The Avengers, or why are good superhero movies so hard to come by?

I went to see The Avengers Friday night. My first reaction coming out of it was it was that it was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Certainly the best superhero movie. It looked awesome, the actors did a great job, there were lots of little things that made me go “yup, that’s Joss Whedon’s writing,” and it was free of a lot of the things that I’ve found annoying about other recent superhero movies. Even now, I think it may at least be the best superhero movie I’ve seen. But it suffers a bit on reflection.

First, I agree with Russell Blackford when he says:

The villains, other than Loki himself, who was shown as powerful and dangerous, scheming and mad, were incompetent to the point of absurdity – it seemed that they were just there to be smashed up by the heroes. Honestly, these guys (they all seemed coded as male) made the Star Wars Imperial Stormtroopers look like badass tactical geniuses…

Most of the time… the heroes never really seemed in any danger.

It didn’t feel that way in the theater–the “other villains” (I don’t think I spoil to much if I say they were alien invaders) look intimidating and are treated by all the characters as a major threat–but afterwards it’s clear that Whedon wasn’t treating them as a major threat. To borrow a Buffy analogy, there’s no logical reason why fighting Angelus should be a harder fight than fighting six unnamed vampires, but the story treats unnamed vampires as a trivial threat, so that’s what they are.

But I think it’s even worse than Blackford says. Loki’s supposed to be a freakin’ god, but remember Thor beat him last time. While Thor was stranded in Asgard by the destruction of the Bifrost at the end of the Thor movie, his re-appearance is handwaved. On top of that, it seems that Iron Man would have been able to take Loki in a fight alone anyways. And on top of that, the main power upgrade Loki seems to get is mind-control powers, but after zapping a couple major characters early on, he doesn’t get much use out of them. Oh yeah, and while early on it’s treated as very important for Banner not to go Hulk, at the climax he shows up, turns into the Hulk, and has no trouble smashing only the bad guys.

So my perspective is more like Jason Rosenhouse’s, except that I think he’s wrong to say the Avengers are so powerful it’s hard to challenge them. The problems I listed above were avoidable: make Loki strong enough that Iron Man + all of SHIELD aren’t enough to defeat him. Make “getting Thor back from Asgard” a challenge. Ditto “getting Hulk to smash only bad guys.” Heck, delete a couple Bond-villain-esque moments on Loki’s part and our heroes would have had a much harder time of it.

The Avengers movie we actually got does manage to have one very good dramatic sequence, but it’s the result of the nebulous council that runs SHIELD failing to realize that they are in a superhero movie, and therefore failing to realize that if they just sit back and let the heroes do their thing everything will be fine.Which probably says something, but I’m not sure what.

In spite of all that, I still think Avengers does pretty well compared to other superhero movies. It’s a load of fun, and avoids a lot of other movies’ pitfalls. For example, unlike a hell of a lot of recent superhero movies, it doesn’t spend so much time on the origin story that the conflict with the villain comes out half-assed. Also, the climax doesn’t involve a contrived moral dilemma which is then averted by the hero being really badass (unlike Spider-Man, The Dark Knight, and Batman Forever).

This, though, raises the question of why we don’t have better superhero movies. I don’t think the problem is superheroes. It certainly isn’t the problem I have with the movies, since I think there are some great superhero comics out there. I tend to blame the fact that Hollywood is now stuck in the trap of always trying to copy last year’s summer blockbuster (contrast Star Wars, which copied from many different sources spread out over several decades, plus Joseph Campbell.)

I could speculate more, but I’m not sure that would be much use. For one thing, my ideas about which superhero movies are good seem to be rather idiosyncratic. So tell me: if you’ve seen Avengers along with a number of other recent superhero movies, which did you like best and why? Was Iron Man better? Was The Dark Knight? Etc.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    …the nebulous council that runs SHIELD failing to realize that they are in a superhero movie, and therefore failing to realize that if they just sit back and let the heroes do their thing everything will be fine.

