Friday, May 1, 2015

Discuss: Avengers: Age of Ultron


Karen: OK, it's finally here, quite possibly the biggest film event in the universe (at least until Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out). I plan to see it tonight, and I'm sure many of you will see it this weekend too. Heck, some of our pals overseas have already seen it! So let's talk about the film in general - can we please keep it 

SPOILER-FREE

at least until mid-week, to give everyone a chance to see it first? But you're welcome to share general thoughts -I liked it, I thought it was too long, not enough Hulk, etc -until then.

Karen: From Marvel's own site, here's a video with some suggestions about things to look forward to seeing in the film.


Karen: As a secondary conversation point, I want to share some remarks from an interview with Roy Thomas in Rolling Stone (you can read it here). This follows on yesterday's post regarding Gerry Conway's blog on DC Comics not crediting and compensating creators for characters used on their TV shows. On how Marvel compensates creators for the films, Roy has this to say:

Are you happy with your compensation for co-creating these characters?

Yeah, yeah. A couple of years ago Marvel came to me and a number of the other creators. I guess they got tired of being sued by everybody. I got tired of being deposed all the time, too. And they did what I was always telling them, just give them the money and a little credit on the movie, and they will be your biggest fans. So I not only have certain compensations coming by the formula they worked out but they decided that because they are using those two characters — and because they are using the Yellowjacket concept somewhat in the Antman movie that comes out in a couple of months — they ended up giving me a sizeable bonus as well. And they invited me to the premiere.


Karen: It sure seems like Marvel/Disney has figured out that it's much better to keep the creators happy (oh, yeah, and do the right thing) by actually compensating them.

Stan Lee is also included in that Rolling Stone interview. Our buddy Mike W. brought this video to our attention. Yet another of Stan the Man's many skills on display:


41 comments:

Colin Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Humanbelly said...

Ohhh ColinColinColinColin-- what if folks enjoy the movie? It's really not pretending to be anything more than big, fun, superhero entertainment-- and folks by the bajillions clearly love that-! Heck, I know I completely do-- it taps directly into the still-existing 12 to 14 year old kid pleasure centers in my aging brain-! Trying to figure out a way as we speak to leave a dinner party a bit early tomorrow so HBSon and I can go and see it, in fact.

Annnnnd not sure why you'd be mad at the obscenely overpaid actors in regard to the compensation issue-- there's no relationship between the two whatsoever. Different business models, different skill sets, different industries, really. The actors are paid what the product/market recommends and will bear, for the most part. And while there are plenty who are complete fools with their wealth (Nicholas Cage, Wesley Snipes), they are more than counter-balanced by scores more who quietly make tremendous charitable contributions, or who in fact start small industries of their own. There are a surprising number who contribute to and/or run small professional theaters-- paying it forward to artists who haven't had the same great breaks. And. . . well, it sounds crazy to say, but once agents' fees are accounted for, personal staff/assistant salaries are paid, perpetual travel expenses, etc, etc--- that king's ransom quickly diminishes to maybe an earl's or duke's at best, y'know?

Karen-- that Cameo Acting clip you've included may come dangerously close to upstaging your whole post! That is flippin' hilarious! And GREAT to see Lou Ferrigno doing a smidge o comedy, eh?

HB

Doug said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing this film. I plan to go after school on Monday. I'll be the middle-aged fellow sitting alone near the back! I do wish my sons were home, as we really enjoy seeing these Marvel films together. But, we do plan to catch it again on Friday the 22nd.

Doug

Garett said...

I've got tickets with my girlfriend and friends to see it tomorrow, in a theatre with seats that move around with the action on the screen! Never been to a movie with D_BOX action seats, so should be an experience. I loved the first Avengers movie, best superhero movie in the last 15 years.

Funny Stan Lee video! : ) When it comes to actors, most of them are underpaid. Only a few make it into big budget movies and become stars. But certainly comic creators deserve credit and compensation, especially when superheroes are raking in billions now.

