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Genre: Superhero
Premise: When Tony Stark accidentally unleashes a villainous robot upon the world, it’s up the Avengers to send him back where he came from.
About: Avengers: Age of Ultron was supposed to break all box office records this weekend. However, Disney never could’ve predicted when they snagged the date two years ago that Floyd Mayweather would finally stop ducking Manny Pacquiao. And hence, the Saturday ticket sales for Avengers were way lower than expected. This meant that Avengers finished below one of the 37 Harry Potter movies for the single-weekend box office record, although analysts are still trying to figure out which Harry Potter movie it actually was (because of, you know, how many there were). Still, the film made 8 quatillion dollars so Disney’s not fretting too much. This completes Joss Whedon’s contribution to the series. The next two Avengers movies will be passed off to Captain America 2 directors Joe and Anthony Russo. After that, things become interesting. The Marvel Universe will likely choose to reboot everything (from the actors to the films themselves) which is a phase they haven’t had to deal with yet. Until then, though, viva la superheroes!
Writer: Joss Whedon (based on the comic book by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)
Details: 141 minutes

aou-5

In a recent Scriptshadow Newsletter I commented how we were moving away from the dark serious world of superheroes that Christopher Nolan initiated into more fun-filled fair. If Avengers: Age of Ultron is any indication of the kind of fun we’ll be getting, please bring back Nolan.

I purposefully avoided all details about this movie going in as I wanted to see it fresh. And I noticed something curious almost immediately. “Man,” I thought, “Joss Whedon sure did an aggressive director’s pass on this screenplay.” How did I know this? Well, because literally every fourth line of dialogue was a quip. So Iron Man would say something like, “Everybody needs to loosen up.” And Captain America would reply with something like, “Says the man encased in metal.”

This would’ve been fine had it happened, oh, I don’t know, three? Maybe four times? But when it happens SEVENTY-FIVE F***ING TIMES, it’s a little overboard, don’t you think? Screenwriters all have their go-to moves. For Tarantino, it’s his long dialogue scenes where the characters appear to be talking about nothing. For Woody Allen it’s a character who drones on about the meaninglessness of life. And with Joss Whedon, it’s quips.

Part of being a good screenwriter is restraining yourself so you don’t keep going back to the well. Cause if you start doing the same thing enough, the audience begins to notice it, and then you’ve done the worst thing a writer can do, which is break the suspension of disbelief.

After the film, I checked online to see that Whedon didn’t just do a director’s pass, he’s got sole screenwriting credit! Which explained this and so much more. And by “so much more,” I mean that Avengers was basically an extended episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Heck, he even found a way to sneak a witch into the plot!

“Ultron” centers on Tony Stark’s continued obsession with pushing the boundaries of technology. He’s created an artificially intelligent being inside his computer, which quickly finds itself an exterior robot body to jump into. This robot’s name is Ultron and he really hates Tony Stark and the Avengers because… okay, let’s just be real here, because they wouldn’t have a movie otherwise.

Ultron decides that he’s really into meteors for no reason and rigs the underside of a small Eastern European city to break away from the earth, fly up into the stratosphere, then shoot back down to earth like a meteor and – I guess – destroy half of earth in the process. Although it’s never made clear how this would actually destroy half of the earth.

Despite the Avengers having the strongest God in the universe, the strongest robot in the world, and the strongest monster in the world, they determine they can’t defeat Ultron alone, and so they create… something I can only describe as a dull-colored caped crusader. Despite a lot of the superheroes trying to explain what this man is (“He’s a biological extension of an A.I. program with Tony Stark’s virtual assistant’s voice?”), nobody knows for sure. What we do know is that he’s the strongest man ever. Which gives them a fighting chance to defeat Ultron.

hawkeye-age-of-ultron-avengers-joss-whedon

Putting my quipping issues on hold for the time being, I noticed a few things about Avengers 2 that I hadn’t thought of going in. First, it LITERALLY has something for everybody. It has a great actor in Robert Downey Jr. to bring in the older crowd. It has Chris Hemsworth to bring in the swooning female Fifty Shades crowd. It has Scarlett Johannson to bring in the internet-distracted teenage boy crowd. It has superheroes to bring in the kid crowd.

There’s a reason this movie will make more money than any other movie this year (yes, probably more than even my beloved Star Wars). It’s the PERFECT STUDIO MOVIE. It gets every single demo into the theater. And it does so ORGANICALLY.

By that I mean it’s not adding these things to the film specifically to bring in certain demographics. Audiences can smell when studios do that from a mile away. The premise of a team of superheroes trying to save the world naturally hits every demo out there. Which is really rare.

And yet, as a standalone story, Avengers: Age of Ultron, fails. It wasn’t as bad as the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, but it makes that classic mistake all superhero sequels make – that MORE must be better. More superheroes. More villains. More battles. More storylines. And that NEVER works. And I know that Joss Whedon knows this. I’ve heard him talk about it before.

Look at a movie like Captain America 2, which many consider to be the best Marvel film so far. It’s no coincidence that that film was one of the smallest in scope of all the Marvel movies. This forced them to be more creative and come up with better ideas (instead of bigger ones). Two of the most memorable sequences in that film took place in a) an elevator. And b) a stopped car! And both were FAR more compelling than Ultron’s giant city floating up into the clouds.

Or take Ultron’s best set-piece: Hulk vs. Iron Man. That was a cool fucking set piece! I loved this “Iron Man Emergency Pack” that shot down from a satellite and kept equipping Iron Man’s suit whenever the Hulk would bust it up. Genius idea there.

And yet I FELT NOTHING during the fight. Why? Because it had nothing to do with anything. There were no stakes attached (story or emotions-wise) at all. Let’s say Iron Man loses the fight. The Hulk then what? Kills 700 people instead of 500 before turning back into Bruce Banner? I didn’t even know what city they were in so why would I care about who died? It’s clear the sequence was put there for one reason and one reason only – because it was cool. And that’s the worst reason to put a set piece into your screenplay. You add something to your story first BECAUSE IT MATTERS. Then you figure out how to make it cool.

I’ve said this before – it’s very difficult to steer a screenplay for a movie this big into any sort of creative vision. You’re dealing with too much money and too many powerful forces wielding their influence over the final product. Still, I was hoping for something a little better than what I got. Here’s where I’d rank Ultron along with the rest of the Marvel films.

1) Iron Man
2) Guardians of the Galaxy
3) Captain America 2
4) Avengers
5) The Incredible Hulk
6) Captain America 1
7) Avengers 2
8) Thor
9) Iron Man 3
10) Iron Man 2
11) Thor 2

[ ] what the hell did I just watch?
[x] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the price of admission
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: Avoid using premonitions at all costs. They’re the sloppiest most hackneyed storytelling device there is, and are almost always used as a cheat. In screenwriting, you must constantly come up with REASONS for why your characters do things. And the clearest most powerful reasons are always the best. Indiana Jones needs to find the Ark because if he doesn’t, Hitler will. A premonition is the opposite of that. It’s a vague vision that holds no weight in reality. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t. So it doesn’t carry nearly the punch that REAL motivation does. Look at a couple of really bad movies that have used this device in the past. Matrix: Revolutions (Neo has a premonition that Trinity will die). Star Wars: Episode 3 (Annakin has a vision that Padme will die). And here in Ultron, we have Thor going off on some tangent adventure because he had a premonition. It’s no coincidence that that ended up being the most pointless thread of the entire movie. — The one genre premonitions can work in is horror films. But they must be intricately woven into the story. They can’t just be slapped in there to get your character to do something you’re too lazy to come up with a reason for otherwise.

  • Pugsley

    Completely agree, Carson. half the time while watching Age of Ultron, I kept asking myself, “What the hell’s going on, here?” A clear indication the director has laid out more plot than the story could handle.

  • fragglewriter

    I’m over these Marvel movies. I’ve seen a few and after watching Iron Man and part of Captain America, I’ve realized that no amount of special effects can withstand a boring story.

    Premonition also works in Thrillers. I watched most of The Eyes of Laura Mars and she had premonitions. I mean the film could of been better, but it was decent for the era that it was released.

  • Buddy

    I agree with everything here. I’m officially done with superhero movies.
    I honestly don’t understand how people can relate to them.
    I want the “real heroes” from our 90’s movies back: Erin Brockovich is way more strong and heroic than stark, IronMan and spiderman together, because you know…she’s fucking real !!
    I hope that “real life superheroes” movies will comeback soon…

    • Midnight Luck

      Erin Brockovich, now she kicked real ass.
      She is a superhero in my book too.

      Sadly, no one cares. Too real. Everyone wants fake plastic trees.

      • Murphy

        …and a green plastic watering can for a fake Chinese rubber plant.

        • Kirk D

          Damn you beat me to it.

      • Randy Williams

        I’m not a superhero movie fan, either, but I like good triumphing over evil any day.

        I think you underestimate the power of a good chat.

        You can’t go on and on for hours chatting before the movie discussing Erin Brockovich’s attributes, possible dilemmas she’ll face, possible outcomes.

        It’s like the NFL draft. A friend and I went on for hours and hours discussing the draft in such a way. The draft itself never lived up to the hype we created on our own.

        After the Brockovich movie, okay, but then you’re full of popcorn and high fructose corn syrup and it’s more important you find where you parked the car.

        • Nicholas J

          Spot on. The hype machine is insane these days. People seem to enjoy trailers/set photos/discussions about what color underwear Captain America will be wearing in the movie, way more than actually going to see the movie.

          And then, once they’ve already seen 85% of the movie in the trailer/promo photos/behind the scenes looks/preview clips, they go see the movie and are underwhelmed because it didn’t live up to the hype they built up in their heads. But they forget about all that in a couple hours once the first look promo photo of the new Batman suit is released and the whole thing starts again.

          • Magga

            They forget it once the post-credit sequence tease an obscure character they have to hurry home and read up on so they can pretend they were always fans, as if it has any value to be deeply obsessed with characters created for 12 year-olds

          • Nicholas J

            Quack quack.

      • Kirk D

        Her green plastic watering can for
        Her fake Chinese rubber plant
        In the fake plastic Earth

    • S.C.

