The Avengers Critics Reviews Thread - Part 1

Discussion in 'Marvel's The Avengers' started by Thread Manager, Apr 21, 2012.

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  1. bonzob2000 Registered

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    It's not "the same kind of humor used in may superhero movies." I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, but it seems like you are having difficulty understanding why those moments work for people other than you.

    [BLACKOUT]Hulk vs. Loki[/BLACKOUT] is a type of joke that is very specific to Whedon's voice... it's not something I've seen in any of the Marvel movies except for a couple of moments in Captain America, which Whedon also wrote for.

    Whedon is many things, but two of the most important are 1) a great comedy writer, and 2) a great genre writer. These two things combine to form one of the key elements of his voice -- the constant subversion of cliches and tropes of the genre. The essence of comedy, after all, is surprise, something happening you didn't see coming. That's inherent in almost any successful type of humor, from a knock knock joke to a slapstick pratfall. Whedon folds those humorous surprises inside what at first seem like genre cliches.

    For instance, look at the first trailer for Avengers and the second trailer for Serenity. They both contain a joke with the exact same structure. In Serenity, the Captain Mal, facing a mutiny, tries to shame a subordinate by asking "Do you want to run this ship?" We all know the standard, cliched response to this -- the subordinate would realize they are out of line, and either retreat by saying "no, but..." or would be shamed into silence. But Whedon has the character upend genre expectations with the humorous retort. "Yes," leaving the captain flustered and muttering lamely "well... you can't."

    Now here's an almost identical joke from the Avengers. Captain America asks a rhetorical question meant to shame Tony Stark into silence: "Big man in suit of armor, take that away, what are you?" But again, expectation is subverted, and instead of being shamed, Stark responds by naming all the awesome things he is without the suit.

    Now, I agree that if these moments didn't make sense from a character perspective, they would pull me out of the movie -- why are these people acting out of character in order to comment on genre tropes? What Whedon is very good at is making sure these moments are always entirely in character. Of course Tony Stark thinks he's amazing without the suit. Of course Jayne (from Serenity) is going to say he could actually run the ship. So the moments work.

    The humor also works well because Whedon doesn't believe in having "funny" scenes or "serious" scenes. He believes that the best scenes contain a mixture of both, funny one second, serious the next. This seems to be your problem with [BLACKOUT]Coulson's death[/BLACKOUT], and it's definitely one of the things mainstream audiences have the most trouble with when it comes to Whedon. It's why some couldn't get into Buffy -- one second she's cracking wise, the next she's crying? But to reduce it to inserting lame one-liners into serious scenes does his voice and style a disservice, I feel.

    Based on this, I would say the [BLACKOUT]Loki/Hulk battle is in a different context but is the same kind of gag. We set up a familiar genre trope: the villain issuing yet another monologue about how evil and badass he is, then subvert it by having hulk interrupt it to beat the crap out of him. The surprise of the subversion creates humor.[/BLACKOUT]

    I also think the [BLACKOUT]puny God line is pretty genius and another way in which Whedon is far ahead of your standard genre writer. He doesn't give us the standard hulk like (puny human) as lame fan service, he writes a clever twist on it and finds a way to insert it naturally into one of the biggest moments of the movie. [/BLACKOUT]

    I would also argue, again, that this moment is perfectly in character. You could argue all day about power levels, but that's pedantic in my opinion on not the stuff of good drama. From a storytelling perspective, Loki's defining trait is his trickster nature -- the way he can talk his way out of anything. Hulk is set up from the beginning as his dark opposite -- Loki is placed into the Hulk's cage, after all, Loki says the hulk is really a beast pretending to be a man, and you could argue the opposite is somewhat true for him -- he's a misguided "man" (not literally) pretending to be a world-conquering beast.

    So in the big final confrontation, [BLACKOUT]we have Loki, the silver tongued trickster, coming against Hulk, the uncaged id, the primal force of nature. And of course, that's the one thing that Loki's speeches would have no effect on. And they don't. So we get a surprising moment that's competely earned and utterly in character. [/BLACKOUT] That's brilliant writing, IMO.

