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The Avengers (2012)

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#141 SDG

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 06:34 AM

No sexual imagery. Certainly nothing like the brief bedroom scene in Iron Man (which the DVD lets you very neatly skip over by tapping the scene-skip button). I don't remember the sensual bit in the sequel?

We do meet Black Widow in a context of somewhat sexually charged menace: She's wearing a Little Black Dress, tied to a chair, on the edge of a dropoff, surrounded by a number of bad guys who think they're interrogating her. When one of them says something about the evening going worse than one of them had planned, she says something like, "I know how you wanted this evening to go—this is better."

Also, later on, threatening BW, Loki makes a vague threat that is presumably meant to be understood to refer to arranging for her to be raped by another character. (Nothing close to this materializes.)

That's about it.

Action-wise, it's considerably more intense than Captain America or Thor. But it sounds as if you're less concerned about that.

Oh, FWIW, my review.

Marvel’s The Avengers is awesomeness squared. It’s the apotheosis of the modern age of comic-book movies, the epitome of everything that the Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor movies were and were trying to be. It is grand and geeky and rollicking good fun on an epic scale, and it gets practically everything right and very little wrong...

There is nothing transcendent or revolutionary about it. It is not a new kind of superhero movie — not the Star Wars or Fellowship of the Ring or even the Avatar of its genre. Some of the moves are overly familiar...

If The Avengers isn’t necessarily the best superhero movie ever made, it is unquestionably the most superhero movie ever made — and, in that capacity, it is more than well-made enough to take comic-book entertainment to unprecedented levels. We might possibly see a better film later this summer, but if there’s a more enjoyable popcorn action movie this year than The Avengers, I’ll eat my hat...

Gwyneth Paltrow is as delightful and down-to-earth as ever in her brief appearances as Pepper Potts opposite Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. An elderly gentleman in a crowd in Stuttgart, Germany, with only two lines of dialogue, provides a stirring example of Greatest Generation-era dignity and courage in the face of tyrannical evil, providing the best possible context for Cap’s persona and worldview.

Agent Coulson’s sweetly comic fanboy adoration of Cap also helps establish the supersoldier’s legendary historical milieu — as well as sending up the Comic-Con crowd thronging the theaters. I am not, need it be said, holding myself above it all. When Thor brings his hammer crashing down on Cap’s shield, I am sharing the pure geek bliss...

Whedon — an unbeliever — allows Cap a throwaway one-liner about God that’s kind of wonderful, and that resonates nicely with that elderly gentleman’s response to Loki...


Edited by SDG, 11 February 2013 - 10:10 PM.


#142 CrimsonLine

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:55 AM

No sexual imagery. Certainly nothing like the brief bedroom scene in Iron Man (which the DVD lets you very neatly skip over by tapping the scene-skip button). I don't remember the sensual bit in the sequel?

Action-wise, it's considerably more intense than Captain America or Thor. But it sounds as if you're less concerned about that.


Thanks - yes, Timothy can handle action sequences very well. But I know from my childhood that sexual imagery can stick around for a long, long time.

In Iron Man, we skip the pole dancing scene in the jet, as well as the goofy bedroom scene. In Iron Man 2, we mute some of the dialogue in the introduction of Black Widow (the kickboxing scene).

I'd rather get this kind of information from someone like you - who is thoughtful and theologically informed - than from an "instances-of-immorality-counting" site.

Your review is great, by the way. Thanks so much!

Edited by CrimsonLine, 03 May 2012 - 09:57 AM.


#143 Rachel Anne

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:10 AM

If The Avengers isn’t necessarily the best superhero movie ever made, it is unquestionably the most superhero movie ever made

If [Silverado] is nothing like the best Western ever, it might be something closer to the most Western ever.


So ... The Avengers is the Silverado of superhero movies?

Edited by bowen, 03 May 2012 - 11:10 AM.


#144 SDG

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:33 AM

If The Avengers isn’t necessarily the best superhero movie ever made, it is unquestionably the most superhero movie ever made

If [Silverado] is nothing like the best Western ever, it might be something closer to the most Western ever.

So ... The Avengers is the Silverado of superhero movies?

I knew when I wrote that that you would spot it! (That means you've joined a very select group of readers in my head when I write!)