    That’s the problem I have with the entire “superhero” genre: “superheroes” aren’t just the only characters who DO good things, they’re the only people who even have good or sensible THOUGHTS — everyone else is just a mob of worthless sheeple who don’t even know where to point a missile. It’s an extremely antidemocratic and disempowering message to drum into people’s heads using noisy, big-budget special-effects vehicles. Even the most overtly anti-fascist and pro-little-guy hero, Captain America, ended up just another demigod for the loyal speeple to idolize and depend on. (And anyone rash enough to question him was just another moron or commie dupe getting in the way of a strong national defense!)

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

      This is a great point.

      It’s also weird how it’s treated as obviously morally questionable for SHIELD to be developing weapons that might allow ordinary ordinary soldiers to fight back against alien invaders.

      Heck, the movie made Iron Man look like a fool for refusing to share his technology. Given how much Iron Man alone could do against Loki and the aliens, a group of well-trained soldiers with their own Iron Man suits should have made fending off the invaders a piece of cake.

  • penn

    I loved the Avengers, and watching it in IMAX 3D was the best movie-going experience of my life. I think you make some interesting points, though.

    It’s pretty clear that the robot invaders were single hit point baddies. The threat was in their numbers, not in the individuals. This is a really common action movie trope, though. The heroes never seemed threatened by the individuals, but it did seem like they could’ve been overrun at any moment.

    Loki’s power did seem pretty context specific. At some points he’d be pretty unstoppable and at others he’d be pretty lame. I didn’t understand why he didn’t fire his giant blue laser at the SHIELD ship when they were escaping. That thing seemed pretty explosive.

    I don’t think the Hulk was treated inconsistently. The Hulk was able to only attack bad guys by the end of The Incredible Hulk, so it’s not like that was a new ability that appeared just in time for the big battle here. It seemed to me that Banner could control the Hulk when he chose to Hulk out. If Banner wasn’t in control of the Hulk out then he couldn’t control the Hulk.

    I think making it difficult for Thor to get to earth would’ve have just slowed the story down, but they should have explained it somehow.

  • Ysidro

    They did explain how Thor go to Earth..sort of… but it was, as Chris mentioned, handwaved. Loki asked Thor how much “dark energy” Odin had to use to send him to Earth now that the Bifrost is destroyed. It was a “yeah, they can do it but it’s expensive” handwave. I kind of wish they used Jane Foster’s research to get Thor to Earth, but maybe that’ll be used in Thor 2.

    And with the 1st stinger revelation, I get the idea that the invaders were never actually meant to help Loki take over the world, but rather to test it. Loki was played, which provides a nice sense of irony, but that’s only my interpretation.

  • Annatar

    I think maybe the reason most superhero movies suck is because they are so caught up in being gimmick-y. Like “We’re making a superhero movie! We have to sneak in all the dumb gimmicks and self-references so that the fanboys will cream themselves!”

    I have nothing against comic books, but let’s remember that they aren’t great works of literature, largely because they are released episodically. They are melodrama–clearly defined good guys and clearly defined bad guys, with very little moral grey area.* The writers are basically figuring it out as they go along, so they tend not to have the depth of a longer, well thought-out novel. The movies are based on the literary equivalent of a soap opera, so it’s going to be hard to make it good while getting all the comic book gimmicks in.

    Just my two cents.

    *watchmen might be an exception.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

      Nothing you say in the second paragraph is really true anymore. Watchmen isn’t just an exception, it’s the exception that spawned countless imitations but some of them quite good. Pick up Superman: Red Son if you want a real treat.

      • Nathair

        Still, not exactly One Hundred Years of Solitude.

      • Annatar

        I’ll check it out this summer. I’m not the biggest comic fan, but I’ll give it the best shot I can.

        On a slightly separate note, here is a funny review of a terrible superhero movie:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vg8xdis9SVk

        • Annatar

          uuuughhh…sorry.

    • Tony

      I think maybe the reason most superhero movies suck is because they are so caught up in being gimmick-y. Like “We’re making a superhero movie! We have to sneak in all the dumb gimmicks and self-references so that the fanboys will cream themselves!”

