"If I think about the future of cinema as art, I shiver" (Y. Ozu, 1959)

SERIAL - Avengers: Age of Ultron (Joss Whedon)

Sunday, 19 July 2015 10:49

Yorgos Tsourgiannis

Humanity in Avengers: Age of Ultron


On a basic plot level Avengers: Age of Ultron is familiar territory for Joss Whedon.


A group of friends, some weird individuals that you wouldn’t expect them to hang out together, some of them human some of them superhuman (or at least modified) join forces to oppose some form of an omnipotent evil power determined to press the apocalypse button on humanity. This is your typical story arc, the Big Bad territory familiar to us mainly from Buffy, but also other Whedon fictional universes such as Angel, Dollhouse and Firefly.


The narrative arc of BTVS entire season 41, a season which is primarily remembered for the prize winning episode “Hush”, bears great resemblance to Age of Ultron. In it, another ambitious AI project goes terribly wrong. It is also created by a scientific group, The Initiative, which has a much murkier agenda than Stark and Banner’s best-laid intentions. Adam, the project at point, an artificial cyborg patched together from different parts, some machine, some human and others less than human, embarks on his first baby steps of sentience by killing his creator, and then sets off to create other little Adams with the help of which he is going to eradicate humanity. Adam is ultimately defeated by Überbuffy, which is Buffy with a twist, that is equipped with a power cocktail of skills by her Scooby gang (add some magic too into the mix). The Big Bad ceases to be (by means of ripping the uranium core out of his spine!!) and we, the audience, inherit one of the most memorable quotes of the buffyverse: “…you could never hope to grasp the source of our power”.2 Buffy in that instance saved the world, but she didn’t do it alone, she couldn’t have done it alone, she did it together with her friends.


Thematically speaking Age of Ultron brims with some of Whedon recurring favourites. You have mind control (see Dollhouse, Firefly), impossible or unfulfilled romance (see Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, Firefly, Dr Horrible), artificial intelligence, consciousness (and replicating it), genius scientists, genius scientists (in)voluntarily bringing about apocalypses, genius scientists with grey zone morality, genetic experiments on people, live tissue reproduction. Geeks. Monsters. Magic. A big hole where a city used to be. Memory and identity. Religion, faith, the morality of good and evil, having a soul.


Any of these could be discussed in detail, and the film is immensely and thoroughly dense to allow it. But more than anything else and in all different shades I think, Avengers: The Age of Ultron is asking one main question, with all its variants.


Is humanity worth saving? Under what circumstances? what is it to be human? what is it to be a hero? what it is to have power? what kind of life is worth living for?


In this particular Whedon MCU iteration, Ultron is created by humans, scientists to be precise, as a peacekeeping initiative3. “Our business is if”, Stark rather elegantly and summarily pushed that ball of the edge making a point at the same time about the role of science in constantly challenging the limits of humanity. And then Banner conceded: “the only people threatening the planet would be people” and herein lies the actual problem according to Ultron.


Being the (albeit binary) offspring of geniuses Stark and Banner, it doesn’t take Ultron long to do the math. It actually takes him less than a minute to go from “What is this?”, the first words he utters when he comes into sentient existence, to deducing his mission “Peace in our time”, to devising the strategy of accomplishing it. To save humanity Ultron has to attack the very root of the problem. And the root of the problem is humanity itself. With all that goes with it.


Ultron is also the product of fear of its creator. “Everyone creates the thing they dread” Ultron will soon point out. Ultron is Stark’s way to overcompensate for his guilt and remorse, for not having done all that he could4. So no wonder, Ultron, in Starks’ image, and after his likeness, comes into being, feeling angry, with plenty of daddy issues5, but also privileged with a more than sound understanding of the situation at hand6. Whedon once said “…there is a case to be made about hating people, it is called history”7. So Ultron (with some Spader cool added) being near all knowing arrives to the inevitable conclusion: humanity must end, because humanity is not worthy.


His hate for Stark, and his humanlike temper, is epitomised beautifully when, compared to Stark, he throws a tantrum (and chops off Klaw’s arm while he’s at it). Then Stark, actually shows up, calling him “junior”, and whilst we have earned a laugh, Whedon has succeeded to undermine the whole obvious Frankenstein, Oedipus motif, deflating its solemnity, but having made the point perfectly in the process.


