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Old 05-23-2012, 07:24 PM   #5
Nave 'Torment'
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Default Re: The Official Rate/Review Thread for Marvel's The Avengers! (TAG SPOILERS!!!) -

Very good review there, i'll comment on it in a few steps:

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Cap
Man am I happy with Cap. His portrayal in this film is miles above TFA. I was so glad to see him take a commanding presence and that the rest of the team did look to him as a leader near the end. I still want to see him come out of the soldier role and become more of the guy in charge, but I can see him evolving very naturally into that role through the course of the next couple of films. His dialogue was exactly what I would expect Cap to sound like and Evans made him very believable.

Still not crazy about the suit. At all. I hoped it would look better in motion, but it still looks way too awkward. I was surprised that they shot so much of him from behind since the back of his suit is barren. The shield even looked a little too fake at times, nothing like how it looked in TFA. I'm hoping for a better interpretation of the suit in Cap 2. They definitely need to lose the cowl and break up the blue. Adding a brown utility belt would help that, and make it look a little more military and less secret agent.
I think what I loved best about Cap is also what I loved best about TA in general: the moment when the team gets their band together and takes the battle to the Chitauri. Cap coming together and really becoming a natural leader was perhaps the best way to see him realised on screen. Evans' portrayal is solid, and in the opening scene where he's punching his bag you really get a strong echo to the guy who grew up in Brooklyn back in his own movie. What I agree with you more here is regarding the costume: yes! More military, less secret agent.

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Iron Man
RDJ has always been a big powerhouse on screen and I was really pleased to see him blend so well with the rest of the cast and really step back and let the other performances shine. Also, his chemistry with Banner was pretty fun to watch. Very glad to see that Avengers didn't turn into Iron Man and his Amazing Friends.
There was always that potential, and yeah it was great that they didn't over-do with Stark. Everyone's talking abotu how the Hulk, Captain america, and The black widow got their natural evolution with TA, but i think RDJ and Whedon really managed to nail Tony Stark with this one: he's not short on his quips and he's not short on his drive towards a more heroic role. What i liked the most was how Stark's otherwise arrogant and garrulous demeanour is shown to be a sort-of mask that he dons when he's confronting less pleasing situations: case in point being Loki, and the moment in the helicarrier when he leans against Cap. His a man of wit and fast thinking, and it was really well written in the first two IM films, but with TA you get to see the part that this billionaire genius is also the superhero he claims to be. That's an evolution in his character, something that should've been made explicit in IM2. I'd give RDJ a 9/10

The only problem I had was this distinct impression that he was constantly one-upping Cap in every scene. But I'll let that go this time

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Thor and Loki
Thor had such great screen presence this time around and his look was way better than in Thor. Just those subtle changes with the hair and going sleeveless really made a big difference. He and Loki's scene together in the forest was very good and very well written. I seriously wish Whedon was writing Thor 2 because he just did it right. I will argue that Thor didn't have as much screen time as I would have like him to have. I would have like to have seen he and Loki have a much more defining battle than what was seen, but what he did get was really good.
Here's the thing about Thor and Loki -- yes, they were given a decent focus and all, and Loki was certainly a fitting villain -- his exchanges with his brother goes back to their own film so profoundly that I still think my favourite dialogue is between these two in the forest. Loved Thor's costume, Hemsworth, like RDJ, Sam L. Jackson, Evans and Ruffalo, really has owned the role. But what I didn't like about Loki is that he's sort of a prankster in the latter-half of the film, and his ultimate reliance on the Chitauri really weakened his threat-level. Yes, I agree, the climax coudl've done a better job by giving Loki another round -- and I was hoping Thor would be the one to put him down.

Loki was a conceptually perfect villain under Whedon's command, but I have to say that his megalomania (again, while perfect for the first ever sueprhero crossover) nevertheless did leave a little to be desired from hiddleson's performance. He really embraced his role as a comicbook villain. I guess that's what they were going for anyway, but yeah. I preferred Loki in Thor than I prefer him here. There isn't that tormented shade of grey anymore. Loki, working on his own and fighting for godhood, really contrasts with each of hte individual avengers and would've been a better foe if he was shown to be someone who could not be satisfied with his own self, with his own isolation--that he fails to overcome it like the members of the Avengers do.

Personally, i wouldn't want WHedon to write or direct Thor 2. Yes, it's obvious that he should be around as a strong consultant on the script (and Branagh a strong consultant during direction, like Bryan Singer) but he just doesn't seem to have the proper love for the Asgardians.

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The Hulk
Bravo Mark Ruffalo! Did I love Edward Norton as Banner? Of course, though he was great and I'm still curious to see how he could have meshed with this ensemble. But Ruffalo portrayed a great Banner and one that I hope sticks around for a while. I think he has finally broken the Hulk movie curse. [...]
For me, the Hulk in TA is walking a fine line between very believable and very cartoony. Probably his best moment was when Banner admits he's always angry and the Hulk takes over and smashes the Leviathan. But from there all we see is a Hulk gleefully destroying every alien in his path and at times acting like a giant monkey. I think ultimately, the characterization of Hulk in TA took two steps forward and one step back, but again, this did not kill anything for me. He was still very enjoyable to watch and I appreciated very much what Ruffalo brought to the table.