      I have nothing against comic books, but let’s remember that they aren’t great works of literature, largely because they are released episodically. They are melodrama–clearly defined good guys and clearly defined bad guys, with very little moral grey area.* The writers are basically figuring it out as they go along, so they tend not to have the depth of a longer, well thought-out novel. The movies are based on the literary equivalent of a soap opera, so it’s going to be hard to make it good while getting all the comic book gimmicks in.

      Just my two cents.

      *watchmen might be an exception.

      I think you may be working with an outdated idea of what comic books are. True, in the beginning (generally agreed upon as the birth of the super hero comic was Action Comics #1 in 1938) comics were “for kids”. They became moreso in the 1950s with the beginning of the Comics Code Authority, which resulted in some serious watering down of comic books and a curtailing of the type of stories that could be told. It wasn’t until Stan Lee’s Amazing Spider-Man #96-98 that comics dealt with drugs (and even then Lee opted to not have the CC stamp for those three issues, as he had been contacted by the Nixon administrations Department of Health, Education and Welfare to do an anti-drug story).
      The revisions made to the Comics Code Authority in the 70s led to the use of vampires, werewolves, drug depiction, greater levels of violence, and comic book creators were becoming more free to tell a wider range of stories. With the release of Watchmen in the 1980s, comic books entered a new realm. It was called grim n gritty (which was not Alan Moore’s intent with Watchmen) and lasted far too long. Though some good stories came out of that period (Dark Knight Returns is up there, as was Born Again during Frank Miller’s second run on Daredevil) a significant portion of mainstream comics contained derivative dreck (here’s looking at you Batman titles for most of the 90s). In the early 90s, IMAGE comics was born highlighting style over substance. Jim Lee, Jim Valentino, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Mark Silvestri, Rob Liefeld and While Portacio were all artists who had worked for the Big 2 (Marvel and DC). For a variety of reasons they chose to leave those companies (I think control over their own properties was one of the big reasons) and create their own comic book company. Though IMAGE sold a lot of copies of their comics initially, they were plagued by negative reviews. In addition, they were fully caught up in the grim n gritty phase (which had come to include anti-hero characters like Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Cable, Punisher…characters who were ostensibly on the side of the angels, but who had no problem doling out excessive force when deemed necessary). Like Marvel and DC, IMAGE crashed in the speculator crash of the mid to late 90s. Prior to the crash, comics in the early 90s, such as Spider-Man #1 by Todd McFarlane, X-Force #1 by Rob Liefeld, and X-Men #1 by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee were selling in the _millions_ of copies (this is likely due more to variant covers available everywhere and people gobbling them up than the quality of the stories). Following the crash, comics from the Big 3 (yeah, IMAGE made its way up there) were lucky to break 100K (barring hyped mini series or new #1′s, as well as a few outliers here and there, mainstream comics haven’t recovered to their pre speculator boom sales. Heck, they haven’t returned to the sales high of the 1980s-it was common for mid level comics to sell nearly half a million copies-when comics would be cancelled if they sold less than 100K. One of the side effects of the speculator crash has been a return to writer/artist collaboration, as well as a returning appreciation for the writer over art.
      THAT, more than anything has helped move comics away from being “just for kids”. Today IMAGE puts out comics across a variety of genres with a variety of talent. The stories range from traditional superhero fare, to science fiction, apocalyptic end of the world, dystopian era stories, horror, and more. Marvel and DC, though still the bastions of superhero comics, seemed to have entered a new era as well. Writing is more streamlined, with less exposition and talking heads. There seems to have been a quiet shift away from writing comics for “people who can’t figure things out on their own” to writing comics and “assuming that the reader has basic intelligence and can figure out what’s going on from the art”. This has helped move comic books into more of an adult medium. To borrow from Nicholas Slayton:

      http://dailytrojan.com/2012/04/25/comics-offer-incentives-to-maintain-readership/
      After all, what is a comic but a narrative told through images and text?