      Superheroes can also include James Bond, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris. They are REAL heroes (or, at least, their stuntmen are).

      I think movies like AVENGERS generate a lot of money to pay for – well! – every other film those actors made that didn’t make money – BLACKHAT, FOXCATCHER, THE JUDGE, SNOWPIERCER, everything except LUCY!

      • tyrabanksy

        I’ll take a Schwarzenegger. Any day.

    • 21BelowZero

      “I’m officially done with superhero movies.” This coming from the guy with a Batman avatar. Ironic much?

      • Buddy

        ahah the second i sent my message, i knew someone would tell me this ! ;-) But I had time to think about it and here is my take : batman is a vigilente movie more than a superhero. Now we can argue if money is a superpower or not…

  • Lucid Walk

    1. The Avengers
    2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    3. Guardians of the Galaxy
    4. Iron Man
    5. Avengers: Age of Ultron
    6.Captain America: The First Avenger
    7. Iron Man 3
    8. Thor
    9. Thor: The Dark World
    10. The Incredible Hulk
    11. Iron Man 2

    • S.C.

      The Good Ones:

      1. Captain America: The First Avenger
      2. Iron Man 3
      3. Iron Man
      4. Guardians of the Galaxy

      The OK Ones:

      5. Thor: The Dark World
      6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
      7. Thor

      The Not-So-Good Ones:

      8. The Avengers
      9. The Incredible Hulk
      10. Iron Man 2

  • Gregory Mandarano

    For those of you who watch Agents of Shield, one of the characters had a premonition about the Age of Ultron in the last episode before the movie premiered.

  • Midnight Luck

    Two words: Stew-pid

    And if this movie supposedly has something for everyone.
    Why exactly does it have NOTHING at all for me?
    I guess I am just lucky.

    These spandex movies are just teeth and jaw grating bores. I really am baffled at how anyone can find them even remotely interesting. They go on for 300 minutes, with bad dialogue, LOADED with EXPOSITION city. The setups are mind numbingly stupid and so obviously put there, not because it is necessary for the plot, but because it is time for another CGI fest.

    And the sad thing is, the Superhero movies are only just Beginning! We have 300 more of these bore-festering things to look forward to in the next 3 years. Joy!

    I’ll be in the whiskey bar, trying to forget that there are no more movies in the world. Only happy meal tie-ins and merchandising.

    • Murphy
      • Murphy

        Pretty good take on things. Love the idea that Hollywood will be in panic mode when the audience decide they have had enough and all the writers have up sticks and left.

      • andyjaxfl

        Interesting article. I agree that the Avengers can only save the world so many times before it gets redundant. Even the comic books didn’t have them saving the world in every issue or every major story arc. Some of the best story arcs were small scaled.

      • Eric

        The take away for me is that Avengers is now in sequel mode. They spent so much time building the other movies into this and the original one was the pinnacle of all that effort. It was HUGE and it opened HUGE. Now this one is even bigger and it opened… slightly less huge, because that’s the nature of sequels. Their budgets get bigger, but their returns shrink because the audience has already seen this movie and they aren’t quite as excited. Add to this the diminished quality of the actual product and the fact that Whedon is handing over the reins and it’s hard to see where Marvel has room to grow.

        I suppose they can mix and match til the cows come home, but how long before it comes off like Frankenstein vs the Mummy vs Dracula vs Wolfman? And if there’s nowhere to grow, no way to get bigger, doesn’t that mean we enter a comic book movie recession? It’s not exactly human nature to let up off the gas peddle, so it feels like we’ll just be sitting around waiting for a superhero movie to underperform so badly it calls the entire industry into question.

        In unrelated news: Batman vs Superman comes out March 16, 2016.

      • Midnight Luck

        Interesting article.
        I think there is a limit to what people will endure, and boredom and repetition is so painful they will soon throw in the towel. (that is why the Chinese torture system works so well: dripping water on your forehead a drop at a time for eternity. Doesn’t hurt, but drives people absolutely insane. These movies are just like that. Enough Drips and we will all lose our minds)

  • Midnight Luck

    I’m having a premonition that this whole spandex craze is going to backfire on the ProdCo’s. People will OD on it and become so bored they will soon be avoiding them like the plague.

    Or maybe it was just a hallucination. or a beautiful dream.

    • 21BelowZero

      Definitely a hallucination. A:AOU has made over $600 MILLION in ONE week. Let’s be real, ProdCos are scouring every available property looking for their piece of the pie.

      In many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many posts you’ve made it abundantly clear you don’t like blockbusters. But guess what, the other 98% of us who buy tickets DO.

      You don’t like tent-poles, fine, but please don’t act like the majority of us who do have the plague — that’s so incredibly fucking pretentious.

      I’ll admit, I just got home from the bar(s) and I’m toasty. But I’m so fucking sick and tired of listening to you superior fucks whine about movies that entertain MILLIONS of fucking people being garbage just because they’re fucking popcorn flicks.

      Whatever you’re writing, you should be so fucking lucky. Get off you’re fucking high horse. Holy fuck, snobs like you annoy me.

      • Murphy

        But the point is, and while it is not for me to speak on behalf of someone else I have read and heard from plenty with similar views, that it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing argument. It is possible to make a huge summer blockbuster that doesn’t assume its audience is dumb.

        It is not the critics of such movies who are calling the audience stupid, it is the studios making them that assume it.

        The only real criticism of movies like this that I see are people wondering why they are made so stupid. I don’t see any comments here actually saying the audience actually is stupid, in fact quite the opposite.

        Why can’t these films be made with more intelligence, you tell me? Do you believe that it’s core audience cannot grasp anything more that fighting and shit blowing? Because that is what Hollywood seems to think.

        • Bacon Statham

          I think the studios could put a little more thought into them, but I really don’t think the audience cares that they’re being treated like they’re dumb (or maybe they’re just too dumb to see it, who knows, I’ll go with the former). If they did, they wouldn’t go and see them. Just look at John Wick. Good film, entertaining action, a chance to see Keanu Reeves doing what he does best and yet it was pure stupid. The story was non-existent. It was just there to serve the action. To fuel Wick’s rampage.
          I’m not saying the studios shouldn’t make an intelligent blockbuster, of course they should, there’s still people out there who will watch them, myself included. But when the audience is content with the way things are, is it really worth the hassle?

      • Matthew Garry

        > just because they’re fucking popcorn flicks.

        No, it’s because they’re *bad movies*. They’re bad movies with poor stories.

        And they’re bad movies with poor stories for no particular reason. Current superhero movies are Asylum grade stories, except people don’t mind it because they look so spectacular. Asylum has an excuse for their weak stories; these big guys don’t.

        Now I don’t care either way about these movies as movies, people can be as dumb as they want to be as far as I’m concerned. But as someone in the creative writing industry I care about the stories, and you should too. “It’s just mindless fun!” is never an excuse, because that same “mindless fun” could have been “smart fun” or at least “creative fun” for the exact same budget with the exact same box office returns.

        Superhero and related movies will probably never be art, and they don’t have to be. But there’s nothing wrong with not wanting popular movies to further erode already low standards, making it hard for every writer down the line to find a job because it turns out actual writing skills are no longer in demand.

        • Bacon Statham

          ”No, it’s because they’re *bad movies*. They’re bad movies with poor stories.”

          So what? People don’t go watch these movies for the story, they go watch them to be entertained. Isn’t that the point of a movie?

          People didn’t watch Nightcrawler for the story, they watched it because they got see Gylenhaal play a character they’ve never seen him play before.

          People didn’t watch The Terminator for the story, they watched it because they got see a scary cyborg tearing up half of Los Angeles to find and kill a young woman.

          People didn’t watch Fury for the story, they watched it because Brad Pitt played a grizzled tank commander in WW2.

          My point is the people who watch movies for the story are a very small minority compared to those who watch them to be entertained. If these films don’t entertain you, then so be it, but don’t act like you’re king shit because of it and don’t denigrate those who are entertained by them.

          Two of my favourite films are Captain America 2 and Hesher. Two radically different films, but they both entertain me in their own way. I never thought I’d enjoy Gone Girl, but I enjoyed it that much I watched it again the next two nights.
          People are entitled to like anything they want. I wouldn’t put you down for liking something I probably wouldn’t like, so offer me and everyone else the same courtesy. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. Just don’t treat everyone else like a leper.

          • brenkilco

            Nobody likes snobs. But this really goes too far. You’re suggesting that there is no difference between art and crap. Between 50 shades of grey and the works of Shakespeare. Between Taylor Swift’s latest single and Beethoven’s Fifth. Hell if you judge em by contemporary popularity Swift and Grey would be way out in front. People can like what they like. But all entertainment isn’t created equal. There is such a thing as bad taste. And we shouldn’t pretend it doesn’t exist in the name of live and let live.

          • Bacon Statham

            Art is such a subjective word that it’s lost all meaning. Something that I consider to be art, you probably wouldn’t, so apart from paintings and sculptures, I don’t view things in terms of art. I look at things in terms of like or dislike, good or bad, because these days there is no difference between art or crap. In this day and age, the word means nothing.

            I like Point Break, I dislike Harry Potter. I like Archer, I dislike Breaking Bad. I like 30 Seconds To Mars, I dislike Trivium. I like James Cameron, I dislike Tarantino. But I wouldn’t call any of the things I like art and I wouldn’t call the things I dislike crap. Harry Potter isn’t my cup of tea. I don’t get why people are entertained by it, but I wouldn’t put it or its fans down because of something I personally don’t understand. At the end of the day, that’s all it boils down to. Not understanding why people like something.

            On the flip side of that, I understand why people like Tarantino, he somehow makes a conversation about leaving a tip for a waitress entertaining and even though I like that scene, I don’t particularly like his films. But others do, so who I am to complain?

            And you’re right there is such a thing as bad taste, I just don’t know what it’s doing sharing a post with Taylor Swift or in a comments section on an article about a superhero movie. What are you trying to say there, cause you’ve genuinely lost me?

            When I think of bad taste, I think of Hostel, Fifty Shades (I’ll give you that), Bizarre singing about raping Justin Bieber or Megan Fox dressing up as a slutty schoolgirl in TMNT 2. Things that are morally wrong or don’t feel right in the context it’s used.