Please allow now a brief moment of indulgence.


It is a speech being delivered at the decommissioning ceremony of a Battleship Galactica by its retiring commander William Adama, one of the most morally strong sci-fi characters ever written, portrayed by E. J. Olmos. It goes like this: “The Cylon War is long over, yet we must not forget the reasons why so many sacrificed so much in the cause of freedom…You know, when we fought the Cylons, we did it to save ourselves from extinction. But we never answered the question, why? Why are we as a people worth saving? We still commit murder because of greed, spite, jealousy. And we still visit all of our sins upon our children. We refuse to accept the responsibility for anything that we've done. Like we did with the Cylons. We decided to play God, create life. When that life turned against us, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn't our fault, not really. You cannot play God then wash your hands of the things that you've created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can't hide from the things that you've done anymore”8.


This is taking place in the first episode of the mini series of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica by Moore and Eick. Shortly after aforementioned AI race, the Cylons, deliver an apocalypse sized nuclear offensive that reduces the entire human population to some 50,000 souls. Stranded in space, what is left of humanity tries to survive and to find a new place to call home. In the four seasons that follow the series creators try to provide an answer to the very same question9: Is humanity worth saving? With all its darkness, with all the conflict and the flaws it has.


Joss Whedon who incidentally often quotes BG as one of his favourite influences10 (alongside with the Matrix, and the Godfather II for that matter) has just over two hours, minus some contractual obligations to set up overarching arcs for other MCU franchises not to mention having to cater for a very wide set of very different audience expectations (from sworn Whedon fandom, to the unsuspecting summer blockbuster pop corn moviegoer), to answer the same question.

But does he succeed?


Whedon's attempt to deal with the worthiness of the Avengers and humanity begins with the principle of the hero itself. Ultron wants the Avengers extinct because they are what’s wrong with the world. Captain America asks the right question: “This isn't not about beating him. It’s about whether he’s right”11.




I can't physically throw up in my mouth, but…"


One of the bigger thorns in Ultrons' sentiments towards the Avengers is what he perceives as the Avenger’s outright hypocrisy, “blah…Captain America, god’s righteous man, pretending you could live without a war”. At the heart of Ultron’s emotional turmoil is the very idea of the hero standing a band apart from the rest of their community. They are immediately and by definition special since they are endowed with superpowers, divinity, enhancements or special skills acquired through training.


Ultron makes the point by mocking the Avengers for their arrogance, when he introduces himself to the Maximoff twins: “Did you know this church is in the exact center of the city? The elders decreed it so that everyone could be equally close to God”. So how can some stand apart, is the deductively implied question here. For we are all meant to be equal. Of course he had already been more vocal when he was first introduced to the Avengers earlier on the film “…how can you be worthy? You are all killers”. Ultron sees them not as the white knights fighting in the name of good but corrupted by the power they posses, monsters, freaks.12


The premise of Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer touches at the heart of the idea of hero favouritism. In Buffy first a new type of superhero emerges. It’s the superhero with the human face. The entire BFTVS is exactly a study of this type of heroism as opposed to the classic hero archetype. It is one thing to have power. But what does it mean to use it and would you share it?


Buffy often undermines the classic hero archetype by struggling to be “just a girl” at the same time as being a hero. To deal with all the ordinary life stuff: being a teenager, school, university, romance or in later seasons providing financially for her sister by flipping burgers. But at the same time saving the world, a lot.


Hawkeye is a great example of this idea. He is one of the Avengers, taking on all sorts of adversaries desperately overpowered but at the same time he has to devote time on reflooring his sunroof. He has to sneak away and call his wife to let her know what’s going on.


Another trait of this type of hero, is that he is never alone. Buffy has Xander, Willow and co, the Scooby gang always helping her. Angel has Cordelia, and Wesley, and Gunn. The Serenity crew, the Dollhouse. They all are examples of such small, odd communities. In the Whedonverse you never walk alone. Community is a pre requisite for the Whedon’s hero. There is always the idea of the loner, the loner hero and a bunch of other loners but they always gravitate towards each other forming a community. It’s like this with the Avengers. They consist of people thinking initially that they don't belong together, but ending up realising that not only they do, but they also need each other very much13.


Otherwise they cannot do any of their heroic stuff. And there is no point in it.