      It’s not limited to superheroes in tights, sarcastic cats and their owners, noir crime stories or autobiographies. Any kind of story can be told with images and text; more importantly, the combination is practically a blank slate for other elements.

      What he said. The comic book medium is a wonderful place to tell stories for children, teens, and adults. It is merely another format to tell stories. Novels can appeal to children, teens and adults. Novels of all genres can appeal to same. Movies can and do appeal to all demographics. So too can comic books. That comics do still *seem* to be children’s fare doesn’t mean they still are. Confirmation bias might seem to confirm that, but looking through a comic book store, one might not want their child to read The Walking Dead or Wolverine: The Best There Is.

  • http://oldtimeatheism.blogspot.ca/ andyman409

    It was unique, in the sense that it combined elements from the superhero genre with elements of the sports film genre- a deadly combination that worked a hell of a lot better than I thought it would. However, I don’t think it topped the dark knight, which was a lot better directed and a lot more intelligent- even if it did lack the pizazz of the Avengers

    Plus, I still remember that Captain America line:

    “There’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that”

    strangely funny

  • pipenta

    I think the reason we don’t have good superhero movies is the genre itself has some serious limitations.

    I was reading Marvel comics back in the seventies and I am even the winner of a no-prize, so I’m not what you could call a hater. But comic books exist to stroke the egos of a certain demographic, not to challenge them. And the more they function as wish fulfillment, the more money they make and the less free the filmmakers are to be creative. And perhaps most of the filmmakers have bought into the superhero circle jerk themselves. I’m being a bit harsh here, but it’s like wondering why there isn’t more good sword & sorcery type fantasy. A better question would be, why is there so damn much of it, whatever the hell the quality? And the same thing with the superhero genre, if you are not keen on it, you can’t help but wonder, why must there be so much of it? What is the fascination with troubled young men with rippling muscles who dress up like they were trying out for the revival of CATS and who are secret mutants/aliens/members of an ancient race and who can fly/lift automobiles/teleport and bend spoons to fight crime?

    The reason not much of it is good is the same reason that there is so much of it. It makes money, it makes big money. How many times can they remake Batman? Apparently there is no limit.

    Batman and every other superhero that reaches critical mass is no longer a character, if ever he was one. He’s a brand, a product.

    • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

      Don’t even get me started on Batman. He started out as a good cartoon for little kids, showing good and evil in obvious ways a little kid could understand. As such, he was…tolerable. Since then, however, some fools have tried to make him a grownup character, give him more “depth” and “back-story,” and make him “dark” — and now Batman is a brooding bloodthirsty spoiled rich brat using his wealth and privilege to terrorize bad guys outside the bounds of the law, and everyone who objects to his tactics is portrayed as wussy crime-coddling liberals who hate their betters. In other words, he’s the most overtly fascist superhero I’ve yet heard of. And no, the fact that he refuses to kill his arch-enemies after he’s captured them does NOT make him Good — it only makes him more tedious and demented. Seriously, he’ll turn a whole city into a war zone, with no thought to the collateral damage, but he’s a Good Guy because he can’t bring himself to kill the Joker after he’s been disarmed? Frack that franchise!

      • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

        I haven’t read the earliest Batman stories, but that’s not how I understand it. The version of the story I heard is that Batman started off as a bat-version of The Shadow. According to Wikipedia:

        The first Batman story, “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” was published in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Finger said, “Batman was originally written in the style of the pulps,”[19] and this influence was evident with Batman showing little remorse over killing or maiming criminals…

        …The character’s origin was revealed in #33 (November 1939), unfolding in a two-page story that establishes the brooding persona of Batman, a character driven by the death of his parents. Written by Finger, it depicts a young Bruce Wayne witnessing his parents’ murder at the hands of a mugger. Days later, at their grave, the child vows that “by the spirits of my parents [I will] avenge their deaths by spending the rest of my life warring on all criminals.”

        The early, pulp-inflected portrayal of Batman started to soften in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940) with the introduction of Robin, Batman’s kid sidekick.

