Joss Whedon, the Avengers and god(s)

The wife and I saw the Avengers last night. It really is that good. Neither of us had any idea that two and a half hours went by – it felt like the movie starts, exciting and interesting things happen and then it’s over. In the middle future film school classes will assign papers about how Chris Nolan and Joss Whedon (also, possibly, Richard Donner and Tim Burton) set the modern standard for movies about people in funny outfits disagreeing with their fists.

Let’s set aside what you probably already know: it’s a Whedon movie, and quite a good one. Every other line of dialogue could end up on a t-shirt, characters come across as layered and real, conflicts involve profound philosophical differences where it is only sometimes clear who has the ‘right’ side of it, and one or more title character will have a very near-death experience. With a nod to a popular comics readership capture trick, at some point just about everyone at least takes a swing at everyone else. Whedon told interviewers how he made a point of pitting each ‘hero’ against the bad guy one at a time to make the point that they had to work together, but maybe you wondered who would win a fight between Thor and Captain America. How about who walks away from a scrap between Scarlett Johansson, who apparently has no superpowers other than an action-movie heroine’s good luck, good sense, great timing and a knack for violence, and an unkillable eight foot tall rage monster that might be the strongest thing in the universe? That is fan service. Whedon shoehorns in a few fights just to show that he knows that you know what he’s doing, such –late-in-the movie spoiler alert– a funny bonding moment between Hulk and Thor.

However, even if the movie was not profound, which it was, at least as we measure movies released in the warm months, any cat litter commercial that makes a billion dollars will become Important to people well outside the entertainment press. A lot of people talking about it means that a lot of people will get things wrong. And you know what that means.

Take for example, inevitably, Sullivan. The movie does not simply invoke Clarke’s Law, that any sufficiently advanced technology will seem indistinguishable from magic, and dismiss religion just like that. Characters in the movie talk about the Law and/or use it to their advantage, but the movie has more to say about religion than that. To explain why necessitates some key spoilers, so find more hastily-written screed after the jump.

Like usual Joss Whedon gave fair time to a wide mix of perspectives. Thor and Tony Stark are well aware of Clarke’s Law and Loki has internalized it to the point where he seems to believe that the gap between earth people and him really is man and god rather than just technology with a side of good breeding. The way he goes on and on about it gives the distinct impression that he still has to convince himself.

Other characters have other points of view. Take the moment when an agent asks Steve Rogers why the hell he would jump out of a plane to chase Thor, a god, who just jumped out of the plane with another ‘god’, Loki. Cap quips, “there’s just one God, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t dress like that.” Captain America, of course, represents the American values of a wartime propaganda film. He stands so fiercely for freedom, liberty, and a bland, inclusive protestantism that at one point in the Civil War story arc he organizes a fifth column against the U.S. government rather than go along with a policy that violates his principles (Tony Stark, inevitably, takes the other side of that argument). Bruce Banner might practice an eastern religious/meditative faith like he often does in the comics but, characteristically, he chooses not to wear that on his sleeve. Natasha Romanov only just shrugged off her programming by an atheist materialist empire, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent orientation packet clearly encourages employees to skip religious arguments at work.

The Marvel universe already has ‘a’ god figure, a fellow named the Beyonder who comes awfully close to an omnipotent unmoved mover, plus a Satan figure in the person of Mephisto, dealmaker (read the fine print!) and father of devilishly handsome teleporters Azazel (naughty) and Nightcrawler (nice). Whedon left this stuff on the cutting room floor and instead made a movie that is genuinely multitheistic, as opposed to polytheistic, in the sense that it gives equal respect to all of the major belief types. Norse mythology, populated by recognizable and very non-omnipotent personalities who might as well travel from another planet via wormhole and wield spears and other tools that have the same sort of added value as an iPhone compared to a rotary model made with Bakelite, in fact syncs quite well with Clarke’s Law.

In the movie’s climax Loki faces down Bruce Banner in Hulk form and tries one last time to convince someone, maybe himself, that there is still a grand metaphysical gulf between himself and the Earth peons who keep punching him, shooting him and blowing him up. This misunderstands how polytheism works. Mortals rise, gods fall and new players show up at any moment, either fully formed from Jupiter’s thigh or by way of a horny dalliance between deities who never seem to practice birth control. Hulk answers by grabbing Loki’s ankles with one hand and whips him around like a dirty throw rug. Loki whimpers in a crater while Hulk mutters ‘stay, god’ and wanders off to smash something else. Apparently the higher powers frown on a demigod’s hubris just as much as when regular folk do it.

Most comic book houses have little to say about modern monotheism. When your métier is violent disagreement the polytheistic traditions offer a much richer workspace. God you cannot very well punch, but gods? Oh yes. I have heard it said to the point of cliche that comics are the new polytheism, in the sense that they tell stories that personify aspects of us (Natasha – guilt and the search for redemption; Banner – the appeal of destructive, cathartic release and the constant dreary struggle to restrain it, aka Thomas Hobbes in green ink; Tony Stark – the unexpected burdens and temptations of runaway success). Comics, at least the interesting ones, exaggerate these qualities, empower them, and put them in conflicts that reflect our internal struggles (type specimens: Xavier and Magneto, Batman and the Joker). Naturally Whedon’s film handles this with flair. More impressive is how he gives space and respect to western monotheism. I am hardly a believer but I appreciate that Whedon gave a fair shake to every perspective*, including heroes who believe that stuff sincerely and unironically.

(*) Excepting an evil alien army with the character depth of the bad guys in an Xbox shooter.

***Update***
It appears that Hulk said ‘puny god’ and not ‘stay, god’. I admit that the theater was laughing so hard that I had to read his lips.

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139 replies
  1. 1
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    I loved The Avengers, saw it Friday. “Puny god” was my favorite line, though really, as you said, one of many.

    Okay, here are my “not” pictures of the eclipse. The funniest part is you can see that the only thing the clouds obscured was the eclipse – like a big cosmic joke.

  2. 2
    JasonF says:

    The Hulk doesn’t say “stay.” He says “puny.”

  3. 3
    jay p says:

    Great article, with one quibble. Hulk, after bashing Loki around says, “Puny god.”

    However, love the in-depth look at the movie, and hope it’s a continuation of good comic movies.

  4. 4
    Citizen Alan says:

    The Marvel universe already has ‘a’ god figure, a fellow named the Beyonder who comes awfully close to an omnipotent unmoved mover,

    The poor Beyonder has now been retconned about five times in order to “explain” how a being who can casually destroy the universe just by thinking about it is meaningfully different than “God.” Personally, I saw nothing wrong with his original character explanation — basically, that he was the “God” of another universe who happened by chance to learn about the Marvel universe before he had the chance to say “Let there be Light,” and who then popped over to investigate. His original character arc ended in Secret Wars II with him dying and the resulting energy spilling out into primordial nothingness to give rise to a new universe. And then, as usual, Marvel editorial couldn’t leave well enough alone.

    plus a Satan figure in the person of Mephisto, dealmaker (read the fine print!) and father of devilishly handsome teleporters Azazel (naughty) and Nightcrawler (nice).