            A book promoting rape? Fuck that. But there is nothing we can do about that, because there will always be people who don’t give a shit. They’ll read it because they can, because they like it, so the only thing to do is pretend it doesn’t exist in the name of live and let live. Trying to stamp it out is a battle you’re never gonna win.

          • Nicholas J

            Bizarre singing about raping Justin Bieber

            I don’t know who Bizarre is, but either you forgot some punctuation or he/she is due for a trip to the therapist.

          • Bacon Statham

            He’s a rapper. Part of D12 (Eminem’s little group).

          • brenkilco

            Bad taste isn’t necessarily immoral. It’s Elvis on black velvet, most TV sitcoms, Twilight in print or on film. What I was trying to suggest is that entertainment exists on a continuum with irredeemable crap at one end and transcendent art at the other. The standards aren’t entirely subjective. Most of us, I hope, can tell one from the other. Yes, we all have a weakness for one kind of entertaining crap or another. (I’m certainly not going to condemn Megan Fox in a slutty schoolgirl outfit sight unseen) But we shouldn’t confuse a guilty pleasure for something of genuine quality. Because genuine quality exists and it matters.

          • filmklassik

            “People didn’t watch Nightcrawler for the story, they watched it because they got see Gylenhaal play a character they’ve never seen him play before.

            People didn’t watch The Terminator for the story, they watched it because they got see a scary cyborg tearing up half of Los Angeles to find and kill a young woman.”

            Do you really believe all that? Do you really believe that NIGHTCRAWLER owes its success to the novelty of its casting or that THE TERMINATOR achieved iconic status because of its many scenes of robotic destruction??

            Was that really your take-away? You don’t think maybe their beautifully crafted SCREENPLAYS had a little more to do with those movies’ success?

            And then you go on to say:

            “My point is the people who watch movies for the story are a very small minority compared to those who watch them to be entertained.”

            And MY point is that “story” and “being entertained” are not mutually exclusive the way you (incredibly) seem to be suggesting here. Most of the time they’re inseparable. Everybody watches movies for the story, my friend — EVERYBODY — even if they’re not aware of it.

            And if the movie is working — if they’re being entertained by it — it is usually BECAUSE of the movie’s story.

      • Nicholas J

        Sounds like somebody’s got a case of the Mondays.

        • Eddie Panta

          • Midnight Luck

            super awesome.
            love that scene.
            just hilarious.

        • Midnight Luck

          awesome.

      • Midnight Luck

        Thanks for talking some sense into me, and bringing me down to Earth.

        So you were entertained by Avengers 2 (or fill in the spandex _____)?
        Was it one of the best movies of the year?
        Did you enjoy it?
        Was it any good?

        I am not on a fucking high horse. I am not being pretentious.

        I am not against the popcorn flick, nor am I against tentpoles.

        What I am against is using them as an excuse NOT TO WRITE WELL, to just breeze over the fact that they are boring, over (and under) written, extensively long, full of exposition, and poor storytelling. They don’t even bother to come up with an interesting storyline anymore. Call me pretentious.

        If you can honestly say that Age of Ultron was well written and was an interesting movie, then we can talk about me being “fucking pretentious”.

        We are on a site about screenWRITING.
        So Mr. Toasty find a way to deal with the fact that some of us are truly bothered by the blockbusters of today which are not only “written” by committee, but are written in such a way they lack any sort of fun in them and intelligence in script.
        On top of that, the other 98% of viewers (you point out) seem to be OK with it? OK with being bored time and time again. OK with paying $9-$15 to be bored and neutered by another BiG extravaganza! What is that saying about the audience?
        There is something really off with this.
        People have devolved.
        They see “oh, flashy thing!” and go running fighting and squabbling with each other to get the shiny bobble.
        And it turns out to be a hunk of crappy plastic, painted in fake chrome.

        Most of the time I seem to be talking into an empty hole.

        Hey, but everyone is free to spend their money wherever they please.

        And on a positive note, this means there will always be a job for you once you reach the top tier of screenwriting for Hollywood, the spot where, hey, brains can be left at the door. Quality can be put away and forgotten.

        Now THAT is something to aspire to. And get excited about!

        I will be over here writing these boring, pretentious, Erin Brockovich type movies like SEVEN or FIGHT CLUB or TRUE ROMANCE or WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, or SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, or RESERVOIR DOGS or (because this is definitely the height of pretentiousness) PULP FICTION.

        I will leave you to write BLACK WIDOW 4: THE DRESS-UP GANG.

  • Murphy

    Of that list I have only seen Iron Man and Guardians. Loved Guardians, hated Iron Man. Have absolutely zero interest in anything else. Cinema will become a better place when this barrel has been well and truly scraped clean.

  • S.C.

    Not seen the movie so I’m not going to read the whole of the review! But just wanted to comment on Whedon’s predilection for quips… this was exactly my problem with AVENGERS ONE, but I was surprised that no one else picked up on it.

    Every other scene in AVENGERS ONE was a variation of this:

    CHARACTER: No way am I doing that. (something happens). OK, I will do that.

    It’s been referred to as a “Stan Daniels Turn” after the CHEERS writer who was very good at such lines. But even Mr. Daniels wouldn’t have used this gag so often.

    I’m not one to call a movie predictable – I usually find that’s a lazy criticism of a well-made movie – but in this case I found myself working out the joke several seconds before it was made.

    On a more general note, there are some great writers I like who can – at times – overwrite. A particular side effect of this is all characters sounding the same: William Goldman, in some of his scripts, has characters producing dialogue far more sophisticated than is realistic.

    I love Peter Hyams. Check out his movies, even the ones where he isn’t credited as writer – terrific dialogue. But he knew to give the quips to certain characters, certain actors (Sean Connery, James B. Sikking, Hal Holbrook) who could pull that dialogue off. Often there’s one REALLY funny guy in the script, or maybe a couple.

    But it’s so easy for every character to end up sound the same.

    • andyjaxfl

      I never knew the turn had a name as the Stan Daniel Turn. Very cool info.

      • S.C.

        From the Al Jean on The Simpsons audio commentary.

        After watching Barney’s moving film about alcholism.

        HOMER: Wow, I’ll never drink another beer.
        USHER: Beer here.
        HOMER: I’ll take 10.

        That’s a Stan Daniels turn.

        • S.C.

          Here’s a “Hello Joke”, where a charatcer’s entrance is funny given the dialogue that precedes it:

  • Gregory Mandarano

    ATTN: MARVEL

    WHERE IS OUR BUCKY BARNES MOVIE?

    • andyjaxfl

      Is it me or is Sebastian Stan one of the more underrated actors on the Marvel roster, or any roster for that matter, at the moment? The Winter Soldier easily could have been another version of the Terminator that we’ve seen a million times (plus one more time come July), but Stan really delivers in what few lines he has in the movie, in addition to bringing a suitable level of menace to the role.

      The line that always hits me in the gut comes from the flashback to 1941 and his absolutely pitch perfect delivery of his lines “The thing is, you don’t have to” and “I’m with you to the end of the line”, which Steve later echoed. Such a great scene.

      I have not seen Age of Ulton and from what I’m read about Captain America Civil War is that Bucky isn’t going to figure too much into the plot. Granted, the sites I read may be wrong, but that’s what I figure so far… huge mistake on Marvel’s part if that’s the case. I think a good chunk of the next Cap film should focus on his hunt for Bucky, followed by teaming up with Falcon and Bucky to take down a new threat, and the next movie Avengers movie should be Civil War.

      Anyways, Monday morning rant over.

      • LostAndConfused

        I’ve read Civil War, and the only way that they’d be able to include Bucky into the mix is if he’s taken up a cause between the opposing factions. Which, actually might be interesting (but a lot of story to cover for it to make sense, and Civil War is a complicated storyline itself as it is).

      • Bacon Statham

        ” I think a good chunk of the next Cap film should focus on his hunt for Bucky, followed by teaming up with Falcon and Bucky to take down a new threat, and the next movie Avengers movie should be Civil War.”

        Same. I don’t think Marvel should’ve split The Avengers: Infinity War into two parts. It should be Avengers: Infinity War, followed by a couple more solo films and then Avengers: Civil War. I think Cap 3 will end up being a bit of a mess.

      • S_P_1

        The next CAP film should be when he retires and Super Patriot becomes the new Captain America. Now you get to introduce Taskmaster. If you go this route you get to have Steve Rogers as Nomad and his entire entourage.

  • Casper Chris

    Part of being a good screenwriter is restraining yourself so you don’t keep going back to the well. Cause if you start doing the same thing enough, the audience begins to notice it, and then you’ve done the worst thing a writer can do, which is break the suspension of disbelief.

    Very true. And a good reminder.

    I’m so sick of this marvel shit though. Please go away.

  • Scott Chamberlain

    I’m over superheroes, too (although I enjoyed Netflix’s daredevil because Murdoch was human – his seemingly miraculous ability to heal, aside).

    And yet…

    When my brother and i were thinking of a film to see last weekend we happily agreed on Age of Ultron (ironically the only sessions we could see were sold out…) This is what the studios want (need), methinks. Films lots of people think are okay, rather than films some people think are awesome but most think are pants.

    I wonder to myself what I’d do: Scott, you’re going to write and direct our film (Hooray!) We’re going to blow one quarter of a billion dollars making it (Holy fuck!), so everybody (everybody?) Everybody – the Kids, the soccer mums, the NASCAR dads, the hormone-abundant teenagers, 50 Shades fetishists, and grandma – has to want to see it, or not protest too much at being dragged along to see it, or we all lose our jobs (Oh…)

    After shitting my pants, i’d probably try to write something like Age of Ultron, and if i had a go-to skill like quips which seemed to work in Avengers then i’d go back to that well again and again. And if people complained complained that it was overstuffed in parts, but awesome in others, I’d probably agree that was inevitable.

    And if the film made $600 million world wide in its opening week, well I wouldn’t be paying too much attention to any comments about it not being art or good or whatever while i ate my shawarma.

