Sunday, May 13, 2012

Discuss: The Avengers Movie (BEWARE -- Fully Spoiled!)

Doug:  Here it is, kids -- your chance to talk about any aspect of the Avengers movie that you'd care to bring up.  And hey -- thanks for everyone's patience and cooperation during our "gag order" over the past week.  For those who didn't see the movie right away, we're sure that was appreciated.  Now, have at it!


Anthony said...

First I have to say that I really enjoyed the Avengers movie. I’m a big Hulk fan and this is my favorite version of all the screen Hulks. I liked the other two Hulks to varying degrees but that’s a discussion for another post. I was a little worried when Whedon was announced only because he stated a few years back, I believe in the now defunct Wizard, that he wasn’t a big fan of the Hulk.
He said that if he worked on the Hulk he would try to find something about the mythology that interested him and play up that angle. Judging by the movie he did exactly that. He played up the fun aspect of having the power of the Hulk. This is something that was missing in the earlier movies. He downplayed the tragic aspects of the character only because they had been covered in the previous two films and the TV show. No need to cover the same ground all over again.

Now for the nitpicks.

1) The trailer which first showed the Leviathan had me feeling a little deja vu ala Transformers. I know the movie made it clear that these weren’t machines but living creatures covered in armor acting as both living tanks and troop transports but following on the heels of the successful Transformers trilogy the look of the Leviathan seemed a bit like copycatting. On the good side these creatures did provide two of the best moments in the movie when the Hulk took one out with a single blow and later when the Hulk sucker punched Thor after they teamed up to defeat one. It also will help me win a fanboy argument about the Hulk’s ability to defeat opponents many times his size including those pesky Transformers.

2) Another alien invasion. I know it’s a staple of these type of stories but to the members of the general audience who aren’t comic book fans it could seem like just that. I believe the movie could have spiced things up a bit by taking the battle to the enemy like Avengers Annual 7.or the Kree Skrull war. Budget could have been a factor here but a few shots of Iron Man and Thor taking out some alien ships in space would have juxtaposed nicely with the earth bound action as well as limit collateral damage in the city and save lives. If Fox does indeed own the rights to the Skrulls I would have preferred another alien race instead of the Chitauri. This may seem like a real nitpick but why use shape shifting aliens at all if they don’t shape shift. A few shape shifting scenes wouldn’t have broken the bank and could have separated these generic invaders from the cinematic pack. They just as well could have been Badoon. Marvel movies are influenced by both the Ultimate and the 616 universe. In this instance I would have leaned more toward 616 and made the invaders the interplanetary malcontents that are usually drawn to Thanos. If the myriad of alien races proved to be too much in terms of budget and design and I had to fall back on the Chitauri, I would have used them as they were depicted in the Ultimates.
Since Captain America immediately preceded the Avengers, a mid credit scene could have announced their presence on earth during World War Two. Granted such a reveal would not have the same impact as a Skrull but it could have established that Chitauri technology was the basis for Nazi / Hydra’s super science ( as it was in the Ultimates ) and maintained the spirit of the previous post credit scenes as hand offs to the next movie. As they did in the Ultimates after the Nazi’s defeat they would have infiltrated various organizations on earth including SHIELD. I think this would have worked better than Loki’s mind control. After Loki reveals the exact location of the Tesseract to the infiltrators you could pick up the movie’s plot line about bringing Loki to earth to lead the invasion force.

Anthony said...

3) The shadowy council that controls SHIELD. This element of the film was very faithful to the comics but I felt it needed a little more of an explanation for the non fan and fan alike.. During SHIELD’s long history ( longer if you are reading the Hickman series ) and the various interpretations of the acronym ( 2 comic and 1 movie ), I believe it has been both a U.S. and a U.N. agency. If it’s confusing for the fanboy imagine how much more confusing it is to the regular audience. Who exactly is giving the order to nuke New York City ? What actually is a World Security Council ?

4) The Thor Iron Man Captain America battle. It seems obvious that Iron Man was about to be on the losing side of the battle until Cap intervened. Iron Man can’t beat Thor in his regular armor.
I didn’t mind Iron Man getting in a few good shots and the scene helped cement them as the Big Three. The part that lost me was when Thor was thrown back by the force of Mjolnir hitting Cap’s shield. As far as I can remember Vibranium absorbs sound and impact. I don’t recall it working exactly the way it did on scene. Granted it was Thor wielding Mjolnir with full force but still wouldn’t it just absorb the impact. Surely this scene must have played out in the comics though memory escapes me. It was a nice scene that established the three characters as not being afraid to go toe to toe with one another and looked good on screen but they all can’t be equally matched.