    Is that the new status quo for Azazel and Nightcrawler? That Mephisto is actually father to them both? Oh well, that can’t be any stupider than the original story for them, which was possibly the most idiotic X-Men plotline in the comics series.

    Why yes, I am a comics nerd. Why do you ask?

  5. 5
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    “Puny God” made me crack up as much as the other Hulk moment.

  6. 6
    Citizen Alan says:

    Personally, “thank you for your cooperation” was my favorite scene in the movie.

  7. 7
    Bnut says:

    As someone with only a passing (but semi-informed) interest in comics, isn’t Galactus (the dude who was the Silver Surfer’s boss) a God?

  8. 8
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Citizen Alan: I have generally figured that most of the comic books have been made into good movies because the writers have had time and the ability to rewrite stories, generally by more than one person, until they get something good.

  9. 9
    Joey Maloney says:

    My favorite line in the movie is the one that snuck “quim” past the censors and still kept the PG-13.

    Fun fact: the FINAL final scene, the one at the VERY end of the credits, is only being shown in North America. I had to find it bootlegged on YouTube.

  10. 10
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    who apparently has no superpowers other than an action-movie heroine’s good luck, good sense, great timing and a knack for violence

    I would like to counter that she is very, very intelligent and manipulative.

  11. 11

    How odd. I keep hearing praise like this, but it really wasn’t a very good movie. The writing and action scenes were very, almost rigidly formulaic. Bad guy tries to use the Hulk’s anger against them? Check. Trap for bad guy gets used against hero? Check. Shadowy government officials so heartless they’d nuke New York? Check. Kill the only slightly lovable guy who’s been a friend to the heroes in each movie so they want revenge? Check. It had lots of glitzy effects and the action sequences were as formulaic as the plot.

    On the other hand, it wasn’t BAD, and that’s important to say. Some of the acting was very good, the regularly placed one-liners were always snappy (I particularly liked ‘I have an army.’ ‘I have a hulk.’), and they avoided obvious plot holes. It was a fun movie and I enjoyed seeing it. It just wasn’t really great, like it keeps getting praised for. John Carter was better written, cooler, and had more fun action scenes.

  12. 12
    gwangung says:

    @Citizen Alan: There are LOTS of comics nerds around here.

    Might be a little dangerous….

  13. 13
    John X. says:

    As someone with only a passing (but semi-informed) interest in comics, isn’t Galactus (the dude who was the Silver Surfer’s boss) a God?

    Nah. Galactus is an astronaut from the universe before the Big Bang. When his universe collapsed, he survived.

  14. 14
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: It’s a movie based on a comic book, where the tropes you described were either invented or refined. It’s sort of like critiquing a production of Shakespeare for talking to a skull.

  15. 15
    master c says:

    Gosh, I was smiling and saying I love this! during 90% of this movie…..2 thumbs up.

  16. 16
    some guy says:

    so psyched that the Kirby Estate will be raking in the millions next quarter.

    oh, wait…

  17. 17
    Suffern ACE says:

    Had the science guys been pagan, perhaps they wouldn’t have locked themselves in a room with Loki’s scabbard. Maybe Thor should have studied the technology more in school. Or am I the only one who thought that the argument that the heros got into in the lab was the result of Loki being able to manipulate his weapon from afar? Otherwise I don’t know why they all started arguing.

  18. 18
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Yeah, but with Nightcrawler, they HAD something good — a character who outwardly looked like a demon but who was (a) a kind and gentle hero, (b) a dashing swashbuckling hero, (c) a comedian, and (d) a quietly devout Catholic (at the time, the only Catholic in the entire Marvel universe)! And then, quite recently, they decided to make him the son of the Devil. And also an actual Catholic priest. Who was in line to become the Pope. Yes, that happened.

  19. 19
    satanicpanic says:

    The scene where Hulk smashes Loki is one of the most satisfying scenes I have seen in a movie in a long time. I also liked the fact that the Avengers just send him home with Thor to deal with whatever punishment is coming to him in his own world. I’ve always had a problem with the bad guy having to die at the end of Hollywood movies (even kids’ cartoons). Marvel, I guess can’t kill of characters or they’ll have to create new ones, but regardless, I like that part. Also the first time I’ve seen Hulk/Bruce Banner on screen and liked him. Overall really good movie and worth the wait.

  20. 20
    satanicpanic says:

    @Suffern ACE: I got the impression that he wanted it to be there, just like he wanted to be captured.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    JasonF says:

    Nightcrawler was never the only Catholic in the Marvel Universe. Most notably, Daredevil was revealed to be Catholic a good decade before Nightcrawler was, but there were other Catholics too.

    Yeah, I’m a nerd too.

  23. 23
    some guy says:

    Stan Lee, in the voice of Loki (a character created by Jack Kirby):

    The way it works is if you make a good comic book that would make a good movie, and some movie producer sees it, he’d want to buy the rights to the comic book. One thing you might want to do is if you have a comic book that is that good, is try to get an agent. Try to bring the book up to an agency like CAA or William Morris. It’s always easier if an agent presents it, then just the person.

  24. 24

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):
    Not at all true. The movies were not particularly framed to resemble comic books. They’re standard action movies with comic book characters. More to the point, you can’t excuse bad writing with ‘it’s part of the style’. A good writer finds a new and interesting way to do classic things.

  25. 25
    Arclite says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Hey Frank. I’d be interested to hear which of the prequels you liked better and why. I agree with some of your criticisms here, but the movie was just so well executed that I didn’t mind.

    I watched Transformers 3 last night, another FX-laden movie in which a team of “heroes” must work with a gov’t agency to thwart an alien invasion in which the aliens arrive with giant flying sharks (the parallels are eerie). I could only make it half way through before I had to turn it off. I simply didn’t care. Contrast with the Avengers in which I cared about every single person on that team.

    As for John Carter, I agree that movie did much worse than it deserved, and really think that Disney dropped the ball letting the director be in charge of marketing. I’m sad that there won’t be another JC, b/c I really enjoyed it and thought it was very well done.

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    Will you PLEASE FIX THE MISSPELLING IN YOUR TITLE. It is driving me crazy. Thank you.

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    JOSS! IT’S JOSS, FOR THE LOVE OF THE ‘VERSE!

    (not Josh. not jose. joss)

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:

    Speaking of gods and multitheism, I’m really interested to see what Tom Hanks’ production company does with Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

  29. 29
    Arclite says:

    @Mnemosyne: That’s actually the original spelling. Mr. Whedon’s parents emigrated to the USA from Mexico when he was six. When he got his start in show business, he thought it might be a detriment, so he changed Jose to Joss.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .

    =P

  30. 30
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I saw it on Friday. I thought it was pretty good, but I don’t quite get all the praise being heaped on it. What bothered me most is that Loki wasn’t a very good villain-all talk, no action, and spent most of his time being squashed like a bug. I mean, it’s not like I went in expecting him to win, but I didn’t even think it could happen, which kind of sucks the air out of the battles. Show him gain a little more of an advantage before you squash him flat, I thought.

    It was very entertaining-I think its saving grace was that it didn’t take itself too seriously, and let some time for the characters to make jokes and bounce off each other a bit. I agree with Frankensteinbeck, it wasn’t great. I think that Nolan’s Batman movies and Raimi’s Spiderman movies were better stories, though maybe not better spectacles (although I admit I was basically a kid when I saw those, so maybe they’re not as good as I remember I’ve just gotten more discriminating/cynical about new movies.) Here’s my idea: kill off Iron Man at the end, introduce a new Iron Man (because it’s not like the instructions for how to make the suit got destroyed, right? They’re still in Stark Tower?) and have him struggle to live up to the original for the sequel. Now that would have smacked my gob. Avengers was an entertaining, well-made movie.

    As for Sullivan, who gives a damn.

  31. 31
    some guy says:

    @JasonF:

    Gambit, Banshee, Black Panther’s foe Black Knight, the Punisher family et alia, Howard the Duck, Firestar, Shamrock, The Gael aka Paddy O’Hanlon, Antoni Gaudi (yes, that Gaudi) Ghost Rider, Greystone, The Inquisitor

    the list of Marvel Catholics goes on and on and on
    http://www.comicbookreligion.c.....n=Catholic

  32. 32
    jacy says:

    Hey in my house Joss Whedon IS God.

  33. 33
    Elm says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Agreed. I was very sad to see John Carter flop the way it did… especially since it managed to convey some pretty good messages without smacking you over the head with it over and over the way Avatar did…

  34. 34
    DaddyJ says:

    I enjoyed the movie, though I thought it could have used a little more Whedon. Enjoyed it enough that I felt compelled to do a Wikipedia search on the mystery boss in the first coda, the one who is getting debriefed by the Lizard Army/Ice Giant king and who turns to the camera, revealing an orange face and a big toothy grin. I never followed the Marvel or CD characters or storylines too closely, so I wondered who this fellow was; he must be a well known super-duper villain, right?

    So, after reading up on Deviants, Eternals, Celestials, Multiverses, Kree, Skrulls, and on and on and on and on — a kind of Escher print where each villain has a supervillian above him, who has a supervillan above him, who…

    I started to realize to my horror that maybe every plot everywhere for all time might be contained in the pages of Marvel comics.

    At that point, I stopped reading.

  35. 35
    Arclite says:

    @DaddyJ: I think the bad guy at the end of the first coda is Thanos.

  36. 36
    some guy says:

    Religion: Catholic
    Name: Glorianna O’Breen
    Other Names: Old Woman of Breare
    Classification: supporting character

    Publisher(s):
    First Appearance: Daredevil (vol. 1) #205 (Apr. 1984)
    Creators: Denny O’Neil, William Johnson, Danny Bulanadi
    Number of appearances: 29
    Teams/Affiliations: IRA
    Foe of: Gael; Kruel
    Allies: Daredevil
    Occupation: photographer
    Gender: female
    Nation: Ireland
    Note: former girlfriend of Daredevil

    taxonomy, you’re soaking in it.

  37. 37
    suzanne says:

    My demure and delicate eight-year-old daughter just came into my room to tell me about a Mythbusters episode she just watched in which they tested the “myth” that pretty girls don’t fart. She said, “They shoulda just asked me. I bust that myth all the time.”

    I’m either doing a really good job, or a really bad job, and I’m not yet sure which.

  38. 38
    daveNYC says:

    In addition to all the other stuff, Whedon did a good job making Hawkeye and Black Widow be useful on a team that had a super genius in power armor, a demigod, and a Hulk.

  39. 39

    @Arclite:
    And yeah, Avengers wasn’t ‘bad’, either. I enjoyed it! I just can’t figure out the gushing praise. But I mean, if it was formulaic, it followed those formulas well and everything was fun. I also just saw Wrath of the Titans, and that was AWFUL. So, so stupid. Avengers at least keeps the writing on a keel where it doesn’t drag you down.

  40. 40
    Bago says:

    The pacing, the timing, especially if you watched the former movies, was exquisite. This is an episode 4 level event.

  41. 41
    Narcissus says:

    I always liked the Marvel aliens — Skrull, Kree, Shi’ar. Were there any books that focused on the intergalactic goings on in the Marvel ‘verse? Uatu, Thanos, Galactus, et cetera and so on and so forth.

  42. 42
    Bago says:

    @suzanne: Awesome job.

  43. 43
    DaddyJ says:

    @Arclite: Thanks! So he’s, uh, Death’s boyfriend? That’ll be a fun sequel!

  44. 44
    Arclite says:

    @DaddyJ: Welllll, the conjecture is that this doesn’t necessarily set up Avengers II, but might actually be introducing him as a villain for Thor II:

    1. Thanos already has a connection to Loki
    2. Thanos is after the Cosmic Cube, which Thor took back to Asgard
    3. Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet is one of the weapons in Odin’s weapon vault.

    Think of how the Cosmic Cube showed up at the end of Thor to be used as the McGuffin in the Avengers, or how Thor’s hammer was seen at the end of Iron Man 2 to segue into Thor.

  45. 45
    satanicpanic says:

    @Narcissus: I don’t follow recent comics too much but Silver Surfer and Xmen (when Professor X was going out with Lilandra) seemed to be the ones with the most of those.

  46. 46
    handy says:

    Dammit I want my Serenity 2!

  47. 47
    piratedan says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: perhaps because its the first highly anticipated feature that hasn’t sucked ass since HP7 part II?

  48. 48
    Peter A says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Agree. And I am a huge Whedon fan. The film was very good for what it was – Hollywood schlock. But compared to Buffy or Firefly it seems like a massive waste of his time.

  49. 49
    BigSouthern says:

    @Narcissus:

    If the cosmic stuff is your Marvel flavor of choice, then I’d recommend the recent “Annihilation” storyline and the followup “The Thanos Imperative,” all of which has been collected into TPB. The first was primarily handled by Keith Giffen and the second by Dan Abnett and Andy Landing and I’ve heard good things about both. DnA are a particularly strong writing team with the space stuff.

  50. 50
    Suffern ACE says:

    I’m still
    Waiting for Ambush Bug to make an appearance in one of these movies. The religious ramifications would be profound.

  51. 51
    Triassic Sands says:

    …characters come across as layered and real,

    ??? I just don’t know how to make any sense of that sentence (fragment).