Buffy in the final season 7 shares her slayer super power with the Potentials14. The fight takes place not on behalf of the community anymore, but within the community. The humanist hero emerges.15 Education, courage and community are the true weapons of the hero according to Whedon. Consider now this dialogue exchange from Ultron:


Stark: We are the Avengers. We can bust arms dealers all the live long day, but...that up there? That's...that's the end game. How were you guys planning on beating that?

Captain America: Together.

Stark: We’ll lose.

Captain America: Then we'll do that together, too.




“ You didn't see that coming”


In the first installment of the Avengers at the final big battle scene there was a brief moment where Clint is taking a break throwing arrows at the Chitauri to help some civilians trapped in a bus. In Ultron, Whedon takes this often impressively overlooked by most superhero films little detail to another level.


Early on the Hulkbuster sequence there is a civilian evacuation scene by police officers and then Stark inside Veronica, takes a pause fighting the Hulk to grab a falling elevator and its civilian contents. Later Quicksilver clears the path of a derailed train wagon of civilians, while his sister is bringing it to a halt and during the final showdown the priority of the mission becomes to bring all the civilians to safety. Agent Hill will save her scared colleague, emptying her gun on an Ultron clone on board of the Helicarrier. Ultimately Quicksilver will lay down his own life so that the vulnerable Hawkeye can live but only seconds after he had protected the young boy left behind, using his body as a human shield.


It is just common sense. This is why heroes exist, to protect what matters most. The human life. Without putting life first and foremost life is not worth living. Devoting time to civilian rescue is not only common sense. It is also good screenwriting. Especially when inadvertently it is the Avengers who have put human life under threat. And it is them who are wondering whether Ultron is right to want them extinct.


Ultimately the Avengers are willing to put down their lives. Stark jokes a couple of times about it, Romanoff and Captain America decide it seconds before the Helicarrier appears and Thor concedes that in all likelihood they won’t be getting out of the floating rock alive.


But one of most cogent ways that we are meant to understand acts of courage, heroism and sacrifice, and hopefully begin deciphering the mysteries of human nature is to see them in the context of what’s at stake.


For this another Whedon trope becomes relevant.




Relax, Shell-head. Not all of us can fly.”


It is one thing to be the Captain America or Thor and have courage. When you are merely human, to be brave is a whole different ball game.


Whedon has always been making it part of his mission to make us feel, what it feels to be a human without superpowers standing next to one who has them. Unlike Buffy with her superpowers and her rapid self-healing properties, Xander her loyal body can perish at any moment or end up losing an eye. Simon Tam has no super abilities but he would do anything to protect his little lethal but fragile sister. Wesley, Gunn and Cordelia are mere mortals next to the 250 years old vampire, but they never shy away from the battle. They risk their lives day in and out even at the cost of not having a life themselves and fight that uneven battle.


As Vision puts it before the final confrontation with Ultron, not one of them can do it without the other. And here is the thing. If the “normal person, an unpowered character, is just as vital as the superhumans, then humanity is worth saving. As a whole, we totally deserve to have Sokovia dropped on our heads. As a collection of individuals, we are all Xanders, Gunns and Maria Hills waiting to happen”16.


Within Avengers the stakes are not the same for everyone.

Besides setting us up to ultimately show us the middle finger, in a nice way, there are better reasons that Whedon has chosen to devote so much time to Hawkeye and Romanoff. They are the humans among the pack. They have everything to lose.


Age of ultron

They are the first Avengers we see in the film. Strucker immediately suggests to his Hydra minions to concentrate the fire on the weak ones. Romanoff jokes about Hawkeyes' vulnerability when she says, “pretending we need this guy really brings the team together” as he recovers from his recently inflicted battle wound, an early reminder of his frailty. As a character he is perhaps the one who has grown the most. Having spent the most part of the first film mind controlled by Loki, he is now the only one who dodges Wanda’s likewise advances. We also find out about Barton’s family and his house that has kept a secret from everyone. Laura, his wife, is pregnant with their third child. She is going to need him very much soon. Laura will remind Hawkeye how important he is to the team, in that he keeps all these gods, all the other Avengers grounded but she also reminds him that he can, unlike them, perish. And he needs to make sure that this team is a team, and that they have his back. 


