A scary thought popped into my mind. It’s been seven years since Marvel began its Cinematic Universe, and it’s crazy to see the amount of progress Marvel has made in that time. There have been eleven movies, two TV series (including one Netflix series) and plenty more to come.
And I think with film 11, Avengers: Age of Ultron, I’m ready to tap out.
I’ve hit peak superhero content in my life. It’s not just Marvel, DC is also part of the fatigue. As much as I want to, I can’t muster the energy to watch The Flash or even Arrow any more, and there’s little you could say to convince me to check out the movies. As much as I raved about Marvel in my GOTY article last year, I haven’t picked up Ms Marvel in months, nor have I wanted to watch the rest of Agent Carter.
Even before Age of Ultron, I was in a weird state of apathy. I felt like I wasn’t going to see the movie because I legitimately wanted to, but because I was more curious about the zeitgeist surrounding the movie. I wanted to see the movie that was going to fuel the fires of Tumblr, Twitter, Reddit and so on. To go to see a movie not because of the story or the production, but because you want to ‘get’ what people will be talking about for months to come — that thought is terrifying.
Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the film, it just didn’t feel like anything new. It didn’t have the wow-factor of Joss Whedon’s first crack at The Avengers. That movie worked because it was the culmination of a four year journey to establish these characters. It all came together in that one shot towards the end of the film, where the camera panned around each Avenger, now fully united, getting ready to fight for the first time as a team. It was a fantastic conclusion to Phase 1 of the MCU, and it set the stage for the beginning of Phase 2.
Age of Ultron didn’t conclude the same way. If anything, it frustratingly continued the teasing and hinting that I feel defined Phase 2 without offering anything for the viewer’s patience. The ‘reward’ for staying back and watching through to the end of the previous Phase 2 movies wasn’t worth it, and added nothing aside from dumb shoutouts and character moments that felt more like outtakes than anything else.
And in some ways, Age of Ultron felt tired. I maintain that Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy made 2014 Marvel’s year. Those two movies clicked for me because they weren’t really superhero movies: The Winter Soldier might as well have been a spy thriller, while Guardians of the Galaxy was a straight-up sci-fi film.
They worked because they felt fresh. You didn’t need to see most of the previous movies and have any prior knowledge or expectations, because they worked strongly on their own. Age of Ultron just felt like a bigger, shinier version of every other Marvel movie. That might be enough for most people, but it’s getting a little too played-out for my liking.
With Age of Ultron out of the way, I’m pretty much checking out of superhero content for the next while. Maybe in 2016 I’ll be refreshed and ready to see Phase 3 of the MCU. But right now, I’m pretty good for my superhero content.