The Avengers


As much as I enjoyed Uma Thurman and the teddy bear costumes in the original AVENGERS, this one is an improvement. It’s a fun super hero movie with lots of colorful super-characters like in the X-MEN pictures, but with more of a disaster-movie-level of spectacle. Instead of just fighting 1-3 supervillains they’re fighting an alien invasion. As you know this teams up characters from IRON MAN 1-2, THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008) (arguably), CAPTAIN AMERICA and THOR under the direction and writing of Joss Whedon (SERENITY, Buffy the Vampire, all that). If they had had some guy from Doctor Who in there and based it on a video game or anime it would’ve had the monopoly on all of the existing nerd audiences. But also it’s fun for all of us.

Okay, I know everybody’s already made that joke about the Sean Connery AVENGERS, so sorry about that. But I haven’t seen anybody point out the important element present in both movies:

Am I right, fellas? Coincidence or not, I appreciate that AVENGERSes traditionally have a good lookin fake red head kickin ass in a black leather catsuit.

mp_avengersAnyway. Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the fantasy asshole brother from THOR, has teamed up with some ugly alien dudes to fly through a magic portal on Green Goblin sky skis and a herd of giant flying robotic worms in an attempt to conquer the puny humans. I guess Asgardians are naive and don’t know you can control the world with a corporation. Or maybe they do know that but they just love the giant flying robotic worms. That would be a legitimate stance in my opinion.

Whedon and Marvel Comics/Movies do exactly as promised, they combine the elements of each of the previous movies in the series: Iron Man gets to do his quipping and hot-rodding (with a whole bevy of weirdos to make up insulting nicknames for), Thor brings his fantasy world and old timey speechifying, Captain America brings his soldier’s sense of duty, inspiration and boy scout etiquette (best line: “There’s only one God, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that”), The Incredible Bruce Banner brings his dread of the monster inside but finally comes to terms with turning green and smashing shit on purpose.

And they all team up for a big battle but I like the way the movie (which is about 2 1/2 hours long, a good length for the subject) takes its time putting them together. It kind of reminds me of UNCOMMON VALOUR when they have to go around and recruit each of the team members. The other movies got the origin stories out of the way but this gets to re-introduce them, so we see what they’re up to now and how they’re convinced to come in.

Whedon’s quippy dialogue gets alot of praise (’cause alot of it’s funny) and criticism (’cause it seems formulaic at times), and his fans love his characters and his troupe of actors and everything. But he probly doesn’t get enough credit for his construction. I like the way these scenes flow into each other, the end of each pushing into what needs to happen next. In the same vein, it has one of those perfect title sequences. What are we gonna do? Nick Fury turns, very serious. THE AVENGERS.

Whedon’s also a good juggler. Probly literally, but also figuratively. All of the characters get to have their moments and their little storylines. Even that S.H.I.E.L.D. guy Agent Coulson and one of my favorite CAPTAIN AMERICA characters, Captain America’s Shield. Various combinations of the super heroes get to fight each other (Thor vs. Hulk, Iron Man vs. Thor, Thor’s Hammer vs. Captain America’s Shield) and become friends with each other. Tony Stark and Bruce Banner nerd out over science shit. Recently-unfrozen-from-WWII Captain America is excited when visiting-from-another-plane Thor is more out of touch than he is. Black Widow earns Captain America’s respect enough that he’s willing to take a former brainwashed traitor back into the fold based only on her nod of approval.

It is cool to see all these big characters together, but ironically I was most excited about the only one that didn’t carry over from the previous movie. I fuckin knew Edward Norton would never stick around for AVENGERS, and that seemed like they blew it. But it was great to see the character  now played by Mark Ruffalo and with a different Hulk look. He has chest hair. Hulk gets a couple of the best moments in the movie, and it’s always a thrill when he shows up because he adds some good chaos. I don’t know man, I just like seeing a big growling monster run through an office, makin everybody shit their pants. It’s satisfying.

In THE INCREDIBLE HULK the audience’s needs were opposite of the hero’s, because it was in his best interest not to turn into the monster that we needed him to turn into in order to be entertained. Here it’s okay to root for him to turn into the monster because hey, Tony Stark’s doin it, and also he gets to do it on purpose to help save the day.

I was also into the secondary characters that we get to see more than in the previous movies. Heading the organization is Nick Fury, previously seen in after-credits scenes and distracting from the plot in IRON MAN 2. I don’t think Samuel L. Jackson can say the Whedon dialogue as well as he can Tarantino’s, but this is made up for by the fact that he’s wearing an eyepatch and a Blade coat and shot from many heroic angles. He’s an interesting leader because he’s Machiavellian enough to exaggerate a story to manipulate the Avengers, but conscientious enough to flat refuse an order to RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD Manhattan. We respect him because when a jet tries to take off to drop the bomb he personally chases after it and fires a rocket at it. But his superiors knew him well enough to have sent a decoy. Then he pulls out his handgun, like that’s gonna do something. Kind of like when Don Frye pulled a sword on Godzilla. Nick Fury is the Don Frye of The Avengers.

Then there’s Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. He’s just a guy that’s real good with arrows. He has exploding ones and grappling ones and all types of shit. He’s ballsy enough to jump off buildings. I think some people are racist against the non-super-super heroes and don’t think they should be in here because they’re not magic and can’t afford a billion dollar flying suit. But personally I like that there are a couple of Avengers that are just highly trained assassins, like Hawkeye and Black Widow (Scarlett Johannsen). They prove their worth.

This Whedon is known for his strong woman characters, so I wasn’t surprised that Black Widow is a stand-out in this movie. I mean, I liked her in IRON MAN 2 actually, because 1. hubba, 2. the fight in the hallway, and 3. hubba. But here she gives a better acting performance and has more to do, including a great introduction where she gets to outsmart people, kick ass, be funny and demonstrate what the greatest Marvel Comics movie character of all time, Blade, should’ve done when the cops had him shackled in part 3: do a backflip and smash the chair on the ground.

Harry Dean Stanton is in one part as a security guard. I hope he gets a spin-off.

I think this is well done special-effects action. It’s not the same rush you get from THE RAID or HAYWIRE or something; it’s massive digital destruction, actors green screened or animated flying around crashing into shit, punching aliens, shooting beams, the camera flying around as if on a jetpack to capture all the mayhem. It’s hectic because so much is going on, but it reads well. There are well done super-strength fights and some (artificial) long takes. I like the one of Captain America doing his patriot parkour over a bunch of cars, but the stand-out is clearly the long continuous shot that zips around showing each of the heroes fighting and how they intersect with each other or help each other out.

(I should note that I didn’t have faith in the fake 3D so I found a place that had it in regular-D. It also happened to be 35mm, which I thought looked good even though it was shot digital. There’s some pretty dark scenes in it that I imagine could not have played well in fake 3D, but let me know if I’m wrong.)

Whedon pulls his favorite trick for establishing that stakes is high (hint: the opposite of bringing Ripley back to life in ALIEN RESURRECTION), but mostly the tone is upbeat. Super people do super stuff, they learn to get along, they are inspired, they inspire others, they kinda have fun doing it. I’m not gonna go along with the idea that Mr. Nolan’s Batmans are now wrong for being more broody and reality-esque, but this is another great way to approach a comic book movie that hasn’t always been done this well. It’s “comic booky” without being campy, a good balance for pleasing both the hardcores and the everybody elses, like J.J. Abrams did with STAR TREK (but overall more impressive I think).

My buddy Harry says he wants a new AVENGERS every 2 years and he wants them to go into space now and he wants so-and-so and the such-and-suches introduced. Good to see him excited, but let’s not fly too close to the sun on wax wings. This is a topnotch comics supergroup of an event movie. Let’s do regular movies still. Trying to top this over and over would probly not work. Personally I don’t like to see the world and the universe in danger over and over again. I’m more moved by the personal travails of Blade, Batman and Frank Punisher. But will some people not want to watch IRON MAN 3 anymore because it’s gonna seem smaller than this? Also, how will this movie play with some distance, or without knowing the supplementary movies? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter right now. This is good summer entertainment, satisfying the big and loud and fun that some people want without the dumb or cynical some of us don’t want.

Now, I mean this sincerely, I want to congratulate the Harrys of the world on the existence of this movie. They’ve dreamed about this “a bunch of set-up movies leading to a team-up movie” concept for years now, and I have to admit that I didn’t believe it would work. There was a time when it was supposed to be a given that THE AVENGERS would be amazing, even though INCREDIBLE HULK wasn’t that popular and nobody knew if the riskier CAPTAIN AMERICA and THOR would be either, or if any of the actors would have chemistry together, or if they could come up with a good way to get them all together in the same movie. And there was the Edward Norton thing to deal with.

But fuck it, they pulled it off, and that’s awesome. I’m not just happy because I liked it, but because most of the people who were excited for it seem to love it. Give it enough time I’m sure 1/4 to 1/2 of them will turn around, pull down their pants and take a giant dump on it like they do everything else, but for now it seems to be uniting all of the nerd kingdom and sympathetic parties in joy. I’m for it.

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 5th, 2012 at 11:21 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

451 Responses to “The Avengers”

  1. Where is the review of the new Expendables trailer? You’re slipping but I have faith sense Sly isn’t behind the camera in this one. I don’t care if it is Simon West at the helm. He’s a vast improvement over fucking Sly and what he would have done.

    Van Dame looks like he’s bringing strong from the trailer. Too bad Mickey won’t have another scene from the first though. He was so emotional harking back to when that woman committed suicide in front of him.

  2. “Give it enough time I’m sure 1/4 to 1/2 of them will turn around, pull down their pants and take a giant dump on it like they do everything else”

    ahhh, too true, too true, I’ve never understood why so many nerds have to turn on things that they previously enjoyed, but for now let’s just enjoy the “honeymoon moment”

    anyway I had a ton of fun seeing this in theaters (I’ve started going to the movies in Savannah now, it’s an hour long drive, but way worth it because the theater is much nicer) and let me tell you, that theater was PACKED, I mean PACKED, I have never seen such a huge crowd at a movie theater in my entire life, I’m dead serious, it was almost more like being at a theme park than a theater and there were actually more people when I left than when I first got there

    and the audience absolutely laughed their asses off at the scene when *SPOILER* the Hulk grabs Loki by the leg and slams him into the ground over and over, I mean they just lost it, great moment….

    that Harry Dean Stanton cameo was weird though

  3. I said a week ago I loved this movie, and I still do. With that said, I completely agree with you about what will be said about this movie once there is some distance. It reminds me of when Independence Day was released. Here in Chicago they had theaters playing the movie for 48 hours straight. I saw that movie at 2 in the morning after coming from the Taste Of Chicago. I was young, partially drunk, and highly excited to see it. The crowd for the 2am show was held back with a red rope and not in any type of line. When the rope was pulled back the crowd literally ran into the theater so they could find the best seats. I loved that movie that night. I never thought about all the flaws until days afterward. Independence Day now just seems like a decent sci-fi movie but nothing close to a classic to me.

    My guess is there will be some type of backlash to The Avengers eventually. There were definitely flaws in the movie. The flaws that I saw are mainly things that only someone, like myself, who grew up reading marvel comics would catch. The other flaws would be in explaining certain characters motivations and why the hell was the hulk taking orders from anyone. The thing is that when a movie is really entertaining and does what it’s supposed to do the flaws don’t really mean shit.

    Whedon really hit a home run here. This is no Independence Day. Just the simple fact that he is the one who finally got the Hulk right after 2 other fucking movies makes me not give a shit about the flaws. I also like the personal battles of Blade and, even though it’s never mentioned as a superhero movie even though it’s one of the greatest origin stories ever, Robocop. With that said, I don’t mind a crowd pleaser either and this was one of the best big spectacle movies I’ve seen in this new era of shaky-cam bullshit.

  4. Mark Ruffalo was also great as Bruce Banner, a lot better than both Eric Bana and Edward Norton

    I hope we get a solo Mark Ruffalo Hulk movie one day

  5. Fuck and Yes. Wonderful Film, Wonderful Review.

  6. Great review, Vern. There are 4 or 5 brief moments in AVENGERS (2012) where I have to overstretch my suspension of disbelief, and as many [not so] sneakily edited action shortcuts, and I didn’t care for the brevity given to Thor’s story of how exactly the fuck he got back to Earth after he broke the rainbow bridge thingy (His dad used some energy?), but 90% of the script was so great and the movie moved fast enough and was fun & awesome enough that I never cared.

    Hulk smash = bliss.

    When entertainment imperative trumps logical consistency, that is the magic of spectacle, of spectacular movies, and that’s what we have here.

    And when we get to actually *care* about all of the characters, even the necessarily secondary characters, well, holy shit, that’s what makes a spectacular, entertaining movie into a great film.

    Captain Steve “America” Rogers is awesome. In the finale, he takes over as commander on the ground and acts as a ground commander should act, seeing the battlefield with clarity and delivering orders with authority. I was worried he and his little shield wouldn’t be superhero-y enough. I was wrong. He’s a muscular, authoritative badass. U-S-A! U-S-A!

    Addendum: Compare Nick Fury’s rocket launcher heroism with Colonel Quaritch’s breath-holding badassery in AVATAR 3D (“Mask on!”). 2 *great* scenes. 2 dichotomously different but equally badass characters & character intentions. And they both have big scars on their faces.

    Surprised Vern didn’t recall the fiery climax of THE MARINE
    in relation to the awesome Black Widow chair-breaking scene. Not that the movies are comparable, though, of course. Matter of fact, forget I said that. Sorry.

    The 3D ticket is a waste of $3. Long live 2D.

  7. Absolutely agreed Griff. It took them 3 tries to get it right but Ruffalo should be Banner until he gets tired of playing him. Damn near comic book perfect. Everything involving him and the Hulk in general were my favorite parts of the movie. I finally got my Hulk movie even if he wasn’t the star he absolutely took over ever part he was in, that goes for Ruffalo and Hulk.

  8. I saw this in 2D as well and it looked great, especially in the scenes where the Hulk smashes through the inside of that flying ship

    as a matter of fact while watching it I was thinking “why in the hell is this in 3D at all?”

  9. Wait, GQtaste at the top of the thread has a good point.

    And also what about BATMAN, Vern? What about how all this relates to Batman?

  10. Other than revealing more of Scarlett Johansson’s skin, hubba motherfucking hubba, the only improvement I could conceivably make to this movie would be, instead of Banner/Hulk smiling and saying, “I’m always angry,” I’d have him smirk & growl and say, “I’m always fucking angry.”

    Or maybe some variant of “motherfucker” coulda been squeezed in there. Dunno. Fingers crossed for the unrated cut on blu-ray, I guess.

  11. The 3D was kinda cool very very briefly for the very 1st sequence, something with flying objects in the foreground, and it might have added a little teensy something to the flying metal centipedes in Manhattan toward the end. But that’s being generous. It is definitely not worth the extra $3 and the horrible sacrifice in visual brightness. I actually lowered my 3D glasses several times during the static Loki interview scenes & such, to give my pupils a break from the darkness.

    The best part of the 3D experience by far was the pre-feature minute of in-your-face kazooie in the DESPICABLES 2 3D preview.

  12. As a lifelong Marvel fan I’m perfectly happy with it. There are always going to be things that we wish had made it in, but the fact that nothing in it feels wrong is spectacular. I’m not the kind of comic book fan who will hate a movie because of how a suit looks or the color of someone’s hair or “power levels” or whatever, I’m more interested in the accuracy of the spirit and personalities of the characters and this movie (and all the movies leading up to it, in my opinion) got them all pretty dead on. I have to admit that when Captain America started giving the rest of the team orders and everyone, including Iron Man, followed them without question it made me tear up a bit. I know there are plenty of flaws and clearly I’m not ready to look at this objectively in terms of how good it is as a film rather than a personal dream come true yet, but I think even when I am I will still be very happy with it and any problems I have will not be nerdy fan issues.

  13. Don’t be so sensitive my boy. I just figured you would have done a write up on it like you did the first one. You were awfully fired up the first go around. I realize that part one was a gargantuan pile of shit but there is always hope for the next one.

  14. As a Christopher Hitchens acolyte, a fan of Joss Whedon’s filmatism, and a trapezius muscle enthusiast inspired by the great Lou Ferrigno, I’ll be using the line “Puny god” for the rest of my life.

    Includes audience laugh track (which is organic to the scene)

    (Warning: may be yanked from internet soon due to licensing, laws, etc.)

  15. Pay no mind to GQtaste, Vern. He is a non-believer, and must be summarily banished. “Outlanderrrrrrrrr!”.

    Great work, BTW… typical Vern review, truth be told: Funny, insightful, irreverent, skimming the edge of spoilers, and a brutal assault on the conventions of 21st Century movie criticism.

    I haven’t seen this yet, but God bless Whedon for having the wherewithal to include Harry Dean Stanton. The man’s acting CV covers a VERY broad range of movies (Repo Man is the clincher for me; he was priceless in that), and any movie geek worth his salt no doubt will get a charge of Immediate Dude Recognition when he shows up.

    We’ve had the Cutesy Security Guard Movie with Paul Blart: Mall Cop. We’ve had the Faux Taxi Driver Nutjob Security Guard Movie Observe And Report. NOW we need the H.D.S. Security Guard Movie: Shoot First And Ask Questions Later.

    Harry Dean Stanton: Hollywood’s newest oldest action hero. I’m all for it. I agree with you about the difficulty in backtracking (i.e., Iron Man 3, Thor 2, The More Incredible Hulk, etc.). If The Avengers raises the bar THAT high… there’s nowhere to go but forward, and that means ALL of them, together again, will be the most certain way to satisfy the masses (Avengers Reassemble, summer release 2014, I suspect).

  16. yeah, that scene with the Hulk does almost seem like it’s tapping into the growing atheist zeitgeist going around

  17. I think it’s great fun too but I’ve got stuff I need to get off my chest. SPOILERS…

    Banner revealing he’s always angry is a great line but what sense does this make? Does this mean he’s really always in control of his hulk outs and only acting like he’s trying to fight it? I thought the way it worked is anger causes hulk. So the entire hulk origin is bogus, or from here on out changed for the sake of one cool line?

    Come on, killing who they killed does not show any stakes. None of the main characters were in any danger. It’s not like when he killed who he killed in that other movie (no spoiler in case you haven’t seen it.) This time I think it’s cheap. Kill a supporting character to earn stakes for your mega franchise heroes? Well at least he went out like a badass.

    The end was well done but not nearly as exciting as the 1:1s between the heroes themselves. Those were the heart of the movie for me.

    And thank you Mouth, this shouldn’t get a free pass. It was supposed to be a big deal that Thor can’t get back to earth. They were planning this all along so they didn’t have a better explanation, he’ll at least SHOW Thor on Viking planet deciding to come chase Loki to earth. And a throwaway line about why his girlfriend isn’t in the movie. I mean it’s fine comic book explanation but kind of more like a tv episode missing a guest star.

    But THE AVENGERS fulfills my trump card explanation that forgives all… “because it’s awseome!”

  18. Mouth— Christopher Hitchens was to intellect what Andy Kaufman was to pop culture: The ultimate perfomance artist, and one of P.T. Barnum’s many bastard sons.

  19. I appreciate that there seems to be a unanimous opinion that this movie’s take on the Hulk was the shit. My favorite was when he’s tearing up the jet, and the guy tries to eject and he grabs him on his way out. WHAAAT?! Chilling.

    The Incredible Hulk was the one set-up film that I didn’t see, and I was all jazzed to see it based on Mark Ruffalo’s performance in Avengers. But then I learned things.

    So I enjoyed it thoroughly, but here are my quips:

    1) Everybody seems to have this token reluctance to join The Avengers, which is pretty much par for the course I guess ever since that horrible Fantastic Four movie decided that all superheroes must not want to be superheroes. It’s fine because it was brief and they pretty much got right to it. However in the case of Hulk, it had genuine gravity to it..the most at stake for Bruce, etc… basically the movie really locates The Hulk as the ultimate badass of the bunch; not only is he apparently the strongest but he’s also the most difficult to control, if indeed he can be controlled at all. I was pretty bummed when they totally dismissed this shit and he just became all docile and helpful for the last fight. Ah well, he still tore it the fuck up for the battle.

    2) More on the note of The Hulk being the most badass. I felt that it could have used more of a heirarchy of how badass the heroes are. I thought the most annoying scene action-wise was when Thor, Cap’n, and Iron Man quarrel in the woods. Basically the three of them all have the same properties and as such arrive at a stalemate. This is lame. It is much cooler to establish that they have specialized traits that they must use in concert later in order to prevail. It’s annoying that 4 of the 6 Avengers basically are super-strength heroes, with minor differences such as who can fly and who can shoot shit out of their palms/hammers. Thank goodness for Hawkeye and Black Widow; the super heroics would have been far more 1-D without ’em. I didn’t pick up as much on the Cap’n emerging as the leader in the last battle; that could cause me to revise this criticism somewhat.

    3) Disappointed that the ability of Thor to superpower Iron Man’s suit was not used later, on purpose.

    4) One of the fun things about these movies is playing the which-villain-are-they-going-to-use game. I’m not really familiar with Marvel villains outside of X-Men but I imagined some nerds might have been disappointed with the recycling of Loki + fairly generic aliens. However Loki was tons of fun in this film, and the whole fight vs. the aliens just fucking works. Loki’s “I’ll take that drink now” line garnered some rather cheeky applause in my theater. I like that he’s not 100% evil and there’s always this tension of whether Thor can convince him to stop being a dick. Fun character, charismatic actor; I’m down.

    But yeah, minor nerd annoyances. Really fun film and, like Vern, I’m genuinely shocked that they pulled the whole enterprise off. I thought there was an appropriate level of epic fluff to lots of the dialogue. Thor’s note about “these imagined slights for which you seek recompense” rang sweetly, as well as Agent So-n-so’s “You lack conviction.” Loved the scene of plunging the device into the guy’s face so that his retina could be reconstructed in hologram. Loved both of Widow’s reverse interrogations. Loved all the Hulk stuff. Fun!

  20. Vern, what did you think of some of the non-effects based action filmatism?


    I personally felt that the fight between Black Widow and Hawkeye was pretty badly shot and edited, but the later fight between Thir and Loki on Stark tower was absolutely terrible, shot so closely at certain points that it just looked like someone waving a multicoloured curtain in front of the camera. I thought this was strange as there are some badass fights in Serenity, Whedon’s previous (and only other) movie.

    Don’t get me wrong I loved the movie as a whole, it’s just that the state of action filmatism is a subject close to all our hearts on this site.

  21. Ah, yes, Loki’s “I’ll take that drink now” line.

    Anyone notice how similar Tom Hiddleston looks to Michael Fassbender? And, correspondingly, how similar that scene is to the undercover German officer discovery scene in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS?


  22. renfield— I grok you, hoss. If one were to break down The Avengers in purely Freudian constructs, then we have:

    1.) The Hulk: following his ID instincts, albeit against Bruce Banner’s better judgement. Sometimes you just gotta go apeshit, “go with the flow”, and fuck the consequences. Let Johnny Law and the presiding judge sort that out later.

    2.) Thor: who’s all about EGO. He knows his animalistic warrior tendencies will lead him down the righteous path, but they must be tempered by The Law (Asgaard’s, Earth’s, wherever he finds himself).

    3.) Captain America, who’s the SUPEREGO flag carrier if ever there was one. This guy is straight-up oldschool American virtues. He may find himself in decadent America 21st Century, but he still clings to the gung-ho self righteous patriotism that permeated the U.S. during the WW2 era.

    I kinda doubt Joss Whedon knew what he was tapping into, but hey… if the shoe fits… enjoy the shoe, then buy another one just like it.

  23. Amazing Larry: Intellect and pop culture are not correlatives. Your comparison is gibberish.

    Hitchens’ dad was a Brit Navy Commander and a war hero. No bastard at all.

    And Hitch published several books, when he wasn’t too busy reporting from various international war zones, that is. He possessed more superhero warrior qualities than 99.999999999% of the real human population.

    If you disagree with him or with his style, write & publish some of your own books, and when that happens maybe I’ll see if your argument has any merit. Hitch is Tony Stark-meets-Superman as far as I’m concerned. A flawed, immortal badass.

    Nicotine & Johnny Walker Black were his kryptonites. Anti-theist, anti-totalitarian, & anti-enslavement inspiration provided the glow to his self-energizing heart.

    He annihilated every person who dared face him on an opposing podium. Ask, say, Tony Blair. His YouTube resume, filled with Hitch-slaps & more instances of debate domination than a lifetime of Joe Bidens vs. Sarah Palins, is far more impressive than the decades of comic book derring-do possessed by any of the Avengers.

  24. Your Freudian analysis is kinda interesting, Amazing Larry, except:

    ****. . . decadent America 21st Century, but he still clings to the gung-ho self righteous patriotism that permeated the U.S. during the WW2 era.****

    You were alive in the WW2 era?

    I’d argue that there was no such thing as “gung-ho self righteous patriotism” during most of that time because 1940-1945 was before America was a true, established geopolitical superpower.

    Patriotism as a nationwide concept was logistically impractical & unsustainable, especially in the wake of the worldwide psychological crisis of [post-]WWI (when cripples returned home en masse, when mankind realized and, worse, actually inflicted the horrors of poison gas & machine guns, when science disturbingly & unsatisfyingly started to displace belief in the supernatural as a means to understand the problems of the world)
    as much of America was still rural, still reliant on old & slow forms of communication, and separated from itself in the days before the establishment of the federal highway system and pre-Pearl Harbor (which still didn’t provoke immediate counterattack — FDR waited a while even after the Japanese bombed us before he committed us to WWII. Not exactly the mark of a gung-ho patriotic attitude, though thankfully that mentality soon took over in the form of guys signing up to fight, Rosie the Riveter, and unprecedented industrial production of tanks, munitions, etc..).

  25. The best part about the nerds going back on their word and suddenly pissing all over something they loved to the ends of the earth just a short time prior, is that when you ask them “why did you change your mind?” they pretend like they don’t know what you’re talking about.

  26. Mouth— raised the roof on that one, eh lad? No need to get snippy.

    And as kryptonite goes, he should’ve gone with Macallan Highland Single Malt (12 Years Old) instead of Johnny Walker Black. Blended Scotch is the mark of the misplaced imbiber.

    That said, I doubt any future Avengers movies will have any product tie-ins involving Scotch Whisky (although the first Iron Man probably should have).

  27. Mouth (again)— Dude. The whole Freudian correlation thing was meant as a JOKE, hoss.

    It behooves you to calm down.

  28. Wasn’t the original character of Captain America supposed to be a reflection & proto-precursor of the hoped-for ideal of gung-ho patriotism, a patriotism that didn’t really officially exist until after he & brave American soldiers in Germany, Italy, & Japan inspired & perpetuated it back home in newsreels? An inspirational example to persuade & motivate lesser American mortals to emulate his “self righteous patriotism”?

    It seems like a chicken-&-egg story now, but back in the ’40s the thing was, rural American men signed up to fight thinking it was the right thing to do and because it was a better job than most post-Depression employment opportunities and because it impressed their [potential] in-laws.

    Then they eventually managed to benignly conflate the horror of killing Nazis and/or Japanese into an uberPatriotic endeavor (and hugely awesome place in world history) that merited a sense of personal heroism, enhanced & substantiated by welcome-home parades and the awesome GI Bill and the post-WWII boom of American economic & geopolitical dominance (and baby-making, hence the baby boomer generation all conceived from WWII vets’ sperm), without which a lot more motherfuckers would’ve been depressed. (Note that the post-Vietnam American economy wasn’t as booming as the post-WWII economy, and a lot more Vietnam vets were/are depressed.)

    I haven’t read the Cappy funny pages, but, that was the whole point of his Liberty Bonds advertisement campaign in Joe Johnston’s shitty 2011 movie, to embiggen a then-small sense of patriotism, yah?

  29. OK, Mouth.

    (Exuent non-intended flame war)

    But I still maintain that Harry Dean Stanton should become our next action hero extraordinaire (please refer to Ebert’s archaic yet now vital “Stanton/Walsh Rule”).

  30. The more I think about it, the more I think this 2012 version of Captain America could be viewed as a reflection of the modern American military’s commissioned officers.

    Adapt, improvise, overcome — that’s the motto, especially for infantrymen, and it’s not just empty words. Note that CPT Rogers shines in the AVENGERS climax in an urban environment, in the middle of a gunfight against a foreign enemy of unknown capabilities & unknown manpower with unknown QRF sustainment & support.

    And he takes charge and directs a disparate group of specialists.
    Black Widow/Hawkeye = sniper overwatch, suppressive fire ;
    Iron Man = commo & ISR ;
    Thor = grunts, assault element ;
    Hulk = overwhelming firepower, base of fire, also suppressive fire, CCA, air-to-ground defense

    It’s not much of a stretch to say that this is essentially an interpretation of what junior/field-grade commissioned officers on the ground have been doing everyday most of the past decade in Iraq & Afghanistan. And Tony Stark, the genius private defense contractor (Blackwater & DynCorp style) & techie expert (NSA style), knows more about the specifics of weapons systems than does Captain Rogers, who’s made to look like an idiot (pre-9/11 US Armed Forces style) when it comes to the inner-workings of modern technology but is a perfect professional & a genius (post-9/11 US Armed Forces style) when it comes to battlefield command & leadership.

    Makes more sense than a Freudian interpretation, at least.

  31. The correct order is:


    OK, my work here is done.

  32. Ah, yes, certain Army guys don’t like to borrow anything from the Marines, so we give the motto a little twist to make it our own, pretend it’s original.

    What’s odd is, my head was utterly empty (in a good way) while watching AVENGERS, just enjoying the thing and getting my money’s worth fast & furious, soaking in the spectacle & laughing at the beautiful badassness of Hulk, but now Vern’s fucking websight somehow has me overanalyzing everything.

    Oh, and there was no “flame war.” You were wrong and I was right, Amazing, that’s all. (smiley face, ha ha)

    Oh well, I’m clocking out now, time to hit the gym so I can become Chris Hemsworth. Have a good Sunday morning, all. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s comments here on the www’s best movie discussion site. Sorry to hog up such a high % of the talkback so far. I swear it wasn’t my intent.

  33. Knox Harrington

    May 6th, 2012 at 3:38 am

    Fuckin knew Mark Ruffalo would nail it. That guy’s one of the most underrated actors working today.

    If you wanna see how good he can really be, check out YOU CAN COUNT ON ME. He’s phenomenal in it. I also love the fact that he can turn around and be a total believable hardass like he is in Collateral and In The Cut.

    And shit, man, just look at his CV: Zodiac, Shutter Island, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Kids Are Alright, Where The Wild Things Are, The Brothers Bloom, Blindness.

    Dude’s a legend, in my book.

  34. if I have one small complaint about the movie it’s that aliens are seriously getting played out, I mean why is every other movie about aliens? just in a little over year there have been seemingly dozens of movies about aliens

    I’m sure the alien bad guys are from the funny books and I also understand that aliens make sense as a significant threat for this team of superheros (what group of humans could possibly stand a chance against them?) but it did require an extra dose of suspension of disbelief and also I think I’m suffering from alien fatigue

  35. “Fuckin knew Mark Ruffalo would nail it. That guy’s one of the most underrated actors working today.”

    indeed, I was seriously impressed by his Bruce Banner

    Eric Bana and Edward Norton kinda played Bruce Banner as just this whiny, kinda irritating dude (especially Bana), Mark Ruffalo didn’t

  36. I already said I may have missed something in that last battle, but isn’t it a stretch to claim that Cap’n displays genius-level tactical ingenuity? I mean he can’t say more than a thing or two besides “go into the subway”…

    I really don’t see the military breakdown. They run around fucking shit up, destroying a bitch, etc. I don’t know military tactics but I know Dungeons and Dragons, and they were all Strikers. From the wiki: “Strikers are focused on mobility, dealing heavy damage to single targets and avoiding attacks. Some Striker classes and builds are focused towards either melee or ranged combat, however the role as a whole is not.” None of them functioned as Tank (sit front and center of battle, absorb damage so Strikers can implement attacks), Controller* (alter terrain, debuff enemies, AoE attacks), or Leader (buff allies). And there was a great opportunity for Thor to buff Iron Man with a power boost as already noted.