    The God of Thunder is real?
    A big green guy in shredded pants (that miraculously still fit his XXXXXXXXXL sized body) is real?

    Really? Real?

  52. 52
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @handy: handy Says:

    Dammit I want my Serenity 2!

    You got that right! Me too!

  53. 53
    Arclite says:

    @Triassic Sands: What part of “come across as” do you not understand?

  54. 54
    Joel says:

    If my expectations are raised, I won’t like this movie.

  55. 55
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Triassic Sands: I only paid for the 3-D. But for 4.00 a ticket more, there’s the I-Manifest version where yes, indeed, matter is involved.

  56. 56
    srv says:

    Franken is right. The adults are fried to all this schlock, kid I saw it with has developed taste after Batman Begins and the first Iron Man. Wanted Avengers to just be over with.

    Kids rave about complex stories like HP and Game of Thrones. They see through the crap now.

  57. 57
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Joel: Oh, one of those. Ok. I’ll help. The love scenes are awful. I just don’t buy that there is enough affection between the leads to make me feel that the binding scenes are meaningful to the characters so I don’t give a damn if they’ve gotten together or not. In fact I couldnt help thinking that there were more reasons for them not to be together than to be together. The romance just wasnt there.

    Not that that has anything to do with Avengers. But a negative review of John Carter might help you appreciate it more.

  58. 58
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Meh. OK, i think it was Cassidy who said the Nolan Batman franchise got p0wned with this, but really? yeah, i guess, if you had five fucking people with superhuman strength against a dude in a suit and his butler. yeah, you go with that. Batman got p0wned.

  59. 59
    amk says:

    What, no bory cooker thread ?

  60. 60
    freelancer says:

    I loved the Avengers because it is everything it promised to be and then just a little bit more.

    Tonight I watched John Carter and thoroughly enjoyed it as well, seeing the origins of American Sci-fi in Dune and from there, Star Wars and Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces. Taylor Kitsch’s acting was a little wooden, but by the end of the film, I was onboard. Disney completely screwed up the marketing there. The funny thing is the losses from Disney were due to projected earnings. The movie cost 250 million to make and worldwide box office right now is at $270 million. It was reported as a bomb, but actually broke even (and that’s before DVD/Blu-ray is even available).

  61. 61
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Also, half the opening of Avengers was a Dark Knight rip-off. Or “homage” if you will.

  62. 62
    Suffern ACE says:

    The real hero was the normal mortal human who, although not trained to defend against mind control, managed to find the strength to withstand Loki. Otherwise, the heros lose and NY is destroyed. But hey, since the guy didn’t have to learn the lessons of teamwork or sacrifice, he doesn’t get an A in his chest. typical. He’s probably the most interesting guy in the room.

  63. 63
    freelancer says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Can’t I root for both? I have more than $20 to spend on movies this year. I went and saw The Avengers and in July, I’m gonna go see The Dark Knight Rises. This whole “There can only be one superhero blockbuster of the summer!” highlander-ish process story strikes me as nothing more than ginned up bullshit.

    I don’t have any of the previous marvel films on Blu-Ray, but I have both the Nolan Batman films. I’m as excited for the conclusion as much as anyone out there and I don’t feel like I’m expressing any sort of cognitive dissonance by stating that I loved The Avengers too.

  64. 64
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @freelancer: agreed. i don’t have a problem with the avengers, per se, but with the idea that’s it’s Dark Knight anti-matter.

    ETA: i have both the batman movies on Amazon streaming.

  65. 65
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    That’s something that pissed me off plot-wise. “OH WAIT, I wasn’t completely mind-controlled this whole time and built a kill-switch into this dimensional portal creator, by utilizing Loki’s mystical weapon, which I’ve probably never even been allowed to handle!” I mean, I know it’s not an algebraic proof in terms of keeping your logic straight, but come on.

    @freelancer:

    Amen to this, too. Why should I care who makes more billions of dollars? If I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it.

  66. 66
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    All of that said, there are no falling down into a hole and being human scenes in Avengers. No parents getting shot. No Rachel Dawes. In short, it’s not human, for me. ymmv

  67. 67
    slag says:

    @TaMara (BHF): Not just intelligent and manipulative, but she brought a whole different approach to many issues. And even saw value and achieved success in (gasp!) a nonviolent approach while the other guys just wanted to slug it out all the time.

    Tim F- You so didn’t get Black Widow. As for the rest of your assessment: not bad.

    It was a superb superhero movie. I’ll be taking some pre-13 children to it tomorrow (Suck on this, Tipper!). There will be education. And fun. All mixed together in a grand socialist adventure (Suck on this, Newt!).

  68. 68
    slag says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Phil! Phil was the everyman. And he –spoiler!– dies. That’s pretty human. He and Potts were the grounding figures in the movie. And then there’s David Banner.

  69. 69
    slag says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Phil! Phil was the everyman. And he –spoiler!– dies. That’s pretty human. He and Potts were the grounding figures in the movie. And then there’s David Banner.

  70. 70
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    The love scenes are awful. I just don’t buy that there is enough affection between the leads to make me feel that the binding scenes are meaningful to the characters so I don’t give a damn if they’ve gotten together or not. In fact I couldnt help thinking that there were more reasons for them not to be together than to be together. The romance just wasnt there.

    You’re looking at the Thoris/Carter relationship from too modern a point of view. These aren’t two individuals looking for the optimal hookup (“affection”), contract to be determined later. In both Civil-War-era Earth and Barsoom, two damaged souls deeply disappointed in their separate cultures are introduced to someone they perceive as being able to (a) respect the “oddness” everyone around them has rejected; and (b) hold up their end of the struggle. “Romance”, under these circumstances, is something that develops after the mystical bonding ceremony ties them together for all eternity. Which may or may not work as well over the long term as “Let’s spend the weekend together, see what develops, make sure we have a compatible approach to the important issues like whether conversation happens before coffee in the morning”, but it’s a more appropriate attitude for the characters in this particular movie.

  71. 71
    Riilism says:

    @Joel: I suffer from this problem. I thought Avengers was very good but I don’t quite get the hype. Hype tends to ruin the movie for me.

    IMO, Black Widow was the best part in the movie and Scarlett Johansson was woderful. As much as I love Chris Evans, the Captain bores the hell outa me. Maybe it’s the character itself (I’m not that familiar with CA) that I struggle with but he just seems so humorless. I realize that not every character can be a wise cracker, but I always thought that humor was Evans’ strength and CA is way too straight a role for him. He gets kinda lost in this film (no great power, no great skills other than the shield, not much in the way of dialogue).

    Also, too, I thought the first CA movie was boring as heck but thought Thor was pretty good…

    end communication….

  72. 72
    slag says:

    @slag: Also, too, FYWP.