    I will grant you that if Loki didn't have an army and was the sole antagonist, the moment might have a slight whiff of anticlimax, but he doesn't, so it didn't. It's a resolution of a subplot within the large scale madness of the third act.

    I have a feeling we'll have to agree to disagree on this.
     
  2. Joeyjojo72 Registered

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    Of course you can compare one movie to another. But the fact is that Whedon's style, his goals for this movie, were completely different than the Nolan Bat-movies. His use of humor is just one example of this. Theyre both blockbusters, theyre both based on comic books, but within their genre they seem to be apples and oranges. And the team/ensemble aspect of the movie, plus the need to tie in four different franchises, just makes the dichotomy starker. Bottom line: Whedon is the perfect guy for marvel and Nolan is the perfect guy for Batman. But i understand the tendency to judge them together.

    But i havent seen it yet, so everything i said comes with a grain of salt. So far, this is my impression.
     
  3. Mjölnir Guest

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    I took it as there being two reasons. [blackout]First of course that they had been fighting before and Thor is obviously Hulk's close rival in battle prowess. Secondly, in very close relation to the first, I saw it as him reacting a bit on that Thor was the one killing that leviathan.[/blackout]
     
  4. Joeyjojo72 Registered

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    Guys theres a whole thread for spoiler-filled discussions. You might be more comfortable there. Just a suggestion.
     
  5. Raiden Wakanda Forever

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    Nice to see another top critic giving The Avengers high mark. I'm a bit surprised that Entertainment Weekly only gives it B+, though.
     
  6. Joeyjojo72 Registered

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    rocker dude where did you get that review?
     
  7. Joeyjojo72 Registered

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  8. Iceman Daffy Duck Vs The Joker

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    I hope this can stay above 8/10 average rating.
     
  9. flickchick85 Admin of Might

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    Where are the EW and Rolling Stone grades coming from? I can't find them.
     
  10. PokeJ Registered

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    I can't find those reviews anywhere. Dang....
     
  11. Joeyjojo72 Registered

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    Yeah i was curious where he got those. Confirmation?
     
  12. Musty002 Registered

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    Where did you find the Entertainment weekly and rolling stone review

    I couldn't find it in their website or anywhere so link please or any kind of evidence
     
  13. rockerdude22 Registered

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    The Rolling Stone Review is in the May issue. I don't think it's online yet.
     
  14. Iceman Daffy Duck Vs The Joker

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    Well illustrated. I'm not all that knowledgeable about his earlier work so those examples were helpful.
     
  15. Suzanne78 Abs Without Fear

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    Awesome that he gave TA such a high score - I can't remember him giving blockbusters of this kind 4 stars. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Is the EW review online yet?

    Also, I think bonzob2000 and Joeyjojo72 have nailed the essence of Joss Whedon's style perfectly! Way better than I was trying to articulate. :up:
     
    #965 Suzanne78, Apr 27, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  16. flickchick85 Admin of Might

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    Well, I just opened my EW that came in today, and I can confirm the accuracy of that grade.
     
  17. Raiden Wakanda Forever

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    I thought B+ is a bit low. What did the review said that prevents it from getting at least an A-?
     
  18. Suzanne78 Abs Without Fear

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    Flickchick, was it Glieberman who reviewed TA?

    It's really not that bad for EW; Owen Glieberman rated Iron Man a B+ too...
     
  19. hitmanyr2k Resident Lurker

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    What's so bad about a B+ :funny:
     
  20. rockerdude22 Registered

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    EW also gave Iron Man a B+.
     
  21. Vulklin Registered

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    I just watched it :yay:

    In truth, I don't know what to make of it

    The number one thought that is in my head right now after watching is

    "That was more like a moving comic book, rather than a film"

    So this is why it is hard to judge for me. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? :huh:
     
  22. MessiahDecoy123 Psychological Anarchist

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    EW lost all credibility when they gave The Matrix a C+.

    Morons.
     
  23. MessiahDecoy123 Psychological Anarchist

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    I dunno.

    Did you have fun watching it? :huh:
     
  24. hitmanyr2k Resident Lurker

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    That was about 12 years ago lol. Do they still have the same reviewers?
     
  25. HighFivingMF Welp.

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    :dry:
     
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