Again I really like the movie and the above are just minor nitpicks. I loved the Hulk Thor battle. Hulk trying to lift the Mjolnir is right out of Defenders # 10. The Hulk smack down of Loki. The confidence of Bruce Banner walking toward the Leviathan and the ease of the transformation. Every word out of Robert Downey Jr’s . mouth. Whedon’s dialogue in general. The Helicarrier. So glad the more Ultimate influenced design was used instead of the earlier leaked 1960s design. Black Widow’s interrogation of Loki. Coulsen’s Cap hero worship. THANOS ! The film had a good mix of action, drama and humor. So much better than the overblown and over hyped Transformers franchise.

I would have liked a little flashback scene to explain exactly how the Loki Thanos alliance happened ( like the scene between Loki and Dormammu that preceded the Avengers Defenders war ) and I want to see the Cosmic Cube ( Yes I’m calling it the Cosmic Cube now. ) used to its fullest potential instead of just being an energy source in future movies. An origin for the Cube would be nice too. I know it’s the jewel of Odin’s Treasure Room but my impression was that he was collecting powerful items to prevent their use like the Casket Of Ancient Winters and the Infinity Gauntlet. Maybe in Avengers 2 Cap can issue orders without being questioned if the Avengers get their A-1 priority rating. If the action shifts to space in Avengers 2 can the Joss Whedon created SWORD be far behind ?

Rip Jagger said...

Avengers the Move - Enjoyed it!

Not the best superhero movie ever made (despite claims by many) but an excellent superhero adventure which didn't have to bother with a ton of exposition. That work had been done in previous movies, and if you didn't catch those, then you were out of luck.

That aspect alone made it feel like a Marvel movie, the sense of a larger universe than that inhabited by a single hero.

The movie was funny where it needed to be. The movie was emotionally powerful in places. The movie was exciting throughout.

I wish the comic books still were.

Rip Off

Inkstained Wretch said...

I only saw the Avengers Friday night. I hate crowded theaters so I thought I'd let them thin out a bit first. So, thanks for the embargo, gang!

I don't have too many complaints about the film. I give it four stars out of five and that may actually be stingy on my part. I'm always a little hard on live-action supehero films.

I recognize what a herculean task it must have been to get a storyline that worked, that balanced all of the characters (and star egos), that was true to the comics and left room for the action. So, hats off to Joss Whedon.

Side note: If you haven't seen his other film out now, A Cabin in the Woods, go now. It's outstanding too.

My two criticisms are basically nitpicks. I think the subplot of SHEILD not telling the heroes everything could have been handled a little better. It seemed a little pro-forma, we-have-to-be-cynical-about-government stuff rather than something that was integral to the plot.

Also, while having him hypnotize Hawkeye was a nice twist, I think Loki could have used some evil super-powered henchmen too. In the end, the Avengers fought mostly a bunch of interchangeable aliens. Some familiar villians with personality like would have been nice. But that's it as far as criticism from me.

Roygbiv666 said...

Overall - great. Looking forward to the Blu-Ray!!

david_b said...


Not a major or lengthy review, but just some thoughts I've been pining to share.

1) The Teseract.., eh, the name made me grumpy.. JUST CALL IT 'THE CUBE', my Silver/Bronze soul cried out..

2) I went to a late showing, so I typically miss out on some subtle details. I didn't like how Renner as Hawkeye was played out. His character was the least embellished, and thus the least interesting. I do like they minimized the exposition of the existing Big Three, thanks to the previous movies, and the Widow added a nice layer of sensuality and calm as one of the supporting characters. But I didn't follow the hynotized-Clint very well. Other than 'that guy with the arrows who was somehow brainwashed in the beginning', what did any non-informed audience member take away from his character..? Nothing. Again, NOT to take anything away from Whedon, who stirred all the characterizations AND plot in to a nice stew for our enormous enjoyment, no small feat at all. Just Clint came off the weakest.