And the answer is, not exactly. The Avengers is not the "most" superhero movie ever in the same way that Silverado is the "most" Western ever. Silverado's "mostness" is one of comprehensiveness, of compendiumhood; Avengers' "mostness" is of scale and scope and casting.

#145 Rachel Anne

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:49 AM

If The Avengers isn’t necessarily the best superhero movie ever made, it is unquestionably the most superhero movie ever made

If [Silverado] is nothing like the best Western ever, it might be something closer to the most Western ever.

So ... The Avengers is the Silverado of superhero movies?

I knew when I wrote that that you would spot it! (That means you've joined a very select group of readers in my head when I write!)


It was a memorable description. I wasn't going to forget it. I assume, however, that we won't be looking forward to hearing Battleship described as "the most nautical alien invasion movie", etc. Memorable as it is, as a catch-phrase for you, I wouldn't give it "two thumbs up!"

(And no, I didn't really think you meant that The Avengers was the Silverado of superhero movies, the question was really just to tweak you a little bit.)

#146 SDG

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:02 PM

This was the first movie that the wife and I got to see in the theatre together since... well, since Thor... and darn if this wasn't a near-perfect date movie for us.

This makes me sad that I won't be taking Suz to Avengers. Not unless I want to see it three times (and pay for it twice). I'm taking the boys and their cousins on Sunday for a cousin's birthday.

I don't know that I would call the movie "great" -- some of the fight scenes did have a certain "oh, look, it's time for one of THESE again" quality to them -- but it's consistently amusing and it even has some interesting darker overtones, especially where Nick Fury and his manipulative tendencies are concerned.

Yeah, that was a little nice Whedonesque edginess coming out in a movie that for the most part stayed pretty much on the surface.

How wonderful to see Tony Stark and Pepper Potts enjoying the current status of their relationship. Pepper's only in a couple of scenes, so there's no need to build an "arc" for their relationship into the movie; it's just there, and it's good.

Oh yeah. Pepper is the Best. Superhero. Girlfriend. Ever. But I missed the photo of the character you mentioned! I'll watch for it next time.

I love the two nods to Judeo-Christianity that I spotted, both of which are very brief, but still: one is a brief reference to a biblical story, the other is a line from Captain America that is strikingly reminiscent of that classic Star Trek episode in which Kirk, upon meeting the Greek god Apollo, says we don't need the pagan gods any more because "we find the one [God] quite sufficient." Is the analogous line in this film a nod to Captain America's old-fashioned ways? Possibly, but in a good way. I like it.

Yes! Great line.

Of all the character-interaction scenes, I think my favorite might be the one that begins with Tony and Bruce and Steve in a room, and Tony needling everyone (but ESPECIALLY Steve) as is his wont, and then, when Steve leaves the room, the conversation between Tony and Bruce gets a little less ironic, a little more, um, heartfelt, if I can put it that way. It's a nice, and semi-subtle, shift in tone.

Oh, hm. Yes, that IS nice. The sort of slant to Tony and Steve's relationship was one of the things about the movie I wished were a little different. It seems to me Tony gets under Steve's skin much more than vice versa, and I thought it should have cut both ways.

It was a memorable description. I wasn't going to forget it. I assume, however, that we won't be looking forward to hearing Battleship described as "the most nautical alien invasion movie", etc.

If God is merciful to me, I may get through this life without seeing, and certainly without reviewing in writing, Battleship.

(And no, I didn't really think you meant that The Avengers was the Silverado of superhero movies, the question was really just to tweak you a little bit.)

How well you know me. :)

#147 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:54 PM

SDG wrote:
: I knew when I wrote that that you would spot it!

Just for the record, that parallel occurred to me, too, this morning, as I was driving the kids to school (i.e. about half an hour before bowen posted it here). But, y'know, life, etc. (Of course, if bowen made that connection as soon as he read your review, instead of an hour or two later as I did, then he's got me beat in the mental-reflex department.)

I also found myself thinking back to how a local film critic once described Henry Fool as being maybe not the "best" Hal Hartley but certainly the "most" Hal Hartley.

: Oh yeah. Pepper is the Best. Superhero. Girlfriend. Ever.

Agreed, agreed, agreed.

