Interesting article. There are certainly parts that I agree with. I think the narrative blending and mitigated risk of death will be Marvel’s biggest hurdles to overcome. Having to set up every character with their own interpretation of why things happen and how they affect that character will get very dry after a while. Certainly knowing that Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow and The Avengers themselves all have follow ups in the not too distant future makes it excruciatingly painful when trying to empathise with any danger they might be facing.
I don’t agree that it represents the apex of lazy story telling and a sign of more to come. Marvel are trying quite hard to branch out of the dumb action flicks with alternatives like Guardians and more recently the upcoming Ant Man. Not to mention letting people like Josh Trank, whose Chronicle was a prime example of a fantastic popcorn flick, take the reigns with the Fantastic Four reboot.
Without a doubt, Ultron was an appalling sequel and I was as offended as you at the waste of what could have been a fantastic popcorn action film, but I do think they will start to correct in a few years when they see the waning popularity of the pure dumb action that was served up. Don’t forget they are owned by Disney who have just let J. J. Abrams loose on the new Star Wars and were fine to let him tone down CGI and go back to basics that worked so well in the original franchise. I think this speaks a lot for how they are structuring their story telling. Even taking a chance on someone like Whedon initially shows they are willing to take risks. No doubt they could have had Michael Bay clamoring to get his hands on a Marvel film and go all Transformers XYZ, but they didn’t.
Cool article! Right on point with the narrative structure, I couldn’t agree more!