If you ever need to prove that fans of superhero movies can be a humorless, thin-skinned lot, point the doubting party in the direction of Esquire’s review of “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Operating on the premise that “The people who need to judge a movie like ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ are the people who they are actually built for: nine-year old boys,” contributor Stephen Marche tracked down a bonafide nine-year-old and channeled his thoughts into what turns out to be a pretty cogent critique of the movie, and the Avengers as a whole.
Kind of a funny idea, right? Not to Darin Velin, who left the following comment:
Let’s take a closer look, shall we? A grown man, one who according to his Linkedin profile is a “Senior Global Publishing Manager” at Microsoft, took the time out of his work day to rebuke the criticisms of a young boy, rhetorically shoving him out of the way with a blustery “Stand aside 9 year olds,” and further asserting that the story of a bunch of brightly costumed heroes engaged in battle with an evil robot is intended primary, even solely, for an audience closer to getting their first heart attack than losing their first tooth. To judge by the Facebook “likes” on his post, he’s not alone.
There are so many ways in which this is utter fucking madness it’s difficult to tally them all, but we could start with the fact that Marche’s unnamed nine-year-old actually has some pretty solid points. To wit:
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They go to South Africa at one point. I don’t know why they do. They just do. And the Hulk goes on a rampage and tries to kill Iron Man, and then Iron Man gets all huge, and they fall into a building and their body weight makes it all fall down. That was the best scene. Except the part where all the superheroes try to pick up Thor’s hammer but it’s too heavy.
They had a lot of the same jokes repeating each other.
My point of view is that Thor ruins the Avengers. It doesn’t make sense. If you had Thor, why would you bring Black Widow? Why would you bring Green Arrow [ed. note: he means Hawkeye]? What’s this woman with a gun going to do? Why’s this guy shooting arrows? They have a god with them who cannot die. A guy who is good at shooting arrows or a girl who is good at shooting guns wouldn’t make a particle of difference.
Well done, nine-year-old. The fight between the Hulk and Iron Man in his Hulkbuster suit is, in fact, the best part of “Age of Ultron” — except, right again, for the scene where the other Avengers try and fail to lift Thor’s hammer — and there’s no plausible reason why a demigod would need a pistol-wielding assassin and a guy who’s handy with a bow and arrow on his team. Or at least no reason beyond the fact that Thor on his own is incredibly boring and Black Widow kicks ass.
Does Darin Velin have an answer to this entirely cogent critique? Darin Velin does not. Darin Velin has disposable income and an attachment to a youth when grown men had better things to do than dress down nine-year-olds with their own ideas about what makes a good comic-book story.
There is, to be sure, nothing amiss with adults staying in touch with their inner children. Reviving that sensation of childlike wonder is one of the things movies are better at than almost any other art form. But when that inner child starts bullying actual children, it’s time to grow up.