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May 04 2015

Why Avengers: Age of Ultron fills this Buffy fan with despair. In the author's own words,"...I still can't square what I see in Age of Ultron with the pleasure I got from all seven seasons of Buffy... If we really are in a golden age of television, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a harbinger. Age of Ultron is the beginning of nothing; at best it's a leaden, heavy-spirited middle."

Her comments regards BtVS are extremely poignant and brought a smile to my face. Somebody out there still loves BtVS as much as I!

I don't understand these types of articles. Even if you didn't like AOU, that doesn't wipe away BTVS. You want to watch BTVS? It's still there. All seven seasons. Knowing the creator made a movie you didn't like doesn't change the things you do like.
It's kind of sad to see someone who's a real Buffy fan not getting what "The Avengers" is about, at all. And while you can compare the two on several levels, some comparisons just don't make sense at all.

But not everybody will like everything, that's fine.
The two and a half hour summer blockbuster (you don't like summer blockbusters) didn't have as much depth and resonance as seven seasons of Buffy. I'm sorry?
Exactly, alliterator. I was going to say pretty much the same thing - stop comparing apples and oranges! Buffy is Buffy - Joss Whedon's baby. Avengers is Avengers, made by Stan Lee and all the other talented folks at Marvel Comics. Just because Joss got to play in that sandbox a few times doesn't make Avengers his.

The only similarity between the two, other than Joss's involvement, is that they're both about a group of people thrown together to fight evil. Buffy had a mentor in Giles, she had two best friends, she had a mom & a sister, and fought the bad guys with sarcastic quips. She had heart, and you felt for her, and loved her and her quirky gang.

Avengers...not so much.
This brings to mind all the "Dollhouse just isn't Buffy" pieces a few years ago.
If someone was to make comic comparisons, then Buffy is more like a mix of X-Men and Spider-man. Which are both very different indeed from 'Earth's Mightiest Heroes.' Or at least they should be.
I really wouldn't have wanted to be reminded of Buffy whilst watching the Avengers. Thankfully Joss has many different types of stories in his quiver..
It's not the late 90s any more, and Marvel's Avengers Age of Ultron isn't Buffy.
I think this is basically "someone who's work I love and respect has been doing something that I don't find very interesting for the past half decade."

Fair enough. I too am looking forward to Joss being more or less being free to do what he wants again.
Buffy was awesome. We know. This kind of article is a bit unnecessary on this blog.
Buffy could be an Avenger. Would love the look on Steve's face when he finds out vampires are real...
I don't get the comparisons here. Avengers is not Buffy and so it's inferior? There's no drama because Tony and Steve always stop squabbling to work together? Hello, Buffy ran away and I didn't think anyone realistically thought the rest of the show was going to be called Anne, the Diner Waitress. We knew she was going to be back in Sunnydale. And lest we forget, the next Captain America movie is Tony vs. Steve!

I just don't get this article or ones like it. This thing is not like the thing you love and therefore, it's some kind of harbinger of doom and your favorite writer is now some kind of Hollywood cog? He chose to make these movies and he's gained a far wider fanbase because of them, and he legitimately liked the material (cause he wrote it!) Does the writer think making Buffy was all unicorns and rainbows? How horrible it must be to always be wondering if this was going to be your last season.

It's also that this article smacks of nostalgia. Buffy is over, and has been for a long time. It's still really great and so influential. But at some point, adults should be able to like many things without comparing them to each other as if Joss is in competition with himself. It's just not fair to him or the actors he's worked with since Buffy.

[ edited by the ninja report on 2015-05-05 01:23 ]
What I generally got from the article is that they thought the writing in Age of Ultron not up to par with Buffy. (Admittedly, that's not the first time I've heard that specific sentiment. But it's usually coupled with "This movie was forced to spend more time transitioning into and setting up a new movie than being its own movie.")
I don't get that comparison, either. Why are we comparing Avengers to Buffy? Buffy had a whole room of writers, plus 22+ hours to work with.
Haters gonna hate.
I might be slow, but "haters gonna hate" helped me let all the crap of today go. Thank you, Grack21.
I'd love to see critics who write stuff like this write and direct an Age of Ultron-sized movie and live to talk about it.
I think a lot of people just went in WANTING to hate it. I finally saw it this afternoon and am just now reading reactions and such in spoiler related areas and just...haters gonna hate!

(I loved it)
I haven't had an opportunity to see AoU yet so I can't make a value judgment regarding the author's comments directed at the film but they seem "reasonable". That opinion may change after viewing of course...

