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"The Avengers"

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Dick Whitman, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I know I'm a few months late on this, and we discussed it briefly on the movie thread, but I really want to have a discussion on this. Because I think it's brutally awful. And I want to hear people defend it. I mean really defend it, not just, "Turn your brain off, jerk face." I see you guys talk about comic book movies when fanbois don't have to team up against an outsider. It's impressive stuff. Bring it here.

    My post from yesterday, after I was told to turn my brain off and enjoy it:

    As far as "The Avengers" goes ...

    OOP said I need to shut my brain off for a while and enjoy it. The problem is the opposite. I feel like my brain has to be absolutely engaged for 140 straight minutes, on high alert, lest I miss some reference to the "Tesseract" or "Stark Tower" or "S.H.I.E.L.D" or the "Asgardians," and thus fall hopelessly confused about what's going on. I feel like a little kid again at the movies, nudging my dad and asking, "Who's that guy? Is that the same guy from before?"

    Like "X-Men: First Class," there are a million characters in "The Avengers," with both superhero identities and real-life identities. There are action sequences where I have to keep track of who is where and what is blowing up and why, all while the cinemetagrapher bombards me with jump cut after jump cut after jump cut. And the exposition. My goodness, the exposition. Line after line after line after line of people explaining and explaining and explaining said Tesseracts and S.H.I.E.L.D.s and Asgardians. Is Jeremy Renner a good guy? Is Jeremy Renner a bad guy? I don't know. I can't fucking tell. I can't keep track of it all. There are 2,000 characters in this movie, everyone talks a mile a minute in some language I don't understand, and few shots last longer than three seconds at a time.

    At some point, there are Captain America baseball cards that one of the lead scientist guys told Captain America he kept in his suit jacket.

    But in this big moment, one of the 5,000 characters reveals that ... wait for it ... they were actually found in his locker!

    This was presented as a major plot point at the moment, and I had no clue why it was significant. None.

    All in the service of some overstuffed, shallow plot all just meant to contrive a reason for the latest comic-book movie battle royale, which is mostly just like every previous comic-book battle royale.

    Turn my brain off? I leave a viewing feeling like I just walked out of the MCAT.

    And, finally, some thoughts I heard from NPR's Filmspotting, as I listened to the old podcast on the film this morning. I agree with most of what the host critic Adam Kempenar said, some of it which reflects what I've said:

    • Too much exposition - "exposition sucks."
    • In particular, too much exposition to begin the movie, with Loki rambling on about the "Tesseract" mythology for 20 minutes.
    • It would work better as a telvision series, where you could explore the character relationships. I definitely agree with this one. I'd watch it, and I can't believe HBO or AMC haven't done this yet. One huge issue - the biggest one to me - with these superhero films is they are overstuffed to the breaking point with characters and mythology. A TV series would correct that. Imagine a "Game of Thrones"-level production of the Dark Knight of the Avengers.
    • Well-acted, particularly the Loki character and Mark Ruffalo's Hulk.
    • Still thinks we're 10 years away from a decent CGI Hulk.

    Fire away.
  2. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Dick, the movie's gonna make a billion dollars. Why the hell would Disney/Marvel bother with making this franchise a TV series. As a lifelong Marvel Comics reader (have a Fantastic Four No. 6 to prove it), I will note that multiple characters and comparative complexity of plot is the Marvel trademark. It's what Lee and company created in the '60s to distinguish their product from DC Comics.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Don't you agree that, artistically, it would be a much better format, though?

    Kind of like "Friday Night Lights." The director was lukewarm on the movie, and thought TV would work better. And it did.
  4. printit

    printit Member

    Thank you for posting this. I like comic books and grew up reading The Avengers, among others. I rented The Avengers a few weeks ago and turned it over about 30 minutes into it. I have never seen a movie with worse use of exposition. Ever. Loki walks through the portal and (this is from memory, I may have some of it wrong)--Fury: Who are you? Loki: I am Loki. Random guy: Loki? Brother of Thor? Loki: Yes.

    Compare that with Skyfall, a movie that was about 1 billion times better, and look at the scene where M tells Bond that he scored a 70 on the shooting test, she and her assistant discuss how he actually scored a 40, and then the villian tells Bond he actually scored a 40---and it all fits within conversations those characters would logically have with one another while educating the audience on something. If The Avengers writers/directors had made Skyfall, the conversation with Bardem and Bond would have gone like this: Bardem: Who are you? Bond: I am Bond. James Bond. Bardem: The James Bond that scored a 40 on his shooting test recently? Bond: Yes, that is me.
  5. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I haven't seen the movie, and have nothing to add about it, and feel free to ignore me if this is too much of an attempt to jack this. ... But I saw the thread title and my innards starting tingling happily, because my first thought was of this:


    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  6. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    I don't really get into super hero movies much. But I caught this one on a plane at some point in my many travels. I'm a big Joss Whedon fan, so that's probably why I gave it a shot.