3) Speaking of Whedon, I loved the pace of the movie, never staying on any issue for too long, and he wasn't above throwing in a measure of good ol' Pixar-humor with the Hulk slamming Loki like a ragdoll(bam, bam,, and the side-punch to Thor. But unlike Avatar, Rings or Transformers, it actually had some 'soul' or gravitas to it, it didn't come across as ALL CGI, which really turns me off. I can't watch those other films, just too plastic.

4) Loki was protrayed as SUCH a delicious villain, some more time with his musings would have been fun to watch.

5) Yes, the Shawarma scene. Priceless, and as I called it before, Pure Genius. I guess it was filmed just before the premiere, so Evans already had his beard grown (carefully hidden by his hand).

6) Downey of course, 'had game' and did a great job in orchestrating the team. The aliens were intergalactic thugs, for the little explanation the audience recieved, and that's just fine. No need to have some enormous back-story. They served their purpose well.

All in all, DC just got served.

J.A. Morris said...

It's my favorite comic movie of recent years.

Lots of fun, enough drama between the punch-ups. As Entertainment Weekly said "Hulk finally good. Hulk is star."

I also appreciated that everyone could act. As a comparison, in 'X-men:First Class', it was obvious that (outside of Betty Draper) January Jones can't act. Every time Jones opened her mouth, it dumbed down the movie a bit. That wasn't the case with anyone in this movie.
I have one nitpick though.
So, on the Helicarrier, Hulk is fighting the good guys. Then he shows up in New York and he's an Avenger. So...was he being manipulated by Loki on the carrier? Did I miss something? And yes, he punches Thor in NY, but it still made me wonder.

Anthony said...

Whedon and Marvel are keeping very much with the continuity of The Incredible Hulk in referencing Harlem, Banner trying to kill himself (from the cut opening scene)
and Banner's ability to control the transformation from the last scene before the credits. It appears that Loki was manipulating them via the staff that he carried and that was in the lab with Avengers. I do agree that they should have made it more obvious.
The line I'm always angry and the way he walks into the transformation backs up that he normally has a good degree of control if not total. Which is why I thinks he feeds the beast by letting him sucker punch Thor.

Anonymous said...

Ahh yes the Avengers movie ... well it certainly is one of the best comic book to big screen adaptations we've seen in recent years. I wonder what Rip Jagger thinks is THE best but that's another discussion.

Joss Whedon definitely did a great job weaving all the disparate threads, storylines and characters into one great blockbuster movie. Like many people, I'm glad to see the Hulk finally get glowing reviews. Ol' greenskin was marvelous and fans who initially doubted Mark Ruffalo as Dr Banner can breathe a sigh of relief.

Robert Downey Jr continued his sterling work as Tony Stark, effectively capturing Stark's arrogance and eventual acceptance of having to work as a team. Chris Evans said in an interview that if the first Iron Man movie had not done so well then the Avengers might not have been made. Fanboys all over the world thank you from the bottom of their hearts Mr Downey.

Cap, Widow & Hawkeye all were good too. I was wondering about that scene where Thor hits Cap's shield and is thrown back, as if the shield absorbed the force of Mjolnir and projected it back. Vibranium has that quality? Never knew that. Can someone explain it better to me?

Nitpicks? Not much - like JA Morris said I prefer the name Cosmic Cube over the 'Tesseract', which is just plain ambiguous. Does someone have copyright over 'Cosmic Cube'? You wanna talk suspension of belief? The scene where Stark's armor follows him and forms onto him in mid-air as he's falling from Stark Tower had me going 'Aww come on now!' Sure, you need some suspension of belief in a movie with invading space aliens, a big green monster, a Norse thunder god and an armored dude shooting out repulsor rays from his palms but that scene was just ... unrealistic for lack of a better word.

Still, Avengers is now one of my favourite (yes we in Trinidad & Tobago spell it with a 'u') films of all time, up there with LOTR and HP. My only fear is that the powers that be will rush to make an inferior sequel given the boatload of money this film made. Followups to hit movies are notoriously not as good. Thanos in Avengers 2? Sure, but make a good script and get good casting first!

All in all, I can say that watching Avengers was a blast and Marvel has a bona fide worldwide hit on its hands. Excelsior!

- Michael from Trinidad & Tobago.

Anonymous said...

PS Sorry , it was david_b who wanted the Tesseract to be called the Cosmic Cube!

- Mike 'sorry for the misquote' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Roygbiv666 said...