    Hats off to Mr Whedon. It can’t have been an easy job.

  • LostAndConfused

    I’m surprised that Carson didn’t make a parallel with the MayPac fight and Age of Ultron. Millions are going to continue flocking to these spandex movies in spite of their quality. Why? Marvel has become the masters at setting up the showdown. It almost feels like the entire movie is one giant promotion to build up that final extravagant set piece. The showdown is what everyone looks forward to. I used to have a friend who would watch old boring Samurai/Martial arts movies, doze off through the first 90 minutes, and then praise it as one of his favorite movies because the final fight was awesome. It almost reminds me of the old Godzilla movies I used to have on VHS; the first 40 minutes were backstory, and then the rest of the movie was just one giant brawl between Godzilla and the monster he faced. And they were awesome.

    More than an excellent story, I think people are more attracted to seeing two big names duke it out. Mayweather vs. Pacquio. The Avengers vs. Ultron. Luke vs. Vader. Harry vs. Voldemort. Goku vs. Vegeta. Bird vs. Magic. David vs. Goliath. Nicholas Cage vs. acting (sorry, cheap shot). People love their showdowns. The name behind it is sometimes more valuable than the actual product being put out there.

    The Mayweather and Pacquiao fight was arguably the biggest match of all time, and it wasn’t just because it was a match between two of the best boxers of all time, because objectively speaking both of these guys are way past their prime. What people wanted to see was if Mayweather could finally be beaten, and Pacquiao was propped up as the only boxer in the entire world that could do it (in his class). The build up to this fight was one of the most exciting I’ve ever seen. It got the whole world watching because of one question…can Manny do it?

    With these superhero movies it’s more about these showdowns than they are about putting out a thoroughly engaging and engrossing story. And with Age of Ultron, Marvel did a better job of pitting that showdown between Ultron and the Avengers in one trailer than some films in entire movies.

    • davejc

      ” It also reminds me of the old Godzilla movies I used to have on VHS”

      Exactly! The blueprint for these films isn’t the original comic books. It’s the Toho Godzilla films.

    • S_P_1

      I wonder will they give Spiderman one of the Infinity gems.

      • S.C.

        Yes. And Dr. Strange. Maybe not Black Panther.

        Although isn’t it all the subject of the Infinity War?

        • S_P_1

          Yeah. I just hope Spiderman isn’t regulated to a cameo appearance.

  • brenkilco

    Avoid using premonitions at all costs.

    Even the unshakable feeling that this was really going to suck?

  • romer6

    I agree with most of the things you said. I liked the movie, even better than the first, for the villain alone. Ultron is a much better villain than Loki (the movie version, that is). The reason they had to cram so many heroes in this one movie is that the contracts of the main cast are getting near to a close, so they have to introduce new characters to carry the torch forward until the inevitable reboot. Probably, the next Captain America will be the last movie for some of those characters (if they follow Civil War closely). I agree that more characters often mean less development, but this is the price they will pay for having this “planning” for the whole Marvel Cinematic World. The Thor’s premonition, by the way, is the key to his next solo movie, Ragnarok, and it should have a greater impact to the story in earlier cuts of the movie (probably we will see it in the Blu-Ray). Vision is and always has been one of my favorite comic book characters so his presence alone was a great reason to take me to the theater. This doesn’t come anywhere close to being better than Daredevil, the best thing Marvel has produced so far (and my second favorite comic book character of all time, the first is pretty obvious by my picture). But it was a fun ride. And if movies can be fun again, well, let them be. I’d rather this nonsense all day than Man of Steel’s, that tried so hard to be emotional, realistic and dark and turned out just incoherent and sad.

    On a side note, I took the weekend to watch Marvel’s Agent Carter and I must say it is the second best thing Marvel has produced to date. A lot better than Agents of Shield and so many other “superhero” series we have these days.

    • HRV

      What will always bring out guys, unless we all become gay, is attractive women. Just wish we had more that were filled out like Raquel Welch.

  • carsonreeves1

    I did think that was a clever moment with him picking up Thor’s hammer.

  • Buddy

    sorry for the misunderstanding, i’m not comparing superhero movies with biopics. I talked about ERIN BROCKOVICH but DIE HARD would have been the same. McClane has zero superpower and he fights “real” terrorists. That’s why is relatable to me.
    I used to love superhero movies, it’s just i’m getting bored. i’m not alone here and I think we’ll be many other after avengers 2 and more after the other marvel movies.
    It’s always the same burger, they just change the sauce and the name…

    • Magga

      It’s ten years since I started feeling that every movie was the same damn thing, what with Batman and Spiderman and X-Men and Fantastic Four and Star Wars and Potter and on and on. That was clearly the low-point, I thought, nowhere to go but up. Optimism is pointless in cinema, the direction has been staked out, and it’s doomed to be a delivery-system for branded content, and a movie is an ancillary product to existing corporate properties. Watch yesterday’s Mad Men. It lays it all out, except it happened earlier to advertising than to movies. TV has a couple of years left, hurry before Marvel and Lucas gobbles up that too.

  • Felip Serra

    Amazing! Isn’t it. In just two years Whedon goes from “boy who could do no wrong” to “man, how could fuck that up?” It’s not entirely his fault. In every interview from him lately there is an underlining bitterness and I think the studio interference this time around was probably suffocating at best. How could it not be? The expectation! The numbers! No WAY they’re going to leave in the hands of the “talent”. Just ask Jack Kirby.

    Sadly I think we’ll be having similar conversations come December.

    • GoIrish

      I realize this would never be the case with the type of money involved, but wouldn’t this be the most likely scenario for the studio to cede (more) control in a big budget blockbuster – 1. a writer/director with a proven track record who has the cachet/power to “request” more decision-making authority, and 2. a subject matter (IP) with a preexisting universe and characters (i.e., it’s not like the director would film an ant roaming around for 2 hours; there’s some constraints)?

  • S.C.
  • Evangelos

    I also found that these massive world destruction scenarios where everyone is gonna die always and I mean ALWAYS falls flat because we don’t give a damn about these people.

  • S.C.

    Evolution of a Superhero:

  • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

    CAN BANNER CONTROL THE HULK OR NOT – MAKE UP YOUR MINDS MARVEL!!! :-)

  • ripleyy

    *timidly raises hand* I liked it. In fact, I really liked it.

    It was highly entertaining and for once, I was able to sit back and just watch the whole thing without picking at it. While Carson is right in most cases, it isn’t much of a shock that he didn’t like this.

    A Magician isn’t going to enjoy a magic show because he knows the tricks going behind the scene, yet is forced to watch the awed reactions of those around him. The same way a screenwriter can’t watch a film and not feel every string being pulled, rolling your eyes at the tricks being used to keep everyone entertained. I think there is a part where you just have to sort of let go and just enjoy things objectively.

    I was really baffled when critics said the film was a mess, that they couldn’t “follow” what was happening. I followed it just fine. It wasn’t difficult to accept. The only reason I enjoyed this thoroughly isn’t because I’m a comic book fan – I’ve never read a single comic in my life – but because I was able to shut off that screenwriter inside of me and watch something cool and entertaining. This is the ultimate “popcorn film” and you’re out of your mind if you think “The Force Awakens” will be any different than this. Because it will. Smaller in scope, yes, but it will be everything this will be.

    That all said and done, I really can’t fault Joss too much. This was a gigantic task and I think he pulled it off really well. This wasn’t easy and the man done the best he could with it. He won’t do a big-budget movie in a seriously long time, because he works better when he’s working on something smaller, but it was a treat to watch.

    In the end, more is definitely not better, but I think Ultron see-sawed on that thin line a bit. I admit, despite loving the movie, it could have been shorter and it could have done a lot less. I will give Carson that. People will get sick and tired of these films, but until then, I’m still not quite full :)

    • Bacon Statham

      ”The only reason I enjoyed this thoroughly isn’t because I’m a comic book fan – I’ve never read a single comic in my life – but because I was able to shut off that screenwriter inside of me and watch something cool and entertaining.”

      Spot on. That is precisely what we should all do when going into these films. Don’t go into them as a screenwriter or a critic, go into them as the kid who saw his/her favourite movie for the first time.

      ”People will get sick and tired of these films”
      I have a feeling next year will be when people get tired of them. There’s seven coming out throughout the year and I think that will be too much for people to handle.

      • S.C.

        I think you’re going to see a few Green Lantern-esque casualties from now one, maybe FANTASTIC FOUR, maybe even ANT-MAN if they don’t sell it well.

        • Bacon Statham

          Out of the films coming out this year and next year, I think Fantastic Four, Ant-Man and Gambit will be the biggest failures. BvS, X-Men and Cap 3 will be the most successful. Deadpool, Doctor Strange and Suicide Squad could go either way.

          • S.C.

            Agreed. I’ve posted the comic book movie schedule for people to comment on.

          • HRV

            And then there’s always Mad Max to spice things up non-comicky.

          • Bacon Statham

            Not to mention Spectre, Mission Impossible 5, Man From UNCLE, Terminator 5, Star Wars, Point Break. There’s still a fair amount of non-comic book blockbuster movies coming out.

          • HRV

            Exactly.

      • ripleyy

        I think the job of a critic is obsolete. A person who deems something a failure of a success going by their word isn’t a job, and it isn’t even a hobby. Although I am a hypocrite for admitting I sometimes go onto Rotten Tomatoes just to see what everyone is saying. For someone who critiques something for a living, their job holds more weight than it should.

        That said, I think as a screenwriter you need to go in objectively. It’s why it baffles me when people don’t like a movie for what it is – an art form – and not something you’re obliged to watch. It saddens me that people can’t see something anymore without plotting out the downfalls.

        As for the “superhero implosion”, I can feel it coming soon. Maybe next year, but more definitely sometime in the next few years. I can’t possibly imagine this going on forever.

        Even the Westerns eventually died out.

        • S.C.

          Westerns are somewhat limited in terms of location (the west) and period (30 years in the 19th century), although there are exceptions. Superheroes covers a lot more ground, and as technology advances, so does the look of these films.

          I tend to use Cinemascore to tell me whether a film is going to be enjoyable or not, that and my own judgment. Critics mean little.