Karen said...

That Stan Lee clip was all Mike W.! it's perfect, isn't it?

Hubby and I are going tonight. I really wanted to go last night, but there was this NFL draft thing last night...the sacrifices I make for that man...

Things I am looking forward to: Hulkbuster fight, introduction of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, hoping to see Falcon even briefly, the Vision(!), Wakanda maybe?

OK, today for Captcha, I had to select pictures of pasta! What is up with this??

Colin Jones said...

Well, have a great time anyway, everyone :)

Humanbelly said...

"There was this NFL draft thing last night. . ."

Baahahahahaaa!

I truly love watching and following NFL football-- but I just can't quite get myself to sit and watch folks effectively choose up sides, y'know? Heh. (Of course, having lived in the DC area for about 30 years now, I've witnessed some of the most spectacular draft failures ever. . . maybe it's just an aversion. . . )

The one consistent criticism I've heard so far (from still generally-positive reviews) is that there are simply TOO MANY characters. The movie's too crowded. But I have to say that I myself foresaw that likely problem back when it was announced that Quicksilver AND Wanda AND the Vision AND Black Panther were all going to be added to this hefty ensemble. In a way, it's the same challenge that a lot of the big, old Hollywood epic war films had (THE LONGEST DAY, for instance)-- just a zillion characters to try to keep track of, with very little screen time individually to fully convey their story. And at that, those films were often 3-hours-plus long.

HB (the sushi captchas were just hopeless for me. . . I'd no clue. . . )

Doug said...

HB --

And of course we've seen that in many team books, where the creators either split up the good guys or simply feature a handful at a time.

Henry Peter Gyrich knew what he was doing...

Doug

Anonymous said...

Chaps, I saw it on Monday and...I liked it a lot!
Hey it's not Lee & Kirby or Thomas and Buscema but there are many, many positives with -naturally- some negatives (one of which will have a few old school Marvelites writhing).
The Vision will surprise you with how well the film represents him...and look for the way Joss gives a nod to the Kooky Quartet. All in all two-and-a-half hours of fun in the Merry Marvel style...with a wink to Disney too.

Doug said...

Thanks, Anon!

I think Weedon "gets it" like no other director in care of these films these days: Singer, Nolan, Snyder, Webb...

Doug

Humanbelly said...

"Henry Peter Gyrich knew what he was doing..."

Oh.
Wow.

Words I NEVER thought it possible to utter. . . ! Welp, I guess we ALL KNOW NOW which side Doug's Civil War sympathies lie with, eh--?

(A wink, a smile, etc-- ha--)

HB

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

Won't get to see it for a few days still, but there's a comfortable cinema near by with reasonable matinee prices and free refills on any size soda or popcorn.

Although at roughly two and a half hours maybe I'll just get the small soda.

Thanks very much for the info about compensation from Marvel/Disney, hopefully this will become the corporate model for Warner/DC. It still leaves a bunch of issues unresolved, but it's a step in the right direction.

By the way, if action adventure films nowadays have to have character growth arcs does that mean that character dramas like Still Alice have to have homicidal robots? Just curious from some of the reviews I've read.

pfgavigan

Martinex1 said...

I'm not going to see it until Sunday, and I'm trying to keep all of the info about it from seeping in. Ohh, but its so hard to not hear anything. Ayayay!

Since the NFL was mentioned, did anybody see the NFL helmets reimagined and designed with a Marvel influence? My favorites were the Cleveland Things and the Indianapolis Galactus.

Ohhh. I don't think I can turn on the internet until after my viewing Sunday!

Anonymous said...

Not in any hurry myself, as those big budget superhero films don't do a lot for me. It can be interesting to see how some of the characters are reinterpreted but otherwise... the first Avengers film held my interest for the first twenty minutes (in part because I hadn't - and still haven't - seen the Thor flicks) but after that it got pretty dull.