: But I missed the photo of the character you mentioned! I'll watch for it next time.

I'm thinking of the photo of Natalie Portman's character from Thor. It comes up in the scene where Thor is told that Jane has been moved to safety since the events of this movie began.

: If God is merciful to me, I may get through this life without seeing, and certainly without reviewing in writing, Battleship.

God may be merciful, but what about your editors/producers? Posted Image

Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 03 May 2012 - 12:57 PM.


#148 Rachel Anne

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 01:13 PM

SDG wrote:
: Oh yeah. Pepper is the Best. Superhero. Girlfriend. Ever.

Agreed, agreed, agreed.

And agreed.

#149 SDG

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 01:34 PM

: If God is merciful to me, I may get through this life without seeing, and certainly without reviewing in writing, Battleship.

God may be merciful, but what about your editors/producers? Posted Image

He outranks them. We'll see how it goes. :D

#150 Rachel Anne

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:13 PM


SDG wrote:
: Oh yeah. Pepper is the Best. Superhero. Girlfriend. Ever.

Agreed, agreed, agreed.

And agreed.


Evidently, we have Downey to thank for Pepper's being in the Avengers. The original plan was very much not:

http://www.latimes.c...,0,311022.story

#151 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:16 PM

bowen wrote:
: Evidently, we have Downey to thank for Pepper's being in the Avengers. The original plan was very much not:

Y'know, all I'll say at this point here is that Pepper not only introduces some indispensable chemistry in her few scenes with Tony (my wife's favorite: the "I love to be handed things" scene), but without her, certain moments in which Tony has to make some very hard, potentially life-altering decisions would have suffered greatly. Because I think basically any reasonably astute audience member would have found themselves thinking, "Hey, what about Pepper?" So, it's a good thing the movie actually addresses that.

I can appreciate that Whedon didn't want to rope in any of the previous movies' supporting casts, though. Then again, he does bring back a few key characters from Thor (most notably the villain, Loki). So it would arguably be kind of weird if Tony Stark -- who is arguably a much bigger audience draw than Thor -- didn't get at least one of HIS old supporting-cast members back, too. (Captain America, of course, has been frozen in the ice for 70 years, so all of HIS supporting-cast members are dead. That just leaves the Hulk, who is kind of being semi-rebooted here, with a new actor etc., so there arguably isn't much of a basis for bringing back any of that film's supporting cast.)

#152 Anders

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 08:09 AM

That just leaves the Hulk, who is kind of being semi-rebooted here, with a new actor etc., so there arguably isn't much of a basis for bringing back any of that film's supporting cast.)


I won't be seeing this until Sunday, but I'm just wondering if this film is really rebooting the Hulk or if it's just a casting change? The presence of Tony Stark at the end of Leterrier's film leads me to believe we're supposed to take it as part of the cinematic Marvel universe in way Ang Lee's film is not (though there are subtle nods to Lee's film in Leterrier's, such as opening the film in S. America).

For the record, having seen it twice, I quite like Leterrier's film actually. Especially the first half.

#153 Thom Wade

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 08:16 AM

Yeah. I think one of the ways it beats the Ang Lee film is not having some weird existential (?) fight scene at the end. The fact is, the idea of Hulk Smash means he has to have something to fight. Giving him an opponent that he could pound is kind of important to the character.

It is sad...but I am just rather relieved to hear that the Avengers doesn't suck. I've been excited, but dreading hearing folks declare that it is terrible. I know, I had a low bar of "doesn't suck".

#154 Thom Wade

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:25 AM

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#155 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 02:02 PM

Anders wrote:
: I won't be seeing this until Sunday, but I'm just wondering if this film is really rebooting the Hulk or if it's just a casting change?

Well, that's why I said SEMI-reboot.

: The presence of Tony Stark at the end of Leterrier's film leads me to believe we're supposed to take it as part of the cinematic Marvel universe in way Ang Lee's film is not . . .

Yes, absolutely. We also see bits of footage from the Leterrier film on various monitors in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers -- not footage of Edward Norton, but footage of the Hulk in all his greenness.

However, it's not clear at all how Tony Stark's appearance in The Incredible Hulk is supposed to tie in to The Avengers. Tony Stark APPEARS to be acting as a member or representative of "the Avengers initiative" at the end of The Incredible Hulk, but when The Avengers begins, he is still resisting or refusing to be a team player.