Moments after he vacates the last floating bits of Sokovia, he spots a young boy left behind (and this is when we start going uh oh and Whedon begins warming up his middle finger joint, in a nice way). His expression as he momentarily lowers his head is revealing for at once he is confronted with the full meaning of what he is about to do. Thor is a god, near invincible. Of course he would do this automatically. Hawkeye does exactly the same thing but in those few fleeting nanoseconds, Laura and his kids and everything he’s got to lose should definitely be crossing his mind. It is Hawkeye more than anyone else who reminds us what humanity ought to be about. Courage, sacrifice, honour and dignity and a healthy dosage of fight lust.


Black Widow’s quest is of different sorts and comes in the shape of a beautifully crafted subplot involving her romantic entanglement with Bruce Banner aka The Other Guy. This particular subplot may have caused the film to fail the Bechdel test and its creator some grief but has bestowed us some of the most tender and most compelling filmic pauses and a deeply moving monologue.


There is something intensely relatable to all of us with Romanoff’s striving for atonement, a clean slate and perhaps a new life where she can be her true self. It is not her mad motorbike driving skills. She (like Echo in the Dollhouse) has so many different personalities imprinted on her that she has a difficulty knowing which one she actually is any more. To bond with Banner over the idea of both of them being some kind of monster and different than the others and to crave for a quiet life with him away from all the avenging (after all isn’t this the point of it all?) is nothing else than the most basic and universal human wish. Whedon devotes time to craft this carefully because he wants us to desperately wish for her to succeed. He wants us to feel at utter loss on the idea that she too might die.


Would the Avengers still have done it without the Black Widow, without the Hawkeye ?


Hawkeye seems to suggest that this doesn’t matter at all. When he recruits a disillusioned Wanda after perhaps having saved her life, he quickly sums up their predicament but is also revealing the true face of the hero. Despite the futility of the mission this is what the hero does, this is how the hero must live their life: “Okay, look, the city is flying, we're fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense but I'm going back out there because this is my job. Okay?”. And that delivered with a near trembling voice. Frail. Human.

Whedon tells tales of personal responsibility. You have what you have – superpowers, a spaceship, a sharp wit – so go do something with it. Save the world? Get your homework done on time? It’s all relative17”.



HUMANISING the Superheroes, and the dark side

“ Well, if there's too much weight, you lose power on the swing, so…”


Whedon also goes at lengths to humanise this bunch of superheroes, demigods and freaks of science. The party sequence is great screenwriting because it greatly achieves that. Granted, this scene has the Whedon signature written all over it but in the six and half minutes he devotes on it we also see the superheroes in a context not so often seen. (There is that hilarious SNL sketch where Lois Lane and Superman host a party at their new apartment, aired March 197918). We see Stark and Thor’s contest-osterone on whose girlfriend is more brilliant and achieved, we see Banner making a joke about himself and his temper that everyone reacts awkwardly to, we see Romanoff and Banner resolve to role play desperately trying to say to each other things that are difficult to say to each other, we see the delightful set up of one of the most rewarding payoffs of the film, the one with Thor’s Mjolnir, revealing a more human, humorous aspect of the warrior God19. We are getting a rare peak into the enjoyably petty and funnier aspects of their personalities. They become intimate to us. By getting to know them, we care for them more.


Like with other great dialogue he has written whether you are in Serenity’s kitchen or at Angel Investigations HQ, Whedon makes you feel that this could be totally happening and that you could be there yourself. It doesn’t feel scripted. Whilst the superhero-in-an-ordinary-context motif is not an original one, the party scene is thoroughly enjoyable and feels rare for the type of film it finds itself in, in that it achieves to feel unexpected, homely and real.


But nothing humanises the characters more than the safe house scene.


Hawkeye will confide to Laura all that is going on, as couples casually do in their bedrooms. She mocks him for not being perceptive about Nat’s idyll with Banner, she asks after stuff. There is something curiously familiar about Hawkeye’s reiteration of the plot (of the film) and their (Avengers) situation at hand. He goes like “…you know there is Ultron, and these kids, punks really…” and there is something about the language, about the tone that these words are delivered with that brings the whole experience down to a very human level, to our level.


Because up to now we were in blockbuster mode and a lot of things were happening super fast. But Whedon makes sure that we can tell the difference. We are now gaining insight on the impact that everything that has been happening has on our heroes’ psyche. It is the one long sequence, which keeps the whole film grounded.