In retrospect, I'm not clear regarding the article's purpose; was it to jab Joss' most (financially) successful project or to laud his (arguably) most influential work. Of course I'm referencing Age of Ultron and BtVS..

Take it for what it is (proverbially) worth... This is a nice retrospective regarding BtVS and a swipe at Age of Ultron.
Firstly, Stephanie Zacharek was one of Buffy's biggest champions in the media at the time. Reducing her to the status of a hater is a great disservice to the fandom. And plays into the whole "play the man, not the ball" thing which is not what we are about.

Secondly, nostalgia aint what it used to be.
I apologize, the haters comment wasn't meant to be directed at her, just a general sort of comment on naysayers on the Internet. I am perhaps over sensitive today.
Buffy is it's own thing, and each person views it through their own unique and particular lens.

Applying that exact same lens to Avengers, Dollhouse, or anything else isn't fair to that other work. No personal perspective or life experience is universal, and so the same is true of the appeal for any other work.

Avengers can't be a better Buffy than Buffy, it can't even be as good a Buffy as Buffy. But Buffy can't be as good an Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Agents of Shield, etc. as they can either.

Lamenting that this wasn't Buffy 2 takes away from what this was, and imo it actually takes away from what Buffy was as well. It can't ever be replicated. Appreciate it for all that it is and was, and give all the other projects their chance to be appreciated on the same terms. Maybe they'll move you as much, or less so, or not at all. That's alright and fair, to let others find their enjoyments and pleasures in a different way than you did, give them the space and respect, even if you don't understand or appreciate them yourself.
It doesn't make sense, especially quotes like this: "and their staid approach to teamwork, loyalty, and life-and-death struggles, they have also crushed and flattened the texture of everything that made Whedon’s work and vision amazing in the first place." To me the character moments are uniquely whedonesque and he continues to find opportunities to write thee moments in a blockbuster movie.
I am perhaps over sensitive today.

It has been one of those days.
Good article. I agree with it.
I have to agree.

Buffy just felt more comfortable in it's skin than AoU did.

Perhaps it was too much needed set up for the future movies or too many people trying to add their two cents into the production. Maybe it was that it veered too far from the comics for my liking or that we didn't have enough time for a real morality debate from Ultron. Whatever the reason, if I'm honest, it's probably my least favorite work of Joss' and I struggle with the fact that I didn't love it because I have loved Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse, Doctor Horrible, and basically everything Joss, including Avengers 1, but I suppose you can't always love everything equally. I have faith the next project will be something amazing.

[ edited by corinna on 2015-05-05 10:55 ]
I think BtVS was lighting in a bottle and I'm not sure if Joss is ever going to be able to match it. Not just in quality but in overall success. It's his only TV series that started and finished on its own terms and his only series that really managed to tap into that niche market (as the article says) whilst at the same time still appealing to general audiences. It was cherished by nerds AND still appeared on covers of teen mags and that's owed greatly to how the writing was so layered it could appeal to all types of viewers. It also helped that it starred an actress who was incredibly gifted and had great mass appeal. Nothing Whedon has done since has really found that balance as Firefly or Dollhouse were just never going to be anything but niche shows and The Avengers is Whedon-lite.

I rewatched The Gift last night and I was just blown away all over again about how incredible that episode/show was. AuO really doesn't compare in the least but nothing really has for me, sadly. Which isn't to say I haven't enjoyed Joss's other stuff (at times I loved Dollhouse and AuO was better than the first Avengers, imo) but none of it has really 'clicked' for me like BtVS did. I must say I did notice whilst watching the episode that the Whedon dialogue just rolled off the tongue so naturally in a way it hasn't in some time. For whatever reason it feels forced now. I remember watching the pilot for Agents of Shield and it felt like Joss was almost parodying himself in that script. It felt like he was pressured to meet a quota of 'Whedon-isms' that he's become so well-known for, or maybe it was that the actors just couldn't pull it off the same way, or maybe even that Joss was preoccupied moreso with being clever than telling a good yarn. I don't know. But it did strike me that some of the dialogue and 'jokes' were starting to take me out of the story and unfortunately I felt the same way in AuO. Instead of flowing naturally it kind of felt like it was trying to hard. It was a distraction instead of engrossing. But as I said in the other thread, I also found it out of place to point it was borderline OOC at times because what worked for BtVS characters doesn't necessarily work for characters that aren't Joss's original creations. Buffy would say "meep, meep" as she raced through the city on a motorbike. Black Widow? Not so much.