        But otherwise, yeah.

      • Tony

        Raging Bee:

        Don’t even get me started on Batman. He started out as a good cartoon for little kids, showing good and evil in obvious ways a little kid could understand. As such, he was…tolerable. Since then, however, some fools have tried to make him a grownup character, give him more “depth” and “back-story,” and make him “dark” — and now Batman is a brooding bloodthirsty spoiled rich brat using his wealth and privilege to terrorize bad guys outside the bounds of the law, and everyone who objects to his tactics is portrayed as wussy crime-coddling liberals who hate their betters. In other words, he’s the most overtly fascist superhero I’ve yet heard of. And no, the fact that he refuses to kill his arch-enemies after he’s captured them does NOT make him Good — it only makes him more tedious and demented. Seriously, he’ll turn a whole city into a war zone, with no thought to the collateral damage, but he’s a Good Guy because he can’t bring himself to kill the Joker after he’s been disarmed? Frack that franchise!

        Batman didn’t start off as that kind of character. Yes, he was “good” and kids were the ones who primarily read his adventures back in 1939, but he was pretty dark back then too. Having read some of the stories from that era, its pretty easy to see that Batman was meant to be a dark character (some might say gritty) from the get go. Any deviation from *that* (such as the nostalgia that is the Batman TV show) isn’t staying true to the character. Today the character is written more in line with how he was created. Another thing to remember is that the style and quality of writing (and artistry) has evolved quite a bit since 1939. Audience expectations are different today. That’s not to say I excuse your points. In fact, I agree. Batman should have killed the Joker long ago. Of course DC Comics has to consider the long term treatment of the character. They are invested in keeping Batman as he is (allowing some superficial changes) and he’s one of their top selling merchandising characters (Superman and Wonder Woman being the other two), so they won’t deviate too far in their comic book depiction of him.

  • mnb0

    A bit of trolling: my all time favourite superhero movie is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, even if the three main characters had only one and the same superhero skill.
    Wouldn’t that be cool? A bunch of superheroes rivaling and outwitting each others with lots of sarcasm in between? With characters we can connect with despite everything?

  • Russ

    Ten years of piano lessons, but it was all worth it ’cause now we’re making some real kick-ass Rock’n Roll.
    That’s how “Avengers” made me feel.
    Two Ironman films, Two Hulks, Thor, Captain America…
    But it all came together here.
    I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun watching a superhero movie.

  • CompulsoryAccount7746

    Avengers was decent. As far as evil wizards go, Loki has presence, and I want to root for him, but he’s a lousy chessmaster and the writers ultimately humiliate him at the end of both his films. I was primarily watching this for Tony Stark; I prefer his first movie.
     
    The team bickering brought this sketch to mind…
    Video: Dorkly – Captain America Uses Drugs
     
    If 2005 counts as recent, I’m fond of V for Vendetta. So good, I didn’t even realize it was comic-based at the time.

  • http://lifetheuniverseandonebrow.blogspot.com/ One Brow

    While The Dark Knight has a contrived moral dilemma, I would not say it was averted by Batman being bad-assed. A lot of police officers died transprting Dent, and later at the jail. Joker blew up a hospital. The only plan that was averted was thanks to a convicted felon and another citizen on the ferries. What do you think Batman averted?

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

      Batman averted the Joker blowing up both boats.

      • http://lifetheuniverseandonebrow.blogspot.com/ One Brow

        I agree, but that’s not a contrived moral dilemma.

        “Out yourself or I kill people” — contrived moral dilemma, not averted

        “One of you has to blow the other up” — contrived moral dilemma, not averted by Batman

        “I blow boats up” — not a contrived moral dilemma

    • Rory

      The other thing that annoyed me in TDK was the whole surveillance thing. Morgan Freeman has a small throwaway moment where he expounds on the evil of Batman’s unlimited surveillance system (to say nothing of earlier in the film, where Batman is apparently listening in on random cell phone calls trying to find the Joker), but then basically goes along with using it because the Joker is such a nasty guy. And then it blows up, because while it was perfectly fine to use the machine THIS time, keeping it would be wrong. Never mind that it would probably be trivial for Bruce Wayne to fund another one any time he felt like it.

