Thread: The Avengers
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:16 PM
Originally Posted by soda View Post
Okay, so finally got a chance to do this write up. Here goes:

-The plot. Like I said, this film treats the plot as "eh, who needs a plot, when you have the Hulk?" AvX, to name one example, is a lot like that: "let's do an event book where the x-men fight the Avengers. What would the plot be? Why would it need a plot? Okay, well, we'll just throw something together." I didn't feel like the Avengers were ever really threatened, nor did I feel like the end of movie plot-hammer was particularly convincing (really? you're going to end your plot the same way Independence Day and Phantom Menace ended their's?) That's okay for this film, because the plot with a thin thread to get the superheroes together fighting for a common cause anyway, but still, I felt the plot of this film talked down to the audience, and if its one thing I'm sick of, its comic book movies where the plot talks down to the audience. In a movie as rich in character as the Avengers is, seeing a plot that's an eight year old would find intellectually insulting particularly stands out. If Avengers was just a bad movie, it would be more pardonable, but it delivers so well in other areas that it just hits you and bothers you.

That's why as much as I liked the Avengers, I cannot give it a score as high as the Dark Knight. I'd rank it a notch above some of the other Marvel films I've seen, but debating with myself where to put it on the list of the best ones. Its clearly good, but its plot is the lead weight that drags the film down. Hollywood seems to have gotten it in its collective nut that superhero movies have to end with formulaic endings to formulaic plots. I was hoping TDK would chance some of that, as I felt it was the first superhero movie that I saw that treated me like an adult. Now, don't get me wrong, a lot of superhero comics do end this way, (where the writer has built up the plot through 6 and 7/8th issues, and has seven issues to play with, so has two pages to resolve everything. It happens) but I guess part of my problem is that I expected more out of Wheddon. I also remember his Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I remember how unconventional that was. Marvel comics made its name as the house of ideas, as the house that took creative risks to win the game with DC, but Marvel movies have been deep character sketches with unimaginative plots. The original Iron Man was so great particularly because it took creative risks (taking on the issue of global terroism and the military-industrial complex) and I liked Captain America because it was a risk too (Marvel's polling had to show that the public didn't have much of an appetite for a WW2 era period piece). I didn't feel like the Avengers had any of that.

Okay, so I'll close with something I did like. I did really dig the shot of Thanos at the end. For an old comic book guy like me, that was gold, and it was deep calling onto deep. Comics do that all that time, where you get to the end of a story, and there's a shadowy figure whose been the puppet master of the whole thing the whole time. Comics lives for the "big reveeal", the single panel, the single image, that can turn around the entire meaning of the book on a dime. The kind that can wet the appetite for the next book in the series, and that can make a customer for the whole run. That's what Thanos is, he's as big and as bad as there is in comics.

How do you know? Thanos is an eternal, a race that the legendary Jack Kirby created for Marvel (how legendary was Kirby? He took the concept, changed all the names, and sold the same concept to DC as "the new gods". That's called playing the game.) I can't wait for what we'll get in Avengers 2, for Thanos storming the halls of Asgard to try to get the infinity gauntlet (remember, that's where it is right now), succeeding, and then using his new weapon to take on the avengers. I can't wait for the next movies in this marvel series. I'm hoping for an Ant Man movie. I love Hank, as a character, I love the fact that, as a scientist, his nature is the polar opposite of Tony's, despite being just as brilliant, if not more so. Even more than Ant-Man, I'm hoping that the introduction of Hank introduces two of my favorite Avengers related characters, who didn't get a mention in this film: Ultron and the Vision. The vision is a classic Avenger, and Ulton is maybe their most dangerous opponent.

I know people like DaveyJoeG are iffy on the whole Universe tie-in idea, but that's the way comics work. its like saying "why are politicians so partisan? Can't they ever say anything good about each other?" Well, the reason why is that doing so costs you votes. That what politicians are good at: maximizing campaign money and getting votes. That's why Marvel is tying all their movies together: it makes money, because people have shown, conclusively, that they like it and that advertising future films in your current one makes money in future films. For me, having Thanos appear at the end to preview Avengers 2 is good story-telling, tease the next one, leave the audience wanting more.

So, final grade for this film? Probably and 8.5 out of 10. High up on the very, very good scale, but far from perfect. I got my ten bucks worth, and I'm happy I went, it was entertaining as hell, and a golden start to the summer.

Wonderful write up, but I don't feel the plot talks down to the audience at all. It is secondary to the characters, humor, and action? Yes, it is. no doubt about it. That is exactly the point of the movie imo. I'm not saying Whedon shouldn't try to write a stronger plot, but I didn't feel the lack of a complex plot hindered the purpose of the film at all. Imo, I feel if Whedon tried to weave a complex plot together on top of establishing all of our characters the movie would have imploded on itself. I think Whedon knew this, and did the right thing. He focused on the character moments. The plot was the Mcguffin to get the heroes together and to achieve it's goal of doing that realistically and entertainingly.
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