseeable future), the acclaimed writer/director admitted that he did a disservice to the film and everyone involved by saying what he did. Following a much needed two-week vacation after the exhaustion that comes with working on two major blockbusters back to back over the course of five years, Whedon even admitted how proud he was of ‘Age of Ultron’, despite the general consensus that it didn’t reach the same critical or financial heights as ‘The Avengers’:
“I’m very proud of [‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’]. There were things that did not meet my expectations of myself and then I was so beaten down by the process. Some of that was conflicting with Marvel, which is inevitable and a lot of that was about my own work and I was also exhausted, and we right away went and did publicity. I created the narrative — wherein I’m not quite accomplished at– and people just ran with ‘Well it’s OK, it could be better, but it’s not Joss’ fault’ and I think that did a disservice to the movie, and to the studio and to myself.
Ultimately, it wasn’t the right way to be because I’m very proud about it. The things about it that are wrong frustrate me enormously, but I got to make an absurdly personal movie about humanity and what it means in a very esoteric and bizarre ways for hundreds of millions of dollars. The fact that Marvel gave me that opportunity twice is so bonkers and beautiful and the fact that I come off as a miserable failure is also bonkers, but not in a cute way.”
People don’t realize it, but being creative on a regular basis can be rather trying at times. It definitely doesn’t help when you’re clashing with the upper management constantly either. Then there’s the massive pressure from the audience to be as good if not better than whatever came before it. So at the end of the day, it’s hard not to sympathize with Whedon’s situation. Luckily, he sees how problematic his attitude was at the time and is more appreciative for the opportunities in front of him. And who knows? Maybe this is the first small step towards Whedon and Marvel collaborating again somewhere down the line.
What do you think about Joss Whedon’s reflection on his comments about ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’? Can you relate to his feelings of frustration and being burnt out because of work? And do you think that he would work with Marvel Studios again in the future? Sound off in the comments.
Despite being a “professional writer”, Ben likes run-on sentences and puns far too much. Also, it must be nice to take a vacation. For more of his attempts at being funny and the occasional insightful thought, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.