Nothing against those who like that kind of thing - different strokes and all that - but I just can't get into films that are heavy on digital fx.
Having said that, HB, bajillions of people aren't always right:)

-sean

Humanbelly said...

Ahhhh, but sean-- is it a question of right/wrong, even? Nah-- just tastes.

Your statement's not incorrect, mind you. Bajillions of people, indeed, aren't necessarily correct, they're just. . . of a mind.

I mean, yeesh, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS made a ton of money, and didn't it win Best Picture? Everybody lovedlovedloved it-- and that movie was BAD!

HB

Edo Bosnar said...

Yeah, these worldwide before US releases are kind of a trip. It's so weird that a blockbuster like this one opened in Croatia before it did in the States (I remember when there was a wait of one to two months after the US premiere for these big Hollywood films). And true to form, I have not yet seen it, and probably won't for a while.

The Stan Lee cameo school bit is really cute. I love the sad Lou Ferrigno hitchhiking at the end, reminiscent of Bixby at the end of so many episodes of the Hulk TV show.

And yes, sometimes those food Captcha images are tough - the resolution isn't very good, and many times the plate or tray is so filled with stuff it's hard to tell what's in it...

Anonymous said...

Well, I hope that didn't come across too seriously HB; as you say, different tastes.

I find that films with lots of digital fx just wash over me - especially during extended fight scenes - now any novelty has worn off. And I think my interest in the superhero genre is tied up with the comic form, and the artistry of people like Jack Kirby, Neal Adams etc etc, rather than the characters as such.

As to what you said about the ensemble nature of the Avengers - funnily enough, I was listening to Whedon on the BBC last night, going on about how hard it was to write something like the Avengers for that very reason.
I couldn't help thinking that there were comic book writers who managed to do that month in, month out for years!

Admittedly, they didn't always do it well, but... I don't know if Whedon really does either; I mean, judging from the first film, I think his skill is more as director than writer. So far as it goes.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Yeah, as soon as I saw that Stan Lee cameo thing I thought "Karen and Doug would love this!" (You guys have trained me well!) I first saw it over at Topless Robot.

As for Age of Ultron, I won't be seeing it any time soon (no theatres here), but the reviews I've seen have been...mixed, shall we say? HB mentioned the "too many characters" thing, and that does seem to be the consensus...Charlie Jane Anders at io9 liked the movie but said it felt "overstuffed".

Mike Wilson

(By the way, I'm not sure what all this food talk is...my Captchas still show blurry house numbers!)

William said...

Had the day off, saw it at 9:45 this morning. Because it was so early, there were only about 10 other people in whole theater. Felt like a private screening.

Anyway, I thought it was the greatest thing ever put on film (comicbook-wise anyway). It's a comicbook geek-fest tour de force that tops the original.

I wish they could clone Joss Whedon and make him direct every superhero movie (Marvel or DC) that comes out. He seems to be the only filmmaker in Hollywood that really "gets it".

Avengers AOU really was about the closest thing I've seen to a comicbook coming alive on the big screen. You will not be disappointed.

Humanbelly said...

Oh heck no, sean-- you just made a rather enjoyably rebuttable comment, is all. I didn't even have a pin-feather ruffled--!

HB

(captcha was complicated burgers this time. . . )

Anonymous said...

I get the same captcha as usual...
Or no captcha at all, this time.

-sean

Doug said...

HB --

I'll bet every artist loved Gyrich.

Only 7 good guys to draw? Really? Yeeeessssssss!

Oh, wait -- the Masters of Evil are the baddies next month??

Doug

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

I'll no doubt have more once everyone else has seen the movie, and I'd honestly be upset if I spoiled anything for someone, but for now:

I really enjoyed the film. Lots of fun and superhero dramatics. They manage to capture the spirit of what Marvel Comics used to be yet the movie maintained its own flavor. I liked the emphasis on teamwork (and the divisiveness that can come with it). The one thought going through my mind during some of the movie was "Hank Pym will be disappointed to learn that he didn't design Ultron." (though thankfully we are spared the Wasp, at least thus far).