    *You could make an argument for Controller as far as Area of Effect goes, but not much. The X-Men seem to have more interesting tactical options in my opinion.

  37. renfield, Captain America gives each Avenger a specific task & purpose. In the heat of the battle, he efficiently assesses & takes control of the situation and efficiently systematically decisively gives orders to each Avenger in accordance with their respective strengths and the mission-critical needs of the moment. Plus the command he asserts over the lowly police officers, which you note, which was also critical.

    What he may [slightly] lack in tactical genius he makes up for in leadership.

    Infantry 101: Even if you are not sure what you’re doing, sound & look confident doing it and everything’ll be okay.

  38. I liked Stark’s shoarma line at the end that was funny

  39. It’s a rationalization to say that Captain America showed “great leadership” in this movie – or that he emerged as a great leader, or whatever. Yes, he impressed the cops. Yes, he gave some initial orders before the battle started. But really, how much did he matter? Both Hawkeye and Black Widow did more stuff in the final battle, and they don’t even have super powers. Am I wrong? I mean it’s cool to see him being brave while having a fraction of the powers that the others have (I thought Captain’s best scene was in the flying ship as he’s jumping around to help Iron Man restart the engine) but let’s be honest: his powers are miniscule compared to Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man, and the movie shows it.

    As for future Marvel movies go – Vern’s mention of maintaining the largess scale – I think as long as the movies are written and acted well and have good character scenes they can still be successful. For example, I think IRON MAN 3 should have the Hulk in it (co-starring Mark Ruffalo) and from now on, every Marvel movie they do should guest-star other super-heroes – just like they do in the comics.

  40. Just had another revelation, uh, maybe: 

    Captain America shows growth through the script in that initially he is behind the times, charmingly naive, readily admitting of the fact that there is much he does not know as a guy relatively fresh out of a 70 year coma. . . Note how happy he is to proclaim that the one reference he understands is the WIZARD OF OZ flying monkeys metaphor.  On everything else (but the Tesseract weapon capabilities), he’s clueless.  

    By the end, he is more assimilated, yes, but more importantly he abandons his naïveté.  He makes the deliberate choice to be of his time, to join the fight on its terms (even while wearing his ridiculous stars-n-stripes outfit), to meld his old school punching bag training regimen with the wonders of the advanced tools at his team’s disposal.  

    (This is the inverse of Iron Man’s character arc, as he moves from pure reliance on futuristic techno-superiority to, in his first finest moment, the very simple human trick of talking to one’s enemy man-to-man then to self-sacrifice via the yielding of power & mortality to an incoming nuclear missile.  Also, his suit gets really dinged up, forcing him to be more man than Iron Man.)  

    Note that Captain’s first act of heroism is to drop from the sky to save a German citizen who, if I may infer from the old man’s accent & age, was probably a WWII Nazi regime survivor.  “There are always men like you,” he resignedly but defiantly tells Loki, just before Cappy intercedes.  Here Captain Rogers is in his element, his old war, fighting directly for the old cause that defined WWII, and so his old timey values & qualities apply perfectly.  

    By the end, however, evolution of character is paramount, and indeed Captain America is up to the task — improvise, adapt, overcome and all that.  He loses a bet, pays up $10, and is immersed in hi-tech futuristic otherworldly stuff, where he is out of place (again, with the exception of his knowledge of Tesseract stuff) but able to impose his cheesy values as a stabilizing force within the team.  

    When the shit gets real, when the portal opens up over Manhattan, he then stops being such a hokey cornball (not totally, but, you know) and he very quickly becomes an adept modern warrior & warrior leader.  

    CPT America and Thor, by the way, suffer identical wounds.  (Unless I misremember?)  

    With the injury, has one of these guys devolved from demigod to mere man, a little pawn in the war raging out of his control around him?  

    Or has one of them ascended in status from mere man to near-god, king of the battlefield, commanding the victors in the war raging around him?  

  41. …sorry, continued…

    If they start co-starring heroes like that, we’ll get to enjoy the inter-character relations as they develop, which was the best part of THE AVENGERS.

    In fact, I think an IRON MAN/HULK movie could be better than this was. More time to focus on the characters and their struggles=better movie.

  42. Whedon has said that he’d want a sequel to not be trying to “top” the first one, but to actually be “smaller, more intimate and painfull” for the characters. Whether he gets to do that or not is another story…

    Great review Vern. You didn’t say “friend of the internet” once!
    Another small detail I liked about the depiction of the Hulk was how everyone took the threat of him seriously(except Loki). Even Thor, who’s fought bigger monsters, had an “oh shit” look on his face when he saw him for the first time.

    “Or maybe some variant of “motherfucker” coulda been squeezed in there.”
    Maybe it was my imagination, but during the shootout, doesn’t Fury say something like “No one’s getting on this mother*gunshot* bridge!”?

  43. You know, I’m the only one who’ll probably say this but I liked that Paltrow was in the movie. I think she has wonderful chemistry with RDJ and I think the comic sparks from them add to the appeal of Iron Man’s character. (Wise to cram her into the movie but not the other love interests because they’re unnecessary.)

    Slightly off-topic: I’m trying to think where they’re going with the next few Marvel releases. Shane Black’s IRON MAN 3 is going to involve China somehow (The Mandarin?) THOR 2 allegedly will skip Earth in favor of an outer space adventure in Asgardverse or whatever. CAPTAIN AMERICA 2, well let’s just assume the Angryest German w/o a Nose will show up again, probably a revived Hydra or something. (and cue more jokes about stuck in the future.)

    And in the seagalogy/potpourri thread, we were bullshitting a potential SHIELD movie with ScarJo and Renner and Jackson, which I think has decent potential, a spy thriller in a superhero universe. Or basically GI JOE without the crappy first (and hopefully not 2nd) movie. They could even find the revived Hydra as their arch-nemesis organization, and even sport a Cap cameo or something.

    Ah CA2, I’m sure we’ll get stuck with the traditional montage of Cap starting his day and making his run in Central Park, because instead of rock or rap blasting through his headphones on his iPod (which he has comic troubles with NYUCK! NYUCK!), it’ll be big band era music.

    Oh did I mention fish out of water gags? It’ll be the superpowered Crocidile Dundee.

    “FDR was a cripple?!?”

  44. Loved it. The true Marvel Universe, onscreen at last.

  45. I just thought of another CA2 scene that would be fascinating if they do it: Our polarized political America and what they would do with CA.

    The poor bastard could be on some talk show, probably one of those daily news shows like CROSS-FIRE used to be when you had the right-wing wanker and the left-wing wuss butting heads. You could see both sides try to hijack him (and what he represents) for their political battles, and he’s not wanting to get involved in this circus.

  46. Great review.

    I loved this movie, even though I had extremely high expectations, being a Joss Whedon fan and all. A big part of the experience was watching it with a big crowd, it`s been a long time since I`ve seen a so active audience, laughing and cheering all the right places. If I think about the movie it`s not that speciel, the story is underwhelming and doesn`t really make sense, but the execution is nearly flawless. It`s Evil Dead II of superhero-movies, pure entertainment with no depth whatsoever.

    As a filmsite dedicated to action-filmatism, I must point out that Joss Whedon have made the most rousing action-sequence of recent years. The movie starts out okay, gets more and more interesting, but from the point where Hawkeye attacks the carrier, it`s almost non-stop action for an hour and it just gets better and better from there on. It`s Mad Max II, Aliens, Raiders of The Lost Arc-good. Not that I think Avengers is as good as mentioned examples, but it has the same build and momentum.

    The script is excellent, but the story is not that exciting. I would still call The Incredibles the best super-hero movie ever, and Iron Man, Watchmen directors cut, Batman Returns, The Dark Knight and Spiderman are all better movies in my opinion, but The Avengers is exactly how it felt to read superhero-comics when I was 13 years old. It is, in a way, the purest superhero-movie made since Superman from `78. And yes, the most entertaining superhero-movie ever.

    Anyway, I have a couple of spoiler-questions.

    1) What exactly was Lokes plan? Did he get caught on purpose? Why did he need the Hulk? Or was it just an excuse to get Iron Man out of that new building of his? (I kinda zoned out with all the awesomeness, so the plot didn`t really register with me. But that certainly didn`t distract from my enjoyment of the movie.)

    2) What is the post credits scene? We didn`t get that in the international release (the one where the eat scharwarma?)

    Also, Hawkeye jumped of a building, but it was a kinda explody building, so he didn`t really have any choice.

    And the “puny god” scene is up there with Indiana Jones shooting the black guy with the sword in Raiders. I haven`t heard an audience laugh so hard before. That was absolutely genius.

  47. Stu – I wish Mr. Whedon luck with that but it’s kinda tricky to do when he sets up Thanos (boy did I mark like a loon at that) in this one. (SPOILER)

    Fred Topel was right on the money about this one in another talkback. I agree with pretty much everything he had to say there. But it sure was nice to finally get a decent Bruce Banner/Hulk on the screen. Now regular people could finally understand why I’ve always been such a fan of the character without me having to basically give them a speech explaining it to them cause he had mediocre movie versions.

  48. dna – Yeah that’s the post-credits sequence and it was funny as hell cause it was

    1) So random (you expected them have something more bombastic)

    2) Such a nice callback to earlier in the movie.

  49. Hey Vern, since you occasionally review stuff like THIS AIN’T AVATAR, any chance you’ll do AVENGERS XXX, too? You know, the one that has former WWE wrestler Chyna as She-Hulk?

  50. Also about Ed Norton; I personally thought he was boring as fuck in his HULK movie. That’s partly because of how Banner was written though same thing happened with Bana. However Ruffalo really sold the discipline and charisma that a man of science would have. I also liked that he went all mega and just motion captured the actual Hulk performance unlike the other guys. Added some real dimension and soul to the CGI.

  51. They actually EAT shoarma in the post-credits sequence? This has just become my fav movie ever.

    Shoarma is the food of the gods

  52. Toxic – I asked the same thing to Vern the other day. I think its kinda sad that everybody describes it as “the one where Chyna is She-Hulk.” Does this make her the Brock Lesner of porn?

    Anyway the experts are now claiming $200 million this weekend, or close to it.

  53. Broddie– FWIW, Ang Lee himself did a lot of the mo-cap havoc-wreaking in his Hulk, because he was never satisfied with the way it looked otherwise. Which I find amazing to envision.

  54. RRA – I don’t know, I just think the main appeal to Vern, or let’s say the best way to justify the movie’s presence on the site, is that it stars a former wrestler. That sort of makes it “badass cinema”. And I think she’s probably more like the Randy Couture of porn: likely to get a supporting role instead of a major one, but regardless of that, likely to be the most recognizable name on the poster if it’s a small production.

  55. Anyway. Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the fantasy asshole brother from THOR, has teamed up with some ugly alien dudes to fly through a magic portal on Green Goblin sky skis and a herd of giant flying robotic worms in an attempt to conquer the puny humans. I guess Asgardians are naive and don’t know you can control the world with a corporation. Or maybe they do know that but they just love the giant flying robotic worms. That would be a legitimate stance in my opinion.

    LOL. I love you Vern.

    My favorite sequence was when Loki gets all those Germans to bow to him, and then one old German stands up and says something like:

    “I’m done bowing to men like you.”

    “Ah, but there has been no man like me.”

    “There’s always men like you.”

    “Watch as I make an example of your Grandpa.”

    Captain America races in and saves German Grandpa with his shield.

    “Last time I was in Germany, we had to deal with a douchebag like you…”

    etc., etc.

    I wonder at how that scene played in Germany.

    Plus, this movie is so internationally popular, how does this propaganda character Captain America play elsewhere? Is it cool to watch heroic America again in the post-George Bush world?


    THANOS POST CREDITS?????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (oops, sorry, spoiler)

    I have this right now, standing 10 feet away from me in my garage, with Thanos as the final boss:


    Bought it cheap a decade ago. Shit, maybe I can make a profit on eBay, on the new relevancy of the mythos in this 17 year old coin operated videogame.

    Nah… I’m inspired.

    I’m going to go beat the crap out of Thanos with the Hulk right now. ;-)

    That’s the best part of movies like this, makes old farts like us feel like six year olds again.

    …And I saw this with my six year old, he approves!

  56. Whooaa! I sat there for almost the entire movie with a huge grin spread across my face. It really doesn’t get much better than that for fun at the ole’ multiplex.
    Nice review, but I gotta call BS on this not being as “rush-enducing” as Haywire, a film that would have been right at home as a pilot episode for TNT.
    And this movie has a ton of “oh shit” moments, compared to the one good one I can think of from Haywire, before I fell asleep from it’s insipid plot.

  57. Darth Irritable

    May 6th, 2012 at 11:18 am

    The movie was definitely more than the sum of parts, though the 3D added minimally. In shitty digital 3D parts were just disturbing. I shall not be watching The Amazing Spiderman Reduxbootimaginification in 3D based on the trailer I saw.

    Mouth – interesting analogy of Cap embracing Improvise, Adapt, Overcome. I wouldn’t have made that connection, but it seems remarkably apt, and I completely agree with the tactical disposition of forces based on specialties and the needs of the moment. It wasn’t really clear to me how much Hulk really understood (whether Banner was in the drivers seat or not), and whether Hulk… Smash, was the upper limit of command that could be given. I’d love to see this explored in the sequel. (Cap says “Hulk, go to the top of the Empire State Building and take out the command ship as it comes through the portal”. Hulk destroys the Empire state building and eats a pretzel stand.).

    Still not clear on Loki’s need for the Hulk. I can only assume that he was needed to go batshit crazy on the carrier to take Shield and the heroes out of commission. Ruffalo played him note-perfect. Unlike the misery-guts characters played by Bana and Norton, this felt like a character that was likeable, funny and tragic. It’s like he’s gone from the Chris Cornell of Super Hero movies to the Ozzy Osbourne (sans slurring, and dog poo on the carpet).

    I would love to see a series of Avengers movies where Thanos is the mastermind behind a sequence of events, and they get closer to finding this out over the course of the film, culminating in a final movie when he reveals himself and is destroyed.

    Where do you go after Thanos? Well the obvious.

    Avengers v. Blade.

  58. Thought the movie was great. The one minor nitpick would have to be the generic aliens at the end were very stormtrooper-like in that they were not much of a threat and easily taken out which lowered the stakes a bit in the climax.
    Have heard arguments it might be better if Hulk doesn’t get his own movie and just pops up in the other superhero movies. This way he can do his thing and be awesome and not wear out his welcome and have to worry about surrounding the plot around his character. I think I might agree with this.
    Another joke in this movie thought was hilarious was the one involving the old 80’s arcade game Galaga!

  59. Toxic – good point.

    So broddie and gang, explain something as a kid I never quite understood from the comics: If the Avengers were based in NYC at the Mansion, why weren’t Daredevil and Spider-Man members until I guess decades later?

    If I remember right, chronilogically Spider-Man had an initiation test by capturing the Hulk but let him go instead, and lost that membership opportunity. DD, I guess they hate the blind.

    If anything, in retrospect I’m surprised Stan Lee when he was writer/editor at Marvel never once put Spiderman with the Avengers (in contrast to what DC did with Justice League) when you would think that was just too much money to leave on the table. Unless he guessed that there was no need to put two golden eggs in the same basket. (Umm.)

  60. For myself, I only had one prerequisite for AVENGERS. Fun, and I had a ton of it. The good far outweighed my small reservations. I mean, yeah, Captain America got severely short changed in favor of making this basically Iron Man 3 with guest stars but look at the picture as a whole. So much cool, awesome, hilarious shit happens in this movie that my jaw was hanging open for most of the run time, either in laughter or in awe at the awesomeness on display.

    And yeah, the dramatic stakes could have been higher, with meaningful sacrifices and ominous overtones but I seriously feel that going that way could have actually hurt the film. The playful, spectacular, summer popcorn tone was, by far, the best way to envision these characters together. Trying to darken the proceedings with adult style drama could have sucked the fun right out of the movie.

    Having said that let me say a few words about an AVENGERS sequel (and you can be damn sure there will be a sequel). The sequel will be the place to heighten the dramatic stakes. In fact, I feel it’s the only direction for an Avengers sequel to go in to be successful. Now that the first film has cemented the friendships and the camaraderie and the fun of saving the world together it will be time to explore how deep a sacrifice these heroes are willing to make for the team. I would even go so far as to say it will be time for one of the heroes to fall in battle. It should probably be the Hulk. Banner is the most sympathetic character and Hulk is the most powerful. It makes sense that he should make the largest sacrifice since the very nature of his superpowers basically dooms him anyways. Death may actually be a welcome release for Banner. On the spectacle side of that equation, I can’t help but wonder what it would take to kill the Hulk. His sacrifice would have to be huge, epic in scope. Moving a planet, saving the galaxy, going toe to toe with Galactus or something crazy like that. I would love to see something like that get invested with real pathos. A balance of the epic with the intimate similar to Spock’s exquisite death in Wrath of Khan.

    But enough speculation. Back to the film at hand. After all the spectacle and fun what’s the main job this film accomplishes? It makes us like these characters. It makes want to follow along on this wild, improbable adventure because we enjoy seeing them interact. That’s job #1. To make us feel like part of the gang. Saving the world should be fun, otherwise, what’s the point? Having amazing super powers should be awesome! Hanging around with other super heroes should be awesome. And this movie explores that theme better than any other super hero film. The only other one that comes close for me was the animated JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER. The job of showcasing a crowd of egocentric super beings and making it make sense is a monumental task. By all rights, AVENGERS should have played like a dog’s breakfast. All mixed up. The fact that it at it at least tricks you into thinking it’s coherent is a brilliant plate spinning act. I’ve got to hand it to Joss Whedon for that one. He is the super glue that keeps this thing together. His ability to balance effective character acting with spectacular special effects will serve him very well in future projects. It’s a skill set we’ve been looking for in a director for a long time. Despite what Hollywood execs may believe, we have high standards for our summer movies. Avengers met those standards for the most part. It’s a huge success in my mind and may even be a game changer for the super hero genre.
    Nuff’ said.

    P.S. Bring on Thanos! Fuck yeah! I just about shit when he smiled at the camera.

  61. DD was never into the concept of running around with THE AVENGERS. The character is very much more comfortable running around solo. Of course Brian Michael Bendis doesn’t give a fuck about that which is why I haven’t read Most Marvel comics for almost a decade now.

    Spidey always worked MUCH better with the Fantastic Four than he did with The Avengers. Even now that he’s officially with the team it seems contrived where as him being in the Future Foundation seems organic cause they’ve always been his surrogate family.

  62. ^ @ RRA

    Oh yeah THE AVENGERS is now poised to make over a billion worldwide. Congratulations on passing on George Miller’s JL movie WB.

  63. I liked it a bunch. I actually think I’m going to like it more over time. I went into it with pretty high hopes, and while they were satisfied, it didn’t really give me that giddy kick in the pants that some movies do, probably because it just didn’t have the shock and awe of real people doing real shit that many of my favorite movies of the year so far have had. I just don’t get as excited for epic CGI as I once did, as well done as it was. I want to see it again soon, though, because I think there are a million little moments worth rediscovering and savoring. It’s the closest thing to what Tarantino would call a “hangout movie” that the superhero genre has to offer. The biggest fun is just spending time with these larger-than-life weirdos as they try to get along.

    As a longtime Whedon fan, I’m thrilled to see him finally land himself a monster hit. His other works are beloved far out of proportion to their popularity, so it’s rewarding to feel like I wasn’t crazy all that time. There really was something special and universal that he brought to the table. He just needed the right concept to get it across. Also, it was fun to count all the themes in the movie that he’d already dealt with in his various shows. You had the cranky old guy out of time who doesn’t get the modern world (Angel), the ally who gets turned to the dark side and then comes back to redeem himself (Angel again), the tyranny of free will (Jasmine), the godlike being made hilarious by banality (Illyria), the human wrecking machine who’s afraid to use his/her massive powers because they’ve gone wrong in the past (Willow), the hero who must throw him or herself into a blue portal in the sky to stop the monsters from spilling out (Buffy), the inhuman blond ally who speaks hilariously literally (Anya), the shady government agency devoted to facing superhuman threats (the Initiative), the boy scout who learns the limits of his loyalty to that agency (Riley), the behind-the-scenes powers who don’t understand the war they’re waging (the Watchers Council), and the paternal figure who sides with the troops on the ground, not the people who pay his salary (Giles). Plus a general sympathy for the sidekicks of the world like Coulton and Special Agent Robin Scherbatsky (Xander). Throw in some lesbians and musical numbers and you’d have the most Whedonesque thing ever.

    I also agree that Ruffalo is the best Hulk. For the first time, Banner and Hulk feel like the same character, not like the actor goes out for a smoke while the special effects team takes over. I don’t think “I’m angry all the time” changes anything. I think it shows that he can become the Hulk whenever he wants because the rage is always in him, but when he gets super pissed off it happens involuntarily. That doesn’t mean he can shut it off at will, though, so it makes sense that he would try to be the mellowest guy possible, not all angsty and prickly like other interpretations.

    I’m also not sure how the HUlk fit into Loki’s plans or why the Hulk decided to play nice at the end, other than he recognized that there were bigger asses to kick than his fellow Avengers. I think it was just a case of Hulk’s goals happily coinciding with the greater good. His SPOILY hilarious sucker punch of Thor proved that he still hadn’t totally forgiven them for pissing him off earlier.

    I agree with whoever said that Gwyneth added something to the movie. I think her one dialogue scene was kind of crucial, actually, because it humanized Agent Coulton in a big way. I mean, we learned his first name wasn’t “Agent,” for one, and it gave him a life beyond being Exposition Guy. Considering his big moment is the turning point in the movie, I think Gwyneth did a lot of heavy lifting in that scene in a very sneaky way. Also, she looked great in those cutoffs, which pulled double duty storywise by showing how comfortable she’d gotten with Stark since the days when she only wore pencil skirts and blazers around him. If they only had time to import one love interest from the other movies, they definitely made the right call.

  64. “Plus, this movie is so internationally popular, how does this propaganda character Captain America play elsewhere? Is it cool to watch heroic America again in the post-George Bush world?”

    BR Baraka – If I remember right, CAPTAIN AMERICA was released in China, Russia and a handful of other markets as simply THE FIRST AVENGER. I don’t know how that works considering the movie’s ad campaign clearly has a walking flag, but whatever.

    But as an optimistic (and biased American), I like to think Cap is seen overseas at worst an amusing jingoistic symbol, at best a vague symbol of what America can be at its best.

    Reminds me of that notable anecdote about smartass French Marvel fans writing to the staff asking why Captain America aint fighting in Vietnam. Now that’s funny.

    “That’s the best part of movies like this, makes old farts like us feel like six year olds again.
    …And I saw this with my six year old, he approves!”

    You nailed it for me! You know those kids who’re going to see this, in 20 years they’ll be bitching on the OuterNet about how Hollywood don’t make good summer movies anymore.

    “Thought the movie was great. The one minor nitpick would have to be the generic aliens at the end were very stormtrooper-like in that they were not much of a threat and easily taken out which lowered the stakes a bit in the climax.”
    delbert grady – I considered that invasion a big plot device, nothing more. Which was fine since the “villain” was Loki. So I’m fine with a generic plot device as long that bulk villainy has some sort of face to it. basically like Hydra was in CAPTAIN AMERICA.

    Darth Irritable – Yes but it would have to begin with the Avengers busting Blade out of prison for tax evasion.
    Come to think of it, all these big nerd releases allegedly flood the Internet with fanfiction galore. I’m sure some kid right now is trying to write his alternative AVENGERS finale where all the local Marvel bigwigs in NYC not prevented due to film rights sold away jump in to kick ass from Spider-Man to Daredevil to Fantastic Four to Wolverine (not a local, but why not?) to Punisher to Blade and so forth.

    Hopefully without any of them enjoying a random, awkward gay sex scene during the battle. “My my Blade, I never knew your sword was THAT big.” “Same with your gun, Mr. Castle.”

  65. psychic_hits – I haven’t seen that movie in a while. FWIW I liked it better than the other one though neither comes close to really delivering on the character’s cinematic potential. But hearing that just gave me another reason to actually revisit. That’s pretty damn inspired indeed.

  66. Broddie – Don’t forget that WB didn’t just drop the ball by canning JUSTICE LEAGUE. They also canned Joss Whedon’s WONDER WOMAN several years ago too. But obviously GREEN LANTERN was a wise move instead. *LOLZ* Seriously I can’t think of good feature film move of theirs in the last decade with their DC Comics that doesn’t involve Nolan somehow. (Shit I hate Zack Snyder, but who knows maybe his Superman movie might work?)

    Mr. Majestyk – Ineed about Paltrow. Love interests in such movies are arbitrary, but if IMDB (as reliable as Prince’s future plans) is correct and RDJ did indeed lobby successfully to get her into the movie, he was right and Whedon was right to agree. I guess its like Batman is alot interesting and less human without his surrogate dad Alfred having to help and deal with this stupid superhero shit.

    Come to think of it, we’ve had many hero mvoies in the last 12+ years yes? I might have to believe Paltrow has been the only interesting love interest as a person, and not just an obligatory prop for the hero. Not even Nolan’s pretty damn good BATMAN movies were that successful on that front. I’m amused by a normal person working in that superhero world without being a hero or having powers, and dealing with everything that comes with it. Paltrow fits that deal.

    Darryll – I enjoyed JUSTICE LEAGUE: NEW FRONTIER. Funny but that movie’s Green Lantern was slick and more fascinating than how the live action movie did it. Ryan Reynolds was Tony Stark without the humor, Bruce Wayne without the humanity, just boring as fuck. Now NEW FRONTIER, having your superhero be a fighter pilot who was dismissed basically for being a coward because his pacifist nature refused to kill anybody…that’s a risky concept that movie actually pulled off.

  67. “alot less interesting” I meant with Batman.

  68. RRA – To their credit and even Whedon admitted this he wasn’t a good fit. A lot of his ideas just didn’t jive with the concept of WW at all. With that said view post 5 in this thread and on for a quick synopsis of JLM before it got canned and at a point where it didn’t even get the more polished rewrites cause of the strike


    It sounds as epic and outlandishly awesome with certain setpieces as THE AVENGERS movie ended up being and it would’ve had an enthusiastic (something Martin Campbell was NOT about Green Lantern) George Miller at the helm? oh but the internet hated the cast & it didn’t tie into BATMAN BEGINS and SUPERMAN RETURNS so fuck that. I’m glad disney is styling with their receipts all over the einstein over at WB that thought that would be a sharp idea.

  69. Since we’re talking box-office and AVENGERS just hulk smashing the shit out of Harry Potter’s record weekend…

    Look at the upcoming releases:

    May 11 – Dark Shadows

    May 16 – The Dictator

    May 18 – Battleship
    What To Do When You’re Expecting

    May 25 – Men in Black 3
    Moonrise Kingdom

    June 1 – Snow White & the Huntsman
    Piranha 3DD

    June 8 – Madagascar 3

    I copy and paste that up there because jesus AVENGERS is a beast. What any of those releases could topple it #1? No way DARK SHADOWS will, not when some are boldly predicting AVENGERS will hit an ungodly 100 million next weekend. Too optimistic but its possible.

    BATTLESHIP? Don’t make me laugh. DICTATOR? OK that looks funny but #1? No. I really think MEN IN BLACK 3, to Mouth’s sadness, will be the one to dethrone AVENGERS. I mean a month is a friggin long time. If logic is defied and AVENGERS retains the belt, then SNOW WHITE will do it.

    I’m pretty confident PROMETHEUS will be #1 on its weekend, only because thats one of the most anticipated titles for many folks, especially those non-nerd folks who could care less about people dressed in spandex.

  70. Oh and I could think of some excellent non-Batman movies based on DC Comics publishing from the last few years. V FOR VENDETTA, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and ROAD TO PERDITION quickly spring to mind. Of course only one of those was distributed by WB.

  71. Broddie – Shit you’re right about VFV, that was DC Comics. Same with RED, which I actually kinda enjoyed.

  72. In terms of AVENGERS box office: Did you know that it only opened on #2 in Germany last week and lost to AMERICAN REUNION, which started on the same weekend here?

  73. CJ – Holy shit and the winning movie had the word AMERICA somewhere in it’s title to boot. Kinda surprising.

  74. CJ – Yeah I read that, and Slovenia too at least. Why does your continent love those damn AMERICAN PIE movies? I especialyl considering how traditionally American comedies don’t do that well over there.

  75. My theory is because there were WAY more 2D screening of AMERICAN REUNION than THE AVENGERS. But maybe it’s just me.

  76. CJ – I credit boobs.

  77. …and Stifler. I really feel that deep down inside everybody loves Stifler.

  78. broddie – I believe you’re absoluetly right.

  79. Broddie- I like the Lee one a lot too, even though it has its moments of extreme goofiness (“Remember my bad knee? Now it’s my good knee!”). The first time I saw it was from an NYC street bootleg a few weeks before its theatrical run— it had some unfinished effects, but it also had about three times as many ‘comic-booky’ editing choices than the theatrical cut did, and it’s a real shame they didn’t keep it the way it was. The freeze frame on Josh Lucas’s (spoiler) death, in particular, was so much more over-the-top and cool. I actually skipped the Norton one because Lee’s has been so maligned over the years that I now practically feel protective of the damn thing! Hope it doesn’t disappoint when you re-watch.

  80. First; your response to the first post is hilarious and garners some sympathy and B; while I have no details whatsoever, I’ve heard that the studio said no to Ed Norton who was apparently on board with the Avengers.

  81. “I don’t know man, I just like seeing a big growling monster run through an office, makin everybody shit their pants. It’s satisfying.” is the best possible capsule review of this film.

  82. Loki excellent.

    Props to them for getting the word ‘quim’ into a superhero movie. Also some dubious humour about Loki being adopted. Outrage!

    It was a fun film, though.

  83. How Paramount is making money off Disney’s AVENGERS (without doing dick)


  84. psychic_hits – The other one was OK if you’re a fan of the old TV series cause quite a few things from that. I also think Super Soldier Tim Roth moved a lot better in combat than Captain America ended up doing. But it still had a mopey Banner with no charisma and real sense of humanity. Just a very stoic character but not in an interesting way like Batman. It also feels very hacknyed and unfocused a lot of the time.

    I think Lee’s movie is just a much better piece of cinema in a lot of ways. Definitely looking forward to revisiting it especially with that extra piece of insight since the Hulk in the other movie had no mo-cap and you feel the weightlessness and soullessness of it all more so because of that.

    RRA – Well now I wouldn’t it’s an unfair thing either. I think they deserve it for one reason and one reason alone. When Marvel was trying to set up a movie studio NOBODY including Disney themselves wanted to take a shot at them. It was Paramount that said “sure” and distributed the movies that have now built them clout as a legitimate studio and not just another production company.

    For that alone they deserve compensation especially since they won’t profit off any other Marvel Studios venture from here on out anyway. They were the ones who planted the seeds for THE AVENGERS concept. They’re the ones who spent their marketing dollars pre-empitvely hyping THE AVENGERS up years before it’s release.

    It was the success of the first of those movies in the first place due in part to how well Paramount marketed IRON MAN that prompted Disney to buy Marvel Comics in the first place. So I don’t think it’s fair for people to now slight them for making money off of this. It’s not like the WATCHMEN situation they were involved with a couple of years back at all.