Interestingly, it seems the Marvel people were aware of a possible continuity problem here, so they devoted one of those Agent Coulson short films (the one that was included on the Thor DVD) to putting a whole new spin on that ending:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgUjlH4vywM

#156 Christian

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 02:10 PM

I am completely mystified by reviews that indicate this movie belongs to the Hulk. I mean, I liked the character (know the TV series, not the earlier movies), but don't understand the enthusiasm for Ruffalo in the role nor how Hulk is in any way more dominant than the other characters in The Avengers.

[braces for lengthy explanation as to why I missed the obvious]

#157 Rachel Anne

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 08:16 PM

In the tension between Iron Man’s jadedness and Cap’s idealism, I wish the latter had a bit more punch. Obviously, Iron Man’s sensibilities are closer to Whedon’s own, but it would be nice if he had tried harder to give Cap his due.


http://artsbeat.blog...eer/?ref=movies

Whedon:

"You want to see Captain America and Tony Stark not like each other, articulately. Writing them was where I started. They represent two polar opposites and I’m basically Tony and I wish I was Steve [Rogers, Cap's alter ego]. I believe everything that Steve says, but at the end of the day, I’m more like Tony, without the brilliance and the billions."

#158 SDG

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 08:55 PM

In the tension between Iron Man’s jadedness and Cap’s idealism, I wish the latter had a bit more punch. Obviously, Iron Man’s sensibilities are closer to Whedon’s own, but it would be nice if he had tried harder to give Cap his due.


http://artsbeat.blog...eer/?ref=movies

Whedon:

"You want to see Captain America and Tony Stark not like each other, articulately. Writing them was where I started. They represent two polar opposites and I’m basically Tony and I wish I was Steve [Rogers, Cap's alter ego]. I believe everything that Steve says, but at the end of the day, I’m more like Tony, without the brilliance and the billions."

Very illuminating, especially when combined with this tidbit from my Register combox:

According to the Trivia section of the film in IMDB the original cut of the film was three hours long and most of the excised footage (which will be included in the DVD release)revolves around Captain America. Hopefully the edited material will do justice to the character (excuse the pun).

The first question is, will there be a "director's cut" of the film incorporating the missing material, or will it just be a collection of deleted scenes? The second question is, will more Captain America material ameliorate or aggravate my objections to the imbalance? Will we get Joss channeling his inner Steve, or will we get Joss as Tony definitively undermining Steve?

#159 Ryan H.

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:09 PM

THE AVENGERS is fun. It's an enormous Saturday morning cartoon done wth live action. More than anything, I appreciate the scale; THE AVENGERS is the first time that a Marvel film has felt large enough for the characters it contains.

But like the rest of the Marvel run, even though THE AVENGERS is by far the best entry to date, I don't think it'll be a film to which I return. The kinetic energy provided by the character mash-up is enough to sustain a single viewing, but it's sensibities are too "dial-a-blockbuster" to draw me back for return visits.

Edited by Ryan H., 05 May 2012 - 06:10 AM.


#160 Rachel Anne

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:38 PM

Whedon interview:

http://www.examiner....superhero-flick

Q: There's an interesting balance between the action, characters and the conflicts these superheroes have, such as Iron Man rejecting the soldier mentality of Captain America. Does it reflect your own ideology?

Whedon: you have to write something you believe in. Captain America was kind of my Ground Zero for this film. The idea of someone who had been in World War II, had seen people laying down their lives in the worst kinds of circumstances in a world where the idea of community and the idea of a man being part of something, as opposed to being isolated from or bigger than the whole, is a very different concept of manhood. The idea of the soldier, the person who is willing to lay down his life, is very different than the idea of the superhero.

Q: How would you describe “The Avengers” genre?

Whedon: From the start, I wanted to make a war movie. I wanted to put these guys through more than what they would be put through in a normal superhero movie. It was very important for me to build that concept and have Tony (Downey) reject that concept on every level, so that when he ultimately is willing to lay himself down on the line, you get where's he's come from, and how Steve (Evans) has affected him.


Edited by bowen, 04 May 2012 - 11:39 PM.






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