Oh! Picked up a couple of boxes of Avenger cereal today! 2/$4.00. My local supermarket had it in the faaaaar back corner of the place, though! That's no way to treat sugared marshmallow super-hero cereal! ;)

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

"I'll bet every artist loved Gyrich."

John Byrne said that Gyrich was based on Jim Shooter, so I'll take your comment another way entirely!

Doug said...

CKDH --

That does add another layer, doesn't it? ;)

Doug

Anonymous said...

I LOVED IT.

BETTER THAN THE FIRST, and I loved that one.

How could you NOT like this movie???

I already gushed (spoiler-free) on the AA boards.

The Vision's EYES, jnow that's a cool new twist!

also Wanda's powers are cooler than her "hex" powers from the comics!

400 stars ***************
starfoxxx

Doug said...

Oh, and speaking of the NFL draft, which is taking place a mere 50 miles north of my humble abode.

Why would anyone watch that while the Bulls were laying the whuppin' of the century on the Bucks?? "Fear the Deer"... Pfah!

Seriously, I hate the attention that the NFL and football in general gets here in the States. I like it, I watch it, but I don't need to eat, sleep, drink, and breathe it as ESPN feels I must.

Curmudgeonly rant over.

Doug

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

John Byrne said that Gyrich was based on Jim Shooter, so I'll take your comment another way entirely!

No, Jim Shooter created Gyrich.

The early Gyrich is a lot more like Coulson than the proto-fascist that the character ultimately became. The de-evolution of the character, in my opinion, owes more to lazy writing than to deliberate development.

Government official = evil!

I will never disdain John Byrne as either a writer or an artist. As a Shakespearean authority or an unbiased source of comics history however, I choose to look elsewhere.

pfgavigan

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

"John Byrne said that Gyrich was based on Jim Shooter, so I'll take your comment another way entirely!

No, Jim Shooter created Gyrich.

I will never disdain John Byrne as either a writer or an artist. As a Shakespearean authority or an unbiased source of comics history however, I choose to look elsewhere."


I mentioned Byrne because that's where I read that about Gyrich. I didn't say Byrne created Gyrich (though I suppose he did draw him first). :)

The Byrne interview is in the indispensable X-Men Companion--though I don't know which volume; I don't have the books with me right now.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Shooter himself actually creating Gyrich makes Byrne's comment even better!
Not saying he's an unimpeachable source or anything, but you can understand the reasoning; no one likes their boss, right?

-sean

The Prowler said...

For those that (who?) have been watching Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the past few episodes have been "Inhuman" heavy and last Tuesday's episode not only made mention of "the twins" but featured the Stan Lee Cameo School clip. Oh, and in the episode, Coulson had a call from Maria Hill!?!

To harken (harken? who uses harken anymore?) back to the other posts about comics and one word, what I loved about comics was there ability to feature different story lines in one issue. You had one group fighting the Roxxon oil company, another group stuck back in time trying to find Hawkeye and a third plot line where Patsy Walker is trying to contact the Beast. That's how the writers/artists juggled "too many" characters. Well, back when I was young....

Interesting Draft Fact: Since Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware to the recent drafting of Johnny Manziel, who was the last Heisman winning Quarterback to win a NFL playoff game?

Hint: You haven't got a prayer of answering this one correctly....


(Too much time on my hands, it's ticking away with my sanity
I've got too much time on my hands, it's hard to believe such a calamity
I've got too much time on my hands and it's ticking away from me
Too much time on my hands, too much time on my hands
Too much time on my hands)

William Preston said...

The film was quite a bit of fun--though since we only got there half an hour early, we ended up stuck too close to the screen. I got used to it, but it was kind of painful, and the early fight scenes were a blur. Much better written than I thought it would be. Still, you could tell about an hour of content was missing. There were odd narrative gaps. It jumped around as if there were entire reels missing. (That's how I felt about every episode of Babylon 5.)