  85. I’m very happy to see that The Avengers is making even more money than the Transformers movies, finally a movie that deserves to make gigantic amounts of money, gives me hope….

    anyway I will give the Lee Hulk one thing, it was very pretty to look at, nice bright comic booky colors

  86. Guys, if they make AVENGERS 2 more “character drama” and “intimate,” the fans (gen. Audience or nerds) will complain it went too dark. I, of course, will love it. It will be my THE LOST WORLD of the Marvel franchises.

    Broddie, thanks for acknowledging my post in the Morlocks thread. I continued with some thoughts near the top here. Did you get a chance to read those?

  87. Fred – Yeah Fred I did. I completely agree that there was no tension or suspense because it was quite obvious who was going to bite the dust. The only thing that made me feel was “ha ha Loki just got real” and not any sense of pathos towards the other guy. With that said as a comic book reader I also remember S.H.I.E.L.D. makes Life Model Decoys of their best so that’s what I see coming if they still have that character in mind.

    The Hulk thing was explained already. It’s not so much that he’s all zen on the inside but that he’s achieved a level of rage control where he doesn’t have to Hulk out all the time even if he’s still always unhappy with his situation. He copes with his affliction. I thought it was a nice touch. Went a long way towards distinguishing it from Bana and Norton and make it closer to the comic book character on film.

    I do have a problem with Cap in this movie. They made him too assholey like his ULTIMATES depiction. I liked the Cap solo cause he was more like his milquetoast comic book self. I think what he told Stark as well said but even later on Stark was like “You know what man I’ve grown to respect you” and Cap is like “whatever”. He came across kind of douchey though he had a lot of great moments and I really can’t wait to see the Peggy Carter scenes on the home video release. I think those would’ve gone a long way towards being a nuanced way of looking at Cap post FIRST AVENGER and bringing closure to that thread.

  88. Upon 2nd viewing, my theories about the connectedness of Thor & Captain America are stronger than I initially realized. In Thor’s first scene, he jumps out of the airplane, then Iron Man flies out of the airplane, then Captain America straps on the parachute and jumps out of the airplane. That shot of Captain Rogers diving into the night sky flows into a cut to a shot of Thor’s landing with Loki in his grasp. We skip Iron Man in this sequence. We jump straight from Rogers jumping toward the camera in the sky to Thor finding ground. The 2 are visually linked. It’s good editing, and it adds something to the characters & themes.

    This connection will be substantiated at the end of the Manhattan climax. As I said before, both Thor & Cappy suffer identical injuries (penetrated under the front left side of their rib cages), and there is a close up shot of their forearms & hands entwined when Thor helps Captain America up off the ground. It’s not just a badass brotherhood moment; it’s another deliberate visual technique to demonstrate how close these 2 characters are, how they are parallels, 2 Sean Archers.

    And they each have a Castor Troy as well. Their antagonists are parallels. Loki fights Thor, while Tony Stark pisses off Captain Rogers.

    Loki is a fallen [adopted] son of a king, a troubled egomaniac who doesn’t realize he’s not meant to rule.

    Tony Stark is the son of a civilian war hero & innovator, and, though he continues the Stark corporate empire [or kingdom, in tandem with the US government, which also betrays him with the secretive Phase II stuff (just as Odin betrayed Loki by not telling about his real parentage)], he too is unable to see the ramifications of his actions outside of that which directly affects his ego.

    Thor tells Loki lessons on what it means to rule a people, that it doesn’t mean superiority through violent despotism, that it requires restraint & self-sacrifice rather than mass subservience. He tells him that a king isn’t better than his subjects. Thor knows all this from personal experience, from his previous Marvel movie.

    Captain America tells Stark, “You wouldn’t make the sacrifice play.” And he tells him, “I know guys who don’t have any of that [the suit, billionaire status, technological genius] who are worth 10 of you.” He knows all this from personal experience, from his previous Marvel movie.

    So their antagonistic counterparts are very similar. Of course, good beats evil, so Captain America’s counterpart ends up listening, heeding Rogers’s call to “make the sacrifice play,” to lay on the wire and let the other guy cross, to guide the nuke through the portal.

    And Loki repeatedly fails to heed Thor’s many generous warnings and attempts to get him to change. Loki also is being controlled & coerced by the aliens, which are obviously a less benevolent force than Mrs. Potts, who partly controls & coerces Tony Stark in a way. So there are other factors.

    Eventually Thor & S.H.I.E.L.D. use the power of science to contain & ship off Loki. Last shot of Loki is him grabbing the energy cube thingy and departing for his outer space punishment. His imprisonment is enforced via to the most technologically advanced futuristic shit available. Thor is ultimately silent in this scene; he finally seems to give up his attempts to reform or reach out to his brother’s better angels. Communication has failed. Loki hasn’t changed.

    Conversely, Stark removes himself from overreliance on energy cubes and science. The last shot of Stark shows him & Potts wiping away a hologram, then a zoom out to reveal rubble, earthy debris, and decidedly lo-fi construction equipment and paint buckets. You might say that he’s embracing that which is “old-fashioned.” Captain America’s wholesomeness rubs off on him, despite Iron Man’s core egotism & hardheadedness. Communication succeeds. Stark changes.

    His giant “STARK” building label, that gaudy Donald Trump mark of egotism, is broken down to a single letter to represent a team.

  89. Yeah Mouth Thor and Cap are bros. They’re basically the 2 fish out of water characters. It was a nice touch how Whedon included all the Marvel Comics bromance elements from the funny books. Scientists bonded and geeked out with scientists, fish out of water rolled with fish out of water and the not so much a bromance assassins bond with each other and want in on each other’s asses.

  90. I also really liked the shot of Loki overlooking the first confrontation between Iron Man and Thor. His facial expression is perfect, like all at once
    he’s amused by the scuffle,
    he’s scornful of Iron Man’s intervention,
    he’s surprised he’s in this mess,
    he’s looking ahead to his next move,
    he’s resigned to the indignity of captivity,
    he’s hoping his brother Thor gets beat up,
    he’s expecting Thor to dominate with his superior Asgaardian fighting skills,
    and he’s proud of his brother Thor for winning the fight.

    All that in Loki’s bright eyes and reluctant grin, just one quick look. Impressive acting & editing, that.

  91. Yeah, Broddie, the scientist-bonding stuff was obvious. There’s a shot where Tony & Dr. Banner are literally face to face with a transparent digital monitor between them. John Woo might have been more subtle than that.

  92. Now I want to see a John Woo 3D action movie. If only for the doves.

  93. Neither Scarlett Johansson nor the other gorgeous chick in the tight black uniform is the hottest lady in THE AVENGERS, by the way. That honor belongs to Jenny Agutter. Go see WALKABOUT immediately if you doubt me.

    Loki’s final p-o-v shot reveals Black Widow to be handling the spear, the “glowstick of destiny,” I think Stark calls it. This makes sense, as she proved herself adept at picking up & utilizing the alien weaponry throughout the Manhattan battle. I like that about her character — that she’s only a puny human but she adapts in order to acquire superhero status.

    However, her ability to time a perfect jump off Cappy’s shield to grab a passing flying alien craft was a bit absurd. And I don’t know how she lands with accuracy and doesn’t injure herself when she lands on Stark tower.

    One last little thing that bothered me was, (and my friend Fred agreed with me about this earlier above) the script totally abandoned the sentiment of the one great, truly earned emotional moment, in my opinion, of all the previous Marvelverse films. I’m referring to when Thor breaks the bridge to the portal. It’s a great scene, a heartbreaker, an example of Thor’s hammer as a tool for both force & peace, a source of pain & burden and a savior simultaneously. And it’s a massive sacrifice and a painfully blueballian denial of a lot of potential sexy times with Natalie Portman.

    “Jane! Forgive me!”
    {*brings down hammer*}

    Such a good scene in Kenneth Branagh’s movie, and this AVENGERS sweeps it away like it meant nothing.

    CAPTAIN AMERICA’s ending was sad, too, (“I had a date.”), but the movie that preceded it was garbage and there’s no chance he’ll reunite with whatsherface anyway.

    Still, like Mr. Majestyk has said, I’m glad they didn’t have much any romantic subplot bullshit, and I’m glad 99% of the focus was on performing the mission to beat the bad guys in spectacular, fun fashion. That’s still bullshit what they did to Thor’s story (and Branagh’s direction), though. Fuck you, Joss Whedon. Oh shit, is this nerdrage? Is this what nerd rage feels like?

  94. Fred Topel – we think Thanos is for AVENGERS 2, but here’s an alternative idea….Namor.

    Mouth – brilliant shit son.

    Broddie – only when doves cry. (Get it? A pun on”when pigs fly” but with doves.)

  95. Mouth – as someone who kinda enjoyed THOR, I didn’t mind that creative cheat by Whedon. I mean if the bridge was fixed, then wouldn’t the Asgard military have ended the movie quicker?

    Of course I hope this doesn’t set up the obligatory scene in THOR 2 when Natalie Portman bitches at him for not making a booty call while he’s on Earth. Right?

    Without looking, I have a wild bet: all those other Marvel movies directly connected to AVENGERS are gonna be flooding the Netflix top rental categories. Just a hunch.

  96. And for the record, was I the only local (asides from Vern) who enjoyed the cornball shit that was CAPTAIN AMERICA? Jesus Vern nailed it, it was practically Marvel’s ROCKETEER.

  97. Hey, CAPTAIN AMERICA: FIRST AVENGER’s terrific. Before AVENGERS it was the second best Marvel Movie after Iron Man. (Now it’s probably third best–I suspect AVENGERS has surpassed IRON MAN.)

    Reg. Thor and Cap: They’re also the two who have seen the most combat; and represent heroes and legends from a time before superheroes. They’re not only a link to the past but a link to the stories of the past.

  98. IRON MAN is still their best movie tbh. It’s the most balanced and focused. I liked TA but it did feel unfocused and dragged at points. The madness of the last hour really saves it though. Best superhero movie action ever. It’s everything that TRANSFORMERS wishes it was.

    TFA was alright. I liked Cap himself in the movie more than the movie itself as whole. Lack of nazis and underplaying of the Red Skull brought it down. It had that cool milquetoast cornball vibe that was badly needed in it though.

  99. I kinda liked CAP. It could have been gone more cornball, in my opinion, and as pure spectacle it was mediocre, but it was decent overall. My mom enjoyed it, which I think is a good sign. A movie named CAPTAIN AMERICA should be mom-friendly, in my opinion.

  100. I get it. Banner can hulk out whenever he wants, but he’s also susceptible to involuntary hulk outs.

    I actually hated THOR so I actually find it hollow in that movie since we all knew AVENGERS was coming.

    Again, this movie totally fulfills my “because it’s awesome” rule so I have to forgive it, and the holes are probably the more acceptable alternative (the other being über geeky technical explanations that only the comic strip fans understand.)

    But Loki’s scepter is a copout, one that’s not acknowledged with a a clever quip like many others. And are they missing a scene where they grab the scepter from the level below?

    And Scarlett’s reverse interrogations are cool but that doesn’t make her a fully dimensional character. I think she’s still the stereotypical action heroine using her wily charms on bad men (ALIAS anyone?) am I the only one who wasn’t surprised in her scene with Loki? It was just well established that was her power. Her introduction in the movie was like the kick boxer scene in SNAKES ON A PLANE only this time they remembered to pay it off by having her use her power later.

    And the cross cutting, can we talk about that? Is it striving for excellence to intercut simultaneous action or more excellent to focus on one badass fight before moving on? This applies to all modern films.

    I’m making myself the lone voice of dissent on a movie I actually liked. The Hulk’s moments with both Loki and Thor were the perfect cappers to “villain monologuing” and “brothers from battle” stereotypes.

  101. Captain America was alright, but it was overlong and as Broddie said needed more actual Nazis (since when is having actual Nazis as the bad guys suddenly taboo?)

    plus it had a strangely Politically Correct version of WW2, remember the Asian guy from Fresno? yeaaaaaaah I think he would be in an internment camp, not out fighting in the war

  102. JD – If I have one serious complaint against CAPTAIN AMERICA, an otherwise decent movie, its that I think Marvel short-changed themselves creatively.

    I could see two movies of Cap’s WW2 adventures, and really I get that Frankenstein vibe of Marvel stitching both movies’ husk into one. Imagine the 2nd movie, the WHERE EAGLES DARE-esque pacing and suspense with the final assault against the Red Skull’s lair. You could even play around with the rich WW2 history, whether the Soviets or the usually cinema-ignored Balkan theatre or hell even a Hydra branch in Japan or whatever. You’re pretty open.

    Oh well. Still I liked it. Too bad the Summer ’12 schedule was breathing down their necks.

    Broddie – Funny but I never had a problem with Hydra subbing in for Nazis since in my view, Hydra were super-ideologically-faithful Nazis who decided to ditch the losing hypocrite (Hitler) and instead backed a real life walking and talking ubermensch Aryan German and his Godly weapons/tech.

    Of course that did open up that logic hole of why a violent paranoid dictatorship like Nazi Germany would allow Hydra to go operate in its own private corner without retaliation for Red Skull’s defiant divorce. Sure Skull has those super weapons, but as the finale showed, overwhelming armed force defeated his fortress and army. Quantity overwhelms quality sometimes.

    Or again as I bitched in the CA thread last year, why attack NYC instead of say London or Moscow? Vaporizing either capital would’ve really been a severe setback for the Allies. Of course I guess Big Red was just really pissed at Stevie.

  103. one of my biggest complaints was I thought the Hydra soldiers looked really, really dumb, as if their whole design idea was “let’s try to make them look as un-Nazi like as possible” instead of cool

  104. I really loved this far more than I expected. It was a great reminder of what prompted kids to pick up that Avengers #1 issue back in 1963. It also delivered the kind of large-scale comic book action I’ve been wanting more of ever since Superman II. There are times when you want to see a complex story featuring a superhero and then there are times when you just want to see Hulk smash stuff.

    As for the comments on Nolan, his approach may be valid, but I’m definitely ready to see a new take on the material. As I sat watching Thor and Hulk battle each other on a flying battleship(!), I found myself wishing Batman could get a film that fully respects the material but isn’t afraid to embrace the character’s rich and fantastical mythology. (I had the same thought while playing the recent Arkham Asylum/City videogames.) Yeah, yeah, it’s been great watching the character’s psychological aspects explored, but if I had needed Batman to be firmly grounded in reality, I never would’ve become a fan in the first place.

  105. I’m pro-cross-cutting multiple action scenes, especially when it’s done well, like in BLADE II and AVENGERS. In the case of AVENGERS, the cross-cutting wasn’t limited to just the violent parts, so it all worked as a consistent filmatistic choice.

    Recall Loki’s mini-monologue about the red on Black Widow’s ledger — there’s a nifty dramatic montage of the other characters reacting to the sentiment of dealing with the pain of one’s past (Captain America peering at old WWII enemy gear, etc.), visually edited over Loki’s speech.

    That’s one of my favorite techniques, overlaying seemingly incongruous parts of the script on to unexpected visuals, allowing the sound from one shot to bleed to a very different shot, like near the beginning of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION when the terrorist is describing his mission and making his demands in person and then it smoothly becomes background voiceover for different action visuals.

  106. Griff – I disagree. Like every other henchman army for every Hitler-esque wannabe world conqueror we’ve gotten in fiction since WW2, they’ve got a fascist design which deemphasized individuality in favor of one look, one nation, one army that will destroy you. Think Storm Troopers, SPECTRE, etc.

    Jake – I do hate this idea out there that there is ONLY ONE WAY to make a genre. I mean I’ve loved what Nolan’s done with Batman. I’ve also enjoyed (more or less with varying degrees) the Marvel releases. Two different schools of thought and execution, both work. Spider-Man aint Batman. Batman aint Captain America, etc.

    I mean its like 1970s rock. You had the prog “art rock” of Pink Floyd, the campy good time of Queen and Wings, the halloween party of KISS, the rockin’ balls to the walls Led Zeppelin, the headbanging punk rockers with their complaints (broad and political), and so forth.

    Alot of that was pretty damn good stuff, regardless of your personal preference.

  107. RRA – They still left it open enough that they could explore WWII adventures in future Cap movies through flashbacks. Which is a good thing.

    Griff – Yeah they reminded me of Raul Julia’s henchmen from STREET FIGHTER. I much prefer the crazy spy wetsuit like garb they wear in the comics to that low rent Storm Trooper meets color dye BS.

  108. Oh and Mouth props on the segue into a DTV classic considering how the DTV thread got taken over by AVENGERS talk it seems quite just.

  109. I know I’ll probably regret saying this but I’m waiting to read what Asimov-Lives thought of the Avengers. Cringe.

  110. Darryll – actually in the Seagalogy thread that we used to talk the movie before Vern reviewed it, AsimovLives said he quite enjoyed it. Complimented Whedon and everything. And no lame pun nicknames. (“Joss Weed On!”)

    Sorry if that anti-climax deflated your balloon.

  111. I won’t take the bait Washington Post. Politics is something that I usually refuse to discuss.

  112. The opening quote of that WaPo piece is incorrect. That was the edited version of what Dr. Banner says in the preview, but it’s different in the movie. Lazy journalism.

  113. So guys, explain to me why people hate Singer’s Superman and Lee’s Hulk.

    Also answer me this: X-Men and Avengers, they take place in different realities right? Is there like an overarching Marvel Universe that accounts for both of their existences or is it just separate shit?

    “since when is having actual Nazis as the bad guys suddenly taboo?” Since Inglorious Basterds.

    Superhero movie with legitimate romantic subplot? The perpetually underappreciated Unbreakable. Also probably Darkman. It was a huge focal point also in Raimi’s Spidey trilogy but I am deeply ambivalent about those films.

    Mouth, I feel your analyses for the most part. I sort of want to insist that insofar as the Avengers have a degree of specialization, it could have been better realized in the final battle. I think part of the problem is what one commenter suggested, which is that the aliens were weak tea/not challenging enough on an individual basis. They’re not really forced to step up their game to defeat them, you know? Biggest threat ultimately comes from the nuke.

    Your prognosis of Iron Man’s progress as a cool dude is right on the cash. I’m a minority on this but I fucking hated the Iron Man movies. Although I didn’t finish the second one, let me know if I’m missing out on anything that would change my opinion. But the issue is that aside from escaping the prison in the proto suit, there’s not one moment in these movies where you feel like Mr. Man is in any danger whatsoever. It’s like playing a video game with the cheats turned on. RDJ doesn’t help things by never being worried and by being such a cocky bastard.

    Plus whenever you see his face, you don’t really feel as though he’s actually flying around in a suit. In fact I highly suspect that he’s just in a dark room with a camera in his face and little LCD displays CG’d in later.

    Plus there’s the whole issue that at least the first one is several degrees more jingoistic than even CA: TFA in that they take for granted that, say, people in the middle east are just sitting around waiting for a White God to drop in and save their ass. Cap’n felt the need to qualify and justify its patriotism, say stuff like “this is good patriotism and this is just bullying,” etc.

    So long story short, I appreciated a) juxtaposition of Stark among superpeers to demonstrate that other people besides me think he’s a dick, such as the far more heroic Cap’n, and b) his suit always malfunctioning and shit, and c) his awesome gambit of stepping out of the suit, offering Loki a drink, taking the leap of faith, and an atypically subtle RDJ moment of his sort of like “are you fucking kidding me?” look, like wow, this suit is really not going to power on in time for me to not smash into these pedestrains…whew, nevermind! More vulnerable Iron Man, doesn’t let him off the hook for his character flaws and tasks him with overcoming them, etc.

    Good call on Loki’s grin as he watches the three dudes fighting. That stood out for me as a huge amount of character nutrition packed into like 12 frames as well. Combine with “i’ll take that drink now” and it’s that much needed relief from Loki being all emo and fulfilling his characters’ (and the actual norse god’s) promise of being a fucking trickster with a sense of humor and shit. Also I think he looks like Jared Leto, not that other dude you mentioned.

    I also had some thoughts about the Asgard bridge getting knocked out and how they dismissed that shit, but we’re running long so I’ll hit y’all back.

  114. renfield – on the Marvel universe, the one AVENGERS plays in self-contained the following movies since ’08:

    IRON MAN 2

    Because of film rights sold off seperately to other studios, Marvel titles like X-MEN and DAREDEVIL and GHOST RIDER and PUNISHER and SPIDER-MAN and FANTASTIC FOUR and so forth are not part of the “Avengers” universe, they’re sputtered in their own corners unrealted to each other.

    If all of them were togehter in the same “Avengers” universe, you’ve seen such tie-ins like:

    *Captain America was Spider-Man’s favorite superhero growing up, his role model.

    *Spider-Man is also a fan/admirer of the Fantastic Four, even joined them at one point in the comics. Broddie, wasn’t Spidey also chummy with the Human Torch?

    *Spider-Man and Daredevil are buddies, civilian and hero life. Both also shared the same supervillain: Kingpin. I can’t remember the beat reporter in Daredevil comics that also was in the movie, but he worked for the Daily Bugle, which Peter Parker works at too.

    *Punisher and Daredevil patrol (if I remember right) Hell’s Kitchen, thus come into frequent conflict with each other more or less since Daredevil beats up alot of the same Kingpin/mob goons that Punisher wastes.

    *One of the great Garth Ennis PUNISHER moments: Punisher shoots Wolverine in the balls and then blows him up, which Wolverine with his stupid powers survives. My memory also is telling me Wolverine and SPiderman and others tried to form the “new” Fantastic Four with each other after the real FF disapeared.

    *Punisher once also had a drugged Bruce Banner forcefed plastic explosives, which then exploded when inside Hulk. (No really.)

    *Spider-Man once had an Avengers-sanctioned mission to capture the Hulk, but felt bad for him and let him escape. This costs him Avengers membership.

    *During the Civil War storyline from years back, Punisher took over the Captain America gimmick when Steve Rogers was killed off.

    What else gang?

  115. renfield – I’m probably the biggest Superman fan on here and I loathe Singer’s Superman for several reasons but most importantly because of Superman himself.

    He’s a selfish, creepy and stalky, brooding weirdo and the fact that he wears more muted colors brings that point even further home (“look guys he’s darker than you remember”). On top of that he’s a deadbeat dad. It was a terrible approach to Superman especially since Cyclops’ character in that movie ended up being more likeable and Superman like than Superman himself. Thank God for the reboot.

    Lee’s Hulk at least still had a radioactively radiated genius scientist with repressed rage and a fucked up daddy that killed his mama. You could still recognize elements from the comics in that interpretation even if it wasn’t the best interpretation. Singer’s Superman was like a whole new character altogether. That man doesn’t get Superman for shit.

    RRA – “Broddie, wasn’t Spidey also chummy with the Human Torch?”

    They are BFF’s. Unlike with other Marvel heroes the FF are not peers to Spidey they’re family. Oh and Ben Urich is who you’re thinking of.

  116. Darth Brooks – I just rewatched HAYWIRE and disagree with you, but that wasn’t my point. I just meant that special effects spectacle action like this is a different kind of rush from the more human, physical action that I love in martial arts movies.

  117. What about the scene in Superman Returns when he flies Lois up and explains to her why the world still needs him? Was that not an emotional moment?

    Yo, I think that the whole superhero movie thing has become so ambiguous that tons of movies that wouldn’t normally be superhero movies, now are. (sorry for how awful that sentence is). For example I think they gave Anton Chigurh classic supervillain treatment in No Country. He has a several similar qualities as Nolan’s take on The Joker. 1) No origin, 2) Force of nature, 3) No explanation for why he is wired to perform the evils he performs, making it all the more impossible to redirect him.

    Also there’s The Woman and Teeth, which are also superhero origin films if you think about it.

    But most of all there’s fucking OLDBOY. I mean he even has a superhero name! His superpowers are his singularity of purpose and that he doesn’t feel/doesn’t care about harm to his person. It’s not usually what Vern would call a How Badass Is He moment, but maybe you could call it that when he wants to test out his fighting prowess so he fronts on the gang of punks. The critical moment is that, after he takes a cigarette from one of their mouths, they knock him to the ground, and he’s so high on his newfound freedom and theoretical physical confidence that he just lies there and savors a drag. Magical. Also he eats a live octopus.

    But really, and this is where even Nolan needs to take a fucking hint, is the Fight in the Hallway, which in my opinion is the single most important entry in the New Old School of clearly shot, long-take, point-by-point, literal melee action to be found.

    Also the “romance” in it is pretty crucial as far as superhero romances go…spoiler alert…

  118. I meant “ubiquitous”, not “ambiguous”.

  119. renfield – “What about the scene in Superman Returns when he flies Lois up and explains to her why the world still needs him? Was that not an emotional moment?”

    It wasn’t at all because that version of Superman was so emotionally vacant and unlikeable that it just never rings true. It’s insincere writing. Forced pathos.

  120. I’ll put it this way if he felt that the world was always crying for help and whatever then why the fuck did he leave for 5 years in the first place?

    He was a selfish dick.

  121. Broddie – You know what Singer did? He basically worked Superman as Batman. You can play pathso and all that with Bats, but Superman to me is a ridiculously awesome fairy tale. Bottle of Kandor, Krypto, the superman robots, red/gold kryptonite, etc. At best, he wears those emotions and pathos on his sleeve.

    I honestly hated when they tried to make Superman realistic in the late 80s, cut away all that fantastical details. Like that he uses a giant golden key to open up the Fortress of Solitude, or that Lex Luthor* was once his friend who became his enemy over a tragic misunderstanding.

    I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Look at the 90s SUPERMAN cartoon that Timm/Dini produced. They fucking nailed him. They perfectly made a compelling Superman with his vast ridiculous universe, played with it, and made it all fascinating and entertaining. More or less a fan cliche, but if BATMAN: TAS was “dark,” SUPERMAN was “light.” Without being lightweight.

    *=I remember a great Lex Luthor tale I read only as an adult, from the Golden Age. Basically he gets trapped on an alien planet and initially cynically exploits the local population with his knowledge and invetions, becomes basically dictator. But he softens up and endears himself to them, even the planet renaming itself after him.

    I never read the Lex Luthor=President storyline, but from what wikipedia explained, they absolutely blew it. Instead of using it for Lex to do more of his usual destroy-Superman, rule the world shit he should’ve gone the exact opposite of what the heroes expected and become the greatest President in history. Ends famine, orchestrates world peace.

    Why does Lex have to be a villain all the time? Be creative. He can still be Lexy because he would love rub his success in Supes’ nose, how he pulled off more in “saving the world” what Supes could never do. He could be to the Justice League like De Gaule was for the Americans post-Cold War: An ally, but a pain in the ass who played to people’s criticisms for his own gain.

  122. Vern: I just rewatched HAYWIRE, too. Still loved it. One funny thing I noticed: The first and last lines are “Shit.”

  123. Err, I’m only familiar with Superman from seeing Superman 1, Superman 2, and this thing. Never read comix or saw cartoons or whatever. Actually my mom used to watch that show Lois and Clark….jesus….

    But point being, I don’t really care how representative Superman in a particular movie is of some concept of Superman you or others want to see on the screen. I just want to see a good movie with a compelling character. Is it really legitimate to criticize it because you think Superman should be cartoony and the film didn’t? Or even if every other Superman thing that’s ever been done thought he should be a certain way and the film had some different idea?

    Someone said scathingly of The Dark Knight that they had no interest in watching Batman run around Chicago on the set of Law and Order. Yeah I guess. I really do think it’s a better written, performed, and directed film than Burton’s more comic-booky works though.

    Anyways, I don’t remember it too hot, so I’m gonna run out of steam really quick coming up with defenses here.

  124. I do love SUPERMAN RETURNS. On that we disagree, Broddie. Though all of your points are accurate re: Superman’s behavior, I just loved that it was an indie relationship drama in a $200 million franchise. I actually hate the action in SUPERMAN RETURNS. The signature plane scene bores the shitnout of me. I did like the montage where he bounces a bullet off his eye, and I like the idea that hospital needles can’t puncture him.

    I do think Lex is short sighted. If he just puts his crystal island a little further out, it wouldnt have overlapped with America and killed millions. He would’ve been a savior bigger the Superman because he would have created new land (though how thriving that rock would be also seems dubious.) but Lex had to use his genius for evil instead of good.

  125. Looking up reviews, I figured out more stuff. Yeah it really is a totally different take on Superman and y’all are accurate in saying they were trying to Batmanize him. Luthor calls him a “selfish god” etc. He tries to win Lois back even though she’s in a good relationship with a good dude. He’s kinda emo. Certainly The Avengers would never have withstood this sort of stuff.

    But regardless it makes sense to me at least in terms of who Superman is. An alien from a destroyed world. Truly alone. Tasked with ultimate, unrelenting responsibility. I mean he can’t even try to figure out what happened to his peeps without Broddie calling him a dick for it.

  126. “I just want to see a good movie with a compelling character.”

    renfield – I do see movies as just that, movies. EVen if they’re adaptations, regardless of faithfulness. If it works, it works.

    But when they don’t work, well that’s my qualm with SUPERMAN RETURNS. I didn’t care for it, I didn’t enjoy it. And this from somebody who liked the original SUPERMAN, and kinda the sequel too, even if as an adult I realize how stupid that deux ex machinas plot device is w/ Lois Lane getting the Amnesia kiss.

    Besides being dumb, it makes you the audience feel like an ass for investing yourself in the Kent/Lane relationship in those two SUPERMAN pictures, only for the rug to be pulled from under you. I hate that shit.

  127. RRA – They tried to bring back the more fantastical pre-crisis stuff recently but ended up rebooting anyway. I agree with you on those pre-crisis books and Superman TAS and how the ball was dropped with President Lex. Here they had a chance to show the shit he always talked about “I’m the greatest man on this planet and could help humanity move forward but can’t do it only because of YOU” and actually apply it. Que sera sera.

    renfield – It’s not even a matter of having read comic books or watched cartoons. SUPERMAN THE MOVIE is enough to tell you that Superman is a selfless hero who is here to help and inspire people and stand for truth, justice and the american way.

    To have a sequel to that movie show a Superman that was selfish enough to leave the world without a hero for years on end and never even testify against Lex Luthor for his crimes is pissing on everything the Superman in that other movie stood for. A more cynical character is not a more compelling character in my eyes.

    Especially when there is nothing in the writing that makes him compelling in anyway. I’d take a virtuous heroic character over that any day. Which is why I liked James Marsden’s character way more. The problem is the movie wasn’t called JAMES MARSDEN RETURNS.

    Fred – I give it this. I liked Ottman’s score. It wasn’t a direct copy of Williams and fit the movie Singer made pretty nicely. I also think the flying scenes were handled very seamlessly for the most part.

    Lex’s plan was royally retarded though. How the hell did he expect people to really want to live on an ugly hunk of rock. Replacing north america with that? why not just find a way to TAKE OVER north america it’s cartoonish too but at least it’s also sensible. With that said I did like Spacey’s peformance as Lex. He gave it all he could and had a good time with it even if it was such a stupidly written part overall.

    The only person in that movie who’s performance I could really tolerate because he at least seemed alive outside of James Marsden and Parker Posey who now that I think of it probably should’ve played Superman and Lois instead of those chunks of plywood that Singer gave the roles to.

  128. renfield – “But regardless it makes sense to me at least in terms of who Superman is. An alien from a destroyed world. Truly alone. Tasked with ultimate, unrelenting responsibility. I mean he can’t even try to figure out what happened to his peeps without Broddie calling him a dick for it.”

    Here’s the thing he’s been alone since his parents died and he KNOWS his planet was destroyed. He had a hologram of his birth father explain all this to him in the first couple of movies. His parents thought him to be selfless and do the right thing with his powers.

    For him to out of the blue just go “hey man fuck it since I’m the only one who could do what I do how about I just go away to search the husk of a planet that I know is DEAD even though my parents taught me to use the fact that I’m the only powerful dude around to help my adopted world” is just phony. That shit rings completely false off the premise alone. The fact that Singer doesn’t even really explore the implications of such a story hook anyway (the world just magically welcomes him back with open arms) just adds insult to injury.