    Some of your concerns are legit. Lot of exposition. But I think Whedon was juggling a lot of balls. Essentially, aren't all the Marvel Super Hero Movies leading up to this one kind of prequels? Like, the only reason they made a Captain America movie and Thor movie (other than the fact that it would make money) was so they could make this one? One one hand, you're expected to know the back story of many of these characters and why they're a certain way, and on the other, you have to use a LOT of exposition to fill in people who are coming to this new and fresh and are never going to sit through a ficken Thor movie just to watch this one and understand who Loki is.

    My main beef with the film was that Banner, after showing he cannot control his rage if he becomes The Hulk, suddenly CAN control his rage and fight with The Avengers at the end of the film, I guess because the plot calls for it. I mean, there is that 15 minute sequence when he's chasing Scarlett Jonansson all over the flying battleship, smashing and smashing and smashing (did I mention smashing? Because there was smashing) things, and then he falls from the sky, and then he's naked in a barn, and then later he's fighting giant snake centipedes. I feel like I missed something.

    Overall, it was fine. The part with the Captain America cards, Dick, I thought was easy to follow. They used them to convince Captain America that he needed to rejoin the fight, because what Captain America represented was allegedly so special to the agent who died, he had his cards with him when he was killed. Well, really they were in his locker and Sam Jackson was like "You gotta do what you gotta do to get all these assholes to work together."
  7. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Dick, I honestly believe that TV is just not a good medium for the superhero genre, not even with bigscreen HD. TV makes everything look too damn real.
  8. Pilot

    Pilot Active Member

    It's fair to fault to movie for this, but: If you were caught up on your Iron Man 1 and 2, Thor, Hulk and Capt. America, I think it would have been easier to digest. I don't remember Avengers being particularly complicated, and my familiarity with those movies is probably why. Thor is all about the tesseract, for instance. Having seen all the movies also, I feel, changed what I wanted from Avengers. I got a certain amount of thrill simply out of seeing all these characters from these other movies together. Much of the dialog played off that, too.

    Avenges can clearly work as a stand alone movie, but I imagine it's a much more pleasant experience for those who've seen the others.
  9. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I haven't seen any of those, for what it's worth.
  10. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I saw the movie solo as she refused to see a superhero movie at the theater, even though I had to sit through that Twilight shit with her, anyhoo.

    We watched the Avengers together at the house and she was pretty much glued to the screen as the movie is very propulsive, it jets from one scene to the next.

    She had no idea about the back stories or why a certain scene was significant or why I laughed at loud to some of the movie's fan service.

    As a already noted, the movie had juggle all the earlier films, but juggle the fact that Avengers might be the first one of the Marvel Universe movies those sitting in the seats had seen.

    The movie didn't seem terribly complicated, if you had seen the earlier movies, and it wasn't terribly complicated if you wanted to sit through a big, dumb popcorn flick that had lots of explosions.

    If you hadn't seen the earlier movies and tried to apply serious thought to a movie that is essentially an ode to ridiculousness then I could see how it might cause some mental headaches.
  11. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    This. Plus, it's a live action/CGI comic book with recognizable Movie Stars. It's not as good as the re-boot of Star Trek, which is probaly so much more enjoyable if you have a working knowledge of the Original Star Trek TV series. I loved the Avengers, I took it at face value and enjoyed for that reason. My biggest concern was that given all the Super Heroes, it would be nearly impossible to mesh the characters into one story line. I thought it succeeded on that level.
    There will be an Avengers II and possibly an Avengers III.
    One day it will make for a great 8 hour Avenger-fest, in the nursing home.

    Only flaw? I wanted The Hulk to knock the eye patch off Fury.
  12. RonClements

    RonClements Member

    If you saw The Avengers without watching either Iron Man, any recent Hulk movie, Thor or Captain America, then you probably were lost.
    The Avengers was fantastic. I am very critical of most movies and loved the Avengers. It had action, comedy and a story that was easy to follow if you knew the characters. Because you did not, I completely understand why you did not like it. My girlfriend had a much better appreciation of The Avengers after watching Thor, Iron Man 2 and Captain America. She saw The Avengers - with me at a midnight premiere in theaters - after seeing only the first Iron Man.
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