We've discussed when people plan to see The Avengers (here), but we haven't discussed the movie itself! So let's rectify that!

 

I went last night to a midnight 3-D showing, so I'll go first. Thus, I can't use my usual disclaimer that I'll post without reading what everyone else has posted, but what the hey.

 

To begin:

  • I loved it. I loved everything about it. And so did the audience; I haven't been to too many movies where the action on the screen evinced cheers and spontaneous applause, but it happened several times with this one. A job well done!
  • This is less "The Avengers" and more "The Ultimates," but I'm not complaining.
  • I liked how the movie struck a balance; there are six members of the team -- you know who -- plus key supporting players Agent Coulson, Maria Hill and, of course, Nick Fury, as well as the villain, Loki, but the movie doesn't seem crowded. Some might argue that it's a bit too long; I almost always think that any given movie I'm watching could be a half-hour shorter. But this one feels right, because it had enough quiet moments to let the characters be.
  • One of the best such moments was Tony Stark and Bruce Banner teaming up to track down Loki. It went like one would expect: Two brilliant minds admiring each other's prowess and striking up an easy rapport because they alone in the group understand all the technobabble they spout.
  • Reinforced later when Iron Man has to fix the broken engine on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier (Hey! it's the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier!), and tells Captain America to look at the access panel -- and Cap doesn't have the foggiest notion of what it is he's looking at. That's one of my Scenes I Always Wanted to See in movies. Cap's not stupid, but c'mon -- who would know at a glance what all those wires and diodes mean?
  • Another thing that was good was the humor. There was more of it than in most movies of this kind, and it was welcome, especially when it was low-key.
  • Like when Steve Rogers gives Nick Fury a ten-spot.
  • Tom Hiddleston as Loki was pitch-perfect.
  • Funny thing: We establish early on that the Black Widow is Russian because she speaks it during her first scene: She's tied to a chair during an interrogation getting smacked around by thugs -- but believes she's in charge. Which she is, as she demonstrates moments later. But whenever she speaks English, she sounds like an American.
  • On the other hand, Chris Hemsworth's Australian accent goes a long way to establish Thor as an otherworldly being.
  • With all the strength on display from Thor, Iron Man and The Hulk, and the talent and skill displayed by Captain America and the Black Widow, Hawkeye really seems to be the odd man out. I have to admit, seeing a guy with a bow and arrow, in these circumstances, really does seem silly and hard to swallow. Not to mention: What do you do when you run out of arrows? How many arrows can a quiver hold, anyway? Thirty? Forty? Fifty at the most?
  • The Black Widow's greatest power, however, seemed to be looking hot in a skintight leather catsuit. The audience cheered in approval.
  • This being a Marvel story, how could we not have a moment where the heroes fight with each other and then team up? Cue Iron Man vs. Thor!
  • I liked how they held back the first appearance of The Hulk. I never saw Ed Norton's movie, and I'm not familiar with Mark Ruffalo, but he did a great job conveying a man always trying to hold his rage in check and masking his fear of what happens if he doesn't with affected humbleness and humor.
  • One reviewer's criticism I have to agree with: The first time Banner becomes The Hulk, he's a mindless beast out to get the Black Widow and smashing everything in sight, but at the end, he joins the battle totally doing what the Avengers want, with no explanation for how he can behave himself.
  • Agent Coulson! He runs totally counter to the typical movie government agent; he is not flashy and flamboyant; he is not a grim martinet; he is not a jerk flaunting his authority. He is a genuinely good man, a true civil servant, efficient, diligent, and quite brave.
  • What's Robin Scherbatsky doing here?
  • One of the best moments: Loki faces off against The Hulk, shouting at him: " ENOUGH! You are, all of you, beneath me! I am a god, you dull creature, and I will not be bullied by a... " The Hulk's response is PRICELESS!
  • It takes a true diehard comics fan to know who that was in the end-credits bit. Lucky for me I am one; I doubt any moviegoer who isn't would have the slightest idea what that scene is supposed to mean.

 

Such great lines:

  • "I'm interviewing this arms dealer and he's giving me everything."
  • "I'm going to put you on hold."
  • "I'm always angry."
  • Captain America to Tony Stark: "Big man in a suit of armor. Take that off, what are you?" Stark's answer:  "Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist." Captain America's rejoinder: "I know guys with none of that worth ten of you."
  • "You and I remember Budapest very differently."
  • "I recognize the Council has made a decision, but given that it's a stupid-ass decision, I've elected to ignore it."
  • "... and Hulk: SMASH!"
  • Thor: "Have a care how you speak. Loki is beyond reason, but he is of Asgard. And he is my brother." The Black Widow: "He killed eighty people in two days." Thor: " ... He's adopted."
  • Loki: "I have an army." Tony Stark: "We have a Hulk."
  • " 'Phil'? His first name is 'Agent.' "

Thems for starters ... 