    I’m not against deviating from shit or being controversial with depictions of pop culture icons if you actually make the shit interesting and have some solid writing. That just wasn’t the case with SR. At all.

  129. *taught not *thought

    I’ve been working from home on this computer long enough. Time to call it a night. Take care fellas.

  130. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 6th, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Renfield: Singer’s “Superman” forced me to hate it. And I mean DETEST it. I don’t blame the three leads, although only Brandon Routh comes out of the film with a shred of dignity intact (Spacey in particular gave a career-worst performance of all of his that I’ve seen). I thought it was horribly plotted and unimaginatively directed – if you’d have told me this was the same guy who did “The Usual Suspects” right after I’d seen it, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.

    But my main problem with the movie is that everybody, and I do mean EVERYBODY, in it, is a complete and utter asshole, except the one guy who gets totally screwed over in the final reel. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still hate this movie if it were about some random characters I’d never heard of. But who the hell wanted a “Superman” movie where Superman is an egotistical showoff deadbeat dad, Lois Lane is an emotionally-immature teenager who constantly makes stupid decisions, and Lex Luthor is a bumbling braggart whose plan is so fucking stupid, it makes the Joker’s nine-trick-scheme from “The Dark Knight” look positively sane and down-to-earth by comparison?

    I mean, I hate to make the “My Bloody Valentine 3D” comparison here, because that movie is absolutely in my top four or five “worst actual movies I’ve ever seen” list, and has a strong claim to the number one spot. And I don’t honestly think you could get any worse than making a specific point that your single likeable character is pregnant, especially when she gets stabbed to death onscreen with a fucking pickaxe. (Yeah… people who’ve not seen MBV3D… it really is as bad as I’m making it sound here.) But “Superman Returns” really struck me in that same way. They give us one, and only one, honest-to-God relatable likeable character in the entire movie, and then fuck him over at the end? Fuck that.

  131. Okay I gotcha, it’s not that they were roasting a sacred cow, it’s just that they didn’t season it correctly. Fair ’nuff. Maybe I’ll give it a watch again one of these days and put forth some substantive thoughts for us to debate, but in the meantime I believe you and RRA have clarified my initial question of why people hate it.

  132. Can we please talk about the original 1998 THE AVENGERS? I always thought that movie wasn’t so bad. It was a weird surreal spy movie based on a show I’d never seen with assassins in Teddy Bear suits. And at 80-some minutes dumped in August, I know that wasn’t the June summer blockbuster as originally intended. Wonder what the original cut was like.

  133. …and Paul as well, sorry I posted before I saw your response…

  134. Fred Topel – Saw it only once after it came to video. Thought it was mediocre, and that’s that. Only watched reruns of the actual TV show years later and understood what the movie was trying to do. I guess.

    I thank God (if he’s out there) that an American studio never got around to producing a DOCTOR WHO movie back in the 90s, as BBC tried to push and pimp at that time.

  135. I never saw Superman Returns, all I know about it is that “WROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG” meme

  136. RRA, mediocre is still a huge step above the critical beating that movie took. Did it win Razzies or was it not even acknowledged that much?

  137. FT – Wikipedia says it was nominated for a whole slew of Razzies, but only won “Worst Remake or Sequel.”

    And it lost probably only because that was the year of An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn.

    (Has anybody ever actually seen that one?)

  138. Interesting: Marvel has staked out a May 2014 release date, but the movie is TBA.

    So will this be the SHIELD movie? Or another Hulk picture? Doctor Strange? Ant Man? Guardians of the Galaxy? I don’t know.

    (and before its asked, no its not Captain America 2. That’s got its own seperate date.)

  139. I saw ALAN SMITHEE. it was not good but not nearly as bad as SHOWGIRLS or JADE. just mediocre and not as funny or smart as it should be, and the Stallone/Chan/Goldberg scenes don’t have much to play on their caliber,

    I think Marvel should seriously reconsider jumping into their individual sequels and consider going right to AVENGERS 2 but I don’t apmake these kinds of decisions. I’m sure doing THOR 2 and IRON MAN 3 will make peope crave AVENGERS 2 even more.

  140. Fred and RRA, the dvd I bought of The Avengers with Fiennes and Thurman is 89 minutes long, and in my opinion a perfect movie version of a really cool TV show. You should re-watch it as soon as possible.

  141. “I thank God (if he’s out there) that an American studio never got around to producing a DOCTOR WHO movie back in the 90s, as BBC tried to push and pimp at that time.”

    oh man, I forgot about that, but didn’t they make a made for BBC movie in 1996?

    but if an American movie had happened and sucked, would it have killed the future 2005 revival and thus the huge fanbase of modern Doctor Who nerds I wonder?

  142. RRA, Fred— I’m fairly sure that May 2014 release date is for the Avengers sequel (see my earlier post on this page; May 6th, 1:09 a.m.). Disney has found its comic book adaptation El Dorado. To siphon off any time or effort in service of individual sequels would be taking their eyes off the prize.

    I’m willing to bet that Captain America 2, Thor 2, a new Hulk movie with Ruffalo, and maybe Iron Man 3 as well… are ALL set aside for the time being. Disney’s gonna milk the Avengers for all it’s worth, and pronto. They’d be foolish not to.

  143. The Avengers (1998) is a perfect example of a movie that SHOULD be good and I want to go easy on it….

    but I just can’t, it’s a truly awful, awful movie

    I’ve bee wanting to check out the original tv series though

  144. I expect that the solo movie sequls will again seed plot points for Avengers 2, though maybe a little less obtrusively than before. There’s a certain item in Odin’s vault for instance that could come into play for THOR 2…

  145. Griff, you’re wrong. It’s a wonderful, wonderful movie.

  146. I like about 40% of THE AVENGERS (1998). But I REALLY, REALLY like that 40%. Honestly, the repeating staircase scene is probably one of my favourite scenes of the last twenty years. But then I’m a sucker for any touches of surrealism and ingenious production design in mainstream movies. That’s one reason why I actually enjoyed THOR more than THE AVENGERS (2012) (and THE AVENGERS (1998) on the whole come to think of it).

    I have seen BURN HOLLYWOOD BURN (more than once!) and that is inexcusable (both the film and, to a lesser extent, me seeing it more than once)

  147. I never saw THE AVENGERS: NO, THE OTHER ONE. It came out in the five-year period when I didn’t have cable and Netflix hadn’t been invented yet, so there are a bunch of movies from that period I just never got around to, many of them hip Gen-X adaptations of old TV shows where one of the characters get sarcastic about the title of the movie in the trailer. I never thought I was missing anything, but all this talk of teddy bear suits and repeating staircases (shades of CRIMEWAVE’s hall of endless doorways, perhaps?) make me curious.

  148. RRA: “You know, I’m the only one who’ll probably say this but I liked that Paltrow was in the movie.”

    You’re not alone in that, pal. She and RDJ’s chemistry is too good to go to waste just on the Iron Man movies alone.

    More fun fish out of water stuff for Cap. America: “J. Edgar Hoover was a queer????”

  149. Mr. Majestyk: “I never saw THE AVENGERS: NO, THE OTHER ONE.”

    I saw a bit of it, gave up on it, never returned to it and i intend to keep it that way.

  150. Majestyk: I only saw the 1998 AVENGERS once, when it came out on VHS and hated everything about it, from the completely miscast leads, to the script that made it clear, that nobody ever involved watched the show. Note that this comes from someone who often defends WILD WILD WEST as “Pretty watchable and not nearly as bad as its reputation”.

    Anyway, I can imagine that 14 years later and with no baggage of having seen the TV show, it might be a little bit more watchable. (Even though Fiennes and Thurman are still completely miscast.) So feel free to check it out, when it’s on TV the next time.

  151. Connery as a bad guy, 2 Umas in tight leather, Eddie Izzard and Shaun Ryder as henchmen, swordfights and murderous teddybears – how can one not love The Avengers ’98?!

  152. I disagree, Haywire stinks. The Raid and The Avengers were both a million times more exciting and intersting than Haywire.

  153. pegsman, very easily.

  154. “WILD WILD WEST as “Pretty watchable and not nearly as bad as its reputation”.”

    No, it’s not as bad, it’s worst. That movie made me want to go Hulk on shit. To say i fucking hated it is not enough a description. It’s Michael Bay bad, as in, fucking terrible beyond description or compreention. It was the start of all my great disgust of all things Big Willy (except ALI).

  155. As for THE AVENGERS, Vern hit all the major nails in the head concerning this movie. I’m surpised it’s as good as it is, to be frank. The same way CAPTAIN AMERICA suprised me as being so much better one could expect it to be.

    Marvel Studios are on a roll. That their only truly disapointing movie was the rather useless reboot of HULK, while all the other movies they made are all very enjoyable and fun to watch, this Marvel guys do know what they are doing. I’m also loving their decisions on who to direct their movies (though Favreau being fired from IRON MAN 3 is not giving me good vibes).

    Speaking of Hulk, Ruffalo rules in the role. I want to see nobody else in that role from now on. He made it his own.

    The breakway character for me was the Black Widow. You cna trust Whedon to turn what in anybody else’s hands as merely a widowdressing role and turn it into a compeling unique character of her own and not just being the pretty dame in the dick party. Her interrogation of Loki and how she owned him had the audiences roll in laughter. It was a great Black Widow moment.

    Overall, with THE AVENGERS, Whedon took to school all the wannabe action directors and told them how you do it. I wonder if JJ Abrams can learn that lesson? Probably not. With The Avengers Whedon did with the movie what Abrams did only with the marketing, which is, to make a movie appealing by it’s own merits.

    It’s good stuff. Avengers 2? Yes please.

  156. Sternshein, i seruously doubt that HAYWIRE stinks, as you put it. Soderbergh does not have it in him to make a bad movie. He can’t only make masterpieces, but the man can’t make bad either.

  157. I gotta agree with asimov on this one. The worst I’ve ever said about a Soderbergh movie was “That was alright but I doubt I’ll feel like watching it again.” For my money, he’s the most well-rounded filmmaker working today, the one with the most tools at his disposal, from classical camerawork to avant garde editing to naturalistic acting to ironic distance to the best ear for music in the biz (Paul, please sit this one out. We have heard your argument about how the soundtrack to HAYWIRE sounds like elevator jazz. You are wrong and you don’t need to compound your error by repeating it.) That doesn’t mean he’s the best filmmaker, but it does mean that he’s too much of a virtuoso for his movies to not be interesting at least from a technical standpoint.

  158. Re: Avengers ’98 – I remember some paparazzi pic of Uma’s ass in the leather suit on set more than I remember the actual movie. Except for the fact that I remember Sean Connery gets stabbed and then thrown off a railing, which seemed like a weird way to treat an Oscar-winning acting treasure in a lighthearted caper, even if he’s playing the villain. (I’ll say again that Tommy Lee Jones’ demise in Under Siege still takes the cake in the “wow, I didn’t think he’d die THAT way” category)

    Re: Avengers ’12 – I babbled in another thread here that it’s very, very good (I really don’t know why I can’t call it great – all my complaints are minor nitpicks), but the real miracle work (besides the fact that this experiment got made at all and is even watchable and coherent) is that Whedon turned Black Widow from a one-note gimmick character in IM2 to someone I legitimately want to see a spin-off of. She doesn’t seem at all like the same character, but it doesn’t matter because it’s a huge improvement.

    Speaking of which – did anyone else feel like Agent Coulson didn’t seem to be the same character either? I thought the joke was he was kind of a smart-ass prick in Iron Man 1, 2, and Thor, but he totally seems to be retconned into this big-hearted fanboy for this one. Which is again, fine because it’s an improvement, but I wish they set his character up that way from the beginning.

  159. I saw the other AVENGERS at the cinema many moons ago. All I remember is Sean Connery in a kilt with a weather machine and feeling really bad for Uma because it was her second dud 2 summers in a row. She looked really good though.

  160. asimov, have you ever considered that you’re actually born without a sense of humor? A lot of people are, and it’s not their fault, but it explains a hell of a lot. As for The Avengers ’98, an Englishman I know once said that it’s a huge problem for film makers that a lot of people around the world just doesn’t get British wit. I guess he was right.

  161. AVENGERS thoughts:

    1) Whedon’s quippy wit is charming as ever. Everything not quippy is silly, but that’s actually just fine in a movie like this. The actors all do real well with the dialogue and everyone gets some fun moments.

    2) Mark Ruffalo is great as Banner, managing to be even more tragic but far less mopey than either former Hulk. He’s soft-spoken and good-natured, but you buy his fear of himself and his self-loathing to the point that its believable when he reveals that he’s always angry and always trying to keep himself in check.

    3) Whedon still directs action like he’s making a cheapie TV show. Thor vs Iron Man is a good action sequence, but Loki vs Thor is virtually unwatchable. This is a $200 million movie, man — you can make it convincing enough to actually show us! I don’t think I could have really told you what the fuck the golden surfer alien guys looked like. The spectacle is decent, but with that kinda money I want to be impressed. There’s not a sequence in this whole film that is as visuall impressive as any number of JOHN CARTER setpieces.

    4) Whedon’s real coup is getting the balance of the team right. The chemistry works and everyone feels essential to the plot, working together while still getting individual moments to shine. That might be the biggest challenge and he fucking nails it.

    5) I’d watch a sequel.

  162. pegsman – Oh god, did you just say that? I hope Asimov doesn’t foam in the mouth and go Hulk Smash (more like Sulk Mash) on you.

    that AVENGERS didn’t bomb because of English wit. It bombed (among other reasons) because it was piss poor English wit.

    (Of course what do I know? I’m just the asshole who adored YES, MINISTER/ YES, PRIME MINISTER and MONTY PYTHON and SPACED and RED DWARF and a personal favorite of mine, DEAD RINGERS. Even got the first season of FAWLTY TOWERS on DVD. Nevermind the other examples of Anglo-awesomeness that’s never seen as comedies but still displayed that English wit from DOCTOR WHO to James Bond to the Beatles and so forth.)

    Its ok if you liked THE AVENGERS: NO, THE OTHER ONE, aka UMA’S ASS IN LEATHER. That’s fine, I mean look at the local apologists (Majestyk and Asimov included) for 1941.

    CJ – I won’t repeat my multiple bitchings at WILD WILD WEST, except as a kid I saw that show and got a kick from what basically was a bizarre-yet-creatively-rich mix of the western and spy/sci-fi storytelling. Basically steampunk before that term was coined. Of course why that movie sucked, of many things, the core problem is this: Kline and Smith have ZERO chemistry.

    Larry – No no hold off on AVENGERS dos. I mean let sequels come out, more characters introduced, and then AVENGERS dos in 3-4 years. People will wait, they will come when it comes out like the goddamn Field of Dreams. Except instead of dead racist baseball players, its superheroes.

    Anyway who saw that AICN posting of Edgar Wright’s tweet suggesting ANT MAN for ’14?

    Also I was wrong: Marvel already said Hulk will be a supporting player in one of the upcoming solo sequels. I hope IRON MAN 3, only because Ruffalo and Downey had dynamite chemistry. It could even be a

    Asimov – Favreau did good (but where was he on COWBOYS & ALIENS?), yet Shane Black I consider to be a solid replacement choice. I mean jesus look at the great lines he gave RDJ for KISS KISS BANG BANG. I getting a good vibe in that. Hell only thing missing that would make IM3 even better is to somehow shoehorn Val Kilmer in there as Gay Perry.

    That’s it, Gay Perry for AVENGERS.

  163. I accidentally deleted the last sentence in that paragraph about RDJ/Ruffalo. I meant to say “It could even be a superhero buddy comedy to a degree.”

  164. Also, KISS KISS BANG BANG’s comparatively miniscule action scenes were more interesting and well thought out than any of the humongous set-pieces Favreau has done.

  165. Over the years I’ve supported a lot of so-called unpopular movies, turkeys if you will, and until someone comes up with a more valid point than that they didn’t make as much money as the producers hoped, I’ll stick with them. “Them” being 1941, Popeye, Howard the Duck, Waterworld, The Avengers, The Postman, Wild, Wild West, Cowboys & Aliens and many, many more.

    RRA, piss poor wit? Really?

  166. Hey RRA, you heard they’re reviving YES (PRIME) MINISTER with a new cast on TV? It will have Jim Hacker as the leader of a coalition government. Seems an odd choice not to just make a new, unrelated series, but it’s been revivied successfully on stage, so who knows?

    Ever seen THE NEW STATESMAN or HOUSE OF CARDS? Not as subtle as YES, MINISTER but I think you’ll dig them. HOUSE OF CARDS starred the other guy from the Grey Poupon Mustard. A big celebrity fan was one Mr. Charles M. Schulz. Go figure.

    Amazed DEAD RINGERS made it over there. Was not my cup of tea, but as the world’s leading HALE AND PACE afficianado I’m not going to tell anyone what to find funny.

    WILD WILD WEST is on here almost every week for some reason. It’s a POS, and I knew it when I was 13, but the constant repeats are wearing my resitance down. Good or bad, I have to say Mr. Brannagh certainly gives a tour de force performance.

  167. Majestyk, you’re talking about THE MOD SQUAD as well, right?

    Neal2zod, I think Coulson has been different in each Marvel movie depending on who’s writing and directing. It was kind of distractingly inconsistent for me, especially in THOR.

  168. @RRA in ref to your query on why Spider-man was not an Avenger back in the day, in the 80s they did a two part Avengers story where Spider-man showed up wanting to join, as his money problems had went overboard, hospital bills for the black cat being the main problem…long story short…at the end of the story the avengers ask permission of the government to put spidey on their trainee program, but the government official flips out, says Spider-man is a security risk, absolutely no chance.
    At this point in the Marvel universe, no-one knew Spidey’s secret I.D., there was not even a single superhero who knew he was Parker, so I guess this story was Marvel’s way of saying they liked Spider-man as the wildcard outsider.
    This is backed up by the start of the story, where they had Spider-man show up in the Avenger’s mansion, taking the piss out of them all, and webbing himself up a hammock in their dining room, they do not take him seriously, tell him to get lost, and he only gets to prove himself as an Avenger by sneaking onto their jet when they go on a mission. The mission takes place underground in a secret base, so it is a pain to get rid of him, so he joins in.

    As for Daredevil, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that he knocked back Avenger’s membership back in the day, but I never read that comic.

    They would’ve probably just wanted to keep them solo to maintain their mystique, Spidey the lone wildcard whose super life is completely his own secret, between him and the reader, and Daredevil the brooding loner whose big secret is that he is blind.

    DD is in the Avengers nowadays as far as i know, as is Spidey, I have not bought any new books for a few years, but i heard this on the message boards.


    As for the Avengers movie..yeah, I have been a longtime fan of Buffy and Angel, and thought they were superb ongoing superhero shows, like a regular monthly comic every week on tv(unlike every previous attempt at a superhero show), so I had faith he would get all the superhero stuff down perfectly, which he did. He just needed the right movie to work on, Wonder Woman was not his in to the supermovie world as everyone thought it would be, it was his skills as a guy who knew how to manage an ensemble cast that got him this gig.
    He said in a recent interview that when he made Buffy and Angel, he did not intend for them to expand into superhero teams, they just naturally evolved that way, so he seems to be the type of writer who was naturally tailored for this type of superhero tale.

  169. PacmanFever – DEAD RINGERS never came over here, but YouTube was my friend.

  170. Vern – I appreciate Soderbergh’s style and what he was going for with Haywire, but I didn’t get much of a rush from it.
    I also love a good regular human vs. regular human fight (The Raid in particular), but as a fan of comic-strips I just got a HUGE rush out of watching these characters pound the hell out of not just bad guys, but each other. A big part of comics is what would happen if Thor fought Ghost Rider, or some such match-up (a popular one is Wolverine vs. Hulk). To see it on-screen…fun stuff.

  171. I guess what I’m saying is character history/familiarity + high anticipation + great payoff = RUSH. I was living in the Limelight.

  172. I’m still mad that Marvel doesn’t have the film rights to Ghost Rider. We could actually have an occult superhero movie classic if they made a Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, Blade and The Living Vampire team up movie. Marvel could’ve made history yet again with a movie like that.

  173. I’d rather see that than THOR 2.

  174. WILD WILD WEST was better than TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, GREEN LANTERN, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN sequels, and lots of movies that made tons of money and even had more defenders. Haven’t seen it in 13 years but enjoyed it at the time, inventive gadgets (even the big metal spider) and I’ll bet it was non shakey action.

    Pegsman, I enjoy HOWARD THE DUCK and THE POSTMAN unabashedly. I don’t think WATERWORLD was ever hated. It just didn’t make it’s money back and was seemingly an irresponsible production. It’s actually a solid MAD MAX riff. I mean to give 1941 another chance but honestly couldn’t get behind POPEYE, and I loved POPEYE cartoons as a kid. That just didn’t work for me.

    Of course I was the first person ever to like HUDSON HAWK non ironically.

  175. I like the idea of someone trying to ironically like HUDSON HAWK

    “Ha, look dude, Bruce Willis just “said” a “one-liner”! That’s “cool”. Whatever”

    WILD WILD WEST strikes me as being quite similar to HAWK actually.

  176. How else do you explain “I guess you won’t be attending that hat convention in May”? That’s a meta-one-liner if ever I heard one.

  177. Well, WWW is no HUDSON HAWK.

  178. I forgot about Hudson. Love that too.

  179. Vern’s been saying it for a while now. The nerds have won. They’re an altogether ungrateful lot, but they keep getting dream projects fulfilled for them.

    However, I do worry about the sustainability of the nerd-pleasing model that Hollywood has built for itself.

    I’m reminded of a little discussion we had here a few months ago about the similarities/differences between sports fans and funny paper collectors. I might add that sports fans don’t see their team win the championship, then spend 90% of the following week hypothesizing about who else shoulda/coulda won and how it would’ve been better if they had made a trade or if they’d sign a different free agent. They might reminisce about in-game substitution strategy and the joys of a game-winning shot that propelled their team to the big win, but they tend to celebrate the victory and talk shit to the losers, not discuss the ins & outs of every other team and other sports. Maybe some of them have these complaints and musings, but not the ones I know. Sports fans & comic nerds do have in common an intrinsic passion for lamenting over past failures.

    But friend of the internet Joss Whedon just won the World Series. He did it for you guys, Broddie, Stu, renfield, etc.. (Mr. Majestyk is getting the wondrous privilege of the Brooklyn Nets moving into his front yard, so he doesn’t need reminding of this new comic movie victory.) You don’t need to focus on the World Serieses that you haven’t won. You can enjoy this one. Until the ticker tape parade on Wall Street. Then you can start harassing the management about next season’s prospects. Point is, you gotta learn to enjoy the championship when it happens.

    This isn’t intended to be mean-spirited or derogatory toward you comics enthusiasts, but I’m just a little worried that you’re not living in the moment. Personally, I wouldn’t jump straight from “AVENGERS was really good” to “What are they gonna do in 2014? Who else should fight the Hulk? What about [character x, y, z, a, b, c]? Also, BatmanSupermanBatmanX-MenBatmanBatman!” in the first weekend of the movie’s release.

    It’s great that you’ve all got active imaginations and a strong sense of wanting more more more, and obviously you enjoy most of these characters & backstories that I’ve never heard of, but I’d kindly suggest you adjust your desires away from that which does not exist. That’s the behavior that makes people ridicule & dismiss your nerd-kind. You got Scarlett fucking Johansson to star in a worldwide smash hit comic book nerd fantasy movie. You’ve won.

    Bask in the success — the current success, in the here and fucking now — of Whedon’s triumphant superhero movie. I know I am.

  180. I liked it. Hulk’s sneaky Thor punch brought the house down.

  181. I know that words and terms are allowed to evolve, but I want to clarify that I don’t consider Joss Whedon a Friend of the Internet by my original definition. I meant it to mean filmatists who are partly revered because the movie websight people believe they are buddies with them, such as the guy that did KICKASS and the guy that did HATCHET and Edgar Wright, although maybe that one’s wrong since it’s probly true that they’d still worship him if he was completely inaccessible. I feel that Whedon was already worshipped before the days of nerd websights interviewing everybody twice a month at junkets and comics conventions.

    But this is a small quibble, you can use it how you want, and I can see arguments for expanding the definition to include Whedon and Doctor Who and shit like that.

  182. Of course you’re right, Vern. I was sloppy with my use of that label, and semantics is an important concern of mine (as is not getting sued for abusing your trademarked patented term), so allow me to retract that part of my post and correct my error.

    edit: “But internet nerd god Joss Whedon just won the World Series. He did it. . .”


  183. Joss and the internet are way more than friends anyway. Their status is “It’s complicated” at the very least.

  184. “This isn’t intended to be mean-spirited or derogatory toward you comics enthusiasts, but I’m just a little worried that you’re not living in the moment. Personally, I wouldn’t jump straight from “AVENGERS was really good” to “What are they gonna do in 2014? Who else should fight the Hulk? What about [character x, y, z, a, b, c]? Also, BatmanSupermanBatmanX-MenBatmanBatman!” in the first weekend of the movie’s release.”
    I am living in the moment. I think it’s just a testament to the movie’s success that our imaginations are being fired up. Also because for some reason, out of all the franchises that are going, it seems to only be the nerd-bait ones that do a lot more setup and teasers for what’s to come. The only exception I can think of right now is the newer Bond movies, with the Casino Royale leading directly into QOS. And the Marvel movies have brought the rather unprecedented concept of a whole movie universe that’s interconnected, in a much grander and more complicated way than anything that’s come before.

    Also I really try to let my nerdness come out in positive ways more than negative ones. I’m one of the few (only?) people round here who likes DAREDEVIL, for instance. Also more recently, since I upset RRA by quoting something he said a year ago in an argument, I’ve tried to be less uh…militant with my fanboy defense.

    I would ask Vern which Hulk her prefers now most, Ruffalo or Bana?

  185. Mouth I don’t give a fuck about superhero movies dude. I don’t even like THE AVENGERS all that much though I like it enough to not be a cynical douche and rain on everybody else’s parade. The last hour was worth my $6.50.

    I prefer to read comic books than to watch superhero movies. I like other types of movies a lot more. PROMETHEUS is really where it’s at for me this summer. I don’t even think I’m going to see THE AVENGERS a second time but I’m glad for Marvel and I’m a DC fan. The fans got what they deserved cause Marvel cared. WB will never give DC Entertainment that same amount of freedom.

  186. Oh and anybody that can’t appreciate HUDSON HAWK needs to get shot. Sure it was a vanity project but I’d take a Bruce Willis vanity project over one by Eddie Murphy or some shit any day. It had great musical knowledge that it kicked and also kicked knowledge about old school golden age filmatism with 90’s sensibilities.

  187. “I’m still mad that Marvel doesn’t have the film rights to Ghost Rider. We could actually have an occult superhero movie classic if they made a Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, Blade and The Living Vampire team up movie. Marvel could’ve made history yet again with a movie like that.”

    ^ though this movie will be badass. I’d rather see this movie than any other superhero movie including a fun Batman movie and Batman’s my favorite character.

  188. Well, Broddie, for a guy who doesn’t give a fuck about superhero movies you seem to have quite a bit to say here on a webpage about a superhero movie. But that’s what I like about this place. I ain’t mad at ya, keep on keepin’ on.

    THE AVENGERS might end up very near the top of my Best Films of 2012, but paradoxically I had/have minimal foreknowledge of the comic universe it depicts and alludes to. It took me 10 minutes to tell myself that it was okay that Hulk couldn’t lift Thor’s hammer, but then was able to jump while Thor was choking him with the hammer. I get it now — the hammer can not be lifted by hand by an unworthy being, but it’s not necessarily physically heavy to everyone. It has non-physical qualities that make it a different kind of heavy.

    Mr. Subtlety upthread made a good point about the cheaper, non-blockbustery parts of AVENGERS.
    **”Whedon still directs action like he’s making a cheapie TV show. Thor vs Iron Man is a good action sequence, but Loki vs Thor is virtually unwatchable. This is a $200 million movie, man — you can make it convincing enough to actually show us! I don’t think I could have really told you what the fuck the golden surfer alien guys looked like. The spectacle is decent, but with that kinda money I want to be impressed. There’s not a sequence in this whole film that is as visually impressive as any number of JOHN CARTER setpieces.”**
    I agree with most of this, and I’d add that the early alien army (the Chetari or something?) scenes in outer space were weak. We didn’t even see more than a hint of what that population and that world is about. Plus, it was dark as fuck in 3D. Blegh. Would I be better informed and more forgiving of these scenes if I knew the comics’ stories? Maybe. But I might also be pissed that that world visually got such short shrift. $200 million should have bought some better, more massive visuals there. Asgaard looked great in THOR in my opinion. At least it was big and sweeping.

    Also, I thought the guy in the post-credits scene might have been Hellboy.

  189. Nic Cage was going to play Strange at one time. I wonder how he’d have gotten “method” for that.

  190. Mouth – It’s the truth. I don’t even own superhero movies that aren’t the Batmans. Not even SUPERMAN THE MOVIE. But I’ve enjoyed superhero movies for decades now. I just don’t have to watch them more than once though except for the Batmans. If I did it’s cause I caught them on TV but the Batman movies are the only ones that appeal to me. I like DC characters and they’ll never get decent movies outside of Batman or Superman.

    I have no real reason to care about superhero movies like that. I rather spend my time watching other types of movies and further educating myself like I’ve been doing since I was a kid. What other thread outside of SEAGALOGY has any convo going on this site right now though? SAFE but I still haven’t seen that so I won’t read the review till this weekend.

    If I come here to shoot the breeze about movies I’ll go towards any subject. Sorry I can’t be as boxed in as others or whatever but your analysis is pretty shot.

  191. “I agree with most of this, and I’d add that the early alien army (the Chetari or something?) scenes in outer space were weak. We didn’t even see more than a hint of what that population and that world is about. Plus, it was dark as fuck in 3D. Blegh. Would I be better informed and more forgiving of these scenes if I knew the comics’ stories?”
    Nope. The Chitauri are actually quite different in the comics they were originally in. They were a race of shapeshifting fanatics who were positioning themselves within various positions on earth so they could conquer it. Their leader was tough to kill, so they set Hulk on him, who not only beat the shit out of him, but then ate him. Hulk’s poop later had to be cyrogenically frozen for feat that the guy could regenerate from those remains. Here, Whedon just used the name, in order to keep the surprise about the mid-credits scene, since they aren’t connected to that at all, and the more well known alien species kind of have enough of their own thing going that wouldn’t really do to have them in that role.

  192. Sorry Fred Topel, saw Hudson Hawk opening night and evangelized it immediately. Maybe you were third.

    “My pen-shhhhhhhhhuuuunnnnn!!!”

  193. The Chitauri were cooler in the comics. This is why I prefer comic books to the movies though. They could get away with so much more as they have no budget or MPAA rating.

  194. Broddie – Man if Vern ever reviews all the Batman movies he hadn’t already reviewed, we both would have a blast.

    (and I would give my rant about the soundtrack. Not Danny Elman’s good shit, but the Prince LP. He had an awesome decade, and he went out the 80s with that limpwristed effort? Still “Partyman” is awesome beyond reproach.)

  195. Pentagon actually refused to co-operate with AVENGERS because it was “unrealistic.” (Of course TRANSFORMERS was.)


    “Moviegoers and comic fans know that S.H.I.E.L.D., led by Samuel L. Jackson’s super-spy Nick Fury, is an international peacekeeping/global surveillance/crisis response/quasi-military organization. But its relationship with the United States is murky. And that basically stopped the U.S. military, which is normally eager to cooperate with the film industry on blockbuster movies, from teaming up with the Avengers.