      What I would have liked better was let Batman keep the thing. He makes this compromise, justifying it on the grounds that it’s the only way to keep people safe the same way he justified lying about Harvey Dent’s legacy. That would have been a bit more thematically consistent, and it would have led nicely into what seems to be the theme of the next film.

  • Bruce Gorton

    In Thor, when Heimdall asks Loki how he got around the universe without using the Bifrost bridge, Loki says there are other paths that Heimdall doesn’t know about.

    They could have quite sensibly added Heimdall remembering that and looking for those other paths while the bridge was out. After all, he didn’t have anything better to do.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    It ain’t just superhero flicks.

    Much more than 90% of the time, the quality of a movie script is inversely proportional to the special effects budget.

    Why, I won’t speculate – but the trend has been obvious for decades.

  • http://theMGP.blogspot.com Chris

    I think what you were trying to touch on with the Council is that the Council is the audience and the Nuke is our critique – if we think about things too much and launch a Nuke in the form of a critique, Iron Man will simply take that Nuke and get rid of it, because he’s the Iron Man and being awesome is what he does, so just sit back, don’t try to Nuke the film, and let the heroes do their thing…… ?

    In other words – sit down, shut up, enjoy :) Joss subliminally telling the critics that the film is just meant to be enjoyed and not dissected?

  • dblbassbill

    Good hero movies are hard to come by for the same reason good movies are hard to come by,its not an easy task and if you get to the end with a sub par product you cant just toss it away to start again. Got to release it so you can reclaim some green.

  • lordshipmayhem

    The Avengers would be a lot better if they brought back Emma Peele

  • Skip White

    They just don’t make [x form of entertainment] like they did [n years ago]. In other words, SNL has sucked since 1977, The Simpsons hasn’t been funny since 1995, The Cure hasn’t done one good song since Disintegration, no movie released after 1980 is worth a damn, and Mass Effect 3 was completely awful and irredeemable because some people hated the ending.

  • http://www.toddjacksonpoetry.com Todd

    I grew up a comic book collector in the ’70s, so this era is all about me getting my boyhood fantasies fulfilled. Still there’s no getting around the limitations of the superhero. In The Avengers, the citizens of New York are so useless there’s no sense of tragedy when they die a dozen or so at a time.

    I’ll add a twist, akin to your quite sound advice to “make it difficult to get Thor from Asgard” and “make it difficult to control the Hulk”: “have Captain America rally and lead the civilians into the fight.”

    I saw the movie, then came home and for the first time saw “Battle

  • http://www.toddjacksonpoetry.com Todd

    Excuse me! I’ll continue here.

    “Battle LA” was simply better than “Avengers” ever could have been, simply because there will always be a higher potential for interest with the Marines defending against the aliens than with superheroes doing the job.

    Remember that this genre has also given us “second-tier” movies which are often more unique even though more flawed, like the Blade and Ghost Rider movies, the Thomas Jane Punisher, and the Electra movie.

    “The Avengers” might pay for more than its own sequel and spinoffs. It might pay for a Luke Cage movie, or a Son of Satan movie, or a Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu movie. Maybe we’ll get to see Namor attack New York.

    Random thoughts: Spider-Man doesn’t need a reboot. It’s Fantastic Four that needs a reboot.

    Scarlett Johanssen’s display or real fear after being pursued by the Hulk was the most human thing in the movie.

  • Pingback: Imperial Stormtroopers get a bad rap | The Uncredible Hallq

  • Tony

    Chris:

    So tell me: if you’ve seen Avengers along with a number of other recent superhero movies, which did you like best and why? Was Iron Man better? Was The Dark Knight? Etc.

