When Avengers director Joss Whedon said working with Marvel was ‘unpleasant’, could see only ‘flaw, mistakes’ in Age of Ultron
Joss Whedon may have given Marvel two of its biggest early hits, but that doesn’t mean he enjoyed making the first two Avengers films.Updated: Jun 23, 2020 14:43 IST
Hot off the success of The Avengers, director Joss Whedon was quickly appointed the de facto creative overlord to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, someone who could, along with producer Kevin Feige, map out the future of the series, including the television department. But things quickly turned sour.
Whedon didn’t mince his words, even while promoting Avengers: Age of Ultron, that working with Marvel had become difficult. In an appearance on the Empire podcast in 2015, the filmmaker said that he was at constant odds with Marvel executives over the direction and tone of the superhero sequel. “The dreams were not an executive favourite either — the dreams, the farmhouse, these were things I fought to keep,” Whedon said. “With the cave, it really turned into: They pointed a gun at the farm’s head and said, ‘Give us the cave, or we’ll take out the farm’ — in a civilised way. I respect these guys, they’re artists, but that’s when it got really, really unpleasant.”
Whedon said that Marvel wasn’t pleased with the scenes set in Hawkeye’s farmhouse, and that the studio wanted him to focus on the Thor’s cave hallucination scene instead, as it would set up future films. Whedon also said that he wanted to introduce Captain Marvel and Spider-Man in the movie, but wasn’t able to, for different reasons.
He continued, “I was so beaten down at that point that I was like, ‘Sure, OK — what movie is this?’ And the editors were like, ‘No. You have to show the [events in the cave]. You can’t just say it.’”
“With so much at stake, there’s gonna be friction,” Whedon told Vulture in 2015, and added, “When I watch it, I just see ‘flaw, flaw, flaw, compromise, laziness, mistake.’”
The filmmaker told BuzzFeed, “I made the idiotic mistake of trying to make a great movie. I was like, ‘I want this movie to be great. I’m just going to go ahead and say it, even though I’m a WASP.’ And then I feel like I’ve been punished for that for the last two years. I put a level of pressure on myself that I’ve never done before. I’ve been a sketch artist, and now I’m painting. And then also to know there are not millions, but billions of dollars riding on your artistic decisions? Sometimes you wish you could forget that.”
But the filmmaker always maintained that he’s proud of the movie.“Is it perfect? It is not,” Whedon told Vulture, “Is it me? It’s so baldly, nakedly me. To do something that is as personal as this movie is — on that budget, for a studio that needs a summer tentpole — is an extraordinary privilege.”
Both of Whedon’s Avengers films received positive reviews and made billions of dollars, setting the tone for future superhero blockbusters. He quit working for Marvel altogether after Age of Ultron.
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