    “We couldn’t reconcile the unreality of this international organization and our place in it,” Phil Strub, the Defense Department’s Hollywood liaison, tells Danger Room. “To whom did S.H.I.E.L.D. answer? Did we work for S.H.I.E.L.D.? We hit that roadblock and decided we couldn’t do anything” with the film. ”



    I’ll point out the stupidity of that argument. Almost everybody at SHIELD in that movie were Americans, including their boss. Even the “Russian” Black Widow was the very American ScarJo who didn’t bother with a faux-Russian accent, so I’m assuming she’s not Russian as much as an American who has a Russian name and heritage.

    OK Thor is an alien, that’s one exception. But that fucking organization is as American as American Gladiators.

  196. Jenny Agutter wasn’t american.

  197. RRA – It’s all about ELECTRIC CHAIR for me; SCANDALOUS was also the business. It’s actually pretty decent considering it’s an album Prince was basically forced to make.

  198. It is a little unclear though what the deal is with SHIELD. They have “Homeland” as part of their name, so you’d think they’re american, but they seemed to have automatic clearance to conduct operations in Germany, so maybe they’re international like in the comics, but largely American run. Like how in Star Trek, Starfleet is the navy of the entire Federation of countless planets, yet most of the officers you see are human.

  199. Stu – or basically its like, as that Wired article refers, the World Bank where Americans have the collective power to name the chairman.

    And thanks for the Agutter correction.

    Broddie – Yeah “Scandalous” was awesome. I even enjoyed the throwaway “Trust” with the charming melody. But “Batdance” sucks. I can’t believe that shit went #1. (The B-side “200 Balloons” was pretty cool though. Worth checking out.)

    I still remember that anecdote from Alex Haley’s Prince book talking of how Burton and Peters asked Prince if he could deliver 3 songs for the movie. He delivers them a whole album. (And yet, they end up using only 3 songs for the movie.)

    But hey good news, it gave Prince a desperately needed hit album. Bad news, it gave us GRAFFITI BRIDGE the movie.

    (But I don’t regret that soundtrack, it was decent. “Elephants & Flowers” kicks your balls.)

  200. Anyway, I think between this movie and several others, I think the Superhero movie has been “conquered” as a doable genre.

    What we really need now is a really good movie adaptation of a VIDEO GAME. It’s the new mountain to climb!

    Okay, maybe The Dark Tower is more of a feat, but one thing at a time.

  201. Stu – I don’t think we’ve gotten a good movie based off a game.

    not impossble, it is very doable.

    (and fuck MORTAL KOMBAT. I pre-empt strike that shit before someone claims that was a good one.)

  202. RRA- I think there’s been a few that are half decent/fun/watchable, but none that’s going to making anyone’s “best of the year” lists. I’ve really got my fingers crossed for UNCHARTED. Neil Burger got attached after David O. Russell left, and I quite enjoyed LIMITLESS by him, and I think Bradley Cooper could make a good lead.

  203. ^Cooper’s not been cast, I just mean he was in Burger’s last film and I hope that increases the odds of him being getting offered the role.

  204. Armond White reviewed THE AVENGERS.


    Can you resist the temptation?

    “Only a capitalist icon with Stark’s endless resources makes sense to an audience of semi-illiterate consumers catered to by the leisure industries and discouraged from interest in characterization, theme or ideas.”

  205. I can.

    Rather, I would resist the temptation if the temptation to read that gibberish existed in the first place.

  206. He’s one of the greatest trolls of all time.

  207. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 7th, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Holy fucking crap, I missed a few things here. This thread has almost doubled in size since I last checked it.

    On “The Avengers” 2012: I’ll probably see the recent film with friends now, we’ll see how it is. I’m impressed by the kind of reviews it’s been getting anyway.

    On “The Avengers” 1998: As a fan of the original TV show, that movie was fucking horrible. I watched it because it at least looked interesting in a surreal way. I was wrong.

    On “The Avengers”, the brand: until a couple of years ago I’d never heard of it. Not all of us grew up with Marvel comics, guys. Guess this is why this stuff interests me a lot less than it does you. If the film’s good, I’ll watch it. If not, I’m not going to bother just because it’s got Marvel in the titles.

    On “Wild Wild West” – Fred, far be it from me to criticise somebody for holding an unpopular opinion. (Says the guy who wrote a thesis on why the flaws in the arguments of “Vertigo”‘s defenders proves it to be one of the most overrated movies ever.) That being said, this movie is horrifically bad and you are clearly insane. Peace!

    On “Mortal Kombat” – RRA – I for one will not go there.

    On “Haywire” – really? I thought my reaction to it was about as negative as it got, and I thought it was by-and-large pretty ok.

    On “Daredevil” – well I kinda enjoyed it, despite its flaws.

    On sliced black olives – they truly are the most underrated sandwich-filler. Just throwing that out there, because I can.


    On “Hale and Pace” – the “kitten in a microwave” gag is still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen “Bad Boys 2”. Also: yes, I am still trying to find new and innovative forms of irony, how did you guess?

    On “Nerd Filmmaking” – it’s a combination of special effects technological advances and some pretty cynical marketing. Don’t call it a revolution because you replaced your Tesco with a Sainsbury’s (or your – Wal Mart, I guess? – with whatever the heck Wal-Mart’s competition is. Yeah, that was a pretty stupid metaphor to use if you don’t know anything about American mass retail outlets.)

    Aaaaand I think that’s pretty much it!

  208. Mouth and Mr. Sublety – You both seem to agree on the statement from Mr. Sublety: “There’s not a sequence in this whole film that is as visually impressive as any number of JOHN CARTER setpieces.”

    I’ve seen both movies twice in the cinema and can’t get behind your point of view. I don’t think JOHN CARTER even had that many setpieces and the few setpieces weren’t that impressive. If I compare the giant air carrier sequence from THE AVENGERS with the floating city sequence from JOHN CARTER or the climatic battles from both movies I come to a very different conclusion.

  209. “Unpopular”, Paul? So you are judging movies according to what other people think? I should have guessed.

  210. “I remember Sean Connery gets stabbed and then thrown off a railing, which seemed like a weird way to treat an Oscar-winning acting treasure in a lighthearted caper, even if he’s playing the villain.”

    Maybe they should had exploded him, then. Put a fuse on his ego and BOOOM!!

  211. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 8th, 2012 at 2:52 am

    Pegsman – you have discovered my secret. You must die.

  212. Wasn’t Connery even struck by lightning, after he got stabbed with a sword? I even seem to remember that a hurrican grabbed him and he was flying away (The movie was about weather manipulation).

  213. pegsman, actually i have a great sense of humour. It’s mostly of the darkly, sarcastic kind, though. And i’m a fan of british humour, i relate to it very well. I’m the kinda guy who knew, right form the start, that STARSHIP TROOPERS was a parody. My sense of humour is quite good, thanks for asking. I even know the difference between funny and not.

  214. CJ Holden: “(The movie was about weather manipulation).”

    Ahhh, that was what the movie was all about! Til this day, i hadn’t the damnest idea what allthat mess was supposed to be about. Thanks for enlightning me (pun not intented… or maybe yes).

    And now i’m going to try to forget i even know the existence of THE AVENGERS ’98.

  215. No, the “british wit” in Avangers ’98 was not piss poor, it was shit. To lump that crap to “brit wit” is a serious offense to the best wit britain as produced. To put Avengers’98 in the same humour cathegory as Stephen Fry is an insult beyond measure. People have gone to hell for less.

  216. Well, Jonathan Ross love The Avengers ’98, so I guess I’m in better comapany than those who hate the movie.

  217. ok, there’s several things I want to address, so I’m gonna list them

    1. pegsman – see, that’s exactly it, The Avengers 98 has all the elements of what should be a cool movie, but it just totally falls flat on it’s face

    I mean I LOVE surreal British spy stuff (after all, my favorite anime, Read or Die, was heavily influenced by stuff like The Avengers), but The Avengers 98 is just irredeemable, for one thing the plot is just plain nonsensical and the movie overall just has the feeling of a movie that got edited to shit (which it did)

    it just rubbed me the wrong way

    2. I saw Wild Wild West in theaters when I was 9 years old and I just enjoyed the steampunk gadgets (especially the giant spider), the action and Salma Hayek’s and Bai Ling’s asses

    I’m not gonna say it’s a great movie, but I was entertained, although I haven’t any strong desire to go back and watch the whole thing again

    3. Hudson Hawk is just good, silly fun, I wouldn’t say it’s a great movie, but it’s a watchable one

    4. as far as Prince Batman soundtrack goes, I havent listened to the whole thing, but I like Electric Chair and (I’m very sorry) Batdance (“get the FUCK UP! BATMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!”)

  218. No, Griff, that’s not it. Me and my friend Jonathan know about these things, and we have decided that it’s a cool movie. Period.

  219. Jonathan Ross? What, the dude that 90% of britain thinks he’s a wanker? And a punchline to everybody and his aunt? Hardly an appeal to authority there, mate.

  220. Meanwhile, THE AVENGERS (2012) is the real deal.

  221. Real headline: “Shawarma Sales Up after AVENGERS.”


    pegsman – As I’ve said before, in the Republic of Vernania, your majority-rejected love for a movie (I honestly forgot existed until Vern cracked his joke) is tolerated. But it aint HUDSON HAWK. Maybe HAWK tries way too hard, at least at times it is genuinely funny and effective in that goofball atmosphere they were gunning for. Not a bad movie, not really a good one either in my book, but it doesn’t deserve that turkey stigma.

  222. My “majority-rejected love is tolerated”? This is not directed to you personally RRA, but to the “majority” as a whole: So you’re TELLING me that I’m WRONG about a movie I saw just last week, and none of you have seen since you were kids, and want me to accept that I’m wrong just because you say so? Is that the deal?

  223. pegsman – More I like I disagree with you and nothing more. I didn’t insult your mom or anything. Besides you said it best, alot of us are basing our opinions from multi-decade memory. You’ve got an appeals court argument in your pocket.

    Look there was an early 80s obscure movie I’m fond of, in Michael Mann’s THE KEEP. It’s not great, it has flaws (i.e. sorta incomprehensible as fuck because Paramount cut it to shit) but I like it. Maybe the locals like it or would like it, or maybe they think it sucks. My money is on them thinking it sucks, but I don’t know nor does it really matter that much. I won’t exactly be offended if they don’t like or get it.

  224. Personally I find that if I didn’t enjoy THE AVENGERS back when I was 15 I probably won’t enjoy it today at 28. If it’s ever on TV I’ll be fair and give it a revisit since it’s been over a decade since I last saw it. But I’m actually pretty good with my instincts and when I don’t like something it’s because it did too much wrong in my eyes for me to ever really enjoy it.

    This is a reason I could never really find any appreciation for ARMAGEDDON or TRANSFORMERS when I try to catch them on TV. They’re as boring and unengaging to me as they were the first time I saw them when they were in theaters. I don’t like THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN or TROPIC THUNDER either and a lot of people I know swear that they were a pinnacle of cinematic comedy.

    I tried rewatching them again on cable and had to switch the channel cause it’s the same problems all over again. Contrived and hacknyed jokes that I’ve seen better told by stand up comedians 13 years before those movies were ever made. Sometimes a spade is just a spade and if someone doesn’t like something they just don’t like it. Doesn’t mean that they’re hating. This is why any appreciation of any artform is subjective in the first place.

    I don’t see the need to get emotional about stuff like that. Plenty of people don’t understand why I still buy comic books as an adult for example and I don’t give a fuck. I don’t do it in an ironic hipster “superhero movies are now a fad so let me be chic” kind of way. I’ve been doing it regularly for 24 years of my life cause I just enjoy the shit. It’s a medium unlike any other and when it’s at it’s best it’s as immersive & enlightineing as the best examples of other forms of media.

    When I kick back at home and smoke a blunt and immerse myself into the metatextual weirdness of some of the best written comic books I find layers of great stuff hidden behind all the fantastical art panels and used up dialogue conventions.

    Doesn’t bother me that a lot of people I know will never understand that it could be just as deep and introspective an experiences as watching a brilliant film or meticulously listening to a brilliant album. What’s important to me is that I enjoy the shit. Period.

  225. Vern says:
    My buddy Harry says he wants a new AVENGERS every 2 years and he wants them to go into space now and he wants so-and-so and the such-and-suches introduced. Good to see him excited, but let’s not fly too close to the sun on wax wings. This is a topnotch comics supergroup of an event movie. Let’s do regular movies still. Trying to top this over and over would probly not work. Personally I don’t like to see the world and the universe in danger over and over again. I’m more moved by the personal travails of Blade, Batman and Frank Punisher. But will some people not want to watch IRON MAN 3 anymore because it’s gonna seem smaller than this? Also, how will this movie play with some distance, or without knowing the supplementary movies? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter right now. This is good summer entertainment, satisfying the big and loud and fun that some people want without the dumb or cynical some of us don’t want.

    I say:
    I agree. Overall, the film was very well done. I think pulling all these characters together, staying faithful to each character’s ethos and feel, yet making them interact well–they did all that very well. The chemistry was great, Loki was a great villain, and it’s awesome to see Hulk finally getting to be a hero. He does well in a group dynamic. He’s really a straight man and physical comedian, so having the others to play off was a huge plus, and I hadn’t anticipated that.

    On the other hand, did you notice that there’s not a single human character outside of the Avengers or S.H.I.E.L.D that has any screen time worth mentioning or where there is any emotional investment at all? Except maybe Pepper Potts. It’s so packed-to-the-gills w/ action and so many super hero characters, that there’s literally no time for anything else? I think that’s cool, especially for the establishing film, but you lose out on the depth, character development, etc. from the stand-alone films. Still satisfying, but much more breadth than depth.

    A definite thumbs up, but left the film not wanting to watch it over again right away so much as wanting to re-watch the stand-alone, lead-in films.

  226. Look, as I see it we all love movies, and the next best thing to seing them is to discuss what we’ve seen, recently or in the past, with people who know what the hell we’re talking about.

    With that in mind, it’s frustrating to see people gang up on an old movie, without any valid arguements what-so-ever, just because they clearly didn’t get it. A discussion about art is a very subjective conversation, and you have no way of knowing objectively if you or the other guy is the one who clicked with the artist and got excactly what he intended to say with his piece. Hence the discussion. We can all throw “crap” out there, but it’s hardly an arguement that will make your oponent see things your way.

    As for The Keep, I saw it three weeks ago, and diplomatically I’ll just say that I liked it better when I saw it on VHS in the 80’s.

  227. skani that – You know what the AVENGERS movies should be considered? The Olympics, which is special for it comes around only every 4 years. (Even if alot of it is boring.) Have it every year, it’ll get watered down very quickly in every way and it won’t be as prestigious or magical or bloated spectacle whatever terminology one wishes to use.

    In that regard, James Bond is the Super Bowl, a point me and o forthers mulated elsewhere Every year or two clockwork (more or less save exceptions) and always anticipated not so much as it might deserve it but because it’s tradition. Like Super Bowl games, the 007 movies can be great, terrible, or middle of the road decent.

    Iron Man, Captain America, Batman, Hulk, Shield, Antman, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy*, they’re all Super Bowls if you will. Or will Marvel specifically, they’re not Super Bowls anymore but major playoff games in retrospect I suppose.

    *=Did you ever read that Broddie? I don’t remember reading them in my youth, so I’m useless there.

  228. “As for The Keep, I saw it three weeks ago, and diplomatically I’ll just say that I liked it better when I saw it on VHS in the 80’s.”

    Pegsman – GO TO HELL! Nah I’m just fuckin’ kidding with ya. I can’t blame you honestly. But I’ll correct myself: AsimovLives is a fan of THE KEEP too, so yeah yet another incentive I guess for the locals to not bother with it.

  229. RRA. Agreed. As long as they stick to the basic approach of doing a set of stand-alone films punctuated by a huge throwdown of this sort, I’m in.

  230. They’re also develloping those tv shows like Del Toro’s HULK one, which’ll hopefully give people enough of a fix so as not to need constant AVENGERS.

  231. okay, one other complaint. As gigantic as the effects were, and you’ve got this big giant air-space-boat thing, I think it suffered from a location/geographic scope standpoint. I did not expect them to literally spend like 2/3 of this movie in the air in this thing (maybe it just felt like it), and then you’ve got what feels like a relatively circumscribed an non-descript swath of NYC. Between those two “locations” (read: cgi green screen and mostly a small section of Cleveland), that’s it.

    Again: great iconic characters, great performances, great chemistry, awesome-and-near-nonstop action set pieces, but a lack of scope in terms of geography or non-hero characters.

  232. Stu – as crazy as it’ll sound, I wonder if Marvel is treating that HULK show as like advertising. Like I mean you know how many movies have saturday morning TV cartoons? Almost always (exceptions folks?) those toons were basically ads for the brand. (Nevermind the old addage of cartoons being ads for toys.)Plus the best toons, the more popular of that sort give a reverse coattails effect for the “mothership” if you will. (Now I sound like Dusty Rhodes.)

    I’m expecting Del Toro’s program have its own self-contained universe, sorta like how SMALLVILLE and SUPERMAN RETURNS had dick in common. But we’ll get corny jokes and references to the other Hulks in the past.

  233. This is funny.

    “Double features pairing The Avengers and John Carter, some at drive-ins, propelled the latter movie to a $1.5 million Friday-Sunday take and a 12th-place showing on the weekend charts.

    The previous weekend, as a solo act, John Carter grossed just $112,000.

    The Avengers’ halo effect also had the added bonus of getting John Carter over the $70 million mark domestically.”


    ~Of course I was one of the few who enjoyed JOHN CARTER.

  234. JOHN CARTER, man! To say it didn’t lived to expectations is an undrstatement. biu then again, low expectations was it’s game, thanks to the terrible advertizement it had. And thne the movie itself did fw favours. JC is this year’s posterboy for blandness and uselessness. A movie void of charisma and true interest. Made by a filmmaker who really felt inlove with his own hype. A true loser of a movie. It’s not exactly bad, but it’s not good either. And that is now limping about attached to The Avengers to get a few more schekels is rather pathetic.

    Box office is never a sign of a movie’s quality. But if it was, John Carter’s box office is what it deserves. A loser of a movie in all ways a movie can be. End of the year, few will remember it even existed. Deservedly so.

  235. Funny, i rewatched THE KEEP recently and liked it better then i use to. 15 years or about seperated the two viewings, but i ave to say, maybe i picked more stuff in the later viewing, or i could had forgot a few things in the interval, but my interest and enjoyment for the movie has abated none. It’s an interesting and unique movie, and for that alone should be cherished. That it’s a good one only makes it better.

  236. Asimovlives –

    (1) To be quite frankly honest the problem with JOHN CARTER is simply something some folks don’t realize or refuse to: Some stories have an expiration date.

    You all know that story about George Lucas wanted to do a FLASH GORDON movie. He couldn’t get the rights, so he made a knock-off: STAR WARS. That movie (and EMPIRE) is pretty much as good as a hypothetical FLASH GORDON movie could’ve ever been, the same for PRINCESS OF MARS. But once Lucas got to the finish line before those possible adaptations could happen and planted his flag, it was too late.

    Its why Dino DeLaurentiis produced FLASH GORDON, he realized this exactly so for better or worse, so he camped it up like a son of a gun and had Queen do the soundtrack. (“Flash” and “The Hero” though kickass. Pure kickass gay battle crys that put “We Will Rock You” to the crapper.)

    Thus I’ll defend JOHN CARTER for what I can, I sincerely enjoyed it at matinee face value but one truth can’t be denied: If Edgar Rice Burroughs informed STAR WARS, AVATAR, and all that ilk, then the reverse is absolutely correct for JOHN CARTER. Andrew Stanton, a hardcore STAR WARS nerd like all those Pixar people apparently are, wanted to make his own STAR WARS. And he created a knock-off that sure feels like a knock-off you bought for cheap at the local flea market.

    Unfortunately another “classic” sci-fi property that Hollywood forever has tried to adapt in NEUROMANCER, that ship has sailed too. Many many years ago.

    (2) An attraction of THE KEEP for me is just the fucking weird vibes it gives off, like those illogical random dreams we all have. A fascinating carwreck, if that makes any sense. I doubt Mann’s original cut was THAT oddball, but with the story rendered opaque plus the fantastical setting and Tangerine Dream soundtrack and disembodied voice talking over a steroid cloudy golem freak creature…drugs are never this interesting. Of course I’m sure most other folks would think this was just incomprehensible boring shit.

    Plus sometimes it’s just fun watching a monster slay Nazis.

  237. Interesting post, RRA. Do you think the same principle will apply to ENDER’S GAME, currently in production?

  238. renfield – as someone who never read ENDER’S GAME or know jack shit about it (despite it’s literary praise over the years), I have no idea so I’m useless there.

    But my basic argument does hold, if a different outcome, for LORD OF THE RINGS. We got those movies roughly 50 years after the books came out. We had many a many fantasy movie in the meantime that were obviously (or subtlely) influenced by LOTR, but none of them ever really captured the public’s imagination and quite frankly many of them just sucked* to the point that fantasy film mostly was seen as either childish fare or lame. Or both. None of them captured that “oomph” epic feel of those books. Whether one thinks of the movies (or books for that matter), Peter Jackson basically gave people that perception what they got out of the books, of an epic multi-film journey and war against an enemy. He planted his flag.

    *=Of course a few did rock like EXCALIBUR and I’m even fond of DRAGONSLAYER. But that’s besides my point.

  239. RRA, i always felt that THE KEEP was deliberatly made to be a bit confusing and off-putting, to have a dream logic to it. That a nervous studio tried to re-edited it to make it more “commercially apealing” and only make it look even wierder is just the icing of the cake. How can one lot like that?

    JOHN CARTER’s problem, among many others, is that the fatheade director was so preocupated in making a franchise that he forgot to make a movie. JOHN CARTER as it is is just a half movie. And suffers from it. And all the faults i found with Stanton the director with WALL-E not only came to the fore in JOHN CARTER but wholesome dominated it completly. That later in interviews he came across as a sploiled brat boasting that he can only make movies with 250 million budgets sure doesn’t help to ender him.

    There’s so much wrong with JOHN CARTER to be used as an example of how not to make a movie. Starting with the fact that it’s not a movie, just just a half movie, a first part of something that was suposed to be larger. They just forgot to tell a story of it’s own. I realy suspect that in te years to come my opinion of this movie will grow more negative to the point i’ll eventually openly hate it and not be shy to show it.

  240. renfield, ENDER’S GAME is fucked because that movie is being produced and is being made undr the supervision and orders of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Desist of any hopes it will turn out good or do the novel any justice, because it will not. Start your disapointment right now.

  241. RRA, and now we have GAME OF THRONES to own our collective asses and teach the hacks how a fantasy show is made.

  242. asimov, I agree with your assessment of the prospects of Ender’s Game sucking.

    I disagree with your assessment of Game of Thrones however. I mean they’re doing alright, certainly it’s a raise on, say, Xena or something.

    But as an example of how much the show respects your intelligence, they had to change Asha’s name to Yara because they assumed you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the princess of the Iron Islands and a wildling named Osha to whom she bears no physical resemblance and never occupies the same location at the same time.

    I also speculate that they continually cast women who can’t act their way out of a paper bag based on their willingness to shed their clothes in a bunch of scenes that aren’t in a book that was already loaded with tons of kinky sex.

    Not to mention the travesty of Arya being revised from a callous swordswoman who kills people and plunges into a flaming inferno to rescue three possibly murderous captives into someone who flashes Tywin a shit eating grin because he compliments her intelligence, despite his family having killed her dad.

    etc etc

  243. I read somewhere that Mann’s original version of The Keep was well over three hours long. Maybe a director’s cut will win us sceptics over? Not sure that will fix those special effects, though…

    Renfield, don’t even start. Game of Thrones rocks. End of discussion. We don’t need to know that in the book Eddard’s pants were green and not brown in the execution scene or that Jaime bled from his left and not right nostril when he was captured. Let us just enjoy the best TV series since The Sopranos.

    As for the actresses, I’m sure that they some day will find one who can act and undress at the same time, so hang in there bro.

  244. asimovlives – I doubt that KEEP theory, only because look at every other movie Michael Mann has made before and after. They’re thrillers or dramas, linear and as logical as down to earth as possible. My guess? THE KEEP was running too long and Paramount cut it for time. (Mann’s scripted ending is pretty conventional happy ending, not that ending we got.) OR maybe it was just not working, and Paramount decided to cut their losses and gut it to squeeze in as many screenings as possible. Who knows.

  245. RRA, or maybe Mann was trying to make a different movie then his usual stuff and outside his usual confort zone. Certainly THE KEEP is his odd man out movie, so atypical of his usual stuff. I think the movie was deliberatly weird and strange on purpose by design, made only more weird because of a clueless studio trying to make it more commercial, and fucking up spectaculary. But then again, you read the script, not me.

  246. renfield, i see no dumbing down on GAME OF THRONES whatsoever, and i’m quite allergic to that thing, so there’s that. It is one of the smartest shows on air right now, truly spectacular, quality stuff. The show is kicking my ass.

    As for the name thingy, well, it’s rather easier not to mistake similiar phonetic names when you are reading it, but listening to the names, the confusion is a very likely outcome. And if that’s the dumbing down the show is making, then more shows and movies should dumb down as that. Because we are getting much worst as a normal occurence in the dumbing down department. All the decisions that have been made in the show so far have all been winners, and even the writer of the books has been quite supportive, to the point he’s even going to write episodes for season 3. I guess the fans of the books are being more papist then the pope himself in regard to how they arebeing translated to the screen.

  247. Somebody seriously “studied” the alien to NYC in the movie, and guesstimated the property damage costs: $160 billion.


  248. I meant to say somebody studied the alien attack/damage to NYC.

    ~Would insurance companies have the gall to claim “Act of Gods”?

  249. Only $160 billion? In Midtown? That seems a little light to me. That’s some of the priciest real estate in the fuckin’ world right there.

    I know they shot all of the carnage in Cleveland but the NYC geography was surprisingly tight. My favorite little detail was when the reptile worm blimp crashed into Grand Central and sent the clock on top of the information kiosk spinning. That’s probably the most famous clock in New York (making it one of the most famous clocks in the world) so I’m glad they gave it a little love when they destroyed it.

    Also, when Iron Man flies over to Stark Tower to meet Loki, there’s a shot of some smokestacks. Those smokestacks belong to the gas company that serves the metropolitan area, and they are directly across the street from my office in Long Island City, Queens. That means I could very well have been hard at work, typing some marvelous shit for this very sight, as Stark zoomed right over me. For just a second, locating myself within the cinematic Marvel universe took the sting out of the fact that I spend nine hours a day with a view of the Pink Floyd ANIMALS cover, minus the whimsical flying pig.

  250. Woah, how is deleting a scene where Arya kills several people, justifying the entire storyline of her being trained how to swordfight, a minor detail? It’s one of her defining moments!

    They change lots of stuff that doesn’t bother me. I’m intrigued by this whole invented storyline Dany’s undergoing right now. But this Arya thing was a huge revision that significantly dilutes one of the core characters.

    Or when you said “end of story,” did you actually mean you don’t want me to respond…

  251. And give me a break, the scene from Season 1 where Littlefinger teaches the two whores how to have more provocative lesbian sex? What’s your defense of that?

    For a show that’s as smart as The Sopranos, look at what Sopranos alum Matt Weiner did afterwards for my $$.

  252. ENDER’S GAME is a fucking awesome series. I always thought it would make the best movie for empowered kids, even more than HARRY POTTER. but yeah the prospects for this movie don’t look good. They’ll probably have characters explain things to each other.

    I would’ve liked to see Wolfgang Petersen’s version, but it could’ve just been TROY/POSEIDON at that point. Also very disappointed I’ve heard Orson Scott Card is actually a raging anti-Semite. Such profound themes in his work you’d imagine tolerance.

  253. “Also very disappointed I’ve heard Orson Scott Card is actually a raging anti-Semite. Such profound themes in his work you’d imagine tolerance.”

    Raging homophobe/anti-gay rights zealot as well, although I saw that coming from when Petra turns into a baby-making machine in the Shadow Saga.

  254. I think I meant “do we really need to discuss the fact that the books are better one more time?. Let’s talk about the series”, but who can remember that far back in time. What about the scene where Littlefinger shows the two whores how to moan? A quick look into a whore mongers busy life. Do you have a problem with it?

    Weiner did Mad Men. So..?

  255. Please keep all Game of Thrones spoilers in the “Game of Thrones Spoilers” thread – WHICH DOESN’T EXIST.

  256. Game of Thrones spoilers??? Who’s doing that? It’s a crime!!

  257. By the way, Vern, do you or have you any intention of reviewing TV shows as well (others then that byzarre Segal show)? There are nowdays quite a lot of excelent TV shows going on or that finished/got canceled a few years ago that you might enjoy and are ripe for a Vernism. Great shows like Carnivalé, Rome, Breaking Bad, Spartacus, Boardwalk Empire, Games Of Thrones. If i could be so bold as to offer an idea, your review could incide on seasons instead of the whole show. The reason i say this is because, frankly, this Tv shows are showing a higher quality then most movies we are getting this days.

    Strange that it’s the small screen that’s offering more cinematic quality then the big screen itself. It’s as if they changed roles, and the TV people are making movies and the movie people are making TV shows. Weird.

  258. Orson Scott Card is a man man. He’s deranged. Whatever good wit and wisdom he had in his yough has been completly evaporated by now. All it remains is a shadow of a man he once was as presented by his work. Now he’s pratically a monster as far his ideologies are concerned. And he’s the consultant of the Ender’s Game movie. Great, a madman is consulting on a movie made by two of th worst hacks in Holywood. This will turn out so good!!!

    The movie is doomed, dudes.

  259. “Oson Scott Card is a man man”

    How did this happened? I ment to write he is a mad man. I hate typos!!

  260. I just knew I was gonna get chastised for all that. I had another response rife with Ender’s Game spoilers all cooked up as well…

  261. “Sooo..according to your scriptwriter, the fact he was adopted is the reason he is a bad guy!”

    Not quite…that he’s adopted simply demonstrates that he doesn’t share Thor’s genes, right?

  262. Jesus fucking Christ, those guys have to be fucking kidding, right? Right? Right?

    I can’t believe it! People cannot be this stupid! People shouldn’t be this stupid!! It’s just a joke, for ball’s sakes!! A silly joke! And a damn funny one!

    Those idiots surely never heard of comedians like Jimmy Carr, i bet. They would shit bricks if they listen to his usual comedy material.

    What pussies!!

  263. asimov – what you expect from a suehappy country like America?

  264. That petition offends me. Can I sue them for that…?

  265. RRA, in America, if somebody sues me for stupid reasons, can i kick their asses with impunity? It’s only fair!

  266. asimovlives – No you would actually lose that subsequent lawsuit. Despite what people like to believe, most “stupid” lawsuits go nowhere. The vast majority of them in fact.

    Anyway AVENGERS again, and I had two thoughts that didn’t pop up before:

    (1) [SPOILERZ!!!] Who exactly helped Loki and supplied the disposable henchmen before the aliens arrived? Renner said something about SHIELD having “no shortage of enemies,” but who? I’m certain Marvel won’t give a shit and make nothing of it, but what if its revealed in CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 or our hypothetical SHIELD movie that its a revived Hydra or hell, even the Ten Rings mentioned in the first IRON MAN picture?

    Of course if Marvel says fuddgetaboutit, nobody will care. Maybe they called 1-800-HNCH.

    (2) If the epilogue montage is to be literally believed, the whole world saw and know about the Avengers. I mean you see people like making bootleg Captain American T-shirts and Iron Man graffiti and Hulk drawings, but wouldn’t that also suggest that Hawkeye and Black Widow’s mugs were also captured and plasted across TV and Internet?