Re. Cap's shield and Thor:

"real" (i.e. comic book) Vibranium doesn't have the property of projecting back energy:

But, Cap's shield doesn't really make sense anyway - if the whole thing is Vibranium/iron alloy that absorbs energy, when bullets strike it they should simply stop, not crumble, not ricochet, nor make a should, and simply drop to the ground - same with anything hitting it.

If it absorbs energy, it shouldn't bounce off things either. Basic physics.

Maybe the edges are a different composition?

Lemnoc said...

Good comments. Not much to add, except to remark how spoiled we've become with our superhero movies.

Back in the 80s the best we could get was "Greatest American Hero." Now we're awash with really good movies, and another Batman on the way. (I've got my doubts about Spider-Man, mostly because the post-MJ retcons never quite matched the heart of the earlier incarnation... but we'll see).

Nitpicking in this treasure house almost seems... churlish. Like bitching 'cause one of a thousand gem hoard doesn't sparkle pretty like the rest.

I read a review that opined what worked about the Hulk was he was that element that really threw the story over the top, and represented the id of viewers, his every stunt timed with some explosive peak of action.

Fury rubbing Colson's blood on the gum cards to get the heroes even more worked up: I don't recall Nick being that calculating in the comics.

Lemnoc said...

My understanding is that Cap's shield really is a composite of materials at different densities... more adamantium at the center, more vibranium at the edges.

I think the movie tried to deal with the comics issue of irresistible force meeting immovable object...

Anonymous said...

Avengers was up to snuff, not an embarassment. The generic aliens were too
much like Transformers 3 and Green Lantern and Battleship and ID4 though.

There were a ton of very small kids in the theater.

Loki could have been more evil.

Cap's costume was a step down from his movie, the WW2 sewn leather costume
actually looked too modern to be 40's vintage and would have looked better
than the modern day spandex he wound up in.

How did the airship sneak up on the helicarrier and attack and not show up
on radar or trip some other alarm? Maybe the guy playing Galaga was supposed
to be watching for incoming attacks and somehow all the automated alarms and
defense systems were shut off that day.

It looks like next years Superman movie will have the same sort of city wide
destruction that every sci-fi or super hero movie has these days, the
effects houses probably have tons of unused footage like this that they save
for the next movie or just reuse old footage wholesale like M Bay.

If they are going with Thanos next
time, they will probably have an Infinity Gauntlet storyline.

I wish the first hour didn't have so much setup material, Avengers 2 can hit the ground running like Empire Strikes Back.

Anonymous said...

Cap in Avengers wasn't as bad as the Spiderman movies where Peter is always taking off his mask or getting the mask ripped off. Imagine if Darth Vader kept taking off the mask in public during the first 3 star wars movies. Since Marvel studios thinks the stars are the characters and not the actors, hopefully keeping masks on will be a higher priority than in the past.

Doug said...

Did anyone think that Thor was played as more mature in this flick and less headstrong and emotional?

Good points on Hawkeye's somewhat bland personality -- he was almost like a Silver Age DC guy, where he was an "anyman". However, the innovation (I'm not up on current comics, so forgive me if I misspeak on this) whereby the quiver affixes the arrowhead to the shaft was ingenious. Loved that!

Believe it or not, I've yet to see Iron Man 2, but I really thought the Black Widow had the most character development in this flick. Scarlett Johansen played her with some real depth. Loved the interrogation scene!

And Anthony -- on my re-watch list: My sons and I left the theater uncertain as to whether the giant eel-like deals were real or machinery. We were leaning toward machines, so I'll have to check out the "made it clear" aspect. Again, we were confined to the front row, so it wasn't the best movie-going experience I've ever had!

Thanks for the conversation on a Sunday, gang -- good stuff!


MOCK! said...

Roygbiv666....I am glad I manor the only one who refers to the comics as the "real" stuff.

I have seen this four times...a packed midnight showing with laughs and applause, a nearly empty daytime showing that let me catch the jokes, and twice at the drive in. I thought it was a great popcorn flick.

I have been collecting comics for 75% of my life....and Avengers was my first comic. There was no way I wouldn't love the movie.

Retro-Lad said...

I saw the movie this evening, right after attending a comic convention. I'm not ready to give a reasoned critique yet, but, for about the last half hour or more of the running time, I found myself just chuckling from the sheer joy of it! State of Nerdvana attained!


Karen said...