My hope for Joss is that he steps back and takes some time away and reinvents himself. I want him to create something that matches both the quality and success of BtVS but I don't want another BtVS. I don't want his dialogue to be so recognisable that it feels stale or like Joss is becoming a caricature of himself. I'd love something brand new that feels completely original and comfortable in its own skin in a way none of his other shows really have since BtvS or maybe Firefly. And perhaps controversially (at least on here) I would like to see Joss's take on female characters updated a little. It does feel like his writing has stagnated a little since the late 90's as what constitutes "strong female characters" has evolved considerably since then. BtVS was a pioneer but we've progressed a lot and I do feel Joss has fell behind a little since then. It is also unfortunate that his creations has gotten considerably less subversive or progressive when it comes to female characters as they've went on and that some of his other shows have fallen back onto using sexist tropes (Penny being fridged in Dr Horrible, as for example).

I don't mean to pile-on the guy. Facing a lot of criticism all at once must feel overwhelming. But I do think his writing has started to get a little bogged down and that some of the backlash is a result of that. I liked AuO well enough but it do think it was very lazy and sloppy to skip all the Natasha/Bruce development and jump straight into them already being in love, and that the sterilisation scene was poorly articulated, that it was a mistake to have Black Widow reduced to the damsel, and that some of the dialogue and perhaps the movie overall didn't pay proper respect to the continuity established in previous Marvel movies. Ignoring some of the more extreme and vile comments people have expressed elsewhere, I do think it's possible to take some of these criticisms constructively and that everyone's ego could do with being dented occasionally. It could very well better Joss's writing in the future.
Gee, of course Buffy is more "at home in its skin" than Age of Ultron. A story that can be told over twenty two episodes, taking as much time as needed, from a man who has complete creative control over the characters is going to feel more "at home" than a four hour movie that was cut down to two hours twenty minutes which has to please the interests of two big corporated masters and set up things for the rest of the franchise.

A lot of criticism that is being levied at Joss should be levied at Marvel. Joss may be the writer and director, but "the buck doesn't stop here" when it comes to responsibility. He can't tell Marvel that he won't include certain scenes in the movie. You've seen and heard the interviews he's given, the extreme exhaustion and even despair in some of them. He's a good enough guy that he takes responsibility for what's in the film, but I'm sure he would made several different decisions if he had complete creative control over the Avengers, which he in no way has.

All the criticisms about Joss's dialogue feeling forced I didn't feel at all. He has a certain style, and he's been using that style for twenty five years or more. It wouldn't surprise me if some people found that stale, we all have our opinions.

I disagree with the idea that Penny was "stuffed in the fridge". Fridging a character is done as a source of cheap anger, to motivate or galvanize a character. Penny died as a direct result of Dr. Horrible's desire to kill Capt. Hammer to join the Evil League of Evil, League of Evil. He ended up losing the thing he wanted the most trying to get the thing he thought he wanted the most.

Not every character death in a story is fridging, though I can see how some are.
Only "Buffy" is "Buffy." Isn't there a quote with marzipan and a pie plate relating to this fact?
Well I love Buffy best too but my heart is big enough for some serious Avengers love. IMO, Joss knocked it out of the park with both. They're just different animals.

ETA. Nothing said by nay sayers is going to make Joss's writing "better". I hope he's laughing all the way to the bank.

[ edited by cheryl on 2015-05-06 04:23 ]
A lot of criticism that is being levied at Joss should be levied at Marvel.

That argument is wearing a little thin though. With Firefly it was all Fox's fault. With Dollhouse it was all Fox's fault. And now it's all Marvel's fault, apparently. I'm sure there's some truth to all of it but I also think part of being a writer in Hollywood is making compromises with all the other cook's in the kitchen. Marvel without a doubt do not just let their writers run free but that's not necessarily a bad thing and they've produced some fantastic movies like Winter Solider. That's just part of the process and I guess I've grown a little tired of whining about it when it's just a part of the job.

And ultimately, for me, my main problems with the film do appear to be decisions Joss made himself. Like some of the OOC dialogue (which I have no doubt whatsoever was Joss because it was all incredibly Whedon-y) or the Bruce/Natasha romance. Thor's vision was confusing and could have done with more screen time to explore it better but it really wasn't on the list of things that bothered me. And dare I say that a part of me wishes Marvel were more strict about enforcing continuity between this film and its other movies as I found that seriously lacking. I disagree with Joss that these movies need to be their own entity and felt some of the characterisations established in other films were ignored.
I don't know that I'd go as far as Stephanie does here, but Age of Ultron is my least favorite Whedon project, and I don't think his writing was up to its usual standard of excellence. I prefer a smaller-scale, less-hurried Joss.

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