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...I'll say one thing , I am prone at times , both due to problems with my sleeping pattern and my blood sugar , to fight against dozing off in movies , alas  :-(  .

  With this one , and considering the pacing/cutting , both of the film itself and of the sound mix...

I don't really have anything to add to everyone's praise, so I'll just add a couple of small things:

  1. Not exactly a criticism, but there were two throwaway items that I thought would've made great end-of-movie Chekhov's Guns:
    1. Early in the film, Tony discovered that being struck by Thor's lightning brought him to 400% power level. I figured for sure that would play in when, during the final battle, JARVIS kept warning that his power was running low.
    2. Hawkeye talked about wanting to put an arrow through Loki's eye, and I wondered how he would do that when bullets and Hulks couldn't harm him. When Loki sucker-stabbed Thor with a small blade/flachette/whatever, then threw the blade onto the ground, I would've bet bottom dollar Hawkeye was going to craft that into an arrow that could hurt a god.
  2. I'm sure this isn't much of a concern, because no one who saw
Thor isn't going to not have also seen
Avengers, but it struck me that they put a fair bit of status quo change in place for when
Thor 2 comes around (Thor now able to get back to Earth; Loki no longer lost, but now held prisoner in Asgard to face Odin's judgment...) — more than for either of the other two franchises.
    • That being said, I would love to see Mark Ruffalo's Banner (with or without the Hulk) in
Iron Man 3.
  3. Have we ever seen that explanation before of how Hawkeye is able to always pull his trick arrows? Because I thought that was kinda awesome.
  4. I still haven't decided if the 9/11-type aftermath imagery (memorial walls & etc.) was powerful or manipulative...
     


The only other point I have to offer is this:

After the movie, Jen asked why, in the real world, Black Widow isn't treated with the same level of respect/marketing push/etc. that the male heroes were. I told her that's a recognized problem in the comics industry, but that I thought this movie was Joss Whedon's way of trying to establish her as an A player. I'll be interested to see how that plays out.

Saw it at the weekend with the boys - and I agree with the theory that it was Loki's staff that made Baner lose control.  The kicker is in his quote just before he Hulks out for the big fight.

 

"You want to know my secret?  I'm always angry."

 

He's learned to control his anger, so the staff removed the control and whammo.

 

Having said that, the smile when Hulk gets his orders from Steve - priceless.

If Warner Bros was smart, they'd give the Batman movies to Steven Moffat, now that Nolan is done, and allow him to build, over 2-3 films, toward a JLA movie. He has the action and character chops as the UK's Joss Whedon.

The Black Widow did use her widow's bite gloves.  She's seen putting them on and powering up and then using them on some of the alien goons during the big fight.

John Dunbar said:

I thought it was simply awesome, and I had tempered my expectations knowing, as Clark said, it was more Ultimates than Avengers.  I agree with a lot of Clark's points, so I'll try not to regurgitate too many of them.  But yeah, the Hulk / Loki scene ... I cheered pretty loud for that. 

As for Agent Coulson, if Rich is right, that would be a pretty good swerve.  I thought Coulson was a great metaphor for us, the comic book fans who waited so long for this movie and other superhero movies we've seen in the last 10-12 years.

I agree with people who said Mark Ruffalo really stole the show. 

One part of the story that I thought was not explained well was why the Hulk was trying to kill the Widow when we first saw him and then later worked with the rest of the Avengers.  I have to disagree with Mike Parnell here.  Everyone at SHIELD was wondering why Loki surrendered so easily and why he seemed content to be where he was.  The Widow tricked it out of him - he wanted to be near Banner; I think the scene where the heroes are bickering comes just before that.  Loki's staff was in the room and I took it that the staff was causing them all to be at each other's throats and caused Banner to transform and be uncontrollable.  When they all got away from the staff, the desire to fight each other (in Hulk's case destroy everyone / everything) went away.  It's left for the audience to guess otherwise how the Hulk went from completely uncontrollable to being a WMD that Cap could point at the aliens.

Did anyone catch any Easter Eggs?  I was really hoping for some reference to Hank and Jan, Wakanda, anything like that ... all I caught was Stark saying he was an L.M.D. 