    I’m going full on geek right now.
    I’m 36 and I’ve been reading comic books since I was 8 or 9. I’ve collected upwards of 20,000 comics and a full quarter of my garage is long comic book boxes. During most of this time Avengers has been my all time favorite comic book (even during the horrid Liefeld Heroes Reborn Era or the blechh Chuck Austen run). My favorite run of all time was Kurt Busiek and George Perez’s Heroes Return run. Pitch perfect Avengers. It had the right mix of spendor and majesty, internal and external drama, fantastic artwork, inter-team characterization (which is a massive failing of Bendis’ run on Avengers) and long term plotting.
    The first time I watched an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was a few minutes during the broadcast episode of Graduation Day part 2. It didn’t reel me in. Sadly, that didn’t happen until Season Five (I don’t recall the exact episode, but I think it was one of the last 3 or 4 of the season). Somehow the show clicked, and I began watching reruns on FX. I got caught up fast. I also began watching and loving Angel. I watched Buffy religiously every Tuesday and even took off work for the series finale. I still consider it my favorite tv show of all time.
    I watched some Firefly, but didn’t really ‘get’ it.
    I never watched Dollhouse (I still think Eliza Dushku missed out on a Faith TV show).
    All of that is to say that when I heard about Joss Whedon directing and co writing the Avengers movie, my expectations were set rather high.
    Then I saw a few set pieces and character designs. Some impressed, some didn’t.
    When the official trailer came out, I was stoked. Expectations went to the roof.
    Prior to Avengers being released, I ranked Spider-Man 2 and The Dark Knight as my co #1 comic books movies.
    After seeing Avengers, it knocked them both down to #2. The movie clicked on all levels for me. It not only met my expectations, it shattered them. I think I had 3 geek-gasms in the theater.
    As I was leaving, the only critique I could formulate was “Cap’s costume is too bold. You’d think the giant green monster would stand out the most, but it was Cap’s costume.”
    Thinking back, the only other thing I wasn’t completely happy with was Chris Evans’ rendition of Cap. He did an adequate job, but he doesn’t have the charisma and gravitas to convey Cap the right way.
    I was blown away by the final action sequence, especially the camera work showcasing each of the characters.
    My appreciation for Avengers of course rests largely on my love of the team in comic book format + my massive appreciation of Joss Whedon’s talent (also, its predicated on a near lifelong suspension of disbelief, so issues that others have-such as faceless villain fodder or the Council being absolutist idiots-doesn’t affect me much). I thought he captured the dynamics of a very loose knit team perfectly. The tension in the SHIELD Helicarrier between all the heroes was awesome. The fight scenes were awesome. Scarlet Johanssen impressed me with her portrayal throughout the movie.
    I very much appreciated the pacing of the movie as well. Even when BIG stuff wasn’t happening, the drama between the characters sustained the movie. We didn’t just have talking heads (hey, another Bendis reference).
    I love that Joss respected the source material. He didn’t treat the cast comically and honored the comic book in a way that I found better than Watchmen (which I think was a trifle TOO faithful).
    A lot of what I love about Avengers is so massively subjective that its rather unfair to compare it to movies like The Dark Knight. I think Christopher Nolan is an incredible director and I like Joss Whedon a lot. I don’t know enough about the job of a director, so I don’t know how to compare the two of them, but my gut-uninformed opinion seems to be Nolan is the better of the two, but I can’t pin down why (perhaps its just a cultural absorption issue; i.e. I’ve seen or heard of many people that feel this is the case and I’ve subconsciously adopted it myself). One of the only comparisons I can make is purely aesthetic. The Dark Knight was too (golly this is bad) *dark*. Avengers had some heavy moments, but it didn’t bask in the darkness. Yes, I’m well aware that Batman is a dark character. It makes perfect sense for him to be in a grim n gritty movie. The Avengers, much less so. I think the grit in Avengers was balanced with a more lighthearted tone, which is likely why I prefer it over The Dark Knight (well that and I don’t have anywhere near the personal investment in Batman that I do with Avengers).

  • Pingback: I just saw Amazing Spiderman not in 2D, not in 3D, but in 4D! | The Uncredible Hallq

  • Pingback: yellow october


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X