  73. 73
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @slag: that’s weak sauce, imho, compared to losing your parents and the love of your life. Again, ymmv.

    Also @Anne Laurie: you are really going with the 19th century definition of “love” wrt this movie?

  74. 74
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    We are all John Carter now FYWP.

  75. 75
    Jewish Steel says:

    I’m very late with this but having just read the NYT obit for Robin Gibb I find myseld bewildered by:

    In performance, Robin and Maurice usually played second fiddle to Barry, and Robin’s taciturn manner was part of his public persona. On “The Barry Gibb Talk Show,” a recurring skit on “Saturday Night Live,” Barry, played by Jimmy Fallon, would repeatedly ask Robin, played by Justin Timberlake, if he had anything to add to his talks with congressmen and Supreme Court justices. “No,” Robin would reply softly. “No, I don’t.”

    WTF, grey lady? How is that fucking germane to anything? Can we next expect blow by blow descriptions of your favorite Monty Python sketches ?

    I can’t believe anyone would pay a cent for that digital fishwrap.

  76. 76
    freelancer says:

    Post-bellum portrayals of love is always a little fucked up. See also, the movie Shane.

    and wow, FYWP. I hope this doesn’t post seven times.

  77. 77
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @freelancer: this is why we cannot have nice things.

  78. 78
    Ezra says:

    @Arclite: Are you making a joke? None of that stuff happened, btw.

    Edit: in reference to his thing about Whedon being born in Mexico as Jose Whedon and changing it to Joss for show business.

  79. 79
    freelancer says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Prolly because my bad grammar was so awful that it retroactively fucked up the thread. I’m a language savant but always got hung up on anagrams and subject/verb agreement.

    “Nick’s a fucking genius, let’s have him chip in and play!”
    “Oh, what game are you playing?”
    “Scrabble.”
    “Oh. Whoever wants to lose, pick me. I’m your guy for vocabulary, but I can’t unscramble apparent randomness, so take that risk and smoke it.”

  80. 80
    David Koch says:

    as long as the subject is entertainment, did anyone see Kristen Wiig cry last night at the end of SNL?

  81. 81
    Anne Laurie says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    you are really going with the 19th century definition of “love” wrt this movie?

    I am going with a ’19th-century definition’ being appropriate for a character set in the 1870s, yes. If John Carter & Dejah Thoris acted like 21st-century hipsters, negotiating an emotional connection only after ensuring physical compatibilty and matching lifestyle aspirations, that would have been inappropriate to the movie (and of course to ERB’s appeal to the thirteen-year-old romantic in so many of us).

  82. 82
    Arclite says:

    @srv:

    Kids rave about complex stories like HP and Game of Thrones.

    Why on the green earth of The Seven are kids watching Game of Thrones?

  83. 83
    Arclite says:

    @Ezra: Er, yeah, it’s a joke. That’s why I put this mark at the bottom? =P

  84. 84
    pinkpuppy says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I agree, for certain factors, especially plot, this earns some down marks. But I don’t think you are properly factoring in the difficulty factor. Joss’s job wasn’t to do a superhero flick: it was to do an Avengers flick. Which meant juggling 6 heros, Fury, Son of Coul and various others without doing serious damage to continuity in 4 prequel films?

    And to do that while giving everyone their own piece of the arc, with wit and a pace that kept me from even caring about the weakness of the big bad? That is where Joss gets the multiplier over Dark Knight. I think Nolan had many more degrees of freedom.

    In any case: this movie thrilled me. I haven’t had that much fun in a long long time.

  85. 85
    Randy P says:

    I enjoyed it a lot even though not being familiar with any of the characters except Hulk (as a kid, I was more into DC than Marvel, and at any rate that was a long time ago, so I’m sure they don’t bear much resemblance to what Marvel was doing then either).

    My wife thought it was OK, but didn’t have much for her. I thought it had some great character moments. For instance, there’s been some question raised here and there about why the Hulk was able to control himself better by the end of the movie. I see the bonding between him and Iron Man being key to that. BTW, she thought Robert Downey Jr did the only acting she enjoyed in the film.

    But I want to thank you guys for something else. After I saw it, I asked BJ for recommendations for a chick flick since I kind of owed her one. At your recommendation, we went to see The Five Year Engagement. Hilarious, wonderful, satisfying, well-written, great date movie. We talked about it all weekend. And apparently a flop, as it had all but vanished from the first-run theaters around here and we had to dig some to find the only area screening, a matinee 15 miles away.

    There’s lots of badly-written rom-com out there. This is a good one, if you’re into that kind of thing.

  86. 86
    Anya says:

    This might be a dead thread, but I really loved the movie; and Tim, great analysis but I disagree with your take of Natasha Romanov. Yes, she’s beautiful but she never uses her sex appeal, instead she uses her intelligence.

  87. 87
    Marc Mckenzie says:

    @freelancer:

    Of course you can root for both–in fact, you should. Two great comic book based movies this year (well, three if you count MIB 3), who wouldn’tt get excited?

  88. 88
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Joey Maloney: Yes! Go Joss, go!

    A lot of the audience didn’t react. Apparently the censor audience didn’t recognize the word either. Me and my wife were elbowing each other… I had to pick up my jaw from the floor. Slick.

  89. 89
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I guess you’re not female. Most comic book movies are so sexist they ruin the fun.

    #TeamWhedon

  90. 90
    Joshua James says:

    I thought Hulk said, “demi-god,” but it was hard to hear, folks were laughing…

  91. 91
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    The God of Thunder is real?
    A big green guy in shredded pants (that miraculously still fit his XXXXXXXXXL sized body) is real?

    As you so wisely point out, making characters like that seem ‘real’ (as in, relatable, having emotions/motivations we can understand, seeming to react to their environment rather than being immune to it) is a challenge. One which Avengers met ably.

    I’ve seen plenty of shitty action/comic movies (and books!) where I can’t tell characters apart. But with Avengers, even though I don’t have much experience with the comics, I can pretty much break down the personalities and motivations of all of the characters.

    As a non-Marvel fanboi, it would have been easy for me to lose track of Hawkeye or the other SHIELD agents and get them confused, but I didn’t.

    (Btw, the fanfiction machine has officially shifted into top gear over on fanfictiony websites. That doesn’t typically happen when you have hot actors but thin characterization.)

    Sometimes skill is in making it look effortless. It would really be sad if Whedon and his collaborators get dismissed for making something that, if the current landscape of monumental bombs is anything to go by, is very hard to do look effortless.

    PS: STIV in the 1980’s got passed over for a deserved award for special effects in creating the underwater whales special effect because even industry insiders thought the tank whales were real. In fact, the kelp tank at the Monterey Aquarium, where the movie was filmed, is much too small to house a humpback whale.