          • ripleyy

            As a trend itself, Westerns eventually gave way to another trend. In terms of scope, it was a pretty long one as well.

            Although your point that this “superhero” trend has a lot to offer is quite true, it’s just worrisome to see what is going to happen when audiences truly have had enough. That will be interesting and most-memorable.

          • Caivu

            Maybe reality will take a page from Watchmen and pirates will become the new trend.

          • klmn

            The American West is larger than many European countries. And French movie critics were the first to point out that Western movies were about westward expansion of the country. The visual language of Westerns taken directly from maps – the right to left movement, the hero riding into the setting sun at the close.

            And the Westerns are eminently suitable when someone wants to make a statement about America. During the Vietnam war when America’s power was failing, the Westerns reflected that with films like The Wild Bunch and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. Manifest Destiny was no more. There was nowhere to go.

            Someone will take Westerns in a new direction, when he has a statement to make.

          • klmn

            Addendum. And while Westerns are mostly dormant at the cinema, they occupy a lot of reality tv, with all the Alaskan shows – Alaska State Troopers, Alaska The Last Frontier, Life Below Zero, etc.

          • Poe_Serling

            Add the often overlooked and underrated Ulzana’s Raid (1972) to the above list.

            “After fierce war chief Ulzana and a small war party jump the reservation bent on murder and terror, an inexperienced young lieutenant is assigned to track him down.”

            Starring Burt Lancaster. Directed by Robert ‘The Dirty Dozen’ Aldrich.

            The film’s story had numerous elements that paralleled our own military’s involvement in Vietnam at the time.

          • klmn

            The most noteworthy Westerns now are Tarentino’s neo-blaxploitation films – Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight.

            They’re not really about anything that happened in the old West (old South in the case of Django but told in a Western style) but I think Tarentino really tapped into the racial tension today, which is worse than it’s been since the sixties.

        • HRV

          They’ll get boring if similar plots are used.

    • S.C.

      You should never be afraid to say something positive. Not on this comments board.

      • HRV

        Yes, but isn’t it easier to be negative?

        • Eric

          No.

          • HRV

            I was being sarcastic. For some people it is.

          • S.C.

            I agree, it is easier for people to be negative than positive. I just don’t like it. I don’t want everything to be happy-happy sunshine, but when I first came here this morning it was just a sea of negativity. And as such I think it was difficult for people who saw and ENJOYED the film to discuss its merits.

            AOW is a tricky subject. Most of the scripts aren’t any good, as you might expect. However I feel too many writers come away with the impression that they can just polish up the dialogue and fix the spelling mistakes on their duff screenplays and win people over, and most of the time it’s not like that.

          • HRV

            I haven’t seen the movie yet, but will watch it for what it is, a couple of hours of escapist entertainment. I enjoy the art of movies, seeing the written idea translated by technology to create what doesn’t exist in reality.
            You’re right. Dealing with the AOW submissions always seems so superficial, because of the short amount of time to go over five scripts. Most of the comments come from gut feelings and the first things one notices, which are typos, description and dialog. Structure, plot etc. takes more of an in depth view and requires a complete read.

          • Eric

            I was being sarcastic too. Or should I say, pointlessly negative :)

          • Linkthis83

            I get called out at times for being too positive. For seeing the value in certain perspectives/choices. I even once got accused of telling the masses what they want to hear.

          • HRV

            Positive words of encouragement are never bad, since screenwriters tend to live in a negative world, regarding our work.

        • S.C.

          About 16 million people watched this movie this weekend and it received an “A” Cinemascore. I suspect there are other commentators who want to post positive, happy experiences of superhero movies but have been put by the overwhelming negativity of a bunch of wannabe screenwriters seeking employment in an industry that makes its profits from movies they hate.

  • mulesandmud

    A request for the SS community as we wade into the summer movie season:

    Let’s make sure we talk about these movies, please. The actual movies, I mean. And wherever possible, the scripts.

    I know it sounds obvious, but let’s bear it in mind anyway. Because these days it’s hard to even broach the subject without getting sidetracked by bullshit.

    Studios have engineered the movie industry so that the quality of the film is nearly irrelevant. Marketing budgets outpace production budgets. Box office estimates get more accurate every year. Release schedules are frontloaded so that movies live or die by their opening weekend, minimizing the impact of critics’ reactions and word of mouth. And next weekend brings a new round of explosions to erase the memory of the previous weekend entirely.

    The conversation gets discouraged or killed in the process.

    In some ways, the studios want these films be completely disposable, shiny enough to get you into the theater, but forgettable enough that there will be no backlash when the franchise gets rebooted a decade later.

    Some people will defend this disposable cinema. Some people will say “Hey, it’s a popcorn movie, don’t think about it so hard.”

    Go somewhere else with that opinion, please.

    We’re hear to talk about screenwriting. At least, that’s what it said on the door.

    Joss Whedon thought about this movie very hard, I have no doubt of that. If a meeting place exists between idealistic geek, opportunistic executive, and dedicated craftsman, Whedon is that place.

    If you think the movie was good clean fun, acknowledge that a huge amount of thought went into it, and be willing to discuss.

    If you think the movie stunk, acknowledge that a huge amount of thought went into it, and be willing to discuss.

    Love it or hate it or just don’t care, acknowledge that Whedon thought harder about this film than any film you yourself have ever written. Acknowledge that if you want to write movies, you should be thinking them as hard as Whedon has, and that applies to all movies, not just your own, regardless of genre, budget, or pedigree.

    Be willing to discuss and dissect this film, here and elsewhere. You’ll learn something, and you’ll need those lessons to make your own work worth reading.

    On the internet, the conversation usually ends up crushed between rabid fanboys (who, having decided that all critics are haters, have crossed the line from optimists to unpaid studio apologists) and jaded cynics (who, too pure to watch these movies themselves, base their own opinions on hearsay or hypocritical assumptions).

    At its best, this forum can be an oasis from all of that. Let’s take advantage.

    Personally, I haven’t seen AGE OF ULTRON yet, but since I’m a generally curious guy who aims to be informed about my industry, it’s only a matter of time. Once I have thoughts, I’ll be sure to post them.

    Meanwhile, I’m holding out for FURY ROAD to pop my 2015 blockbuster cherry.

    • Rzwan Cabani

      I wish I had a small Mulesandmud (holds hands the size of a coffee mug) to take with me on my journey to ask important life questions ;) I have to ask — who are you?

      • mulesandmud

        • Rzwan Cabani

          LOL awww damn — that was good — I needed that. Thank you, sir.

        • Midnight Luck

          awesome, hilarious.

          I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
          See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly.
          I’m crying.

          Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come.
          Corporation tee-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday.
          I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob.

    • S.C.

      Agreed, and I would post a scene by scene breakdown if I could! Here’s a through synopsis of the film, anyway:

      http://www.themoviespoiler.com/2015Spoilers/AvengersUltron.html

      Give it time and you’ll see various screenwriting teachers using AoU as an example of good storytelling (whether it is or not, it’s how stories are being told NOW).

      Haven’t seen the film – difficult to get to cinema at the moment – but will get round to checking the film out. In the meantime, I looked up the demographics for the Age of Ultron audience:

      “59% of the audience was male, 41% was 25 years and older, 12% were teenagers and 22% were families.”

      And yet all you here is this movie is not for women, only for kids, fanboys, etc. Rubbish. This movie is the modern equivalent of The Ten Commandments, James Bond, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings and many other four-quadrant blockbusters over the years.

      • Eric

        I would be curious to know how many females went to see this not accompanied by a male who was twice as excited as them. I would say the same for the rest of those movies as well (except maybe Ten Commandments). These seem more like movies the general female is less likely to object to, rather than actively excited to see. Now Titanic, THAT’S a movie for men and women alike. Romance for the gals. Boat disaster chaos for the guys. Some CGI spectacle. Some Celine Dion.

        • S.C.

          You’d have to sign up to one of those industry insider specialist websites to get a full breakdown of stats. What I would say is, in 2006, young women went to see Pirates 2 and Superman Returns with their male and female friends, but when they went back to the movies again and again – as kids do – the females got a bit more say in what they went back to see AGAIN. And they opted for Pirates over Superman. Why? One theory was that they preferred Keira Knightley’s sword-wielding heroine to Kate Bosworth’s insipid love interest.

          • Eric

            If my wife’s opinion means anything it was more Depp and Orlando Bloom over Brandon Roth. And let’s be honest, the rugged pirate thing gets you a lot farther with the ladies than blue spandex… trust me.

      • filmklassik

        “Give it time and you’ll see various screenwriting teachers using AoU as an example of good storytelling (whether it is or not, it’s how stories are being told NOW).”

        Strongly disagree. It is how a tiny percentage of overstuffed, barely coherent COMIC BOOK stories are being told now. But so what? Don’t discard your Aristotle yet. As far as the lion’s share of all the other motion pictures being produced each year are concerned (the good ones, anyway) the robust storytelling verities that have endured for 3000+ years of dramatic writing still apply.

        • brenkilco

          I can’t believe someone on this site is rooting for screenwriting to degenerate into marketing. Or maybe can’t tell the difference.

          • filmklassik

            You’re right. S.C. sounds more like a budding agent to me, or a future studio head, or perhaps a modern-day version of SAMMY GLICK than someone who is genuinely interested in telling great stories.

            And for that reason my prediction is (and I say this without a trace of sarcasm, by the way): S.C. is going to succeed mightily in this business.

          • brenkilco

            I think we would all benefit from a post on how to mold our own action figures.

    • Eddie Panta

      Acknowledge what..?
      He thought longer and harder on this film than anybody has ever on their project.

      That’s a bold statement. Also, there are no points for working really hard. Nobody says: Man we gotta buy this script, this guy worked so hard on it.

      Anyway, how do you know how hard he worked on it?

      Meanwhile… Avengers Ultron is the same exact concept and model that they use in all three IRON MAN movies. it’s IRON MAN vs co-opted Iron Man. So, no, a huge amount of thought did not go it to this…

      • S.C.