    You know, your two top secret assassins? Now this isn’t a criticism or complaint, in fact I find it amusing and actually kinda interesting.

    With our fanboy SHIELD movie, you could even play into that the beginning set shortly after the AVENGERS climax, those two agents are now exposed in the public, they’re subjects of notoriety and scrutiny…and targets too. *Cue dramatic chord played in trailers*

    ~Marvel, just email me and we’ll talk $$$ when you buy the story rights from me.

  267. I finally got around to seeing this, and the movie ended up being exactly what everyone said it was: a summer movie spectacle done right.

    I’m sorry if this was already brought up, but what did people think of Samuel L. Jackson’s verbal attack on A.O. Scott’s mixed review. I thought this was kind of strange since it wasn’t like the review was devastating or anything. He just felt the movie fell apart under its own weight. But he also had kind things to say as well. I kind of wonder why it was that particular negative review that got under Jackson’s skin?

  268. RBatty024 – Cynically I would say because A.O. Scott is sorta a known critic and he does work for the well-known NYT. A convenient public target for Jackson to drive his mindless nerd army to bitch at this “hater.” I.E. a story adding to publicizing the movie since most folks hate critics. Or more like hate them when they disagree with a wildly-popular movie. This is why Sam didn’t pick say Armond White’s pathetic review, because he’s not so much a target to pull off what he wanted. I mean yeah we nerds and moviephiles know White, but most folks don’t.

    Anyway, AVENGERS is the first movie ever to gross 100 million domestic on its second weekend. And to think, David Poland claimed that people predicting that were silly.

  269. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0jBF912xYY

    I don’t know why that’s so funny. Maybe its because I recognize where those film clips come from, even the obscure ones.

    ~Thank you Foywonder.

  270. Hawkeye as Hawkeye was the biggest laugh I had all day. And I watched five episodes of CHEERS today.

  271. “We live in a dog-eat-dog world, and I’m wearing milkbone underwear.”

  272. As if Tony Stark wasn’t rich enough.

    “Robert Downey Jr. may pocket Marvel-ous $50M for ‘Avengers'”


  273. I saw the Avengers today and I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially ScarJo. Who was double-plus hot and had all the best scenes. However, I was pretty bothered that the alien hoard appeared to have no strategy whatsoever. I mean…why were they focusing on the Avengers instead of just messing up as much as possible. The Avengers did nothing to force the alien onslaught to stay and fight them and, in fact, if the aliens had ignored the Avengers or acted with any type of military precision, I’m pretty sure they would have won. Also, shouldn’t it have been pretty obvious where Loki was going to launch the attack seeing as he literally told Stark that he was going to use the Stark building?

    That said, I enjoyed the parts where people were, like, talking to each other and stuff and Captain America actually got to have a character arc in this one, which they forgot to include in his previous adventure. So that was a major plus.

    Overall, not the best comic book film ever made, but almost certainly the best Marvel Studios film thus far. My ordering:

    Captain America
    Iron Man
    Incredible Hulk
    Iron Man 2

  274. Oh, and it was cool that the film made an effort to address the underlying racism, jingoism and pseudo-fascist war mongering of the earlier Marvel adventures, most specifically Iron Man.

  275. I wondered why Iron Man didn’t shoot the building roof below the portal doohickey, thereby circumventing its protective forcefield and potentially damaging it or at least pointing it toward the earth’s mantle instead of our atmosphere, possibly screwing up the invaders’ avenue of approach & primary mobility corridor.

  276. Or creating a giant swirling portal in the earth;s crust, causing the earth to cave in on itself. Congratulations, Mouth. You just killed New York.

  277. That would do more or just as much damage as the giant new hole in the ozone layer & atmosphere, not to mention how the tides would be affected by this giant hole and giant mothership object mucking up our hitherto stable lunar connection (another flaw in the empty headed TRANS3ORMERS), which affects climate, animal migration patterns, and magnetic field polarity stability, and probably even the revolution of our planet around the sun, thereby changing our definition & calculation of “one day,” thereby blowing up all sorts of scientific research and ongoing equations & contraptions that rely on the precision & accuracy of time measurements.

    So yes, I say point the thing at the ground somehow. Doing so might have compelled Dr. Not Natalie Portman to change something or delay the invasion.

  278. Fuckin’ portals. How do they work?

  279. “To be quite frankly honest the problem with JOHN CARTER is simply something some folks don’t realize or refuse to: Some stories have an expiration date.”

    I just wanted to agree with RRA’s comment here, and say that despite being a huge Lovecraft fan, I’m kind of glad that Del Toro’s Mountains of Madness adaptation fell through for this very reason, I feel like it could’ve easily ended up as another John Carter. Not that I don’t love that story, and it would be cool to see the folks at the H.P. Lovecraft society do a pseudo historical adaptation like they did with Call of Cthulhu and The Whisperer in Darkness, but I don’t see much chance of it working as a movie that would appeal to modern audiences. I’m hoping that Prometheus will work pretty well as an updated version of the ideas of that story.

  280. Some of the Avengers on a Russian talk show. With Russia more and more important for Hollywood’s purse, we’ll sure to get more awkward porn like this.


    ~Why bring out Jeremy Renner if you’re not going to ask him a question?

  281. So, I liked Avengers. I did. It was fine.

    The more I think about it, though, the more I think I liked Transformers 3 in a lot of ways. Not that I loved Transformers 3 or anything, but that movie did spectacle so much better than Avengers. The last hour of Transformers 3 is just better than the last hour of Avengers, and since both movies exist to give us that last hour I think that matters quite a bit.

    Don’t get me wrong, almost everything else about Avengers was better: better dialogue, better characters, better laughs. The plots were about on par for me (I think I can explain Transformer 3’s plot better 8 months since seeing it to the two weeks since seeing Avengers.) But, yeah, on the whole I think they’re pretty similar and I think Transformers 3 works better in a lot of ways. I liked how important the normal humans were in Transformers 3, it was really believable the way they teamed up to take down some of the robots in it, and that definitely worked better for me than how normies in Avengers operated.

    I’m not trying to pull a Paul and be needlessly contrary, but if we’re going to see two movies who exist purely on spectacle featuring characters that won’t die than give me Transformers 3. I’d prefer Starship Troopers, but yeah.

    I rewatched Captain America yesterday and it was a lot better the second time around. Maybe it’s the difference between watching it at home instead of the theater, but there’s a sadness to Captain America that is really effective. I think it’s my favorite of the Marvel films that aren’t Blade.

  282. I’m quite over THE AVENGERS already myself. Like most of the other Marvel movies I probably won’t ever see it again but I don’t think I could ever subject myself to watch TRANSFORMERS 3 in any way.

  283. I’ve only seen parts of the first two Transformers and just couldn’t tell what the fuck was going on. I saw Transformers 3 on a dare from friends to do a double feature of that and Tree of Life last year. I think it was because it was shot in 3D but I could actually tell what was happening in Transformers 3 and it worked really well as spectacle.

  284. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 21st, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Ok ok ok. Let’s get this out, because this is really, really getting on my tit.

    “I’m not trying to pull a Paul and be needlessly contrary.”
    ““I ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY don’t like it when you also are exaggerating your dislike of a movie that everybody likes to show off and do wheelies and say “look at me, everybody, I’m Paul.””
    “So Paul didn’t like the movie he was determined not to like and somehow this is our fault.”

    I mean… holy fucking shit, guys. Is it the way I’m writing? Is it the language I’m using ? Is it specific to this movie because I pointed out that I don’t have the subjective history with the franchise that you guys seem to have before I watched the movie, causing people to assume that this “invalidated” my critical opinion? What the fuck is causing this?

    I’ve NEVER been “needlessly contrary”. The most contrary I’ve ever been is with the movie “Vertigo”. I wrote an eight-page essay examining the criticism of this movie. I can’t remember how many marks I got for it. I think somewhere in the mid-sixties. If I write down an opinion, it’s because it’s my opinion. I’m not a fucking “troll”.

    If I agree with you, I won’t write a long post explaining WHY I agree with you. I’ll just say “I agree with you”. If I don’t agree with you, on the other hand, I’ll write at length explaining why. I understand this gets me a reputation of being somewhat “contrary”. But I didn’t think that was to the point of people regarding me as having zero integrity at all.

  285. As someone who has long been “that guy” (disliking Tarantino, Nolan, The Matrix, and lots of other shit has made me “that guy” for a lot of my life) you have to understand that there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.

    The wrong way (and I’ve done this a lot in the past, but I’ve figured out how to avoid it most of the time): Don’t talk about how you disliked popular movie x by stating reasons you think everyone else didn’t see. Don’t talk to people about why you disliked popular movie x by trying to enlighten them or otherwise trying to prove how much smarter or right-er you are. Don’t come off defensive in your dislike of popular movie x. Don’t make your dislike of popular movie x to be another topic of conversation where everyone gets to fucking talk about you and how much of a negative asshole you are.

    The right way: Say, hey guys I saw this movie and these are the things that rubbed ME the wrong way. For some reason I couldn’t look past those things and that hurt my ability to enjoy the other parts of the movie I might have otherwise enjoyed. Maybe it was my mood or the crowd I saw it with, but while the movie didn’t work for me for these reasons I trust and believe you that it worked for you and instead of trying to talk you out of having a good time at your movie going experience we should just talk about the movie’s merits in a critical and entertaining way.

    There’s a difference between me going:
    Fuck the Dark Knight. Only fucking children who have never seen a serious and adult movie think it’s a serious and adult movie. Every fucking line of dialogue in that movie involves the word hero or knight and I fucking get the point just shut the fuck up. Why can’t I tell what the fuck is going on in the action scenes? Why is Bale a total black hole of charisma? Seriously, you guys, why the fuck do you like this piece of shit it’s just a bad fucking movie under the guise of a SERIOUS ADULT DRAMA and it has fooled you into thinking it’s a masterpiece. Fuck.


    You know, guys, The Dark Knight didn’t really work for me because the dialogue just came across as clunky. I get the themes of the film because it felt like it was being hammered into my brain. That’s just me, though, as the rhythm of the dialogue must have worked for you. I listen to really shitty music, afterall, so we all have different rhythms we pay attention to. I think we can all agree that the action scenes could have been better shot, right? I get that they were trying to make us feel like it was happening up close and how intense it was but wouldn’t it have been better if we got to see Batman actually being a Batbadass? Oh well, at least the female romance interest was cute and had personality unlike that other chick they had in the first movie!

    I hope that helps, Paul. I’m often going against the popular opinion as well (fuck, I think I’ve talked myself into thinking Transformers 3 is better than The Avengers) but I’ve learned that I can disagree without totally being disagreeable.


  286. Casey – I kinda understand what you’re saying – the end of Transformers 3 does actually seem “bigger” and possibly more impressive than the end of The Avengers, even though they’re very, very similar scenes. TF3 certainly looks more expensive – you get the feeling they seriously rented out the entire city of Chicago for a few days and then ran wild on the streets, while Avengers feels like a CGI-heavy comic book version of the city, (similar to the Spider-Man series). It’s not necessarily better or worse, it just has a different feel and weight to it. (And for what it’s worth, Avengers definitely had better characters, story, and more coherent action scenes)

    I’d say Black Hawk Down is still the undisputed king of open-city action – every time I watch that movie I think “how the hell did they shoot this movie?” even though there’s nothing on paper as ridiculous as TF3 or Avengers, the whole movie seems like one giant logistical nightmare to shoot.

  287. Paul, lighten up. We love and accept you the way you are, but when you come out with some against-the-grain shit, you’re gonna take some heat for it. It’s happened to all of us. But what’s gonna make it worse is when you make a big point of saying “Well, I don’t like this kind of movie, but if you guys insist…” and then come right back and say “I was right: I don’t like this kind of movie and thus I don’t like this one.” Well, no shit. Nobody begged you to go see a movie you had no chance of enjoying. You did that on your own volition, seemingly just so you could come back and say “I told you so.” It’s okay, I ain’t mad. But you gotta understand how that might rankle.

  288. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 21st, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Majestyk – I get your point. I honestly do. You don’t seem to get mine, and I’ve made it at least twice before. Three times with this post.

    Your attitude is that I went to see the movie for the sole reason of “proving” you guys “wrong”. Apart from the point that a subjective opinion can only really be disagreed with, it can’t be “right or wrong” – do you understand how offensive that is to me? And ok, me saying “I should’ve listened to my instincts” was badly / annoyingly phrasing it. But still… I’ve made the point twice now that I DIDN’T mean what you keep saying I meant, even if I phrased it badly in the beginning.

    Opinions about movies are subjective; facts about them are objective. I wasn’t a fan of Captain America or Scarlett Johansson’s acting in this movie. That’s a subjective point, and I never said otherwise. People have different opinions. Clearly a lot of people bring a lot of different baggage to a movie than I do. That’s life, that’s debate, that’s why people HAVE different opinions.

    I was never the target audience of this film. I’d never heard of the “Avengers” – the comic series, as opposed to the 60s TV show – before a few years ago. A lot of people on this forum grew up with this stuff. I didn’t like “Iron Man”, “Iron Man 2”, and “Captain America” as much as some people on this forum did (actually I probably liked “Thor” a lot more than most people did, but that’s the exception to the rule).

    I had a lot of fun with “Thor”, and wrote a very positive review of it on this site less than a week before seeing “The Avengers”. I thought overall that it was more fun than “The Avengers”. It stars the same leading man and is made by the same studio based on the same series of comic books. Don’t you think, if it was “impossible” for me to enjoy “The Avengers”, that I would’ve been a lot more scathing about “Thor” as well?

    I think Casey’s point – and it’s one that I do agree with – is that I was flippantly obnoxious in terms of my initial comments regarding “The Avengers”. That’s fine, I accept that, and I’m sorry. I don’t want to be hanged for it in the court of public opinion.

    But Majestyk, I feel as though you’re attacking my integrity here, and that’s not something I think I deserve. In the last couple of months, I’ve disagreed with the majority on one major film, “Young Adult”, and if you read my comments I went out of my way to point out that I DIDN’T think it was a bad film – that technically I thought it was a very good one, apart from the issue of it being very predictable – and that I just didn’t like it for subjective reasons.

    I’ve also written one review this year that I felt, in hindsight and reading other people’s comments, was unfairly harsh on the film in question (“Cabin in the Woods”). This bothered me so much that I actually went to the cinema AGAIN, paying for a second ticket, watched the film a second time, and wrote a second review. Flippancy doesn’t seem to become me well, obviously; but I do take this thing seriously.

    I mean… if you guys feel that I just write this stuff to be a “troll” or to prove somebody wrong for petty reasons… well… where does it go from here? If I reviewed “Into the Abyss” next month instead of last month – a film that I said was the best of what has been a really excellent year so far – then would I get people saying that I only gave it that good a write-up because it’s not a “popular” film? Where does this stop?

  289. Okay, fair enough. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and trust that you went in with the best of intentions and this whole thing was the kind of internet misunderstanding that luckily very rarely leads to bloodshed. I’ve disagreed with many things you’ve said over the years, Paul, but you’ve kept saying them no matter what, and that shows integrity. Or insanity. Either way, I respect that.

  290. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 21st, 2012 at 11:57 am

    And I will try to be… less obnoxious, let’s say. In the end, I don’t want to be an asshole about this stuff, especially to the point where people think I’m “trolling”.

    And I think that’s the last word (thank goodness!) Let’s end this argument once and for all, because I just saw “The Raid”, finally, and it was great.

  291. I agree with you about THOR Paul, much more distinctive than THE AVENGERS, and to me much more interesting as a result. But then I’ve always really dug Branagh as a director, despite a number of misfies and films that were never going to be my bag.

  292. That’s weird. THOR is easily my least favorite of the Marvel-produced films. It had a lot of good elements but it just never came together at all. It felt like a trailer.

  293. Paul, maybe people’s reaction to your Avengers comments was colored by the fact that you hijacked the China O’Brien II thread to post them rather than just posting them here? To me your review itself was pretty innocuous but posting in the wrong thread might have made it look like you were an annoying attention-seeker, so comments that otherwise wouldn’t have bothered people suddenly read a little more trollish-sounding.

    BTW, although I agreed with a lot of your criticisms (though for me the parts I liked outweighed minor stuff like Scarlett being a little wooden in her line-deliveries or Captain America being a kind of boring character), I think you misunderstood the extent of Banner’s control of his transformations. It’s true he could transform into the Hulk whenever he wanted (because he always had some anger on tap he could focus on), that doesn’t necessarily mean he could stop the transformation when external stuff was amplifying his anger (it’s like, someone might be able to get a boner at will by intentionally focusing on their favorite sex fantasy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they could stop from getting one in a situation where they’d prefer not to because it’d be socially awkward). So Black Widow was probably right about Loki’s motivation for letting himself be captured: he wanted to manipulate things so Banner would have an uncontrolled anger/fear episode and smash up the place.

  294. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 21st, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Hypnosifi – I agree regarding Banner’s “control”. Knowing really nothing about the character apart from what I saw in the Ang Lee film – I haven’t seen any of the other Hulk films – I don’t think I “got” his “tipping point”.

    And Captain America was a sticking point in both his movie and “The Avengers” for me. I really, really disliked this character in his original film, for reasons I’ve gone into in the thread there and won’t repeat here; he was a bit more fleshed-out in “The Avengers”, but in a way that made him even more insufferable. There were lots of little character moments featuring the Hulk (“Puny God” was, I grant you, freaking hilarious – if “Avengers” was ripping off stuff wholesale from “Independence Day” then this was its “Welcome to Earth!” moment), Thor, Iron Man, and even Black Widow, that I really liked. One part of the positive reviews I definitely agreed with was that each character had their chance to shine. I’d add that each had an “awesome” moment at some point.

    The main sticking point for me in “The Avengers”, regarding Captain America, was when he started, out of the blue and for no apparent reason, lecturing Iron Man that he wasn’t the kind to “sacrifice himself”. First, it was totally uncalled for. Second, it came out of the blue – I know these two are supposed to have clashing personalities, but where the heck did this come from? Thirdly, it’s Captain America being a whiny sanctimonious killjoy again. It’s implied that he’s too much of an obedient soldier at one point, which is good, at least it gives him some sort of character arc. But his primary role in the film seems to be to call out the other characters on their flaws. And for some reason they listen to him, instead of (for example) hitting him in the face with the Hammer of the Gods.

    Lastly, you don’t NEED a “restrained” character – you have Bruce Banner for that. A character that, Hulk-control-questions aside, I have zero problems with and quite liked. You have Black Widow as the emotional “heart” of the film, Thor as the strong moral core (as well as the guy with the giant hammer to smash shit up with, which helps), and Iron Man as the audience-surrogate “in it for the fun of it” guy. You have Fury as the leader and Hawkeye as the renegade who has to be brought back into the fold. I liked these characters, they provided the moments of the film that I thought worked best. I didn’t want Captain America in there spoiling my fun.

    Oh an incidental note, by comparing the Hulk transformation to an awkwardly-timed boner, you have just earned my undying respect.

  295. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 21st, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Majestyk – my biggest problem with “Thor” – and bear in mind I did have a lot of fun with that movie – was that it wasn’t very focussed. So I kinda agree with your point that it didn’t “come together”. All I can say is it didn’t bother me as much as it must have done for you. I could’ve used more “Vikings invade contemporary small-town America” but I thought what I did get was great.

    More than that, it had a sense of genuinely epic scale to it, for me. The whole idea of different “realms” and of Godlike beings negotiating and fighting over different worlds… all of that I thought worked really well.

    Oh, and of all the Marvel movies so far that I’ve seen, Stellan Saarsgard’s character from “Thor” has to be the one I’ve liked the most. He made the movie, for me. I knew he’d be in “The Avengers” as well – I imagine he’s a fan favorite, as well as mine, which is probably why they brought him back – and it was disappointing seeing him relegated to what’s essentially a mind-controlled henchman for Loki in it.

  296. I also point out re: Hulk’s transformations, that even in his own film, Hulk was shown to be able to direct himself at specific targets. Usually it was someone who had directly threatened him, like bottle plant jerkwards or the military, and in the climax he is solely figthting the Abomination and all throughout the movie we’re shown he still recognises Betty, so it’s not that much of a stretch that in AVENGERS he’d recognise that the aliens were his real threat, remember that Tony’s his pal and generally get along with the rest of the team, especially since in that case, he wasn’t getting affected by Loki’s scepter(watching the film the second time I remembered that when Loki was being brought on board the helicarrier and walked passed Banner’s lab, Banner puts his hand to his head, and during the big argument scene, Tony was doing that too when having it out with Cap, with the scepter right there in the room.

  297. Paul — I can only speak for myself, but I think mostly we just like to give you a hard time because you tend to look at things a little different than most of us and hence have a perspective which always seem to come out of the blue. But seriously, never change ya crazy Englishman (?). I almost never agree with you, but having you around keeps us from getting too groupthinky. Just don’t take it so hard that simply because your opinions are manifestly insane we’re always disagreeing with ya.

    smiley face.

    RE: Avengers. To me, comparing it to TRANSFORMERS 3 completely misses the point. AVENGERS succeeds as a story, and particularly as a well-balanced group dynamic. I agree 100% that its spectacle is lax compared to TRANS3, but even so I was vastly more interested. AVENGERS gives you a reason to care, which in my book is 100 (one hundred) times more valuable than simple spectacle. Honestly, since the arrival of CG spectacle is almost a non-issue to me. You can now visualize basically anything you can possibly imagine, given the budget for it. TRANS3 has big setpieces but no imagination whatsoever. As a result, it left almost no impression on me at all. Whereas AVENGERS’ big scene with the heroes banding together still puts a smile on my face.

  298. Everything you say makes sense, Mr Subtlety, but why should I care? Is Captain America or Iron Mans or Thor going to die? Are they going to be unsuccessful in turning back weird aliens on hoverboards who may or may not be controlled by robots? Is Loki going to turn face and have a dramatic moment with Thor?

    It’s hard for me to care when there’s nothing at stake.

    That’s why I’m comparing it to Transformers 3: I really didn’t care about any of the characters or story, the movie exists to set up a big spectacle at the end, and both of their spectacles kind of look the same (invasion of large city). For me, Transformers 3 had better spectacle but Avengers had better dialogue and smaller moments.

    I actually agree with neal2zod, Black Hawk Down is amazing in its spectacle and is one of the most exhausting films I’ve ever seen. Bringing that up, however, makes me think of not just the spectacle but the weight of the action: Avengers felt like it was a set piece whereas Transformers 3 felt like a bigger and more weight-y film. At the end of the Avengers people are happy because these guys stopped some rough looking aliens from messing up NYC, but in Transformers 3 Chicago gets fucking messed up and the movie sells it well.

    I think I like Transformers 3 more than I care to admit. Fuck.

  299. Agreed. I can vaguely recall maybe one action beat from the climax of TF3, while I vividly recall a cool dozen from AVENGERS. The difference comes from the rhythm and pacing of the filmmaking, which no amount of carnage can compensate for, and that the participants in the battle all had different skills and personalities so it wasn’t all the same stiff repeated again and again. Also, it’s the old ASS: THE MOVIE theory: The farts are always better when you know whose ass their coming from.

    Bear in mind that I like TF3, but only in that way I like most of Bay’s movies: As a hilarious trainwreck orchestrated by a madman with an endless budget. Whedon’s mix of wit, heart, and myth-making trumps that easily.

  300. Captain America is an excellent character in AVENGERS. He’s so good that it almost makes me retroactively like him in his own shitty movie from last summer.

    It’s difficult to articulate, but he displays leadership, which is an intrinsically intangible concept & trait. In sports, leadership is one of a good player’s qualities that is actually called “an intangible.”

    Cappy is not a dick or a weakling or a guy just pointing out others’ foibles at all. And if he is, it’s because that’s exactly what the team needs at the moment he’s doing. Yeah, he knocks Tony Stark down a peg. . . and then he teams up with him to fix the airship . . . and then Iron Man takes CPT Rogers’s words to heart when he sends the nuke through the portal. That’s what I mean when I say Captain America says & does exactly what is necessary.

    He becomes the coach, the tactician, the prodder, the instructor, the no-nonsense guidance counselor, even the low-tech assistant just trying to keep up with all the craziness around him and subjugating himself to Iron Man and Fury’s superior intellect & talents, and he has the strong personal moral compass that makes him almost comically squeaky clean except when you realize how much it means he’s willing to sacrifice for the greater good.

    I’m baffled how anyone can dislike or doubt the noble intentions of Captain America in this movie.

  301. I don’t think I can remember any of the action in Avengers. Wait, I remember Black Widow jumping onto the back of a flying car thing and working her way through guys so she could fly it or something. And something about Thor using lightning to stop the alien-or-machine-not-sure things?

    I remember the part in TF3 when the big snake thing went through a building and the people in the building were scrambling as the building fell. I also remember the soldier guys using tactics to bring down one of the transforming robots. I also remember a lot of wide shots of shit going down that felt big and engaging.

    I can’t remember a fucking thing about TF1 or TF2, though. I credit anything good about TF3 to Bay being restrained by filming in 3d.

  302. I was agreeing with Mr. S in my earlier comment.

    Casey, that’s kind of bullshit. How many movies have you seen where you honestly believed that the main characters had a chance of dying? I mean mainstream Hollywood blockbuster spectacle type movies that cost in the triple digits. I’m willing to bet that number is somewhere close to zero. Which means that absolutely none of them moved you in any way. You sat there dull-eyed, waiting for the next explosion, because who cares, right? It’s all gonna have a happy ending anyway, just blow some shit up and get on with it. Stop trying to make me believe in you, movie. Just show me the money and get out of my face.

    I don’t actually believe you feel this way. There is a willing suspension of cynicism that every moviegoer must have if they’re to enjoy the 95% of movies that will end exactly how you think they’re going to, so if you love movies enough to come to this sight on a regular basis, you have it, too. If you really needed to believe that the heroes have a chance of failing for you to enjoy a movie, I recommend staying away from the works of Steven Seagal, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charles Bronson, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis (except for those couple times), Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Clint Eastwood, the TOY STORY characters, Harry Potter, Batman, Garfield, Indiana Jones…

  303. Paul wrote: ***But his primary role in the film seems to be to call out the other characters on their flaws. And for some reason they listen to him, instead of (for example) hitting him in the face with the Hammer of the Gods.***

    Maybe they listen b/c he’s already walked the walk. Remember the whole sacrificing himself by crashing an airplane in order to save millions of people from dying of a massive [Nazi?] bomb thing?

  304. Casey would love TO LIVE & DIE IN L.A..

  305. You’re not wrong, Mr Majestyk. I stated my issue with Avengers poorly. I don’t need to believe these characters could die, although that would be nice, but I need to believe that these characters could have meaningful opportunities to grow. Outside of them getting rid of their baggage so that they could work as a team how did any of them grow?

    Life and death isn’t the only emotional stake that matters, but what others were there in Avengers? Thor’s emotional stake is with his girl (Jane? I forget) and his brother and there was nothing that could plausibly change with either in Avengers, but in his own movie I believed that Loki could find redemption and Thor grew as a person. Captain America became a little less sad, I guess, in Avengers but what was his emotional stake? Where was the continuation of his having a date scheduled at the end of his movie? I think Iron Man is the closest to actually having some sort of emotional stake and payoff, but I have a hard time giving a shit about an entitled bourgeois jackass who says the jokes.

    You’re right, I don’t need to believe these characters could die for it to matter. But I have to believe that something might happen to them or involving them that does matter. Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see anything there that got me emotionally invested.

  306. It’s been years since I’ve seen that, Mouth, but I remember liking it.

  307. Everybody had an arc. Captain America learned that he still has a place in this strange new world. Banner learned that his curse could be a gift. Black Widow and Hawkeye learned that you gotta keep trying to balance out that red on your ledger no matter what. Iron Man learned how to work and play well with others, as well as the value of self-sacrifice. Thor learned that sometimes you gotta put aside your family bullshit and accept outside help. Fury learned that you can’t take down a fighter jet with a Gloc. If you didn’t see all that, then the movie clearly didn’t work on you well enough for any of these arcs to mean much to you. I respect that. But it doesn’t mean they weren’t there.

  308. I think I saw all of that, but I would lump all of that with “getting rid of their baggage so they could work as a team”. Even then, the movie didn’t do as good of a job at that as Cool Runnings.

  309. I hope I’m not coming off as too confrontational or otherwise dismissive of The Avengers: It’s an entertaining and watchable movie that is better than I expected. I liked it and was happy to see it opening weekend on a Sunday morning.

  310. Casey — The dramatic arc of THE AVENGERS is our heroes meeting and learning about each other, coming to respect one another, and ultimately working together as an effective team. It’s basically a “let’s put on a show!” premise except the show they put on is killing golden alien robot zombies with a nuke. Maybe that’s where it lost you — they’re not necessarily evolving personally, they’re evolving to work together as a team with many distinct and unique parts. That’s the joy there.

    Besides, isn’t there a certain joy in just watching awesome people be awesome? Whedon writes his characters so charming that honestly just watching them interact and have silly adventures is reason enough for me. Now that I think about it, appeal is actually probably closer to a romantic comedy than an action movie. If you like the characters, the specific mechanisms they use to get to the inevitable conclusion are immaterial, you just want to see them make jokes and ultimately get together.

    TRANS3, on the other hand, has more in common with watching stock footage of train crashes. No drama, but if it can show you something unusual on a grand scale, its job is done. Unfortunately for me, there are only like 8 combined minutes in that whole thing which show me anything particularly unusual or impressive. They are: tunneling worm monster attack! Wing suit attack! and Hey, That’s Leonard Nimoy’s voice!. Other than that, its just kinda a chore. But your results may vary depending on how much of the same you can watch while still being entertained. A gal friend of mine can pretty much endlessly watch youtube videos of puppies and be constantly enraptured, regardless of quality. Maybe you’re the same with fighting robots. Me, I zone out at around 30 seconds.

  311. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 21st, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Mouth – my problem with Cap “dressing down” Iron Man isn’t so much that HE hasn’t earned it. It’s that Iron Man really hasn’t. Who is Captain America to judge Iron Man’s intentions? Besides the fact that Cap, obviously, turns out to be wrong – Iron Man damn near rides a nuke to his death at the end of the movie. So Cap calling him out for not being “self sacrificing” is bullshit – when Iron Man has to do it, he does it.

    More to the point, look at who’s the veteran here:

    Captain America: spent one movie saving the world.
    Iron Man: spent TWO movies saving the world.

    So Cap has only half the actual combat experience of Iron Man, despite being over eighty years old! Let me put it this way: Mouth, would you verbally dress down a guy who’d got twice the military service time you had, especially if he’d really done nothing to deserve that kind of treatment?

    I thought a lot of the action in “The Avengers” worked in terms of showing the heroes doing what they do best (Thor hitting stuff with hammers, Hulk smashing things to bits, etc). My problem was more that after the alien army had been hyped up as much as it had, it seemed pretty ineffective. But watching Thor and the Hulk smash shit up was a lot of fun.

  312. Paul, I never found you unnecessarily contrarian. I believe your opinions were true and I think that perspective is utterly vital to society, let alone art. Casey I think you’ve hit on the real importance of discussion. It’s not about convincing anyone of anything or winning. It’s about letting people understand us and being able to know them better. I have been craving to be understood my whole life.

    Comparing the third acts of AVENGERS and TRANSFORMERS 3 is interesting, but more important to note that every other action scene in AVENGERS was better than the climax. Flying battleship crash, Iron Man Vs Captain America, Hulk vs Thor was part of the airship but still…

  313. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 21st, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    “Besides, isn’t there a certain joy in just watching awesome people be awesome?”

    I agree with this. I didn’t like all of the movie but these parts were the most fun for me.

  314. Yeah, I thought most of us were happy to finally have an action-adventure movie that ignores the usual Hollywood requirement of romantic subplot bullshit.

