ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, when it comes to looking back at Avengers: Age of Ultron, the most controversial element of the movie is more than likely going to be whether or not to go back and see it for a fourth time, or to just wait for it to be released on Blu-Ray. Y'know, that, or the post-credits scene where Captain America and Iron Man totally hook up.*

*Note: not actually a thing.

When we look back at the press tour for the movie, though, there's a decent chance that it'll be seen as one of the most controversial promotional events in recent years - with virtually every interview seeming to provoke a new, ever-more-contentious media firestorm.

Which begs the question:

Why Has Avengers: Age of Ultron's Press Tour Been So Controversial?

Other than the Tony Stark-related reasons...
Other than the Tony Stark-related reasons...

After all, the Age of Ultron cast are a bunch of seasoned vets, and Marvel isn't exactly famous for giving their employees free rein to say whatever they feel like about any given topic - so why has this explosion of controversy chosen this moment to arrive?

Well, to have a hope of answering that question, we'd first better take a look at some of the most controversial moments of the past week or two...

First up:

Robert Downey Jr. Takes Absolutely No Crap from an Interviewer

To the extent that after being on the receiving end of a series of contentious - and arguably antagonistic - questions during an interview with Britain's Channel 4 News' Krishnan Guru-Murthy (above), RDJ rocked the traditional last resort for a celebrity dealing with a bad interview: he walked out.

Which promptly caused a media frenzy, with the majority of fans and commentators praising RDJ for his straightforward handling of the situation - while a few wondered exactly why he was so resistant to the line of questioning.

The next controversy, though, was a little more clear-cut...

Black Widow and The Hulk Take on Misogyny

Arguably more of a media firestorm of support than traditional controversy - perhaps because Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson played it so perfectly - the pair's recent flipping of conventional media gender roles (Ruffalo fielded the inane questions about what he'd be wearing on the red carpet, etc.) was nonetheless a much more strident take-down of industry sexism than major movie stars are able to get away with while promoting a big-budget movie like Age of Ultron.

Sure, Johansson has past experience taking a bad-ass stand on the subject, but it's still notable that we saw such a substantive take-down of the issue during a major publicity campaign.

Though, perhaps less so, seeing as we also saw:

Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans Fit Their Whole Feet In Their Mouths

After all, we've also seen Hawkeye and Captain America somehow manage to - admittedly, in jest - call Black Widow "a slut" and "a complete whore" respectively for...being linked in the press with a relationship with both of their characters.

A relationship, notably, which was [Not-really-a-SPOILER ALERT] completely in the audience's heads.

The outcry was immediate and understandable - as was the pair's speedy and contrite response, with Evans offering up:

"Yesterday we were asked about the rumors that Black Widow wanted to be in a relationship with both Hawkeye and Captain America. We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize."

Renner's response, though, might also offer up a hint as to why all of this controversy has hit at such a particular moment in time:

"I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone. It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour."

So, is that why we've been seeing so many unusual outbursts, slip-ups and frustrated take-downs of sexism?

Are The Avengers: Age of Ultron Cast Just Exhausted?

No, not here...
No, not here...

After all, for many of the cast-members, this is their fourth (Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth) or even fifth (Robert Downey Jr.) time riding the full Marvel promotional Merry-Go-Round, and it seems that it might well be wearing them down.

After all, Marvel's recent fondness for having their movies open in some territories a week early seems largely designed to extend the period of intensive press coverage of the movie - which inevitably means more press tour time for the actors.

Sorry, Cap...
Sorry, Cap...

Combine that with the fact that they've already fielded most of the questions relating to their character a hundred-odd times, even before this tour, and it seems you might just have a recipe for short tempers, frustration, and - it seems - terrible, terrible jokes.

Which, seeing as the next few years look set to be absolutely packed with filming and press for Captain America: Civil War and the two Avengers: Infinity War movies - not to mention any of the other solo movies that the Avengers might appear in - doesn't seem to be a situation that'll go away any time soon...

What do you think, though?


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