        “I would like to have been able to say, “I nailed it in the first draft and we’re off to the races!” But that’s not what happened, or what ever happens — except Cabin in the Woods was pretty much a first draft with a polish — but usually, something like this is too hard, still finding it.” Joss Whedon

        http://www.blastr.com/2015-4-30/exclusive-joss-whedon-agony-writing-age-ultron-script

      • mulesandmud

        I know he worked hard because I know how this process works.

        Frankly, I’m surprised you would even question the idea, Eddie.

        Months of meetings with the Marvel bosses to develop material for the sequel. Dozens of internal documents mapping out the story, characters, tone, etc.

        A relatively sane initial writing process, and then a frantic rewrite process in the wake of the success of the first AVENGERS film, with all of the accompanying pressures, all while simultaneously prepping to direct the $250M sequel himself (a whole other set of responsibilities, and a truly astonishing amount of work).

        Constant tweaks throughout a nonstop shooting schedule, and then more tweaks all through the edit.

        Literally hundreds of story notes from a battery of development execs, at all stages of the process, prep, draft, rewrite, production, post.

        Constant corroborative dialogue with not only a dozen or more execs, but also a dozen or more other screenwriters working on other Marvel projects that must all synchronize their characters and storylines according to the Marvel master plan.

        Sounds like a thinking man’s work to me.

        That workload spans the two years of this film’s production, but we should also account for the prework that Whedon put into this story world, namely the 10+ years of writing that Whedon did for Marvel prior to THE AVENGERS, during which he worked his way into the inner circle of Marvel creatives, contributed heavily to the story and character decisions that have shaped Marvel’s entire studio approach, and also convinced them to give him the reins of the original AVENGERS film.

        I know much of that work sounds mechanical, so you can dismiss it as wasted energy if you like, but it is most certainly hard work that takes real craft to execute, weaving all those disparate strands into a coherent story that everyone will approve for production. It’s the screenwriting equivalent of calculus, all to tell a story that most people, lovers and haters alike, will consider pretty much the same as every other superhero movie.

        To assume the writing process was thoughtless because the plot is familiar, well, that’s just ignorant of reality.

        Again, I haven’t seen the film. I don’t ask anyone to award points for anything, just that they refrain from shutting down the conversation, which in my opinion can and should be highly critical regardless of the quality of the film, because that is how a constructive creative conversation works.

        My point was and is: appreciate that a pro did this, and more than just ending the conversation by declaring whether the film was a success or a failure, look for ways to understand how a pro’s craft contributed to the final product, and what that can tell you about either your own work or the way the industry operates.

        And I look forward to the day when you or anyone else here demonstrates that they work harder than Joss Whedon, universally regarded as one of the most hardworking and personally invested directors in the business.

        Because that’s the kind of work it takes to break in.

        • Eddie Panta

          Craft is developing a style in which to control your artistic abilities in order to create consistent output without relying solely on passion or illusive forms of inspiration.

          The ability to collaborate and appease lesser intellects is an admirable and enviable skill, but its shouldn’t be confused with craft.

          I think there’s a difference between applying your craft and being crafty. In Age of Ultron, Whedon practices the latter.

          The writer’s ability to be a player is not where the talent should lie. To often its the switch many writers make, the rationalization being that this is how jobs get done, which I shouldn’t really judge, but that’s not a creative act.

          It’s just like a OUIJA board, everyone thinks it’s a spiritual group effort, but only one person is pulling on it and letting the others believe they’re influential.There’s nowhere else in the world like Hollywood where people can deceive themselves into thinking they’re making a new and innovate effort, but all the while full well knowing the beat-sheet is predetermined.

          I don’t think that there are any new story lessons to be learned from Age of Ultron. There’s no take away here, except maybe how to be a good juggler.

          • S.C.

            “The ability to collaborate and appease lesser intellects”

            Is this your definition of a modern screenwriter? If so, why do you want to be one?

            I’m in it for the money.

        • S_P_1

          I know he worked hard because I know how this process works.

          Months of meetings with the Marvel bosses to develop material for the sequel. Dozens of internal documents mapping out the story, characters, tone, etc.

          The original Ultron appearance was in Avengers #54 (1968).

          How much hard work is involved when referencing a ten issue limited series The Age of Ultron (2013)?

          All the hard work was done before Whedon helmed the series. If you get to cherry pick story lines what exactly have you contributed overall?

          The inclusion of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver was to undermine FOX studios movie license agreement to the X-MEN universe.

          You may have specific knowledge of what it takes to get from script to screen. Unless you know Whedon personally, you’re overreaching by a longshot.

          To assume the writing process was thoughtless because the plot is familiar, well, that’s just ignorant of reality.
          Adapting source material is less demanding than creating an original story. Did Fran Walsh deviate from The Lord of the Rings novel, or did he adapt the novel into a filmable form? How much easier is it to adapt when you have pictures to accommodate the dialogue (i.e comic books).

          • mulesandmud

            Spoken like someone who has never attempted an adaptation, been given an assignment, or culled existing material (comic or otherwise) into a screen story.

            Also spoken like someone who hasn’t read the AGE OF ULTRON comics, which differ from the film in nearly every respect, except for the title and several of the characters.

            I don’t see why it’s necessary to minimize Whedon’s effort (or Fran Walsh’s, for that matter), even if you take issue with the films or the companies behind them.

            And I don’t need to know Whedon personally to understand what it means to be a professional screenwriter working in studio development. Neither do you.

          • S.C.

            The reason a lot of people – a LOT of people – write bad screenplays is they think screenwriting is easy.

            Screenwriting is hard, period.

            First is getting the idea, and I suppose that wasn’t too bad for Whedon – biggest problem was probably narrowing down ALL the possible ideas.

            Maybe he took on too many ideas – don’t know, haven’t seen the movie yet.

            I’ve done a few (failed) modern-day adaptations of public domain works (a good idea for spec screenplays) and they’re hard work. You have to come up with most of the ideas and it doesn’t always match up.

            Most people get the idea wrong. They think it’s easy, pick the first idea that comes to them. Or the third. Either way, it’s an unispired idea exactly like everyone else’s and no one’s that interested – even the writer… it’s just not personal enough.

            Second is the story. That can be quick and relatively easy or a long drag. And if it’s quick and easy, that’s a possible sign the story is too simple, too predictable.

            A third problem is character and tone. The idea’s good, the story seems right, but draft after draft it doesn’t FEEL right. Whedon says he was writing all the way through production. To me that suggests a tonal problem rather than a plot problem, but that’s just a guess.

            It’s nice when a screenplay just flows from your fingers, but it’s worth noting that for Whedon – a twenty-something year veteran screenwriter – only one project (CABIN IN THE WOODS) was first draft near perfect.

            For everything else, writing is rewriting.

            Hope that all made sense.

          • S_P_1

            Spoken like someone who has never attempted an adaptation, been given an assignment, or culled existing material (comic or otherwise) into a screen story.

            True. And if I was in the position to option a particular I.P more than likely I would have gone the director / producer route versus becoming an aspiring screenwriter.

            Also spoken like someone who hasn’t read the AGE OF ULTRON comics, which differ from the film in nearly every respect, except for the title and several of the characters.

            I started collecting comic books yesterday the same time I was born. I may post a high-res pic of the collection I’ve amassed in 24 hours.

            What’s interesting you claim you haven’t seen the film yet so how do you know the difference between the comics and the film?

            I don’t see why it’s necessary to minimize Whedon’s effort (or Fran Walsh’s, for that matter), even if you take issue with the films or the companies behind them.

            I’m not sure how you inferred I minimized Fran Walsh’s adaptation. I also do not have any personal grievance against any prod-co.

            Lastly I’ve seen at least 85% of the tv shows and movies Whedon has written.

            And I don’t need to know Whedon personally to understand what it means to be a professional screenwriter working in studio development. Neither do you.

            I responded to the original post because of this statement.

            I know he worked hard because I know how this process works.
            Since I was born yesterday I still have a lot to learn. But you can check my past posts and see I linked to a short I wrote, produced, and edited ALL on my own dime. When I’m finished I’ll post a link to a new short I’m editing. In the meantime I’ll patiently wait for you to post a link of an filmed product (credited) readily available to view.

  • Bacon Statham

    I’m really not the biggest fan of how they’re going about it, but it seems to work, so what do I know?

    I honestly think it would be better if the films focus on the big characters such as Iron Man, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange, the Netflix shows focus on the street level characters such as Daredevil and The Punisher, and another channel focuses on TV shows based around smaller team-up characters such as GotG and Inhumans.

    So instead of wasting a spot on the film schedule on the Inhumans, they can create a TV show instead and replace that film with the Hulk for instance. But then again there’s the budget problem. Guardians would cost a lot of money to do on the small screen.

  • Caivu

    Definitely looking forward to Ant-Man, Guardians 2, Deadpool, Fantastic Four, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel. I’m a bit curious how Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad will be handled, but right now I don’t intend to see them. I’m still on board with the MCU, and I’ll keep watching those films until I think they become really profoundly bad. Everything else on that list… eh. Too early to tell for many of them.

  • S.C.

    “59% of the audience was male, 41% was 25 years and older, 12% were teenagers and 22% were families.”

    I don’t have any ethnic breakdown statistics and I’m not sure if they do that; be interesting though.

    • Nicholas J

      Thanks for that. I have to wonder about the accuracy though, doesn’t 12% teenagers seem awfully low for this? It’d be interesting to see what percent of moviegoers were 25+ female. If they turned out, I’d say Carson’s estimates of “something for everybody” might be right.

      That’s the hard part about hitting those four demographics though, if you have something that appeals to under 25 males (the main target for this movie), chances are it’s not going to appeal to 25+ females and vice versa.

      • S.C.

        Four quadrants: Everybody loves action and comedy. Things to avoid: soppy romance (puts off the boys), bloody violence (puts off the girls), kids in peril (puts off the women) and overall bad reviews (also a no-no for women over 25). Men over 25 don’t go to the movies much, so don’t matter so much.

        http://variety.com/2015/film/news/avengers-age-of-ultron-box-office-opening-1201486323/

        http://deadline.com/2012/05/marvels-the-avengers-records-factoids-267389/

        AVENGERS 1 audience: 50% over 25, 50% under 25; 60% male, 40% female; 55% couples, 24% family, 21% teens.