  92. 92
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Otherwise, the heros lose and NY is destroyed. But hey, since the guy didn’t have to learn the lessons of teamwork or sacrifice, he doesn’t get an A in his chest. typical. He’s probably the most interesting guy in the room.

    Yeah, the property destruction was massive and I really cringed at some of the buildings they smashed. The economic devastation that would ensue is just incalculable so it seems like the invadey aliens got something they wanted. I wonder if Stark will spend the next 8 years in court/defending himself for building an urban power source that attracted alien invaders? Also wondered why they didn’t go after a military target, unless that wasn’t the point? Not enough elucidation on that score, except that it’s a Marvel movie, so of course it’s in New York.

    Agree about most interesting man in the room. At least he got a heroic death(?) scene.

  93. 93
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Riilism:

    As much as I love Chris Evans, the Captain bores the hell outa me. Maybe it’s the character itself (I’m not that familiar with CA) that I struggle with but he just seems so humorless.

    I liked the character in the movie and yet this Cap doesn’t even seem like Cap to me. It’s like they decided he was just unfrozen and so his brain’s still a little frozen too. I want to see the righteous Cap I loved in the comics, but don’t know if we’ll ever get that.

    Part of the problem was the cowardly, reconny Captain America movie which established the character in his current state. What a let-down.

    I wonder if we will get a lovely YOUNG AVENGERS movie in 20 years? I LOVE YOUNG AVENGERS.

  94. 94
    mapaghimagsik says:

    I really enjoyed Avengers, and the different points of view were there, but didn’t detract. I am getting convinced to see John Carter, which seemed such an odd fit for Disney that I couldn’t bring myself to bear the disappointment.

    In the opening scene with Black Widow, it didn’t seem that she got close to the Russian general because he admired her brains, but she was a very smart character and very manipulative. She doesn’t necessarily ‘use’ her good looks more than she lets male (and female) characters make the mistakes. Comics as a medium seems to struggle more with female characters, which is kind of like saying all you can eat buffet restaurants struggle with calories.

    In the movie, I really enjoyed how even with Thor present, almost everyone looks at the Hulk as a force of nature, and something that generates apprehension/fear. It made the Hulk, when he did show up, that much more exciting.

  95. 95
    don says:

    @Arclite: So “Joss” should be pronounced “Hoss”?

    He *is* starting to resemble Dan Blocker a little bit…
    ;-P

  96. 96
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    I wondered about this, in the sense they left themselves some wiggle room. The cards were BS, they “called it” off camera, and Fury — at least this one, is quite manipulative.

  97. 97
    Cassidy says:

    Only problem I had with the CA portrayal was how he quickly he grabbed a rifle. IIRC, Cap never killed anyone until the mid 90’s storyline involving The Watchdogs; something he was very proud of and devastated him. But, it wasn’t enough to ruin it for me.

    Yes, I did say that The Avengers, and the preceding care and time it took to build it up with the other movies, completely surpassed the Batman movies. I know, I know…Nolan does the emo, hipster set good with his bare lighting and making Bale growl all the time, but the fact is Nolan makes movies that happen to be about Batman. He has no other tie in, no other considerations beyond Batman. And they’re good. I like them, but they are a graphic novel equivalent with no relation to a larger world. The Marvel movies has brought the world to life and they did it right and consistently through 6 movies. That took discipline. And it took understanding the characters and the world they were part of. And they managed to do it with “reinterpreting” the characters as directors like to do.

    Nolan hs done an excellent job with Batman, but Whedon did it right.

  98. 98
    Mary says:

    @pinkpuppy:

    But I don’t think you are properly factoring in the difficulty factor.

    Agreed. Joss does a lot of things well, but I think what really really sets him apart from other storytellers is his ability to juggle an ensemble of interesting characters and keep them all essential to the overall story. I think comparisons to the Dark Knight are unfair – it’s a lot easier to do complex character development and emotional examination with a single tortured character. That doesn’t take anything way from Nolan’s work, which I also absolutely love. But the goal of The Avengers is quite different, and for the type of movie that it is I would say that its one of the best of its genre.

  99. 99
    Cassidy says:

    Fyi, Clark Gregg has signed on for the next batch of movies. Current hope/ speculation is that he may be coming back as Vision, if not Coulson.

  100. 100
    rikyrah says:

    I saw it this weekend, in 3D even and loved it. I pretty much trust Whedon. He respects the genre and the story, and I am very satisfied by what he did.

  101. 101
    Jim Kakalios says:

    @Riilism: Cap’s super power saves the day at the end of the film: Resource Management. When Tony Stark is willing to say: “What’s the plan, Cap?” and Rogers has an answer. And when he takes charge of NYPD to save civilians. He leads.

    Re: Clarke’s Law: A friend of mine was one of the science consultants on THOR. When he asked why they needed him for a film about “gods” and “frost giants” he was told that Marvel eventually wanted to do an AVENGERS movie, and that it was important that Thor and Iron Man be able to function in the same universe. Thus Thor’s god-like powers (which Tony Stark classified as a “demi-god”) are explicitly acknowledged to be super-science. Recall that Loki mentioned that Odin had to expend massive amounts of “dark energy” to bring Thor to Earth (presumably to stabilize the wormhole).

    Face Front, True Believers!

  102. 102
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    @Another Halocene Human: “Also wondered why they didn’t go after a military target, unless that wasn’t the point? ”

    It wasn’t the point. IIRC, they mention how Loki wants to control the people of Earth, and thought it would be easier to do if he showed that he could destroy the superheroes live in front of the world. The whole second act of the movie is Loki setting up the team to splinter so he can defeat them easier up on Stark Tower making a huge display of his power.

    I really liked every characterization, and how true each character felt. Really, to fit this many characters with their own motivations so smoothly without exposition into an action film is soooo easy to mess up. Like CA’s ‘god’ line we talk about here, that says so much about CA in one sentance. Same with Tony Stark Poking Banner. And Thor trying to talk to Loki on top of that mountain, to bring him home. And Hulk’s look at Widow while he’s transforming.

    Hawkeye was the only character without a moment like this, really. The closest I think I came to ‘understanding’ Hawkeye was when he blindfired that arrow.

  103. 103
    Cermet says:

    @Suffern ACE: Because in Lord of the Ring they did that so …. appeared cool there, must work here the same way … .

    By the way, the Bible DOES very much refer to Gods – even these Gods coming to Earth to mate with humans … which the Bible then says is how gaints came into existance. And people say comic books are silly!

  104. 104
    Cermet says:

    @Suffern ACE: But he was a scientist and worked on the Gov payroll – hence useless … still, glad someone noticed that fact.

  105. 105
    Mary says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Or am I the only one who thought that the argument that the heros got into in the lab was the result of Loki being able to manipulate his weapon from afar? Otherwise I don’t know why they all started arguing.