    And call me old-fashioned, but I’m still a sucker for believing that life and death *is* the only emotional stake that matters. It’s cool to see heroes team up to help save the lives of people they’ll never meet or join among the common masses.

    And it’s way cool to hear an alien punk at the end of the movie say (paraphrased), “Earth is strong. Humans are not easy to defeat. We know now that they will fight back, etc.” He changed his tone from the beginning of the movie when he said we could do nothing but burn or bow or whatever. He got his comeuppance real good, and we re-learn why we’re proud to be Americans, er, earthlings. Mostly Americans.

  315. Paul – ***Who is Captain America to judge Iron Man’s intentions? Besides the fact that Cap, obviously, turns out to be wrong – Iron Man damn near rides a nuke to his death at the end of the movie. So Cap calling him out for not being “self sacrificing” is bullshit – when Iron Man has to do it, he does it.***

    That’s the whole point of leadership. Rogers says that which is necessary to maximize the potential of those around him, to accomplish the mission, and in this case he pushes Stark’s buttons and thus plants the seed of Iron Man’s willingness to give the ultimate sacrifice in the end.

    It’s like at the end of THE DARK KNIGHT, there’s this exchange:

    kid: Why’s he running, Dad?

    Gordon: Because we have to chase him.

    kid: He didn’t do anything wrong.

    Gordon: Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector.

    Rogers doesn’t care if he hurts Iron Man’s feelings. He’s giving him tough medicine. That’s what leaders do. An officer doesn’t befriend his squadmates or subordinates.

    And I’m allowed to call Iron Man a “subordinate” because he repeatedly emphatically tells the world and anyone who will listen that he is *not* a soldier (partly because he’s ashamed of his weapons salesman past and partly b/c he fancies himself an independent genius). So he himself would disagree with your combat veteran argument there, Paul. Good try.

  316. Paul – not to nitpick, but I think a big problem a lot of people (including me) had w/ Iron Man 2 was that the stakes were much, much lower than saving the world – they were basically military contracts and making sure Justin Hammer didn’t get them b/c he was even more annoying than Tony. Part 1 wasn’t really about “saving the world” either, (neither was The Dark Knight or a ton of other superhero movies) – but it didn’t matter because it was well done and we were more invested in the characters. High/low stakes are subjective, I guess.

    Re: Captain America – I think he’s actually one of the most interesting characters, precisely because of his “squareness”. You can’t tell me “There’s only one God, ma’am, and He doesn’t dress like that” isn’t a great line full of subtext that you would never hear from any other action hero in these times. I’m not religious at all, but I love that line and what it says about Captain.

    Re: his feud w/ Iron Man – I think he started talking shit to IM so quickly b/c yes, the script required it, but also b/c IM was being a cocky prick in practically every scene beforehand. I wouldn’t expect him to be the type of guy to sacrifice himself either based on what he saw. Plus I’m pretty sure there’s some residual feelings based on the fact that Tony’s father was sort of a cocky prick himself in CA and a romantic rival, right?

    Speaking of which – (I don’t think it’s been discussed here yet) – what happened to Capt America’s girl? The weird way they ended (cut off) his movie, you figured finding Peggy(?) would be the first thing addressed in Avengers, but it’s never mentioned. Any talk of a cut scene?

  317. Cap is from a time before cynicism, before irony, before snark, before grown-ass men wore T-shirts out of the house, let alone to work. He’s from a time when men spoke plainly and didn’t show off their money or their brains just to make themselves look bigger. A man like that is gonna take one look at Stark and size him up instantly. But he’s also gonna give his life fighting side by side with him if that’s what it takes. That’s why he’s the goddamn Captain.

  318. You also kinda got to appreciate that Cap appears to be in no way surprised that Sam Jackson outranks him, can drink at the same water fountains, etc. He’s old fashioned, but clearly was already ahead of his time.

  319. I also disagree with something else Casey said above about stakes and not expecting characters to die or change or surprise you.

    ***Is Loki going to turn face and have a dramatic moment with Thor?

    It’s hard for me to care when there’s nothing at stake.***
    (sandwiched by some nonsense about a TRAN3FORMERS comparison)

    I genuinely thought there was a good chance that Loki *would* surprise us, that he would have a temporary change of heart, a brotherly love revelation or a “remembering the happy days of youth” moment of hesitation that would be important to saving Manhattan.

  320. neal2zod – Not just all that, but IM and CA are just two different generations of two different mindsets. It’s why CA more willing to accept authority isn’t used to Tony Stark being a 70s/80s kid, going through cynical times regarding authority.

    Or put it another way, CA came up through the Great Depression and then Hitler beginning his dick games in Europe. With his ethnic background (Irish-American Catholic kid in Brooklyn), he probably thought very highly of FDR to say the least and was very much for FDR’s fight with the intellectually retarded Isolationists in trying to arm Britain. Very much a time when it was Democracy against Dicators.

    Tony Stark though, what happened in his lifetime? He was too young to remember Vietnam, but the echoes and ramifications of that unpopular pointless war was in the culture. The same with Watergate. And well, need I say more about Iraq/Afghanistan?

    It’s why that bitch fight over the Cosmic Cube (fuck “Tesseract”) was based from.

  321. I did feel the “Cap says Tony doesn’t get self sacrifice” thing was a little forced in the climax for the first Iron Man he tells Pepper to hit the overload switch on his generator, even though he knows it could most likely kill him. IM 2 was also about him thinking he was dying and trying to leave a legacy and get his affairs in order, so he doesn’t always think there’s a way out.

  322. Stu – but does Cap know about that? I mean we’re assuming he knows what happened with Stark (never exactly an open person emotionally in spite of his impulsive behavior) or read the files or something. Or if he did read the files, SHIELD your usual government bureaucracy summarized the flair and truth the shit out of it and took out the willing-to-sacrifice details. I guess.

    Cap was acting on the profile he himself made when he sized him up, a stereotype…and he was wrong in that regard.

  323. I thought Loki could find redemption in Thor and really believed that dramatic arc. The rest of the movie felt like they were busy going from one point to another, but the central drama to the movie was about two brothers and whether they could grow to become better men and really learn to love one another. Thor does, Loki doesn’t and it’s tragic.

    I never felt that was a possibility in the Avengers.

    And yes, comparing two movies that feature long action scenes dealing with invasions of major cities is obviously silly. Hell, both movies even featured down-on-their-lock villains who appeal to higher forms of evil to get revenge, lose control of those higher powers, and eventually become so pathetic that their turning face and finding redemption is the only real way out but instead they stubbornly hold on to their bitterness and anger. But, yes, totally silly to compare those two movies.

    I like Captain America. Captain America is a more interesting Superman. He’s an interesting character but he works, for me at least, as a mirror to the world and everyone around him. It’s difficult to really talk about either character by themselves as the real insight comes from their relationships and how they help illuminate others.

    At this point I’m much more excited about a new Captain America movie over any of the others, Avengers included.

  324. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 21st, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Mouth – good point regarding Iron Man not being a “soldier”. But on the flipside of that argument, Cap’s not a “leader” in “The Avengers” – he’s much less so, in fact, than in his original film, where he inspires a whole camp full of troops to go into battle under his leadership. In this film he’s dealing with equals.

    I would go as far as to say that this is pretty much his character arc this film – his reluctance to question authority. But on the point I raised, Cap is, simply put, wrong. He makes an arrogant assumption about a teammate and then has no compunction of criticising him for something he can’t know to be true (and, as it turns out, ISN’T true.)

    As another example of why I don’t like the character though: compare Iron Man’s scene with Pepper Potts to his scenes with Captain America. Iron Man’s cocky-but-unassuming dialogue needs a sharp foil to go with it. Pepper holds her own with him in their verbal sparring matches. Cap refuses to get into it with Iron Man – he shuts him down and gets surly and self-righteous.

    But I could deal with that if this was his “flaw” and otherwise I found the character to be likeable, or if he learnt to overcome it. My biggest problem is – and again, this is purely subjective – he’s just not FUN. Again making a comparison here… Bruce Banner and Thor are both very morally-centred characters. But I liked watching them, I liked seeing them interest with others. Didn’t get that from Cap.

    Neal – point conceded regarding Iron Man not saving the “world”. I admit I was definitely appealing to Mouth’s character when I pointed out that Iron Man has twice the experience of Cap America because he’s been in twice as many movies. I think there are possible flaws in that argument.

  325. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 21st, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    In fact, rethinking it, I’m wrong about Cap’s “arc”, since he takes it on his own initiative to investigate SHIELD for himself by breaking into the storage room while Banner and Stark are working on the computer system. Clearly he doesn’t have a problem with examining the workings of the people he’s working for. Not that that changes my issues with the character, but it should be noted for the sake of correctness.

  326. The moment in CAPTAIN AMERICA I started enjoying myself was when Hugo Weaving removed his face and turned himself into Red Lobster. I don´t mean to offend any comic book fans, but i had NO idea who Red Skull was until I researched him after the movie. That moment I laughed so hard I could hardly breathe, on the other hand it was just what the movie needed: a silly villain.

  327. RRA, I want to answer your question about the interviews. Studios have been doing this thing in the last 5-6 years where instead of having each star do individual interviews, they put the whole cast together at once. Their ideas is that everyone will be part of the story, but it totally backfires. If there’s just one interview with the whole case, most reporters need a Robert Downey Jr. story (or ScarJo if she’s present. Or Whedon if it’s internet reporters.)

    We’d be happy to do a Jeremy Renner story, if you give us Downey, then Renner. And we’d do individual stories on every single one from The Avengers. But hey, if you put them all together we gotta do what we gotta do.

    And in press conferences they even hire moderators to make sure to ask all the supporting actors at least one question. They’re trying so hard to control it and please everyone’s ego, but they’d be better served to just split them up.

    Anyway, that’s a little insight into the flawed thinking of PR.

  328. Unfortunately the movie took no advantage whatsoever of the silly villain. One of the biggest disappointments of that movie is how underused Hugo was when we all know that he is a mega acting champ that could’ve really gone to town if he had way more to work with.

    What made the Cap movie work for me was Cap himself. Not the generic plot, not really the side characters though Hayley Atwell is probably the best eye candy in any of these Marvel Studios joints IMO but Evans himself as Cap. He just completely sold it and I can’t wait to see that character one day put to better use in a better movie since it could theoretically still happen.

    No AVENGERS wasn’t that movie. He was way too underused which is ironic since he had so much screen time. He felt like a prop and he was also too uncharacteristically stoic for my tastes at times. I think the solo movie did a better job at capturing the essence of that character. Whedon is a big fan of Cap too I recall that being one of the big reasons he took this job so that was kinda surprising to me. But I guess he didn’t want to make it seem too Cap centric or maybe Disney was just like “Iron Man is your star; remember that” or something.

    I’m really curious about who they get behind the next Cap movie. Now they can’t get away with “safe” and “passable” movies anymore they have to make really genuinely good ones that aren’t forgettable since the stakes have been raised with the success of THE AVENGERS. So I hope they get someone who really wants to sink their teeth into the thing and make it pop. Like Shane Black with IRON MAN 3.

  329. ^ @ShootMcKay

  330. Broddie – to be fair, Whedon did shoot alot of Cap shit that just didn’t make the final cut (assumingly because they slogged the pace down) which probably will be reused/reshot for CA2.

    You know I wonder how CA2 will work in resurrecting Hydra or how Red Skull that little fascist gets his hands dirty again once he comes back down from space. (Man I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who expected him in AVENGERS, cameo right?)

    Of course this comes out in ’14 right? It’ll need to shoot next year to make that date so why not be a whore of the moment and incorporate the new arena and the Brooklyn Nets for a scene, since it’s public knowledge that Brooklyn boy Steven Rogers is CA.

    I would even like the idea of our polarized country, both sides try to basically hijack Cap for their crusades and causes, and he wants nothing to do with a loud obnoxious circus that he also doesn’t quite understand.

    I mean imagine a guy from the 1940s turning onto Fox News or MSNBC. That would sum up his bafflement.

  331. You know I just realized one valley for CA2 that I would like if they could make it work, but I’m not sure how, but the whole “black” Captain America story which partly based off the fucked-up medical experiment shit the U.S. Government did to black servicemen.

    Or hell, one of the memorable CA storylines: When the government “fired” Rogers from the CA identity (which they owned as govt. property) and replaced him with a lunatic if I remember right, which of course Cap does right and fights to get his job back.

  332. I’m no fan of MSNBC, but whenever anyone compares it and Fox News as being equally bad I cry a little inside.

  333. Casey – I compare them not politically, but in structure. Because even if you agree with what MSNBC is saying, it’s still pretty much formatted as ideological pornography. Like FNC, you don’t learn anything insightful about the world or civilization, just another excuse to hate “them.” Plus usually both channels, its stupid people yelling at each other in what’s described as “debate.” Kills braincells if you ask me.

  334. RRA – I think the saddest thing is people that think these people are actually smart just because they’re wearing fancy suits. Perception of intellectualism is so shallow in modern society that everything is based on appearance and credentials.

    There is a homeless man in central park right now who could probably outclass any of those jokers in a debate. Just more desensitizing of individual thought. By design the media has these debates to just harp these creeps on even more & have them push their own individual agendas in a blind manner no more different than religious people do.

    CNN is just as bad as those other guys. Fuck the news.

  335. The most insightful interviews and best debates on TV these days are on Real time With Bill Maher, The Daily Show and to a certain degree The colbert Report. Maher, Stewart and Colbert use humor to shine a light on current affairs, but they are almost always smarter than the other men/women in the room. Seeing Jon Stewart wiping the floor with Tony Blair, once one of the most powerful politicians on the planet, was almost painful. Almost, because he got what he deserved.

  336. “CNN is just as bad as those other guys. Fuck the news.”

    Broddie – CNN isn’t even relevant. I tell you as crazy as this might sound, if Ted Turner still owned it he never would’ve allowed that to happen. If only out of ego and liking to make his competition look like old, tone deaf out of date. Which is what CNN is now. Hell he even bankrolled the COLD WAR documentary mini-series for CNN, which was some terrific shit.

    pegsman – I agree. I remember when Cronkite died, a poll was taken asking Americans which news anchors they “trusted” most and Stewart won. A fucking comedian, yet it’s absolutely true. I’ll take his word over any of those imbecile pussy anchors on the networks. (Katie Couric almost set back progress for women in journalism. Her only triumph was Sarah Palin, and that was merely accidental for Couric was throwing softballs to a total (moron) amateur.)

    Maher can be wonderful, and has good panels. (Rourke and the late Carlin were always great.) But he can be a total cunt at times too.

  337. Sur (“cunt” being the key word here), but I think that’s the stand up comedian in him talking.

  338. No, RRA, no.

    Watch a day of MSNBC and a day of Fox News. Do it. They are not the same. They are more different than just perspective and accuracy. Yes, each will go after their pet-issue-of-the-week but they are far more different than they are similar. MSNBC is still a channel that acts as a neo-liberal shill, but it’s nowhere near as inflammatory, emotionally manipulative, or awful as Fox News.

    I like Colbert. He seems to have a good heart. Stewart is far too smart and cute and hides behind being a comedian whenever it is convenient, and Maher is a blowhard who legitimately hates poor religious people while advancing his weird anti-vaccine message.

    None of these people are half as good as Diane Rehm and she’s painful to listen to.

  339. Also, I have a hard time watching Maher (although the wife does a lot so I end up watching him more than I’d like) because he’ll have just the worst fucking people on. There’s seriously no one worse than Andrew Sullivan and I see his stupid fucking face on Maher way too often.

  340. “Watch a day of MSNBC and a day of Fox News. ”

    Oh good, two migraines.

    I got it: Both at the same time! I’ll finally get that brain tumor I’ve wanted.

    Casey, you must understand something. Ever had a casual contact or coworker that maybe you agree 100%, or least most of the time, but…they were still annoying as fuck and you would rather limit your contact with them as much as possible? That’s MSNBC for me.

    But the panels can be….questionable at times, to say the least. I remember Mos Def claiming 9/11 was a government job and I remember Sean Astin coming off as rather short (nyuck nyuck) when he tried to make any sort of informed opinion. Cornwel West can be obnoxiously pretentious this side of Bill Buckley, but without the amusing mockable facial tics.*

    Maher having those Loose Change folks thrown out of his show was classic though.

    *=Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal mouthing off at each other on live TV in the late 60s, vintage YouTube gold.

  341. I can’t even watch Colbert or Stewart either. They’re so smug and self important that it doesn’t seem any different than the other people trying to really push their ideals on the world. They’re also really not that funny but hey the kids love em so woo hoo for them.

    Maher has become the same thing also and I actually was a fan of his growing up (Politically Incorrect especially) and agree with a lot of his political opinions but the guy is just too much of a self serious assface most of the time now a days for me to even bother with him.

    Tell you the truth any time I watch any show with any form of debates or political news now a days all I hear is the adult voices from the Charlie Brown cartoons. As you get older you just really stop giving a fuck. Carlin was completely right in that politics is complete horse shit that is manipulative as fuck and not worth wasting any time on unless you’re in on the con. The only thing is that he actually cared enough to even try to speak on why he felt that way but if I was in his shoes I wouldn’t have even ever bothered with that. I

  342. “I would even like the idea of our polarized country, both sides try to basically hijack Cap for their crusades and causes, and he wants nothing to do with a loud obnoxious circus that he also doesn’t quite understand. ”
    There was an issue of the Thor comic that was set a year after Cap’s death(he got better), where different partisan pundits were trying to claim Cap would have thought this and cap would have thought that on various nightly news shows, and Thor is so disgusted by it he causes a communication blackout for an hour just so people get the message that they should just shut the fuck up and remember Cap for who he was, and not who they wanted him to be.

  343. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 22nd, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I used to check out Maher on YouTube occasionally, before he went all anti-vaccination on me. (If there’s one issue that has the ability to leave me absolutely foaming at the mouth, it’s that one. Because I generally agree with Broddie about getting older / not giving a fuck, but I draw the line at causing mass recurrences of childhood diseases that 1) rarely but definitely cause brain damage or worse, and 2) are almost eradicated until some idiot tells everybody to stop getting their kids vaccinated. Which is what happened in the UK with German Measles.) Now, I don’t.

    He still at least seems slightly more reasonable than the bloke you guys were discussing the other day, O’Reilly. But let’s face it, from what I saw of O’Reilly, that’s not exactly difficult to pull off.

  344. Paul – I’ll be honest, I haven’t been able to consistently watch Maher since I lost HBO some years back. (at best, followed fragmentally on YT) but did he really jump on the anti-vaccine bullshit?

    That’s a great shame. He’s smarter than that cock and bull. Well at least I thought he was.

  345. Broddie, you don’t think the fact that you don’t give a fuck anymore has something to do with your enjoyment of said talk show hosts? I find them just as poignant and funny as I did ten years ago.

  346. Not because I never enjoyed some of those hosts to begin with (Stewart & Colbert). I also rather watch stand up or a movie than watch those self righteous type of shows. I turned 23 and just stopped caring about all the type of shit Maher harped on about over and over. I’m turning 29 soon so I think the last time I saw REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER regularly there was still an extra zero after 20 when it came to the year.

  347. Fair enough. But if you’re into politics AND humor, you sort of have to watch Maher.

  348. “Which is what CNN is now. Hell he even bankrolled the COLD WAR documentary mini-series for CNN, which was some terrific shit.”

    Glad someone else remembers this, it was great, similar to the WWII documentary “World at War”. Unlike World at War it’s not on DVD anywhere, but I just did some searching and it looks like the whole thing is available on this site (link takes you to the first episode, you can go to the “videos in this channel” menu at right and click “list more” to browse the other episodes)

  349. hypnosifl – thanks. Haven’t seen it since when it was on air, but I do vividly remember admiring that it covered the obscure corners of that era in world history like Africa. We always hear about Afghanistan or Vietnam or Eastern Europe, but never Africa. (Or Yemen for that matter.)

    ah WORLD AT WAR, that music and Olivier’s voice…made that greatest human tragedy epic as hell.

    But really, Ted Turner is missed. We pro wrestling fans at the least, because when he gave Eric Bischoff that blank check to run WCW and sign Hulk Hogan and other stars and up the budget, that set the ground work for the Monday Night Wars, a golden age of wrestling that we probably won’t get again. (Of course Turner not willing or unable to curb that attitude when WCW became a colossal corporate Titanic, well that’s a fault.)

    Also, GETTYSBURG. 4+ hour historical epic? Yeah show it in theatres. What it’ll lose lots of money? Fuck it, play it on TV since I own it. Money is besides the point. (But GODS & GENERALS sucked. Oh well, you don’t win every battle.)

    He should also be given credit partly for why SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION became a beloved classic, because he bought the TV rights to a box-office flop (if Oscar-nominated) apparently for dirt cheap and whored it out on his networks.

  350. Hey, do you guys mind taking this media discussion to the “how’s this for an unexpected teamup” thread in case people still got shit to say about Avengers? I’ll start it.

  351. Upon a 3rd viewing, I’m realizing that Casey is totally correct. His/Her comparison to TRANNI3S is apt.

    Just as it is proper to compare
    a flashlight to the sun,
    a match to a nuclear bomb,
    Anna Kournikova to Roger Federer,
    the Rockford Peaches to the New York Yankees,
    a rushed hand job to a shower threesome,
    or Pete Hammond to Outlaw Vern,
    so it is proper indeed to compare Bay’s catastrophuck to Whedon’s marvel.

  352. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 23rd, 2012 at 4:31 am

    Mouth – I haven’t seen Transformers 3, but if it’s anything like Transformers 1 then I couldn’t agree more. I will support you, sir, absolutely 100%. “Transformers” is a TERRIBLE comparison.

    Nope, “Independence Day” is definitely where it’s at. Giant floating ships, alien invasions, pillars of blue light that people pilot missiles into, wholesale destruction of New York (seriously, does everybody in Hollywood just hate that place? If I lived in a movie I’d never, ever visit New York. To the best of my recollection, just in the past ten years it’s been the target of at least three alien invasions, two giant monster attacks, one paramilitary coup, one massive earthquake, one attack by superpowered mutants, one Mayan-predicted apocalypse, one takeover by super-intelligent apes, and a whole lot of other shit I’m sure I’ve forgotten about. Plus, “Friends”.)

    Y’know… my perfect “Avengers”-type film would be something like this: they’d drop SHIELD entirely (seriously, I don’t need another morally ambiguous secret military project), get rid of Cap America, and set it, to a large degree, away from major cities. Hell, set it in space or something. Have Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, the Hulk, and anybody else I’ve forgotten other than Cap, plus a few civillians for the “human” factor – Stellen Saarsgard and Natalie Portman’s characters from “Thor” would be great – just wandering the galaxy, getting into scrapes, uncovering interplanetary intrigue, fighting some genuinely threatening monstrosities, being tested morally and physically, but mostly having fun and kicking ass.

    That’d be my ideal “Avengers” movie. (Yeah, it’s a lot like “Thor”. Yeah, that’s not a coincidence.) The fans would hate it, but I can dream.

  353. I’m unsure if Mouth has trouble with reading comprehension or if he’s just petty.

    I’m going with petty since he does give us pretty decent AP Lit styled ramblings about the films of filmatism.

  354. In rich people making more money news, AVENGERS is now officially the biggest hit in Brazil’s history. Also #4 all-time in America domestic. Behind TDK by only $48 million.

  355. I think I will never become a Whedonite. Finally caught a 2D showing of this and while I liked it, I was also seriously underwhelmed by it (which actually can be said about every other Marvel Studios production so far). I mean, the last act was one of the best non-stop action scenes that I’ve seen in years, but something just felt wrong about the movie. Probably that as a whole it was just one half “Hey, let’s have these guys throw funny insults at each other” and then “Hey, let’s have these guys blow shit up”, without anything inbetween. It worked and I will buy the DVD, I won’t even rule out that it will grow on me over the years, but…nah, I think I would give it a 7 out of 10.

  356. “seriously underwhelmed by it (which actually can be said about every other Marvel Studios production so far).” “I would give it a 7 out of 10.”

    My sentiments exactly. Except I won’t ever buy it on DVD. I don’t own any of those Marvel Studios movies. I watch them once at the movies and it’s more than enough. Even IRON MAN which is without a doubt their most memorable film to date as I still remember many things from it and I only saw it once 4 years ago.

  357. In terms of pure fun, this one was definitely their best and I have to give Marvel credit for making very watchable popcorn movies so far (even their weak ones, like HULK or CAPTAIN AMERICA have a lot of good stuff in them), but let’s hope they will become better over the years. I cut them some slack, because for now, every movie that they made was a huge financial gamble for them, so they had to play it safe. But now, that the universe is introduced to and accepted by the general moviegoing public and they can also maybe adapt some of their stuff without having to set them up for another AVENGERS movie (while still taking place in the same universe), it is really time for them to knock one out of the park.

  358. It dawned on me the other day that THE AVENGERS stripped down to its base narrative is an updated telling of THE SEVEN SAMURAI. It is a story about a collection of 7 warriors (Nick Fury, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and The Hulk) who band together to take a stand and defend a town/city/planet earth from ruthless invaders. I am not saying the similarities are intentional, I am just pointing them out.

    Also, The AVENGERS is great and a far superior film to TRANSFORMERS 3, but I think they share a number of similar plot devises and they build to a very similar climax. In both films the heroes are after alien technology that opens a portal to another universe. Eventually the heroes must take a stand against alien invaders who have entered our world after the portal has been activated by the Villains. Then in the climax the heroes must race against time to close the portal save the city and humanity.

  359. It just dawned on me that “another universe” is oxymoronic.

    Technically, semantically, a “universe” must be singular and all-encompassing as one — “uni” is the key root/prefix.

    Just having fun being an AP Lit twit here, as I’ve surely said “other universe” and made similar such sins against pedantically correct English before.

  360. Mouth, you’re not hurting my feelings. I know my grammar & spelling is terrible. In general I really appreciate that no one ever gives me more of a hard time about it, because they would be completely justified.

  361. I’m not even sure I’m using “oxymoronic” correctly.

    If you’re sensitive to my sarcastic pseudo-pedanticism, then don’t be. Quit apologizing & being earnest and go fuck yourself.

    Or something. I get confused when the internet doesn’t angrily or sarcastically argue with me.

  362. Saw this again, and it’s still the best theatrically released 2012 movie I’ve seen.

    The flaws & nitpicks are still there

    (Hawkeye and Dr. Selvig are cured by hitting their heads real hard?
    Whence in the Stuttgart sky dropped Captain America?
    Chitauri are too much of a mystery, and too weak.),

    and I still agree with renfield’s statement way upthread about Iron Man —
    “It’s like playing a video game with the cheats turned on.”
    — because that character is way too technologically advanced for me to be able to enjoy him the same way we enjoy regular humans who have to overcome obstacles with more than a single button or a voice command
    (He has a dime size contraption that somehow cracks & downloads all of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s computer storage and somehow wirelessly transmits all that data to his hub, which is maybe connected to the rest of the airship but maybe not (???). Jarvis & Stark Tower & Stark’s toys are more advanced than HAL-9000, Spielberg’s A.I. characters, Batman’s many toys & surveillance system, and Q’s arsenal for 007 all combined. And Stark is somehow able to tell Rogers exactly what to do with the conveniently placed red lever.)

    but those scriptorial problems only prevent me from taking AVENGERS too seriously. It’s still a great time at the movies, just not necessarily an all time Great Film.

    I think there’s room in the next Marvel movie for Agent Hill to develop a crush on Steve Rogers. My household/posse has decided that these are the 2 most attractive characters in AVENGERS.

    I wanted the vote to go for Thor on the guy side, but the female voters couldn’t get past the bushiness of his armpit hair visible in one shot. That’s okay, trying to look like Chris Evans as Cap’n America is a worthy goal. I don’t yet look that imposing in my spangly outfit, and I do like his haircut an awful lot, so he’s an inspiration.

  363. Just a heads up: the UK/European DVD/blu is cut. Get the US version if you can – the blu is region free (not sure about the DVD)

  364. It’s not actually “cut”, they just use for one scene a different effect. When one character (It’s a spoiler, although I think everybody has seen the movie by now) gets stabbed in the back by Loki, you see in some countries the blade coming out of his chest, but in other countries not. According to Disney this has already been the case during its theatrical run. (I saw it in Canada, so it was uncensored.) And to be honest, the scene still gets the point across. Don’t know about you, but for such a small change I wouldn’t pay a lot money for an import.



    Sorry for that, I just noticed that when you scroll down, they have some Amazon links for DVDs with more or less erotic covers.

  366. Schoolgirl Report #8 is out?


  367. That’s censorship in my book, CJ.

  368. I got the blu ray today. I can’t say I even remember if the scene was originally like that or not, so it didn’t have any less impact for me. The big sticking point when it comes to the R1 and R2 versions is that only Region 1 has the Director’s Commentary, because apparently they put the R2 editions into production sooner, before he recorded it. So that’s a bugger. Also one retail has an exclusive bonus disc with a 90 minute documentary on it. That aside, the extras that are here are fine. The “Item 47” Short is pretty neat and amusing, the gag reel’s funny, and I like the deleted scenes, which include an extended version of Widow and Hawkeye fighting the aliens on the bridge, which is in a pre-visual effects format, so you see green screens, wires, and the stunt team wearing mo-cap suits. There’s an alternative intro/outro sequence based around Maria Hill, and the most extensive deleted scene would be the one about Cap, which is about him trying to live in the present day, and reveals later things from the movie were originally paying off some stuff from it.

  369. Pisses me off that we have to shop around between regions for something as simple as a Director’s Commentary.

    I got the Region 1 DVD of Haywire and was disappointed to find that it doesn’t have Soderbergh’s commentary on it (He’s one of my favourite commentary directors. Him and Lem Dobbs argueing on The Limey is entertaining as hell. Then there’s also his commentary for Point Blank). Apparently his commentary for Haywire is only on the Region 2 disc, which I will now have to buy, shitty cover and all.

  370. Karlos, censorship shmensorship. I get your point, but it’s not like they cut the whole scene out and you wonder why the hell he is suddenly lying dead on the floor. It’s not even a cool, memorable special effect that was censored, like in the old R2 DVD of THE FRIGHTENERS, where they suddenly cut away when Jeff Combs’ head gets shot off.

  371. Are you sure he did a commentary for Haywire? I couldn’t find evidence of one on a quick web search, and he said in at least one interview that he wasn’t gonna do one because he got along with Lem Dobbs on this one and he didn’t want fans of the Limey commentary to be disappointed.

    I did have this problem with They Live. The region 2 disc has an entertaining commentary with Carpenter and Piper, but it’s not on the region 1. Luckily Shout Factory is remedying this on the upcoming blu-ray.

  372. The cutting of Avengers worries me, CJ, because it was done merrily by Disney/Marvel to make sure they got the 12 rating for a home release. Even the BBFC didn’t know anything about it, apparently.

    On top of that, the makers of Taken 2 have admitted they’re cutting the violence in order to secure a 12a cinema rating in the UK – and thereby ensuring the “harder extreme cut” for DVD and blu.

    I’m totally against censorship and this form of it is even more insidious as it’s utterly cynical. It’s showing once and for all that their “art” is nothing more than a product that they’re happy to do anything to if it’ll help secure more cash.

    And yeah, the myriad releases of Avengers on DVD and blu worldwide are a clusterfuck and a half.

  373. Karlos, what you’re describing is called, “Capitalism” not censorship.

  374. It’s very depressing, Tawdry.

    You’re right, it’s capitalism, it stinks, and it’s a slippery slope.

  375. Man, if you think that this is bad, you should avoid the German theatrical versions of IRON MAN and NOT ANG LEE’S HULK. Both were cut heavily to secure a “12” rating. In case of HULK it was even done so badly that certain theatres had to offer free stuff to the audiences after the uproar became too loud. And when they were released uncut on DVD, they both got away with the 12 rating anyway.