Through Romanoff and Banner’s romantic impasse for instance, we are offered access to their personal feelings. We recognise and feel Banner’s genuine and deep remorse of Hulk’s uncontrollable aggression. How can he hope for a future and a normal life, like the one Barton has when he cannot even trust himself?


Most notably we see, behind the brazen facade of Stark. His motivation explained together with the shame and impossible guilt he is carrying after having experienced his dreadful vision. His feelings for his friends. We realise that he sees them as his friends and that he loves them. Without this scene, it would be very hard for the audience to like and care for this spoilt, rich, arrogant brat who risked the extinction of mankind by creating a homicidal robot and then tried to save it by creating another robot. But that’s another story.


Without this scene, we wouldn’t really know these heroes (especially those without their own franchises), we wouldn’t know what they are up against, what their inner demons are. It is no coincidence that Joss Whedon had to fight to keep this scene in the film with the Marvel executives20. This scene and the dark vision sequences are the things he fought the most passionately for.


The visions are the insiders view at the characters dark side. And they all have it. Stark blinded by his arrogance and vanity cannot tell the difference between saving the world and destroying it. The Black Widow dreads failure and will stop at nothing to succeed at her mission. Steve Rogers knows only how to fight and his uncompromising moral stance may be jeopardising the lives of others. Hulk’s rage is unleashed amidst the civilians.


It’s like in the later seasons of BTVS where Whedon takes Buffy, his slayer superhero, to these darker places where the real pain lies. Whedon knows very well that to accept the worthiness of the Avengers he has to show us their dark side as well, all their grief and agony. They will only then become real to us, and they will only then feel human like us. We will only then know that we want them to survive because it is then that we will care for them.


The enemy of humanity is the darkness in everyone of us”, according to Whedon, “the fear, the ignorance and hate”21. We fight darkness by embracing our humanity, by acknowledging it with all its flaws, deficiencies and darkness.


And only then the flaws and deficiencies can turn to virtues. Romanoff’s versatility will push Banner off the cliff when the other guy is needed and the other guy’s aggression will save the day, but will also be ultimately controlled, fading away into the horizon, stealth mode. CAP will not leave flying Sokovia until every last civilian soul is saved and Iron Man’s stubbornness can give you Ultron but can also give you the Vision. 


“ I don’t trust a guy without a dark side”, Stark stresses.



The most human of them all

“ But there is grace in their failings”


In the closing sequence of Battlestar Galactica, four seasons after aforementioned decommissioning ceremony and holocaust, humanity has found home. They get rid of their advanced technology by sending it to the sun to burn to ashes. They have also allowed themselves to evolve. And they start over with a clean slate with nothing but their wits. The light has prevailed. This time over22.  

Right at the end of Age of Ultron, Vision concurs upon Ultron’s assertion that humanity is doomed.

And who better to know these things, than the ultra intelligent hybrid with the mind stone in his forehead and worthy enough to pick Thor’s hammer and pass it on to him.

In 2009, in receiving the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism, Whedon remarked this: “Faith to humanity means believing absolutely in something with huge amount of proof to the contrary. We are in fact the most cockeyed optimists”. Cockeyed optimist being another way to say, “I was born yesterday”. Belief in humanity against all evidence to the contrary is what Vision suggests to Ultron at the end of the film “…but a thing isn't beautiful because it lasts”.

Maybe the most human thing in Avengers: Age of Ultron given all that has been said is Josh himself as a storyteller.

He writes about hope when there is all evidence to the contrary. Whedon still believes in the power of human agency to “outwit the platinum bastard”, as Fury says to Stark in the barn scene. The fundamental belief in nothing else but the human wit and will.

Besides the whole political metaphor and the NSA critique embedded in the plot and the text of Ultron and all the Nietzschean and theological nods, besides the ever great inclusivity of his text with appropriate use of self referential narrative devices (such as subtext, self sarcasm, punning and wordplay) all which call upon the attention to the act of writing, as means of undermining the text itself but at the same time inviting the audience to join in the party, besides the tons of geeky and pop references, from Banksy to Eugene o’ Neil to Point Break to Archie and all the great humour, like calling CAP’s shield a Frisbee, and payoffs, besides his intuitive knack for meeting and confounding expectations in the most exhilarating but consistent to the story manner, and last but not least his deep respect for the narrative universe he sets up and the enormous trust to his audience to follow through,


Joss Whedon and his writing always remain grounded.


