Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Avengers

The Avengers – 142min – PG13

I am glad I was alive when they final got an epic superhero movie franchise right. I am not a fan boy of the comics. I was aware of them but I never followed them. I can say that these movies have made me a fan. We have spent a long time waiting for this film and I was nervous that they would follow the path of previous hero series. I saw this movie twice on Saturday. I like to see movies twice so once I can get lost in the story and the second time I can really examine the film. Honestly I would like to see it again because the second time I was just as involved with the story as the first viewing. Needles to say I am giving this marvelous movie a green light.

I usually talk about the plot in high level but I am going to forgo that and say this movie is about 130 min of high action. I can’t really talk about the plot without giving anything away so I will save most of the conversation for my spoiler section. I will say that the Avengers are composed of Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). They are under the guidance of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). All of them did an outstanding job, I have absolutely no negative comments about the cast in any way, and they personified the characters in every aspect.
Hero films in the past have been victims of the studio machine. Once they have a story idea they mold and stretch it into something to fit everyone’s palate and thereby ensuring that no one likes it. Perhaps they try and write the story to get as much as they can get out of the toys and games that go along with a big budget picture. These theories have failed in the past and I am glad to see that this is an example of a movie franchise that can keep focus on the source material.

I am also pleased with the fact they balanced its humor and action well. They had a great feel for smart and witty without going to low brow levels. In the past I think that people who make comic book films feel that it’s going to pander to kids so they write for what they feel the 12 to 14 year old demographic will like. The writing in this film brings the humor level higher and is still understandable to that age range without talking down to them.

The second time around I did see some specific camera shots that seemed out of place for the pace of the surrounding scenes and there was a use of reflections in this film that was prevalent throughout the movie. I am really going to have to go again to catch more and to focus in on more of the setting than the action.

The big question is where do they go from here? How do they top this film? Joss Whedon is an exceptional storyteller and filmmaker. I know that he can do a long story arc well but even I don’t see how they can continue at this level. I will enjoy watching him try.

Spoiler Warning!!! Only Members of S.H.I.E.L.D are authorized to Click her to see spoilers!!!

Ok first off The Hulk smack down is Hi-larious. I laughed so hard at that scene that I missed Hulk's line: “Puny God”. A second viewing was needed and I almost did not hear it because of the roars of laughter. I think that having the Hulk retain some of the facial structure of Mark Ruffalo was excellently done to bring a sense of connection in the conversion.

Agent Coulson dies and it was for a very good reason. There needed to be the one event that brings everyone together, they needed that catalyst moment and Phil’s death was what was needed.
I know that Joss gets hell from fans because he seems to kill of the people we come to know and love, but as a writer you have to be able to raise the stakes and the best way to do that is to kill off the ones we have made a connection to. We can’t kill off the heroes because that ends the story (unless you are a DC character) but we have to know that the dangerous battle is dangerous and the only way to do that is to have a death of one of the supporting cast. Besides this one was Kevin Feige’s Idea. (See the I09 article for more details.)

The movie starts off with high action and does not stop until they are eating Shawarma. If you left before the very end of the movie shame on you, they always seem to have a tidbit at the end. They also introduced a glimpse of the next bad guy, Thanos. Good bad guy .I see epic battles coming.
What do you think DC needs to do to compete with the new standard Marvel has set?

1 comment:

WydeOpen said...

Spoiler alert!
Great set up, introducing Thanos as the man-behind-the-curtain bad guy for the sequel. I just hope Marvel handles this dynamite stick very carefully do it doesn't blow up in their faces and take out the lovers of this franchise as collateral damage.
Thanos can easily be a movie character that will make or break a movie.