    Maybe. I just assumed it was because whenever you have a bunch of big personalities in one place, there’s going to be conflict. Every character is a hero and/or leader in their own right, and most are not used to working with people that are truly their equal. Tension is inevitable, but cooperatino was essential. I thought that was sort of the theme of the movie. YMMV.

  106. 106
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Anne Laurie: OK, I was confused about the movie in question. My apologies.

  107. 107
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Mary:

    Otherwise I don’t know why they all started arguing.

    Because they were all reading Balloon Juice. :)

  108. 108
    eyelessgame says:

    @Jim Kakalios: This. Cap leads.

    It’s easy to miss the scene because – again – Joss made it easy. When the big attack launches, the heroes show up and start helping people and offing a CGI monster here and there, but the general tone is that the attack is overwhelming and the heroes aren’t doing anything effective about it.

    Until the moment the six of them get together and Cap barks out his orders. From that moment on, they are working effectively, and the invasion essentially stops its forward momentum. It’s easy to miss because in your typical action movie, this shift happens for no reason, or just because someone has an emotional moment and now everything goes their way because that’s what the story is.

    But in this movie, we actually get to see how effective tactics are effective, and it’s because Cap is leading them.

  109. 109
    eyelessgame says:

    Joss made it look easy. FYWP.

  110. 110
    Don says:

    I enjoyed the Avengers and didn’t think it was fantastic, just fun. I’m with the folks who say that there’s a huge challenge in doing a team movie and I think Whedon did as well as could be expected. The intra-team fighting was plausible (vs the very common oh-didn’t-recognize-you nonsense that comes up in lazy comic stories) and well-reasoned, the dialog consistent and fun, there was some character development, and some interesting insight between the characters about each other (like Stark’s observations about Banner).

    And finally a decent Bruce Banner actor. Ruffalo4Lyfe, yo.

    That said, if you’re thinking of seeing it a second time I’d suggest you instead see a super-people movie not enough people did when it was in the theaters: CHRONICLE. Brilliant (and non-fake-seeming) use of the found-footage style, likable characters with some depth, as plausible as it needs to be.

  111. 111
    rachel says:

    @eyelessgame: Which, y’know, makes sense because he’s the only one of them who had to learn teamwork–before he became a superhero–and has lead a group of men into battle.

  112. 112
    John 2.0 says:

    Warning: Nerd Alert:

    I think the latest retcon is that the Beyonder is one of the Inhumans, who has reality alternating powers, so he’s just a more powerful version of several other Marvel mutants.

    Cosmic Marvel has about two dozen entities who might qualify for ‘god’ status. One-Above-All, Infinity, and Living Tribunal all exist as individuals across all the different Marvel Universes at the same time, so they’re probably the best bets. Everyone else are just massively powerful entities or aliens who can change the laws of physics at will (‘Skyfathers’ like Zeus or Odin, or things like the Celestials), but are unique to a single Universe.

    Galactus is the last survivor from the previous 616 Universe (that’s the ‘real’ Marvel U), merged with the personification of the Universe a moment before it collapsed, so he probably qualifies as a god, but there are other Universe Galactus (Galacti?), so who knows.

    Interestingly, DC actually DOES have a god, heaven, angels and devil, although I don’t know if the NuDCU does.

  113. 113
    McJulie says:

    re: Loki’s staff. I think it’s obviously meant to be a force that sows extra discord, but not necessarily because Loki is manipulating it — that’s just its nature to sow chaos because, you know, Loki.

    re: the portal failsafe. I didn’t assume that was him resisting the mind control, rather, the mind control compelled him to build the thing, but his scientific instincts caused him to include an off switch.

    re: the Nolan Batman movies. I see so little contrary opinion on this topic that I always feel the need to weigh in with my pointless opinion that they are reasonably well made, but incredibly dull, and wildly overpraised. They are not artistically superior to the typical comic-book movie in any way that I recognize — they are not more emotionally resonant, they are not more thematically interesting, and they do not have more character depth. In fact, I found them to be exactly like every other halfway decent* costumed hero movie, only less fun.

    Maybe their serious tone causes people to take them more seriously. But for me, it actually fights against the suspension of disbelief. There’s something fundamentally ridiculous about the tropes of the costumed hero story, and for me, you have to acknowledge that absurdity before I’m ready to move on and believe in the story.

    *Because some of them do just suck, obviously.

  114. 114
    Cassidy says:

    IRT the team arguing while in the vicinity of the staff, the gem is the same color as the mind gem on the Infinity Gauntlet. That was no accident with Thanis showin up at the end.

  115. 115
    kindness says:

    I liked the movie. My SO on the other hand thought it sucked. The lack of plot didn’t bother me. The action was enough for me. The lack of some drama/romance/Glee dancing or tension did bother her.

  116. 116
    Mike Furlan says:

    Rock, Paper, Scissors, Hulk

    is a boring game.

    Sorry

  117. 117
    John 2.0 says:

    @Cassidy: I actually thought it was the Soul Gem, not the Mind Gem, with the whole “you’ve got heart” bit at the beginning.

    I read someone online who had the theory that the Aliens were zombies controlled by the Soul Gem in some sort of transmitter that was on the space station, which is why they all collapse when their base is destroyed.

  118. 118
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    Also, on Whedon, look up your local dollar theater/brewpub theater to see if they’re still showing “Cabin in the Woods”.

    If they are, go see. Now. Don’t read anything else describing what it’s about if you don’t know, just go see it.

    Best horror movie in yeeeears.

  119. 119
    Jim Kakalios says:

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac: I concur re: CABIN IN THE WOODS. I typically never see horror films that don’t have EVIL, DEAD or II in their title, but I am very glad I got a chance to see it in a theater early in its run. The trailer did spoil
    some of it, but without those spoilers indicating that it was not a standard cabin in the woods movie, I would not have seen CABIN IN THE WOODS.

  120. 120
    Frivolous says:

    Selvig’s loyalty was turned by the mind control, but his personality did not change much otherwise.

    Installing an off switch is just sensible behavior for any scientist.

  121. 121
    tulip says:

    @Arclite:

    Arclite, you may enjoy this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

    It’s for Bayformer 1, but still applies.

  122. 122
    Jado says:

    @mapaghimagsik:

    Well, Banner DID say he tried to eat a bullet, but “the OTHER guy spit it out”

    I doubt even Thor could handle eating a bullet. Then again, he’s not likely to try it either.

  123. 123
    jake the snake says:

    @Arclite:

    I had a real bad feeling about John Carter when I heard how much it was going to cost to make. I read just about all of Burroughs’ books in Elementary and middle school. The Mars books were my favorites. However, it did not have a built in fan base like The Hunger Games or The Avengers, so it was going to have to have a really good hook to bring in the audience, which it didn’t. I have wondered what Disney spent the $100M promtion budget on. It sure wasn’t on trailers. I only saw two for John Carter and about a hundred for Wrath of The Titans. The biggest problem with
    JC other than Disney not having faith in it, was that Dejah Thoris would have kicked John Carter’s ass seven ways from Sunday. Which would be fine, if they called it Dejah Thoris.

