When it comes to Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, one of the most confounding is the second Avengers movie, Age of Ultron. It’s not because it’s particularly good, or it’s particularly bad. It’s that it occupies a strange middle ground that some fans have trouble reconciling.
That leads to fans concocting theories as to why the movie isn’t more well liked. One of the latest is that the movie came out too soon, or that the story was told too soon.
‘Age of Ultron’ — the movie that few love and hate
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Pretty much everyone seems to agree that the original Avengers movie is a winner, even though some claim it looks too much like a TV show. That movie is so well remembered that Avengers: Endgame specifically went back to it, down to replaying the iconic circle shot of the Avengers in New York City.
Meanwhile, no one disputes the impact of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame — two massive movies that had to juggle dozens of characters and almost as many storylines spanning decades and galaxies. The success of Endgame alone speaks for itself. Financially it’s the most successful movie of all time, with fans finding new clues in it and new things to talk about a year after its release.
So where does that leave Age of Ultron? It’s the middle child that has no remarkable achievement of its own. Fans say it has some great scenes, most especially the hammer-lifting game that provided a very subtle clue about Captain America’s abilities.
Yet fans also point out it has a lot of shortcomings. Even though there’s a movement afoot to redeem its reputation, its few people’s favorite Avengers movie.
What do fans say about the timing of ‘Ultron?’
A fan on Reddit asked if “was the movie made too soon or did the studio just messed up the script and potential?” One fan replied, “There’s a lot of things that would’ve made the movie better or elevated it. I don’t hate the movie at all and it’s extremely rewatchable but …” and the fan goes on to list a number of problems, such as Joss Whedon being the wrong writer and director for the material, or the fact that it globe-trotted.
More than one fan suggested that the problem was Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne are closely tied to Ultron in the comics, but the movies introduced Ultron before Ant-Man. In fact, Ant-Man was the very next movie in release order, and the suggestion seems to be that Ultron might have turned out better if Ant-Man came out first and Ultron followed it.
Still another fan thought it was a matter of trying to cram too much into too little time: “They added three new heros (killed one). Setup for the next Thor movie, Black Panther with klaw, Infinity Stones setup. Should have been a two parter like Infinity war.”
Fans often deal in absolutes
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Fans can and often do play elaborate games of would have, should have could have. But perhaps the idea that “Many people complain about the Age Of Ultron” is overstated. While that statement is true on its face, that doesn’t mean Age of Ultron is “bad.” It’s just that it’s not great.
Especially in forums like Reddit and social media, absolutes get amplified. A movie, character or performance is either the best thing ever or the worst thing ever. There’s no in-between. A movie isn’t allowed to be merely “good” anymore. And if a movie is only “good,” people will try to find all kinds of reasons why it’s not great.
That’s what happens when a franchise like the MCU produces so many movies in a relatively short span of time. The James Bond series comes closest in terms of the number of movies, but Bond took nearly 60 years to make 25 movies, while Marvel managed 23 in 11 years. Not all of them are going to be phenomenal. The achievement of Kevin Feige and his team is unprecedented, but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t hit a home run with every single movie.
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