Today, none of it has stuck with me. Part of that was being too close to the screen (it's a cynical move for theaters to even sell tickets that close to such a giant non-IMAX screen), but I also think it's because the story was incoherent. I don't fault any individual scene. There were wonderful scenes, fine acting, solid (though not terribly interesting) direction, and a fun, clever script that worked well whether the moment called for fun, action, character work, or melodrama. But, really, the thing was a mess taken all together.

We did get (handed to us at the door) glossy relief posters that are a thing of beauty. They have the one-sheet image of the giant Avengers A with the (non-new) characters and heaps of drones forming the letter.

Anonymous said...

The new Avengers movie kind of helped me realize why I'm not interested in Agents of SHIELD, or any DC movies or TV shows...

when you see them do it right, it's hard to accept second rate effects, acting, just the mood in general just doesn't get me excited about the MU like the last couple years' movies.

starfoxxx

Anonymous said...

The family & I saw it tonight. We had a blast! While it was definitely a popcorn flick there was enough meat to give much of the conflict & characters meaning. I thought the new characters were well-handled.

Negatives: the action land narrative lost coherence at times, Ultron is inactive when convenient, and some scenes are a bit too intense for younger viewers (I know it's rated PG-13 but there were a lot of kids in the audience, including my own).

If you like Marvel movies, you'll really enjoy this one.

- Mike Loughlin

Karen said...

The husband and I have seen it twice now -yes, we're those people. We enjoyed it, but not quite as much as the first Avengers. But then, we had expectations going into this one. It certainly has that epic tone to it. All of the characters seem to be spot on -I really love how well Chris Evans has 'grown' into playing Cap. Like William Preston said, it does feel like there are parts missing. Things sort of 'jump' at times. Even so, as a long time comic reader, I had no trouble understanding who was who and what was going on.

I loved the Vision! I have an idea about what they are doing with him but don't want to say anything yet. Maybe later in the week, when we get past our self-imposed no spoilers mark.

Garett said...

Great show! Saw it today in 3D with the jiggling/tilting action seats. My girlfriend, who is not a superhero fan, really enjoyed it. I'd say it's about equal to the first movie, and adds to the series. Looking forward to #3 already!

Rip Jagger said...

First thirty minutes rock. Best superhero action put on screen. After that it gets a little more complicated, and a wee bit disappointing. We are all clearly getting spoiled.

Rip Off

Dr. Oyola said...

Saw it Friday.

I give it s 6.1 out of 10.

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

Just saw it.

Doesn't have the same sense of satisfaction that the first film had, but that one was the conclusion of Phase One. This installment set a lot of ground work up for the next series of movies.

It also lack a similar "puny god" moment/payoff.

That said I did enjoy it and will probably see it again in the near future.

And for those of you in the know; no, I didn't see that coming.

pfgavigan

tetrahedron said...

I'm very late to this posting party...(and usually just a lurker because I'm always late)...

In short, there is a lot of eye-candy to the movie, but it's painfully short on character development and story.

I know to separate the comics from the movies, but it pains me when they drain all the complexity and richness of character out of our beloved heroes and villains and dumb it all down and water it down to nothingness.

This goes especially for Hawkeye but mostly for Ultron.

Winter Soldier was a gripping, captivating Marvel film because even though it also featured a lot of characters, it was focused on the story it was trying to tell.

Age of Ultron is spinning too many plates at once with too many of them being setups for future events. There isn't nearly enough focus on the story at hand.

Ian

Anonymous said...

Wow, hard to believe some didn't enjoy/like it.....I guess since AVENGERS was always my favorite comic book, I particularly LOVED it. To each their own, I'm not into DR WHO, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Lord of the Rings, Gotham, Arrow, Dark Knight movies, the list goes on and on, and people probably think I'm crazy for not enjoying them.

starfoxxx

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