  124. 124
    Jamey says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    Scarlett Johansen’s character was a spy, not a superhero. Same as Nick Fury. Surprised so many people missed that.

    I must be on crazy pills. I didn’t see anything in The Avengers that went beyond what I expect of a superhero flick. It was over-long (the battle scene with the space bugs was both eye-popping and tedious–like a cool trick seen one time to many), and seemed to beg viewers to take it seriously.

    Then again, I’m not a huge believer in the “magic” of Joss Whedon, either. My 14-year-old son liked the movie a lot. But after a while, he began to groan at the obvious product placements (Acura cars, some brands of beverage, etc.).

  125. 125
    jake the snake says:

    @Peter A: Having made a blcokbuster will give him enough clout to do something else he wants to do. I’m curious if he will sign up for A2.

  126. 126
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @McJulie:

    I see so little contrary opinion on this topic that I always feel the need to weigh in with my pointless opinion that they are reasonably well made, but incredibly dull, and wildly overpraised. They are not artistically superior to the typical comic-book movie in any way that I recognize—they are not more emotionally resonant, they are not more thematically interesting, and they do not have more character depth. In fact, I found them to be exactly like every other halfway decent* costumed hero movie, only less fun.

    I realize this is a hopelessly dead thread, but this is a disagreement that should be discussed.

    ETA: I thought the joker portrayal was miles ahead of, for instance, Nicholson’s.

  127. 127
    Cassidy says:

    @John 2.0: They may decide it was the soul gem, but the mind gem is blue, so I assumed as much. I don’t think anything happened in that movie by accident. They managed to tie in two more Avengers movies and bringing Spiderman in if I read stuff correctly. From what I’m reading, I think Dr. Strange has a good chance of being made and they’ll hopefully buy the rights to Fantastic Four back.

  128. 128
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Arclite:

    My, we are serious aren’t we? And about comics no less.

    What part of “poking fun” can’t you understand?

  129. 129
    Arclite says:

    @don: “Hoss” I like it.

    @tulip: Hahaha. That vid is awesome. And sadly, so true. And even worse is that Transformers 1 is the “best” of the bunch.

    Game of Thrones is next on my watch list, hopefully there won’t be any product placement in there…

    @Triassic Sands: Hahaha, okay, my bad. Touche!

  130. 130
    Arclite says:

    @jake the snake: Yeah, I thought “Taylor Kitsch, really?” There were probably half a dozen guys right off the top of my head I thought I’d rather see in the role. Still, I thought he pulled it off pretty well.

    Hoping, hoping, hoping that they make enough on this after BRD sales to make another, but not holding my breath.

  131. 131
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Randy P: For instance, there’s been some question raised here and there about why the Hulk was able to control himself better by the end of the movie. I see the bonding between him and Iron Man being key to that.

    It’s the difference between being surprised into changing and choosing to change. This was actually laid out pretty well in the Norton Hulk movie, and I mentioned to my husband when we saw it that they had just set him up to be able to play well with others.

    BTW, she thought Robert Downey Jr did the only acting she enjoyed in the film.

    I enjoyed Tom Hiddleston in Thor, to the point of recommending it just because of his scenes with Anthony Hopkins. I am now a total fangirl. I can’t wait to see him as Prince Hal and King Henry.

    @Another Halocene Human: I wonder if Stark will spend the next 8 years in court/defending himself for building an urban power source that attracted alien invaders? Also wondered why they didn’t go after a military target, unless that wasn’t the point?

    Mostly, I think, the easy access to Stark Tower’s arc reactor. A military base wouldn’t have the power source. Had the Chitauri succeeded in establishing their beachhead, military targets would have been next.

    I was very happy to see the collateral damage acknowledged at the denouement. It gets ignored so often.

  132. 132
  133. 133
    McJulie says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    I realize this is a hopelessly dead thread, but this is a disagreement that should be discussed.

    Absolutely!

    ETA: I thought the joker portrayal was miles ahead of, for instance, Nicholson’s.

    In terms of acting and costume/makeup design, I’ll grant you. Heath Ledger’s performance actually was every bit as good as the critical praise led me to believe it would be. But I thought the movie went absolutely dead every time he wasn’t on screen.

    Also, the movie started out with some great tension in his early scenes, using the the fact that he was so chaotic, you literally never knew what he was going to do. But for me that tension slowly dissipated, as he failed again and again to do anything genuinely surprising.

    I thought this was another case of its ponderously serious tone working against the movie. The Joker’s stunts should have a weird and darkly humorous aspect to them — he’s the Joker, after all. His seemed kinda simplistic, and overly reliant on blowing stuff up.

  134. 134
    Cassidy says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: I think that, once again, the collateral damage was on purpose beyond realism. If you remember at the end, a Senator was discussing that they new to be registered or something along those lines; they setting up the Civil War story arc.

  135. 135
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Cassidy: I think that, once again, the collateral damage was on purpose beyond realism.

    I was thinking about dead people, not property damage. Most action movies, even most comics, you’d think took place in the empty cities of Star Blazers for all the acknowledgement they get.

    If you remember at the end, a Senator was discussing that they new to be registered or something along those lines; they setting up the Civil War story arc.

    No time soon, I hope. That story arc came close to making me swear off comics. Much more appealing thought is the introduction of a Gyrich-like character.

    Looks like they’re doing the Extremis story for Iron Man 3.

  136. 136
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Frivolous: Yes. Ok. But why did hawk seen unable to remember what he did while under Loki’s control, but the 2nd Selvig came out of it, he remembered everything he did?

  137. 137
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Suffern ACE: But why did hawk seen unable to remember what he did while under Loki’s control, but the 2nd Selvig came out of it, he remembered everything he did?

    I didn’t get that impression. When he woke, Hawkeye asked about casualties and then told Black Widow that he didn’t know where Loki was going to set up the machine. Didn’t need to know, didn’t ask.

    And I took Selvig’s suggestion of using Loki’s scepter as a deduction. The scepter was powered by the tesseract, and so might be able to get through the force field made of the same energy.

  138. 138
    Cassidy says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: I hadn’t considered the deaths by themselves, exactly, but that would lead more tot he Civil War storyline. I don’t think they’ll pull the New Warriors in or “The House of M”, but conceivably, the Hulk rampage could be used in the next Hulk movie as well as Secret Wars. I do think they are deliberately building up to a Civil War plot, though.

  139. 139
    Misha says:

    @Citizen Alan: +1,000,000

    I agree that the Avengers had to work as a team to defeat the overall threat facing the planet, but Black Widow clearly racked up the highest number of solo points.

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