        AVENGERS 2 audience: 59% male, 41% was 25 years and older, 12% were teenagers and 22% were families.

        • HRV

          I think many older folks would go because theses comic books came out when they were young. I don’t think most teenagers are into comic books, are they?

          • Bacon Statham

            I imagine it would be a small minority. I don’t personally know any teenagers who are into comic books and I’m the only person in my circle of friends (we’re all in our mid twenties) who is. I have a passing interest and the only comics I’ve ever bought we’re a few issues of Punisher MAX. I don’t go mad and buy the latest issue of every comic that comes out each month.

            The best example of older people who watch these films that I can think of are my grandparents. They’re not into comics, they don’t go to the cinema to watch them, but they do buy them on Blu-ray when they come out. There’s obviously gotta be people their age who are into comics and who go to the cinema, so it stands to reason they’d watch these kind of films.

          • HRV

            I’m thinking more of the 40-50s demographic.

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    Good God this movie S-U-C-K-ED! Bad vilian. Boring interplay between the characters. Unbelievable EVERYTHING. “Avengers 2″ is the kind of movie you have to check your brain at the door before going into the theatre to enjoy. Now, I know why people flock to these movies, they’re “safe” entertainment that you can take your family to, but that doesn’t make it “good” entertainment.

  • http://twitter.com/objectivebiased Objectively Biased

    This meant that Avengers finished below one of the 37 Harry Potter movies for the single-weekend box office record

    The movie had the 2nd biggest opening weekend behind only the first Avengers. But let’s not research anything before we type it.

  • Eric

    I don’t think superhero movies will go away completely, but when you have SO many, particularly ones with a dozen iconic superheros and villains, it starts to lose its impact. When this first started it was, “Wow! There’s Iron Man on the big screen!” Now it’s more like, “Yep, there he is. And the Hulk and Captain America. I wonder what they’ll do today.” Even sex can’t be this common and continue to feel special.

    Now that doesn’t mean they’ll go away entirely. Just cause the housing bubble burst doesn’t mean everyone gets an igloo. But I have a feeling that there will be a few flops over the next couple years that will cause the studios to be more hesitant about how much money they throw at these movies and how many they try to foist on us at one time. The cancelled Spiderman sequels are an example of this happening on an individual level. The first two movies made money, but there’s a distinct lack of energy and buzz behind them. It’s fatigue and the studio can sense it. Eventually it’ll spread to the whole lot of them.

    As for what comes next, I don’t know. But if there were four or five more directors out there who shared Christopher Nolan’s scope, prestige and bankability, you wouldn’t need comic book IP to get asses in the seats.

  • Nicholas J

    Sweet baby Jesus.

  • Nicholas J

    People get tired of everything at some point. Right now we’re at maximum capacity and the only way to go is down. You can only save the world so many times before it becomes repetitive and stops being exciting. The teens/young adults who watch this stuff now will eventually grow up and move on to other things, and the generations behind them will think these movies that their parents watched are lame and we’ll be onto the next thing. (Which will probably be something other than movies entirely.)

    With that said, superheroes will always be around in some capacity, and I think we have a good five years of spandex overload left before interest drops.

    Also if super hero movies go away then that will be the beginning of the end of people going to see movies in the theater.

    This becoming a reality is not too far away.

    • S_P_1

      Also if super hero movies go away then that will be the beginning of the end of people going to see movies in the theater.
      Every decade has a predominate genre defining that era. The difference is before you didn’t have a year to year breakdown of movie releases. The fact that you already know what’s in the pipeline is contributing to superhero film fatigue.
      If Disney never bought Marvel every superhero franchise would remain fresh because it wasn’t telegraphed well in advanced.

  • Eddie Panta

    OT: Recommendation Brett Morgen’s Kurt Cobain Doc Montage of Heck premieres tonight on HBO
    There are numerous story telling lessons to be learned from this truly inspiring documentary. So, even if you’re not a fan of Cobain, I highly advise checking this out.
    Especially if your dealing with a BIO script where the events and the ending are known.
    Suspense and mystery are replaced with pacing, momentum, and style.
    Like a Kurt’s mixtapes, from which the doc gets its title, there’s a blizzard of information here.

    Sometime around 1988 Kurt wrote a short story, a journal entry in which he recounted the events that led up to his first suicide attempt at age 14. The story is set to animation, and while watching it, you’ll think that it’s narrated by someone mimicking Kurt’s voice, but it’s not. He recorded the story he wrote onto tape, acting as his own narrator, it’s a spoken word essay. He through the tape into a box and there it remained unheard until 2012.

    The doc also deals with our deep desire for mythological characters.
    There’s no lack of GSU here either, it’s one heartbreaking scene after another.

    • Eric

      I JUST saw a trailer for this, but had no idea it was on HBO tonight. Thanks!

  • S.C.

    I think they may try adaptations of classic sci-fi novels – DUNE or THE STARS MY DESTINATION, RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA, etc.

    The difficulty is, GUARDIANS aside, all the big hits have been with the famous comic book characters:

    Hits:

    Batman
    X-Men
    Spider-Man
    Iron Man
    Captain America
    Thor
    The Avengers
    Superman
    Guardians of the Galaxy

    Sort-of-hits:

    Blade
    Daredevil
    Fantastic Four
    The Incredible Hulk
    Ghost Rider
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

    Flops:

    The Punisher (thrice)
    The Shadow
    The Phantom
    Green Hornet
    Green Lantern
    Jonah Hex

    So that leaves them a limited choice of superheroes to make films about. They’ll have to think of something else.

    War movies.

  • ArabyChic

    Why superhero movies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon:

    http://deadline.com/2015/05/avengers-age-of-ultron-imax-furious-7-international-box-office-china-1201419976/

    It will take many duds in a row in order to convince Hollywood not to sink all their money into Superhero movies. And Marvel has been hitting again and again. And with their deal with Netflix, they’re going to take over the small screen next (as they’ve already started to do).

    • cjob3

      It seems like I only took one bad movie to kill the superhero genre the first time: Batman and Robin. There wasn’t another superhero film for 12 years after that. Of course, the genre was on less solid footing then and B&R was an EXCEPTIONALLY bad movie.

  • Midnight Luck

    I once worked in an enormous office building with easily 2,000 people in it.
    One day they decide they are redoing all the old carpet.
    So they send out a notice to everyone to ask them what color they want the carpet to be.

    Everyone sends in their choice for carpet color.

    The “carpet color by committee so there is something in it for everyone experiment” turned out like this:

    They decided to use EVERYONE’s color choices.

    So the carpet turned out to look like 100 people had puked into a bucket after Mardi Gras, with tiny flecks of pink and neon green confetti scattered throughout.

    It was awesome.

    So awesome in fact that the million dollar carpet replacement was replaced exactly six months later as

    Everyone hated it.
    It was truly vile.

    Pleasing everyone, pleases no one.

    At least in the Carpet Color Experiment.

    • S.C.

      This “carpet” has made over half-a-billion dollars AND scored an “A” with audiences. So clearly it pleased someone, probably most of them.

      If the second weekend doesn’t drop by more than 50.3% (on a par with the first film) then it would seem that audiences love it.

      Better start thinking about writing our OWN action/comedy ensemble scripts. That’s where it seems to be going.

      • Mike.H

        Some talking head said the BO would’ve been higher had on Sat, there wasn’t a Pac-Mayberry ” dance off “…

        • Midnight Luck

          Superhuman’s and Robots beating the shit out of each other,
          or
          Real Men beating each other’s brains to porridge mush?
          Tough call….hmmm…..I guess…

          I’ll be at Pinkberry …. Having a Mango-Raspberry (Ma-Berry)

          • Caivu

            I wish MayPac had involved brains being pureed, as that would’ve at least involved punches being thrown.

      • Midnight Luck

        No one on here or just about anywhere is going to write a spec Superhero or tentpole or huge action/comedy script that gets picked up and turned into a burner for one of the ProdCo’s. They aren’t going to turn our amateur spec into a juggernaut with a hundred million dollars of promotion.

        I don’t see any reason we all need to buckle down and write the same thing that is popular right now. By the time it is bought and made who knows what will be popular?

        Yes someone created Kick-Ass. But it wasn’t like Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman were nobodies. They both worked on and wrote Stardust before KA. They both wrote and worked on The DEBT, which came out the same year.

        So, while it may look like some nobodies created a superhero action comedy adventure out of nowhere, they actually were already in the system with big projects done or in the works.

    • Mike.H

      Lady, lady, lady Midnight Luck…. my local library just re-did the carpet and IT WAS the exact pattern your described… looked like stale brocolli mixed in with rotting carrots with vomit specks of multi-rainbow all over it.

      Either the director of library science loved the color choice or it was a remnant dinosaur discontinued piece with 75% price slash. Since it was county gov’n’s budget decision… I’d say it’s the former.

      Bazzinga! ( Sheldon from TBBT…)

      • Midnight Luck

        You must have gotten our old carpet. At a BARGAIN price I bet!
        Used Multi-Colored Vomit Carpet is the New Black!

  • K David

    OT: Carson, you should really do an Amateur Offerings on the scripts from top commenter/reviewers who week in and week out give helpful feedback. Two reasons. One, you know these are going to be polished/quality scripts. Two, they deserve it. Their participation should be rewarded. Plus it might encourage more participation. Commenter’s like:

    ElectricDreamer
    Linkthis83
    Poe_Serling
    mulesandmud
    ripleyy
    Midnight Luck

    I know there a few other amazing Amateur Offering reviewers I’m missing. Just going off the top of my head, so my apologies.

    Make this happen Carson!

    • HRV

      We all appreciate their contribution, but the question is: When you spend so much time commenting, does that not take away from your writing time? I believe Linkthis83 mentioned he would be cutting back to spend more time on his craft. Do they all have something to submit?

      • S.C.

        Posting here doesn’t take as much time as you might think, unless you get into an endless back-and-forth debate with someone – which I try not to.

        mulesandmud said recently something like that he posts on here to prepare himself for a writing session. That seems true, as it often takes him a while to reply to comments (as well it should).