He never forgets that his characters may be superheroes, or slayers or soul-bearing vampires or potent witches, they may be living in LA, in a secluded brothel underground or at the dark corners of the universe but ultimately they are real, as real as me and you. They also have personal lives, and feelings and they have friends. And real people undergo change, real people have flaws and dark sides, and they certainly can die.


When he writes, Joss Whedon always sees himself as an equal member of the audience that he is addressing. In joy and in tears.


All of the above are some of the reasons, that he and his work is so deeply resonant and admired at and the vast stretches of writing devoted to him and his work (tautology alert sets off just about now) attest this very thing.


In the same 2009 acceptance speech, Whedon also said: “That’s why we write in the first place to find our darkest place and lift it up into the light where we wish we were standing”23. On a comprehensive interview on EW, he elaborated on that:


My stories do have hope because that is one of the things that is part of the solution—if there can be one…Because if I wrote what I really think, I would be so sad all the time…Hopefully, that need gets translated into somebody relating to it and feeling hope. Because if we take that away, then I’m definitely right. I want to be wrong, more than anything.”24


The effort and work ethos he has invested in the MCU and the Age of Ultron, the density of his writing, the richness of his frames, and all the ideas, all the human nuance, human texture, human frailty he has instilled in them is the same ethos he would approach it with if it was his most personal, beloved lo fi production in his living room. He would always work with what he has and with the same underlying humanity. But to do so respecting the enormous creative and financial logistics associated with a USD 250m feature film, part of a multi-billion franchise, respecting always a very diverse set of often conflicting expectations, is a little short of an achievement.


Joss Whedon may have felt exhausted after the experience, and disillusioned, he may even have felt he failed, but we thank him very much for trying.

 Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Complete Fourth Season, DVD release, original air date October 5th 1999.

2 BTVS, Season 4 Episode #77 Primeval, written by David Fury

3 It is implied in the post credits short sequence that Thanos may have interfered in the creation of Ultron. Stark and Banner most likely didn’t really pull it off by themselves but they certainly intended to.

4 Stark had a horrifying vision induced by the Scarlet Witch where he saw himself as the harbinger of death of the Avengers and in due course humanity. Hence his over eagerness to install a bouncer at the gates of earth, to win the end game, to stop the war before the war even begins. Whedon here toys with the idea of Ultron being the fear induced, self-fulfilling prophecy of Stark.

5 http://variety.com/2015/film/reviews/avengers-age-of-ultron-review-1201474856/

7 Joss Whedon, 2009, Acceptance Speech for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism, The Humanist Chaplaincy, Harvard University.

9 The show was written in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and a lot of the political, sociological and philosophical debate that ensued in the community is embedded into the script.

10 Joss Whedon comment about BSG "I think it's so passionate, textured, complex, subversive and challenging that it dwarfs everything on TV.”, http://whedonesque.com/comments/10584#129304

14 Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Complete Seventh Season, DVD release, original air date September 24th, 2002.

15 Candace E West, Heroic humanism and humanistic heroism in Joss Whedon shows.

19 and the inevitable Stan Lee cameo, among many other things.

21 Joss Whedon, 2009, Acceptance Speech for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism, The Humanist Chaplaincy, Harvard University.

22 Battlestar Galactica, Season 4, Episodes 21-22, Daybreak, Part 2, originally aired March 13th 2009.

23 Joss Whedon, 2009, Acceptance Speech for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism, The Humanist Chaplaincy, Harvard University.

24 http://www.ew.com/article/2013/09/24/joss-whedon-interview/6

further reading/sources

Robert Moore, Why Cast A Spotlight on Josh Whedon, essay from the collection Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion

Six Reasons Why Joss Whedon is the Perfect Director for the Avengers, Matthew Hard

Joss Whedon 101: The Avengers, Kristin M. Barton

Joss Whedon, The Biography, Amy Pascale

Marvel 75 Years, from Pulp to Pop, ABC Studios HD

Marvel Studios: Assembling A Universe, Marvel, 2014 HD,




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