And I will admit, Hulk punching Thor off-screen = pure gold.
Banner gets a solid 10/10 and I'll give Hulk an 8/10.
Completely agree on this one! Ruffalo delivered a performance that most of us didn't think was possible... and you get the impression that Wehdon's direction and the script itself was highly conscious about the negativity surrounding him. It worked out well in that Banner became the one character who was not counted on for his heroism and yet carried that heroism perhaps better than any of his pals. What I loved the most was how HUlk and Banner are really equated into a single being here, despite his own convictions of them being separate entities. I loved the Hulk, though comic-booky as he was, he felt like the missing link in the team that really glued them together: especially for Stark & Rogers, they both have a lot of respect for him from the beginning and seems to be the middle ground between the two. But one thing that really makes this Hulk better than the Norton's? I disagree with you there -- it isn't that he's more of a gorilla and rage/monster, it's that he's more in control that makes him heroic. This Hulk is aware of everything and everyone around him, the previous incarnations of the character, while giving us a more emotional creature, was not as proactive as this Hulk (but rather reactionary to the forces around him). For the life of me, I cannot picture Norton's Hulk responding to Captain America's command to "Smash" the way Ruffalo's Hulk did. In a way, it goes back to Whedon's entire approach to superheroes if you think about it: Norton's Hulk was dark and gritty and very much the natural monster that exists in us and is lurking outside in the unknown parts of the world; Whedon's Hulk is the creature from the comic-books.

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The Movie as a Whole
okay i'll answer this in parts since it's a big one :P Yeah i agree, it's pretty much a comic book movie and NOT about the complexity of plot, i think we all agree that it works best that way. But I have to disagree with some of your points:

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- How exactly did Thor get back to Earth? I think it was a mistake that Loki mentions in passing, "how much dark magic did the All-Father conjure to bring you here?" We should have seen it happen.
I think it's perfect that they didn't steep too much into Asgardian history this time around--it would've made it feel like a THOR sequel instead. For the "dark magic" with which Thor comes back, I think they have a good idea on how to address that in the Thor sequel itself. I loved that the thunderer simply arrives on the scene, as though he's an emissary and here to put things in order for a problem that's caused by him. Would've loved to see Thor feel a bit more responsible for what Loki's doign, but i guess that is still implied.

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- At the end of the day, the Chuitari felt more like an infestation rather than in invasion to me. Especially considering the fact that their fight was kept in Manhattan and didn't really go anywhere else. When I think invasion I think global, not isolated.
Well, think of it in this way: It's New York City, the Marvel Universe's equivalent of the world in a microcosm (and heck it's not that far a stretch from the real NYC). I looked at the "infestation/invasion" like it was a very devastating threat, but one that was controlled by the Avengers and this team of "remarkable individuals." It really shows that the superheroes succeeded in containing the invasion the way they did, instead of asking for a full-on war. It also made the nuclear-threat that the World Security Council gives a credible menace!
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-I was hoping that the Tesseract would be more than a glorified Macguffin in this movie. I would have like to learn more about where its power comes from and what more it can do other than create portals and makes weapons. Who made it? What exactly was it supposed to do? It's obvious that it seems to hail from Asgardian origin, but a little more depth into why this thing is so dangerous would have been nice. Again, if Loki knew it was so powerful why didn't he make a break for it when he was beaten? It could have been a game changer of some kind.
Now this i agree with fully. We needed to WRAP UP with the Tesseract and its surrounding mystery in this film.

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-Lastly, where was the rest of the Marvel Universe? I was very surprised that very little was hinted at with the rest of the MCU other than the Thanos teaser.
Nahh... this IS the Marvel Universe. That's everyone down in NYC saving the world (well almost everyone). The entire build up was for that last climactic alien-battle, where every superhero in Marvel's repository gets highlighted. Given the fact that these heroes were part of the film-continuity, i'd have been offended if they dropped in someone else like the X-Men or Spidey like a deus ex machina or something (though... in retrospect, Hugh Jackman bad-mouthing along with RDJ and the rest in the Helicarrier? Hmmmmm)

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But I cannot argue that Joss Whedon is the man. What a great script and what great direction for this film. Great characterization and a great ensemble cast. I won't say it's necessary to have a complete comic book geek direct these kind of films, but I think Whedon proves that it doesn't hurt. He proved that this stuff really does work and the numbers don't lie. Here's hoping he returns for the sequel and please, PLEASE, Alan Taylor, take some tips from this man on writing Thor and Loki. Please. I'll make you a cake. Thanks.
Great review on your part too mate! Enjoyed reading and responding to that
Oh, and the score really wasn't great. Just saying.

Avengers gets an 8/10 from me.

PS: I loved the part where Spider-Man used his heat vision to stop Voldermort from getting the Matrix of Leadership, which stopped him from unleashing the Kraken on Gotham City.

__________________

THE JUSTICE BULLETIN published some of my thematic analysis on the symbolism in Nolan's superhero saga.
I call it Heroic Archetypes. You can read the parts on Batman Begins in the following links:
(pt 1; pt 2; pt 3; pt 4; pt 5; pt 6; pt 7)


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