The Avengers made a lot of money. It’s what Marvel movies do. They’re even getting better at it: Avengers: Age Ultron only needs to gross $500 million for Phase 2 to earn in five films what Phase 1 made in six. If Age of Ultron came out and was just 2 hours of Kevin Feige blowing his nose with sheets of 24 carat gold, sheer brand inertia would still make it one of the highest grossers of the year. But Marvel Studios got into this plum position by delivering exactly what’s been expected of them: fast, fun popcorn entertainment that stars likeable characters. The Avengers, the current epitome of Marvel’s formula, will be supplanted by Age of Ultron because it has more of those characters doing more fast and fun stuff than ever before.
You can’t really blame Marvel for taking an “if it ain’t broke” approach to their individual franchises, or the culminating Avengers films either. All these movies are kind of the same –take one part space MacGuffin, two parts science run-amok, set dialogue to snark, and let bake in an animation studio for 2ish hours- but clearly, that hasn’t stopped many people from going and seeing every installment.
When it comes to Age of Ultron, though, the parallels it has to its predecessor are sometimes as granular as the rest of the movie is gargantuan. Rather than just being a mashup of all the other Marvel films, the Avengers series is establishing some highly specific makeup in its DNA.
Take for instance….