    The most troublesome about the alternative AVENGERS version, is that nobody knows what’s up with that. It seemed to come out of the blue and from what I’ve heard there was not one single country whichs rating would have been affected by the addition or removal of the bloody speer. Apparently it was seen in UK theatres, but the DVD has exactly the same rating. Some people say that it isn’t censorhip, but it was a latedirector’s choice, so that a return of that character in later movies might be more believable.

    Like I said, I’m not going to cry over such a small changed detail. I always go for the uncut version, but this small bit is too unimportant to me.

  376. As far as Universes go, I think it works something like this:

    1st Dimension: Length

    2nd Dimension: Width

    3rd Dimension: Depth

    4th Dimension: Duration (IE time)

    5th Dimension: All possible outcomes/timelines within a particular universe (IE alternate realities. Five Card Stud, Go Fish and Texas Hold’Em are all completely different card games, but you can play them with the same deck.)

    6th Dimension: All possible interactions between two or more individual outcomes/timelines within a particular universe (IE Back to the Future)

    7th Dimension: All possible individual universes that exist within all possible different rules for physics (IE, one universe is Scrabble, another is Chess. The rules are simply different between these two board games. And the board is completely different for each.)

    8th Dimension: All possible outcomes/timelines within all possible universes with all possible rules of physics (IE: You cannot win Scrabble in 3 moves no matter what tiles you pull, but you can win Chess in 3 moves. Still, they are both board games, but the end result of winning in 3 moves is not a possible outcome in the Scrabble universe while it is a possible outcome in the Chess universe. Therefore, they need to be considered separately, in spite of both being complete games.)

    9th Dimension:All possible interactions between two or more individual outcomes/timelines within a given separate universe (IE Back to the Future as made in a universe where we can see in 4th dimensions, so the story doesn’t even require time travel.)

    10th Dimension: Interaction between two or more outcomes/timelines crossing from one universe to another. (IE, the writer of the alternate Back to the Future that doesn’t require time travel, going from his universe to ours in order to kill Bob Gale or spelling out a word on a Chessboard in Scrabble letters.)

    I’m a bit confused on this all because there are also technically 11 dimensions and sometimes time is counted as one and sometimes it isn’t because it’s not a physical dimension. The ideas are explained pretty well in this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkxieS-6WuA . However, I’m kinda proud of my color commentary explanations here. I feel like I’m finally beginning to understand advanced physics shit when I can describe it using my own metaphors.

  377. Slippery slopes are based on inductive rather than deductive logic. While we can see application of them in say, an alcoholic falling off the wagon, they don’t hold true for larger trends and are a logical fallacy. There is no rational if-then reasoning that can lead one to say, “Today filmmakers are editing their movies so as to reach the widest possible audience, therefore tomorrow they will lose their right to make edgy movies.” They just aren’t connected.

  378. I couldn’t care less. I didn’t like the movie anyway.

  379. I just had the pleasure of watching Joss Whedons newest film MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.

    It`s very much a low budget effort, shot in twelve days in his own house, with a bunch of his actor-friends. And damn, it was more enjoyable than most blockbusters I`ve seen this year.

    One of the reasons might be the pleasure of watching a lot of the actors from Buffy, Dollhouse and Firefly on the big screen. Another reason might be a pretty good script by W. Shakespeare. It`s very witty, with good dialogue and interesting characters. I`ve seen a few other movies by this fella, and they are usually pretty grim and violent. This is pure light-hearted fun, with plenty of clever wordplay and silly slapstick. It`s mostly people yapping or banging their heads on tables, but Joss Whedon manages to throw in a few sight-gags as well, as well as some few inspired visuals. But, the movies biggest strength is seeing these actors having fun. They might stumble in a few of the serious moments, but they are just a joy to watch. Nathan Fillion is maybe the silliest, playing up his bumbling cop a bit to much, but he is funny and it´s comedy, so who cares. Some of the twists might be a bit silly (like the father getting really angry because of his daughter is not a virgin), but I guess that happens when you take an english play and transfer it to the USA. Theres also a couple of racist lines, like one of the main-characters declaring that he would even marry his loved one if she was etheopien, but a quick cut to an offended black woman overhearing his casual racism, turns the line into a funny throwaway-gag.

    I dunno, I`ve seen a few movies written by Shakespeare and I think I enjoyed this the most. It`s funny, constantly entertaining, has a great pace and a great atmosphere. When these characters drink and party, you really believe they are having a good time. I would love to see a sequel. I`m not sure how the rest of the audience felt. I was sitting next to a row of teenage girls and they were laughing all the way through. The rest of the audience was pretty quit, maybe they expected something else. I left the theatre with a big smile. It`s not just a good movie, it`s a movie that really feels alive. It`s properly the best romantic comedy I`ve seen this year.

    And as a fan of cinema, it`s amazing to see how far you can get with no money, a big house, some talented actors and a solid script.

  380. Excellent. Between this new Whedon treatment & the puppet-hybrid version of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM I’m seeing this summer, it’s shaping up to be a good year for The Bard.

    In conclusion, fuck you, dna, for raising my expectations.

  381. Midsummer night dream? That`s the one with a fairy who turns a guy into a donkey, right? It`s pretty good too. He should write some stuff for Pixar.

    Mouth, I`m looking forward to your thoughts on this movie. Joss Whedon apparently changed a lot of the dialogue, but it all seemed pretty consistent to me. I think Nathan Fillon improvises a few lines about him being an ass, but otherwise I didn`t notice any whedonisms. Well, they say “yay” a lot.. but… hehe, no, I just checked the play and it`s pretty much filled with ass-jokes, yay`s and nay`s . So british…

  382. dna – thanks for the big heads up.

    Mouth – puppet what?

  383. dna – changing a few lines isn’t a dealbreaker. Hell it could be much worse. On stage in the 18th century, King Lear and Romeo & Juliet both had happy endings which the theater audiences prefered.

    (Yet at the same time revered those Bard texts, which they thought those particular productions “improved.”)

  384. – rra

    It seems pretty faithful to me. I`m looking at the original play right now and can recognise most of the dialogue. Some of the references to King John etc has been taken out since the movie takes place in USA, but a lot of the lines that seemed improvised is actually accurate. A pretty funny line is Margaret complaining about his bad rhyming, saying that “I can find out no rhyme for “lady”, than “baby”…” That seemed like a typical Whedon-joke to me, but no, it`s dialogue from the play.

  385. Y’all should be aware, if you’re not already, that Whedon wrote Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, a “motion comic.” The first round (about an hour long total) is excellent. Lot of good story build-up leading to badass catharsis & one-liners, although you have to give yourself over to the weird non-motion style of the presentation.

    Equally enjoyable as the Whedonless, better-animated Hulk vs. Thor and Hulk vs. Wolverine mini-features, of which I love both. Incredibly violent stuff. Not for kids. Seriously.

    I’m just now checking out the 2nd “season” of Astonishing, but I’ll probably watch all of Eli Roth’s Hemlock Grove first.

  386. Mouth – Agree on the not-kids stuff. I was pretty surprised with the PLANET HULK cartoon by the violence in it.

  387. Just saw IRON MAN 3. It’s my favourite for the Trilogy, and second favourite Marvel Studios movie yet after The Avengers. Inventive, fun, emotional, just a blast all around. Everyone is great in it, both new and returning. You can also tell this is a Shane Black movie (it’s even set during Christmas) following his ideas and not just an outline dictated by a studio hoping to play it safe after The Avengers. Some people (nerd and otherwise) will be let down by what happens when Tony finally comes face to face with The Mandarin, but I thought it was great myself.

  388. I’m impressed by many reviews (including Stu’s) who actually prefer IM3 over the first one.

    Though for all the fanboy bitching at that twist (not seen the movie but I know of that. Damn spoiling fanboys), I’m surprised the Internet isn’t more bitching about the ending. Like if that was the last we see of RDJ, it would be a good finite conclusion for him. (At least it sounds like that on paper) but yeah we know that shit aint gonna happen.

    “You can also tell this is a Shane Black movie (it’s even set during Christmas) following his ideas and not just an outline dictated by a studio hoping to play it safe after The Avengers.”

    This line makes me even more intrigued by James Gunn’s space racoon movie out next year.

  389. I’m surprised the Internet isn’t more bitching about the ending. Like if that was the last we see of RDJ, it would be a good finite conclusion for him. (At least it sounds like that on paper) but yeah we know that shit aint gonna happen.


    After the post-credits scene, it says “Tony Stark Will Return”.

  390. That was never in doubt. But will RDJ be back?


    Oh yeah.

  391. I predict he does AVENGERS 2 and maybe some cameos in other Marvel movies, but that’s it unless they offer him ungodly money or his other franchises fall apart.

  392. at May 6th, 2012 at 11:18 am last year, Darth Irritable posted this:

    “I would love to see a series of Avengers movies where Thanos is the mastermind behind a sequence of events, and they get closer to finding this out over the course of the film, culminating in a final movie when he reveals himself and is destroyed. ”

    Well if what Joss Whedon said recently about saving Thanos for “the grand finale” is any indication….Darth’s wish will come true.


    Or maybe Whedon is intentionally trolling the Internet?

  393. Fred – I almost agree with you, if not for the same reasons. You argue out of him surely tired of that shit and having enough money and all those common logical reasons from Chaplin’s end.

    I would argue more that Marvel is threatening to get over the hump to which they don’t necessarily need RDJ as much as they did to sell the first AVENGERS. I think its safe to say the THOR and CAPTAIN AMERICA sequels will gross more than those mini-franchise’s 1st films. What if GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY does well too? Shit ANT MAN and inevitably Doctor Strange and Black Panther and all that? Will you need to keep making Iron Man movies like you used to?

    Not to mention even Marvel’s President admitted they’ve used up Iron Man’s rogues gallery. So where do they go?

    So yeah I think you hit onto something there friend.

  394. Rumor of the day: Chadwick Boseman for Black Panther?


  395. Entertainment Weekly claims Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver will both be in AVENGERS 2.

    Thoughts gang?

    I think its safe to say that we won’t get the Ultimates version of those characters. For some strange reason, I have trouble seeing brother and sister boning each other in a big budget sequel produced to sell lunchboxes and toys.

  396. So Zoe Saladan is doing GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

    Is this a sign of progress that for all the summer blockbuster sci-fi female action parts, a black actress is the typecasted choice?

  397. I think the real typecasting is that Zaldana already played a blue skinned woman and now she is apparently playing a green skinned one.

    (Bonus: Cue obvious joke about racist nerds, complaining about how a black actress plays a character who isn’t black in the comics.)

  398. Let’s discuss the racist nerds – I don’t doubt they exist, but did anyone actually see any racist backlash to previous instances of colorblind casting? Like I saw about a billion websites pre-emptively defending the casting of Idris Elba in Thor from said racist nerds, but I’ve literally never seen the racist nerds themselves. Maybe I don’t go to the right websites. The same thing seems to be happening today with the possible casting of Michael B. Jordan as a black Human Torch in the Fantastic Four reboot- every movie website it seems is immediately clamoring to point out how super-cool they are with this idea and damn those racist nerds that are out there somewhere!

    By the way, if there was a backlash of nerds out there who were all like “but such and such character isn’t black!” it definitely paled in comparison to the “but Tom Cruise isn’t tall enough to play Jack Reacher!” contingent. Who knew that height-ist bookreaders were more rabid than racist comic book readers!

  399. Oh wait….I found them all on the AICN talkback. Good ole trusty AICN talkback.

  400. I think the Idris-Elba-in-Thor thing was actually poor reporting. I read articles about how a “conservative” group was complaining about it but if you read up on the group they were actually a white supremacist group, so it wasn’t really fair to lump them in with other conservatives.

    But yes, Ain’t It Cool talkbacks, at least back in my time there, were a good way to remind yourself that people are way more racist nowadays then you realize. If you don’t believe me I recommend writing a review of a Spike Lee movie on there and seeing what happens.

  401. CrustaceanHate

    May 2nd, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I keep up with some comic book news websites and trust me, there are plenty of racist nerds out there hiding behind comic book literalism and using ridiculous false equivalencies like “What if they cast a white guy as Black Panther?” The thing is, if I brain-squint I can kinda get why some people would object to the casting of Idris Elba in THOR because Heimdall is supposed to be a Nordic god. The Human Torch, though? Yeah, he’s Sue Storm’s sister, but who gives a crap? They should cast a black person as Sue Storm too. That’d really get those nerds fuming; it was bad enough when they cast Jessica Alba. I saw someone put it really well on Twitter: most superheroes aren’t white, they’re “default”.

  402. Crustaceanhate – yeah the false equivalency you mentioned – that I’ve seen said multiple times by idiots today – “What if Black Panther (or Luke Cage) was a white guy? Huh? Huh?” is pretty moronic. Their ethnicity is a pretty important part of their character. But what about Blade? His race might be a factor in the comics, I wouldn’t know, but it wasn’t really in the movies. And I think we can all agree we don’t want to see Blade rebooted with a white guy. Not even Scott Adkins. Which I guess makes us not-colorblind and not as saintly as the rest of the internet is painting itself today.

    I’m not saying I’m against the whole Jordan in FF thing – personally I don’t care because I thought he was good in Chronicle (still haven’t seen The Wire!) and the only thing I know about FF is those first two horrible movies that will certainly be improved upon. But i can sorta understand why some people are up in arms about it (the relative few who don’t seem to argue via “Let’s just make Superman Chinese and GAY!” arguments)

  403. CrustaceanHate, I’m not a genderist, but if The Human Torch is Sue Storm’s sister, shouldn’t he be played by a woman?

  404. CrustaceanHate

    May 3rd, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Nope, it’s Jordan in a dress or nothin’.

  405. neal2zod – I hope the new FF movie is good, god I’m very fond of FF. (Certainly remember watching the 60s cartoon reruns on Cartoon Network as a kid.)

    But you know what? I just don’t know, at least not right now. Sure those earlier (shitty) pissed in my fandom bowl of Frosted Flakes, but I think its something simpler.

    We already got a great Fantastic Four movie: It was called THE INCREDIBLES. And honestly, does anybody think the FF reboot can be as good as that?

    Besides, the Internet will shit on the FF reboot because it only came out a decade after the first FF movie and Internet will complain that we already saw this origin story and that will be WAY TOO SOON to reboot! (Call it the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN rule.)

  406. I meant to say “I just don’t care,” not “don’t know.”

  407. also I saw IRON MAN 3 last night. And I must agree mostly with Stu. This might actually be better than the first IRON MAN. I mean holy shit, I thought some people were hyperboling but they might be actually right.

    Its Shane Black making a Shane Black buddy movie, albeit not as much ass-kicking buddying for most of the movie but the beast is still there. Funny as hell. You’ll like it Vern. Can’t wait for your review. (If you actually review it.)

    BTW, all those people whining about the film tonal shifting: SHUT THE FUCK UP. Seriously its beyond silly.*

    I mean LETHAL WEAPON. That was a movie where the hero Gibson cracks jokes and kicks ass while also trying to commit suicide, a scene that got him casted for Hamlet. THE MONSTER SQUAD was kids fighting monsters, cracking jokes in the face of horror, and out of the blue a guy is revealed to be a Holocaust survivor. LAST BOY SCOUT has Bruce Willis and his kid daughter cursing each other out and his marital troubles while Willis cracks jokes and shooting bad people up.

    also, fanboys mad about that whole twist thing? Don’t worry you’ll (probably) get another DARK KNIGHT remake in a few weeks with STAR TREK 2. I must give credit to Marvel/Black for not wanting to do that shit again.

    *=I’ll repeat a question I asked in the Hobbit thread recently: Has the audience gotten actually smarter or dumber? Times like these I can’t decide.

  408. Dumber. It occured to me around 2005, when people called DIE HARD 4.0 better than part 1, 300 a modern masterpiece and ripped SPIDER-MAN 3 or POTC 3 a new one, because of flaws or plotholes that weren’t any. (I hope the people who wondered what happened to the Kraken have finally seen the scene WHERE IT’S LYING DEAD ON THE BEACH, AFTER WE’VE BEEN TOLD THAT DAVY JONES WAS FORCED BY THE NEW OWNER OF HIS HEART TO KILL IT!)

  409. I loved IRON MAN 3 and didn’t particular care for the first two (or much of Downey’s recent career to be frank), and THE AVENGERS lost me in its neverending battle. It would be disingenuous for me to claim it’s more a Shane Black film than a Marvel film, but it *IS* very much a Shane Black film

  410. The fanboys are REALLY mad that they didn’t get the DARK KNIGHT remake that the ads promised them. Which is hilarious. (Jesus even kids learn that movie ads tend to not totally be honest with you. Well some of them at least.) I’m glad we’re smarter than that sillyness.

    Latino Review hates IM3, but lets be honest: They’re only pissed that their “big scoop” about a GOTG tie-in scene wasn’t just wrong, it was dead wrong.

  411. Now that it’s been about 14-15 hours since I saw Iron Man 3 and have had a chance to reflect on it… I’ve reached a dual conclusion:

    1.) As a Shane Black movie, it succeeds completely.
    2.) As a superhero movie, it succeeds only partially.

    Unlike some reviews I’ve read elsewhere, I wasn’t too annoyed by how they pulled the rug out from under the Mandarin character. But once the reveal arrives, at LEAST replace him with an equal or more compelling villain. Guy Pearce decked out like Don Johnson circa 1987 Miami Vice didn’t quite cut it.

  412. “Guy Pearce decked out like Don Johnson circa 1987 Miami Vice didn’t quite cut it.”

    and Gary Busey did in LETHAL WEAPON?

    On that level, these sorts of movies where the “meat” is in the leads and their adventures (and one-liners), the villains are merely props and I thought Kingsley/Pearce were entertaining for what was demanded of them. Not every movie can have a Heath Ledger Joker, or necessarily need a huge presence like that dominating the movie.

    But you know whatever, it sounded like you enjoyed it too regardless. Right? Not everybody has to agree totally on every point.

    (But you probably must agree that in terms of adversaries and “story,” this blows IRON MAN 2 out of the water.)

  413. I ain’t even mad about the lack of spoiler warning because Guy Pearce in Crockett drag sounds awesome.

  414. RRA— I didn’t intend that description as a “clothes make the man” type thing. It was just my impression of a similar appearance to DJ as Sonny Crockett. Pearce is a great actor, but I’m not sure menace is his forte. Gary Busey on the other hand… (’nuff said).

    Yeah, I like IM3 well enough… it just wasn’t what I expected. Tonally, I could sense right from the start it was gonna be way different from what Favreau did in the first two movies. Also, in IM1 and IM2 it seemed like the serious parts and the humorous parts were distinctly separate. In IM3 there was quite a bit of the two blending and overlapping, but then again that’s signature Shane Black.

    Better that IM2?— oh, hell yes. That was a most welcome gear shift.

  415. Larry: Did you see LAWLESS? I didn’t really care for it but his performance as a demonic dandy federale was very creepy and menacing.

  416. Yeah, Pearce in LAWLESS is one of the greatest guy-you-love-to-hate performances I’ve seen in a long, long time.

  417. Mr. M— Yes, I saw Lawless. OK movie, but Pearce’s work there seemed to me like he was striving for effect just a bit too much. I’m more in line with Mr. S in that he’s the guy you-love-to-hate… more of an unconscionable prick than someone who’s truly dangerous. For me at least, that cold, unwavering glance that Tom Hardy can turn on at a moment’s notice (in Lawless and other movies as well)… THAT’s creepy. Just my opinion.

    Speaking of Lawless, my Far From Favorite Actress Jessica Chastain was originally cast as the botanist played by Rebecca Hall, but turned it down in favor of some other movie. Turned out to be kind of a pissant role anyway.

  418. It’s also great to see a superhero movie where the main character is effectively suffering from PTSD.

    I don’t mind what happens with The Mandarin so much, but I wouldn’t have mind seeing them do what they were apparently setting up for(the “Lessons” were really well done and intense), though I dunno how you’d really do a big climactic fight between 69 year old Sir Ben Kingsley and Robert Downey Jr.

  419. Larry – I don’t believe Pearce was meant to be menacing as much as douchey.

    And Chastain can’t be blamed for passing on that part. Remember when nerds thought she would be playing Wasp?

    Stu – cosmic space rings CGI, obviously.

  420. RRA— Yeah, you’re right. I was kinda holding out hope that he’d emerge as the Supreme Baddie type character, but ’twas not to be. What I really liked about Pearce in IM3 was his intro, when he’s the total geek nerd scientist. THAT side of the character he fucking nailed shut.

    For some reason it made me think “Damn… Guy Pearce truly needs to play a retard at some point”. Not one of those “audience empathy with his suffering & frustration because he’s essentially a good person” movie retards, but a “let’s point and laugh at the retard” movie retard. He’d be aces.

    Jessica Chastain as Wasp? I didn’t get the memo on that one. Now, the Scarlet Witch… THAT role I could definitely see her playing.

  421. Larry – Fair enough.

    Yeah for awhile the Internet truely believed that part was Janet Van Dyke, except it wasn’t. Good idea for SW.

    Speaking of the Internet, am I allowed to beat up people who keep calling IM3 “campy”? do those assholes even know what campy is? I’m afraid CJ Holden is right about some segments of the audience. I blame global warming.

  422. Who thinks the movie is “campy”? If they had translated the Mandarin exactly the way he was in the comic books, THAT would have been campy. An outdated Fu Manchu stereotype with magic alien rings? What they did with him was actually brilliant I thought. It was turning that already cliched master villain on it’s head. Also, I’ve never hated Gwyneth Paltrow(or Anne Hathaway for that matter) like some folks on the internet seem to, but I don’t exactly go nuts for her in general. However I love her as Pepper in these movies. And seeing her kick ass in that sports bra? Wow.

  423. Adding: Jessica Chastain could have played Barbara Gordon, back when she was Oracle and in a wheelchair. Now in the DC New 52 she can walk and back to being Batgirl.

  424. I’ve never really bought the idea that Mandarin couldn’t be done at all like the comics due to political correctness, because

    1. Just redesign him so he’s less of a stereotype
    2. Most recently he already WAS revamped to be a bit less offensive, dressing in fancy suits, and the “Fu Manchu” look being a more ceremonial thing. He was characterised as being a delusional megalomaniac and in the annual that reintroduced him, the story seemed to be inspired by a real life one involving Kim Jong-Il:


  425. Lawrence – who? Many nerds. I’ve read that “complaint” several times online, especially at CBM. Times like these when I’m fond of superheroes and comic books, and see that suppose fellow fans act on the level of probably not able to wipe their own ass, it shames me.

    (Besides, comic book movies can be campy. and be good. But IM3 is about as campy as SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE was a western.)

    Oh and that sports bra: hubba hubba.

  426. This is about as Campy as IRON MAN THREE gets:

  427. So to the kids these days, “campy” equals “fucking awesome” now. Got it.

  428. Goddamn kids today! Buncha textin’, iPhone callin’, Bieber listenin’ little shits! They’re in dire need of an oldschool lesson…

    First we corral them into submissive attention:

    Then we call down the thunder:

    Now THAT’s campy, kids. Class dismissed.

  429. Larry – in case those kids flunk your class and need remedials, I also suggest FLASH GORDON and the Adam West Batman and BARBARELLA.

  430. Fuckin cellphones and shit. I feel like I am the only one left who brings a good book with me on a long busride and not some sort of mobile recreational application of some sorts.

  431. A mobile DIGITAL application of some sorts I might add.

  432. Fot advanced study, I recommend the collected works of Jim Wynorski.

  433. I recently re-read the Ulimates, which is essentially the source material for this movie (something I’m surprised more people don’t mention). The thing that really surprised me though was that the hardcover collection of the series has an introduction written by Joss Whedon… in 2004! Makes me wonder how long he had the directing job before any announcements were made.

    Anyway, if any of you who like the Marvel movies haven’t already, I strongly recommend reading the Ultimates and the Ultimates 2. It’s almost like an alternate version or directors cut of the Avengers (plus some moments from other phase 1 movies). Some changes are obvious (Tony Stark bonds with Thor instead of Banner for example) and others are more subtle, but it’s really a great read.

  434. Wow I don’t see any parallels between this movie and the first Ultimates arc at all beyond the superficial. They’re like night and day and this was an extremely loose adaptation at best. I did like that first arc though and hated this movie but I also understand that insanity like uber badass Captain America, alcoholic hippie Thor and Cannibal Hulk just won’t work in a family friendly movie like this one was.

  435. I also haven’t read that story since it was first published so thanks for bringing it up Dtroyt. I’ll try to look through my long boxes and refresh my memory with a re-read. I do remember it being one of the few Mark Millar superhero joints that I really liked along with SUPERMAN: RED SON, his run on SUPERMAN ADVENTURES, the first 2 arcs of ULTIMATE X-MEN and THE AUTHORITY.

  436. Broddie, I know what you mean when you say the parallels are mostly superficial, but the are just too many to ignore. And it’s not just this movie. Ultimates 2 has a scene which appeared almost verbatim in Thor. Cap’s WW2 costume in the First Avenger is taken directly from the first issue of the Ultimates. The tag scene at the end of First Avenger is taken almost directly from the 3rd issue (I think it’s the 3rd). Nick Fury says only one person could play him in a movie, Samuel L. Motherfuckin Jackson. He also jokes that his nose has been smashed more times than Robert Downey Jr (that is just a funny coincidence I think). The holding cell on the helicarrier built for the Hulk. I think they even use the same name for the aliens, although they are basically a renamed version of the Skrulls in the comic. Black Widow and Hawkeye have been working with Fury before the team is formed in both. The list goes on and on. Plus, the fact is that a lot of these things were considered a fresh modernization of the Avengers comics when the Ultimates first came out. Sure, there are a lot of changes (Hank Pym and the Wasp are very important to the comic but obviously have yet to appear onscreen, for example) but there is so much that is similar or directly adapted. Add to that the fact that Whedon wrote the intro to the comic collection 8 years before the movie, and I think that it’s no coincidence.

    BTW, all of those Millar superhero stories you mentioned are excellent. Sounds like we have similar tastes in comics. Excelsior and stuff!

  437. I don’t think there’s that much similarity. A lot of the Ultimates was about giving you fresh, modern takes on well-known characters and playing against your expectations from the classic comics, but the movies were just the opposite, picking and choosing from everything to give more iconic, timeless representations. It’s clear that AVENGERS took some inspiration from the Ultimates, especially with the character designs, but it was really just a mish-mash of everything.

  438. that AOU trailer was bitchin’, eh? Hey leaker…thanks. You made Marvel dump that trailer about a week earlier than they had planned. I give them props for joking about it, blaming the leak on Hydra. Sorry for AGENTS OF SHIELD, they could’ve used the ratings bump.

    man that last shot of Spader’s Ultron…nightmare fuel.

  439. Honestly, the trailer doesn’t do THAT much for me, apart from Spader’s voice over. There are too many moments that look like deleted scenes from part 1 (apparently this movie will also end with a big battle in NY?), that spooky song that they used sounded like every other song in every other trailer these days and somewhere between “Nothing lasts forever” and an A.I. quoting Pinocchio, I fully expected an “A storm is coming” or something like that, to make the cliched dialogue hattrick complete. (Also I wonder if Whedon tries to Out-POV shot BREAKING BAD, judging by the trailer.)

    I still will watch it, though. Marvel has a pretty good track record.

  440. CJ – off-topic, but Deadline claimed recently that your country’s box-office don’t care for these superhero/comic book movies. Is that true in any way or is that bullshit?

  441. I think “don’t care” is a very negative view of things. They make money, just like they do in the rest of the world. True, THE AVENGERS started 1 or 2 weeks before it did in the US and only came in at #2 in its first weekend, below AMERICAN PIE WEDDING REUNION and the CAPTAIN AMERICA movies make for obvious reasons not as much as the other Marvel movies did, but as far as I know none of them ever tanked or heavily underperformed over here. Even the SPIDER-MAN REBOOT SEQUEL spent its first two weeks on #1 over here.

    I guess Deadline checked the total box office gross and forgot that Germany is a much smaller country than the US.

  442. The Undefeated Gaul

    October 23rd, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Trailer looks great, Spader’s voice sounds perfect and I’m sure Whedon will bring it as always. The one thing I’m a little sad about though is that the CGI seems pretty generic. The Hulkbuster suit, even Ultron himself, especially in that last shot… Just the same old videogame cut-scene bullshit they’ve had in every single blockbuster of the past five years. It’s about time they find a way to make CGI impressive again, because right now money shots in trailers are actually putting me off of films instead of getting me more excited.

  443. I mentioned on the “Captain America Civil War” thread that I’ve been catching up on the Marvel Universe films. I have to put this in the bottom third of them, and I’m surprised to find that a lot of people put it close to the top.

    The Good: There are a lot of fun things that make it decent and worth watching. The actors are still great, they have some fun exchanges, and Hulk is pretty cool.

    The Bad:
    -The overall tone is too silly and jokey. It’s way too much. The other films have their silly moments, but with the cutesy jokes and gags are virtually pervasive and very cartoonish (think Looney Tunes, not Marvel Comics).
    -The look of the film is super generic and set-tish. The stand-alone films have a real aesthetic about them, spend some time at real locations, and the cinematography looks, well, cinematic. Compare to Iron Man 1 and Captain America 1: Both of these use CGI and sets rather liberally, but the overall aesthetic is compelling and immersive. It feels like Tony could be in Afghanistan, and the suit looks real. WWII era Cap and his environs have a cohesive and compelling period look. In contrast, Avengers has no organizing visual aesthetic. It looks really bland and lowest-common-denominator generic. Rarely does it even attempt to look like a real location, most of the time it feels like a bunch people talking in a bunch of rooms that feel more like sets than rooms.
    -Although there is cute banter, so much of the film is spent setting up characters, that a lot of the dialogue feels incredibly contrived and exposition speak-y, and many of the interactions seem super forced and on-the-nose. I know the Loki dialogue is supposed to be overwrought but it is just way too much. Tom Hiddleston is just a friggin goof of a bad guy in this. Tony Stark and his think-fast-talk-fast too-cool-for-school thing is just turned up to 11 here.
    -As I said above, it’s like they spend 2/3 of the movie on this friggin helicarrier, and yet there is no sense of submarine-ish claustrophobia or atmosphere. It’s just a bunch of disjointed rooms that people hang out in or skulk around. It’s an incredibly bland and starkly non-epic environment.
    -Mark Ruffalo. What is with all the crazy love he gets in this. He is like a cookie cutter nebbish, he might as well be wearing an “I’m a delicate and mildly defensive science geek” t-shirt. A completely one-note characterization that is borderline Saturday Night Live-ish.
    -There are no non-super-hero humans to ground this or give it any humanness. We need non-heroes to ground things. Coulson and Nick Fury don’t count as relatable humans.

    In spite of all of this, it’s still a mostly entertaining film that warrants more viewings. It’s a decent hangout film. I highlight these grievances, though, because this film seems to be viewed as a triumph, when it’s actually pretty forgettable beyond the cinematic event that it represents. When you watch the other MCU films in close temporal proximity (as I just did), this one is simultaneously so generic (comparatively lacking in grandeur or vision in terms of locations or production design or lived-in-ness) yet so broad (goofiness that borders on self-parody as compared to the stand-alone films, which have their silly moments but generally take their characters and missions seriously and multi-dimensionally).

    Fortunately, I think Age of Ultron is a vast improvement. The cinematography and production design are 100x better, Ultron is a still fun but less stand-out-ish-ly goofy villain compared to Loki, all of the awkward introductions and macho pissing contests are over, we get to see the Avengers interacting with other humans in social or domestic ways, and there is a sense of most of the film taking place in meaningful geographical locations. Ruffalo’s Banner still sucks, though, if you ask me.

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