I loved the film and I'm thrilled it's doing so well. Highpoints for me:

1) Thor -I love how they never dumb down his powers. The fight with Hulk was extremely well done, and it was a thrill to see Hulk unable to lift the hammer. and I loved, "You want me to put the hammer down?" Classic. He is more mature, as Doug said, but he still has swagger and a big old temper. I did like the fact that he kept trying to save Loki, even during the bid battle, he was hoping that his brother would change.

2)Cap playing peacemaker between Thor and Iron Man; Cap finding the Hydra weapons -"Your computer was taking too long". But my favorite Cap moment was when he jumped out of the jet after Iron Man and Thor, and told Black Widow, "There's only one God ma'am, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that."

3)Hulk -what can be said? IMO, the best version of Hulk yet. Hulk looks great, he has more personality, and Ruffalo is a much more likeable Banner. If a Hulk movie doesn't come out of this, I'll be shocked.

4) Loki -Tom Hiddleston is just fantastic. He 'gets' Loki perfectly.

I don't have a lot of negatives, just some quibbles:

1) Hawkeye - this guy has no personality. Now maybe, because Stark has become the wise-cracking character, they took this away from Hawkeye. But I felt he really didn't add much to the film.

2) The secret council behind SHIELD -what the heck? Really didn't get that at all.

3) Call it the Cosmic Cube!! Same with the Black Widow and Hawkeye -call them by their super-hero names. Why is this so hard?

4) The Cap costume could have looked better. Something about the helmet looked really off. Also, it didn't seem like Chris Evans was as buff for this film as for Cap, but maybe a lot of that was CGI, or pads. he just looked a bit small to me.

But those are all minor faults. I loved it and I can't wait to see Iron Man 3! Dark Knight who??


Fantastic Four Fan 4ever said...

I loved it from start to finish. If you like Marvel, you have to see this film. I hope they get Joss Whedon to direct the next two movies in what looks like a trilogy. It had the right blend of comedy and drama. All the characters worked well together. For the first time in I don't know how long.....Joss Whedon got it right. He understands the Marvel mythlolgy nuances and details.

William said...

I already stated that I thought this movie was pretty much the best thing ever put on film. I was so stoked to see that Joss Whedon put in everything that any good Marvel Comics fan would want to see in an Avengers movie.

1. The villainous threat that brings the team together is Loki (just like in the comics).

2. As is the case with any good comic book team-up story, when the heroes first meet, they fight and then join forces. And this movie did not disappoint on that note. We had Thor vs. Iron Man vs. Captain America, Thor vs. Hulk, Hawkeye vs. everybody, etc. Awesome!!!

3. The SHIELD Helicarrier. (When it first rose up out of the ocean I almost wept with joy).

4. Every major character got at least one "moment" to shine. I was very impressed that with so much going on in one movie, Whedon was able to squeeze in so much quality character development.

5. There was lots of good old Marvel-style petty squabbling amongst the heroes.

6. The action sequences were totally off the charts. All of the CGI was excellent and didn't look at all cartoonish.

7. The first after credits scene promised even greater things to come. THANOS BABY!!!

8. Finally the humor. There were so many little humorous moments in this flick that I laughed a lot more than I ever do watching most so-called comedies. But the lines and scenes were all so naturally and seamlessly woven into the movie you never felt like they were forced at all. (Like in the original Die Hard movies). Brilliant stuff.

Some of my favorites were:

When Steve Rogers casually hands Nick Fury $10.00 right after the Helicarrier first lifts off. (Paying off a bet he and Fury had made earlier in the film about whether anything could still shock Steve).

When Thor says of Loki "He's adopted".

When Hulk punches Thor after they just teamed up to take down a Leviathan.

Black Widow's phone conversation with Coulson at the beginning of the film.

When Coulson says "So, that's what it does." (bittersweet)

Pretty much everything Tony Stark stays (especially the Shawarma stuff at the end).

Speaking of which, the scene of the whole team in the Shawarma restaurant at the very, very end.

But the funniest scene (to me anyway) was when the Hulk grabs Loki and gives him the beat down of all beat downs. There were so many reasons why that was hilarious it would take too long to list them.

I am looking forward to seeing this again with my wife. Then after that, bring on Amazing Spider-Man.

William said...

Oh, BTW, in honor of the release of the Avengers movie, I created a 3-part Avengers action figure comic that can be viewed on my site at the following link:

It features the bronze-age comic versions of the 6 characters from the film and is written in the style of "old-school" Marvel. Check it out if you are so inclined.

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