        I started posting regularly here as I found it helped clear my mind when I get stuck. Now that I’m stuck in another screenplay, you may see me here, you may not. See how I feel.

        • K David

          I was thinking more along the lines of those who give in-depth notes on a weekly basis to the amateur offerings. I definitely think they should be rewarded. I also noticed a discussion about the quality of scripts being put up for amateur offerings. That’s when I had the thought. Which I’m sure has been brought up in some form in the past on here.

      • Linkthis83

        The majority of my comments were while I was in the office at work – a great time to post :) Didn’t cut into story time at all. Notes on the weekends, however, would take up a lot of time. Some of the most valuable time I’ve spent though is breaking down AOW scripts.

        • HRV

          That’s what I was referring to — some forumers have put in a lot of weekend time with lengthy AOW feedback.

    • S.C.

      Popularity should not be mistaken for genius. And – no! – I’m putting forward my name for top commentator. In fact, I despise the whole cliquey nature of “top commentators”. This is a free board and anyone can contribute a good idea and anyone can submit a good screenplay to AOW.

      It just doesn’t happen very often.

    • Linkthis83

      This is a nice gesture, but I don’t want to face all those guys in the same weekend!

      Truthfully though, the great thing about the SS community is that you can post a script in the comments and a few people will always step up. So when I finally get this current fucker finished, I feel hopeful that I’d get some solid feedback from here if I can’t pitch my way into AOW – also, there’s a part of me that wants to see how the script does if nobody knows it’s mine. I want that unbiased, unfiltered stuff. You know, the good shit ;)

      • Poe_Serling

        I often feel the real value of having a script featured on AOW/AF is not necessarily the specific suggestions from other writers on how they would go about fixing problems in the story, but rather the useful sort of feedback that gives the writer of the project different options to explore/consider and the leeway to tackle/resolve their own story issues.

        Just my 2 cents. :-)

        • HRV

          Agree — constructive feedback. Many comments lean toward the negative, even if trying to be helpful, and none of us likes to have our work trashed.
          In line with what LINK said: It also cuts back on other’s urge to be retaliatory when one’s own work is posted. I would like to think we’re all above that

        • Linkthis83

          Agreed. It took me a while to realize that when I offer suggestions, that’s mostly a process for me. If the writer finds something useful then that’s great. Going through the process of trying to solve issues I have with certain stories is almost always for me. Plus, it forces me to really attempt to understand and get into the grit of a story. When I don’t do that, my feedback feels too “surface” level sometimes (and for me, surface level feedback doesn’t help me in understanding and creating stronger stories).

  • Brainiac138

    Is there any word on the Sandman movie or del Toro’s Justice League Dark?

    • Midnight Luck

      I would be interested in Sandman. Unless they fuck it up. If they decide it is going to be Daredevil, I mean Ben Affleck, playing Sandman, they will lose me.

      • Brainiac138

        I don’t keep up with these things like I used to, is Joseph Gordon Levitt no longer associated with the movie? I thought he was acting/directing in it or something?

        • Midnight Luck

          I don’t keep up with all of it either. I keep up with a ton, but less so when it has to do with comic based movies, even Sandman.
          so sorry, I can’t tell you, I didn’t even know he was attached.

  • Midnight Luck

    The only one I might, well probably, will see is ANT-MAN.

    And the only reason is I love Paul Rudd. He is so NOT your kind of actor to do a Super hero flick. I like the choices he makes, so I am mostly interested in it to see why he chose to do it. And honestly I am intrigued to see what it might be like.

    Now from the previews, it doesn’t actually look that different or even “good” compared to any other spandex flick. Reminds me of the first Spiderman’s with the weird Willem Dafoe Green Goblin like character storyline.

    That is the, literally, only one that I might give a go.

  • Randy Williams

    “Aquaman” reminded me. When’s Entourage, the movie finally coming out?

    • Midnight Luck

      Cameron: “nice fins”

  • Poe_Serling

    “The one genre premonitions can work in is horror films.”

    Yeah, the entire Final Destination film series is built around that simple notion of anticipating something bad and trying to prevent it from happening.

    In the 2000s there were four films alone with the title Premonition.

    “But they must be intricately woven into the story. They can’t just be slapped in there to get your character to do something you’re too lazy to come up with a reason for otherwise.”

    Excellent point. I’d also encourage writers to think beyond the typical method of delivering a premonition in a script. Instead of possibly this:

    QUICK FLASH – Whatever the scene of danger/etc. is in the story.

    Why not…

    Just a few subtle glimpses of an object on a table, a picture on the wall, a mysterious character lingering in the backgroud, and so forth… It could also easily work with certain sound cues to elicit a slight reaction to something foreboding in the main character’s future.

    Personally, I find it more rewarding when the director or writer comes up with these other creative/inventive ways to hint at the premonition event without jumping outside the scene
    to do so.

    Then, when the event does finally play out within the course of the story, it will often provide one of those big ‘aha’ moments for the reader/viewer.

  • tyrabanksy

    All of these movies look exactly the same to me. I can’t tell any of them apart.

    • S.C.

      You’ve seen how many of “these movies” they’re making? You’ve seen how successful they are (way more successful than almost anything else apart from Young Adult)?

      So, how are you – presumably a wannabe screenwriter – going to work in this industry? Not a mean question, seriously – if you don’t like what Hollywood is producing, are you going to finance your own films or just hope that tastes change – like, drastically?

      • tyrabanksy

        Unique voices stand out. Joss Whedon is known as a unique voice. James Gunn is known as a unique voice. They get scouted by these McMovies because they know eventually people will catch on to how boring and similar they all are, so they hope to add something to it, to make it not a McMovie… BUT if it looks like a McMovie and it gives you indigestion like a McMovie…
        Thankfully, blockbusters aren’t actually my only option… Other movies exist! Yaaaay! In fact, I prefer to write for a small budget, because I like smaller worlds focused on fewer characters.

      • tyrabanksy

        And Hollywood is a pretty broad umbrella. I don’t consider “Hollywood movies” to be strictly blockbuster. That’s a really limiting generalization

      • davejc

        If “these movies” are indicative of anything, it’s that Hollywood is in desperate need of screenwriters, from the top down.

        If Pixar can make films that have engaging original stories then there is no excuse for “these movies”.

        • Midnight Luck

          whole heartedly agree.

          The argument that Popcorn flicks are different and people just go to “turn their brain off” and not think, is the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard. The same people who say that end up Loving the Pixar films and lavish praise on them.
          Why?
          Because they are incredibly well crafted and thought out stories and ideas and characters.
          None, and when I say none, I mean NONE of these superhero films do any of that.
          If Pixar can time and time again create “event” movies which contain heart and emotion and spectacle and excitement and loads of entertainment for everyone, why on earth can none of these other films?
          Why?
          Because they are interested and focused on different things.
          The Marvel / DC universe is interested in MONEY first. Everything else? Is an after thought. Story? Character? who needs it. Slam people with enough advertising and they will buy it no matter what.
          Pixar comes from the opposite end.
          They focus on creating a world we all want to be a part of. A place and a feeling we want to experience and play in.
          Something lasting. Something memorable. Something as close to real as can be found on the screen.

      • filmklassik

        Yes I have seen how many of “these movies” Hollywood is making now: Too many. But overstuffed, infantile movies featuring lots of aliens & underwear aren’t the only offerings being foisted on us by the major and middle-size studios these days — praise the Lord. Even subtracting YA flicks there are still a few titles being produced each year for those of us weaned on CHINATOWN, JAWS, THE GETAWAY, THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3, DIRTY HARRY, ROSEMARY’S BABY, THE GODFATHER, SEA OF LOVE, BODY HEAT, etc.

        Not as many as there should be, God knows, but there are always a few. (And no, they haven’t ALL migrated to the small screen).

        Because if it was *all* YA, robots, aliens and underwear I would hang up my pen tomorrow.

        Or open my wrists with it.

  • gonzorama

    Carson, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I wasn’t expecting too much yet I was disappointed at what I saw. Most of the characters were flat, even Ultron. There were too many characters and storylines. And almost all of Ironman’s jokes fell flat. Very flat. Overall I didn’t blame the writing as much as the overall filmmaking. The editing was sloppy. The sound design was lazy. And the music didn’t help the visuals at all.

    I think a better director would have stood a super hero’s chance with this script. When writer/directors try to do it all they can’t see their flaws.

    See also: Kevin Smith.

    • Buddy

      “Most of the characters were flat, even Ultron.”

      I’m glad you talked about it.
      One of the two biggest reasons why Avengers2 is worst than the first episode is that Ultron is less interesting and Charismatic compared to Loki.
      The other thing is their plan. Loki’s plan was “a la joker” he trapped the avengers. Ultron’s plan is just too simple and stupid.

      morality : in the blockbuster movie, your antagonist needs to be cool, strong, entertaining and smart.
      Loki was, the joker was, hans gruber was, etc..

  • Cfrancis1

    I liked this movie in spite of the fact that I know the script was all over the place and that it existed simply to make money and set up other franchises that will make more money. But, I love these characters so much that I just didn’t care. When The Vision was “born”, the movie almost lost me. It was starting to get pretentious and dull, everyone talking in platitudes and, just… yawn. But the final scene, as garish as it was, redeemed the movie for me. Because their personalities came out to play again. The little jabs and throw aways make these guys special because they don’t take themselves too seriously, even when shit is getting serious. The characters and their foibles are what makes these Marvel movies work. Was this the best Marvel film? Absolutely not. But I love spending time with these characters so it was still a lot of fun for me.

  • cjob3

    Gotta say, animated Spider-Man from the Lego Movie guys? Pretty psyched about that.

    I was super psyched for Ant Man before Edgar Wright bailed. Now I’m not so sure.

  • cjob3

    “I think you’re confusing ‘peace’ with ‘quiet’.” I loved that line.

    Also loved the opening scene where the movie actually slows to a stop for a moment just to show us a cool team shot – just like a comic book splash page.

  • cjob3

    Personally all the quipping bothered me more in the first one. I hate how Iron Man is funnier than Spider-Man