I think a lot less of this Black Widow would have gone a long way.  I liked her opening scene, and how she tricked Loki later on, but I thought she talked far too much for someone who was suppposed to be a mysterious Russian assassin, and the handguns just came across as dumb to me.  She needed some high tech toys, a Widow's Bite, something, otherwise, she could have easily been swapped out and Maria Hill could be an Avenger.

Having not seen the Captain America movie, I keep waiting for Chris Evans to be smily, goofy, and yell "Flame On!"

I wish I could be excited by the next Big Bad.  I find that the same story is just retold and retold for him.  It doesn't help I find him derivative of Darkseid.  Still, I'm sure I'll be there again on opening night in a few years ... hopefully we'll hear the battle cry next time.  Actually, "Avengers Assemble" would make a good movie title.

Philip Portelli said:

And the end credits? Interesting but a CGI villain? We'll see. Some people will love it to Death!


 
ClarkKent_DC said:

It takes a true diehard comics fan to know who that was in the end-credits bit. Lucky for me I am one; I doubt any moviegoer who isn't would have the slightest idea what that scene is supposed to mean.

 

My supervisor saw the movie and didn't have the slightest idea who that was. I suppose it's an exciting tease for us diehard comics fans, but for the moviegoer who hasn't been reading Marvel comics for the past 35 years ...? 

 

I just wonder how this bunch of Avengers would handle this villain. Maybe by then, they can bring the Fantastic Four along to help out. 

None of my friends knew who it was. However they got the idea he's a formidable foe and can't wait for an Avengers 2. One friend thought he looked like a purple Hellboy though.

I plan on seeing it again like I mentioned a 100 times before. Tonight I'm going to start a Marvel movie marathon leading up to my second viewing.

Usually when a new super-hero movie comes out my brother asks me what I didn't like about it or what was "wrong". But I had very little to say.........except

  • it did bother me a little that there were no cameos/Easter Eggs by other Marvel characters like Giant-Man, the Wasp or the Black Panther, y'know to build up for the next movie.
  • "The world's about to change..." Indeed, with gamma-charged monsters and Asgardian gods and now aliens, the movie Marvel Universe is as "unreal" as the comic book one.
  • I would have just said outright that Hawkeye and the Black Widow possess some sort of super-powers, in order to make the fight scenes more believeable. Nothing fancy...some low-level strength and agility. Hey could accuracy and sex appeal be super-powers?

ClarkKent_DC said:


It takes a true diehard comics fan to know who that was in the end-credits bit. Lucky for me I am one; I doubt any moviegoer who isn't would have the slightest idea what that scene is supposed to mean.

 

My supervisor saw the movie and didn't have the slightest idea who that was. I suppose it's an exciting tease for us diehard comics fans, but for the moviegoer who hasn't been reading Marvel comics for the past 35 years ...?

I don't know that that's any different than the Nick Fury tease at the end of Iron Man or the Cosmic Cube tease at the end of Thor. Those are both things that also have no general relevance to non-comic-reading audiences. (More may have gotten the hammer tease at the end of Iron Man 2, but even that's a little esoteric.)

I figure, in all those instances, it excites the fanboys for what it is, and it excites the non-fanboys for the tease of a larger story universe.

An interesting thought from the Comic Geek Speak guys...Coulson's "mind" has been saved in a SHIELD computer so that he can become the first of many new androids.  He joins the Avengers and since he saw them as a force for good more than anyone else, he takes on the name...The Vision.

Philip Portelli said:

Usually when a new super-hero movie comes out my brother asks me what I didn't like about it or what was "wrong". But I had very little to say.........except

  • it did bother me a little that there were no cameos/Easter Eggs by other Marvel characters like Giant-Man, the Wasp or the Black Panther, y'know to build up for the next movie.

I wonder if there are still rights issues with several Marvel heroes with not-yet-expired deals at other movie studios.

  • "The world's about to change..." Indeed, with gamma-charged monsters and Asgardian gods and now aliens, the movie Marvel Universe is as "unreal" as the comic book one.

True dat.

 



  • I would have just said outright that Hawkeye and the Black Widow possess some sort of super-powers, in order to make the fight scenes more believeable. Nothing fancy...some low-level strength and agility. Hey could accuracy and sex appeal be super-powers?

 You mean they aren't? The audience I was with found Scarlett Johansson's derrière quite mesmerizing ...

Philip said “I was surprised that Hawkeye was "villianized" for half the movie but I liked Jeremy Renner's performance.”

Don’t forget, this was actually consistent with the way Hawkeye was first introduced in the comics, though in that case he was duped by the Black Widow into working for the Commies, so he was more or less a villain for his first appearances. It was a nice tip of the hat to his original backstory, and clearly deliberate.

Andy

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