“lol Polaris i was joking,”
I saw this over the weekend. The verdict—67/100 (and could possibly drop to the lower 60s).
Some thoughts and questions off the top of my head:
>I think the biggest problem was juggling all the characters and making having a core to the drama. What was at the heart of the drama? At this point I’m not really sure, and I’m inclined to say the film doesn’t really have a thematic/emotional core—or it has several half-baked ones. Anyway, I think this is one of the reasons the film didn’t work so well for me.
>I wished the filmmakers dealt with the different nature and personality of the characters and incorporated them into the drama of the story. A part of me feels like Captain America’s character should have been at the center of the film—his humility, courage, selflessness making him standout among the other heroes and drawing them to him. The film didn’t really establish the reasons the others deferred to him (and this deference is only lightly shown). (I sort of wished that in the earlier CA film they made CA a tactical expert, which would create another reason for the heroes to defer to him as their leader. The filmmakers could have had Rogers study a lot of military strategy and tactics, since he was physically weak, but still wanted to get into the military.)
>I don’t know what others think, but I don’t think Whedon is much of a director—at least visually. It’s not a very interesting film to look at, imo.
“At this point I’m not really sure, and I’m inclined to say the film doesn’t really have a thematic/emotional core—or it has several half-baked ones. Anyway, I think this is one of the reasons the film didn’t work so well for me.”
That seems to be the general consensus. A lot of the even positive reviews qualify it by admiting, “none of it makes much sense”. I tend to agree – it was fun to watch and had so funny moments but there wasn’t much meat on this bone.
And I also agree with you on the visuals. The set-pieces were pretty mediocre.
…it was fun to watch…
The lack of this thematic/emotional core and -the lack of a coherent drama took away the fun, imo. (The film dragged in certain parts, too.)
Btw, I take no pleasure in saying this, so I’m not trying to be a kill-joy, here. I wanted to like this film!
Oh, one more thing: a part me feels like these superhero films would benefit from a more “TV-approach,” where one or two writer-producers oversee the whole franchise. I think these films might benefit if they were seen as a series or story that plays out over several films—or at least has character arcs that play out over several films. This might improve both the quality of the stories and characters, which is not handled well in most superhero movies.
The Avengers dragged so much…. 2:20. What the hell? There’s absolutely no reason for these films to be over 1:40. And that dialogue was atrocious. I guess it’s supposed to be slightly hammy but jeez. Since the general defense of these films is that they are “popcorn flicks” and “fun,” I can only respond: Boring! Although apparently not boring to the guy sitting two seats away from me who kept saying “Fucking A” and “Fuck Yeah” to the screen.
Ah, Jazz I knew one of my favorite parts of the film would be one of your least faves ( not too much Captain America) .
As for the lack of an emotional/thematic core : I guess I’m pretty OK with that. All I wanted /was expecting from the film was funny lines, fighting and explosions, so I was satisfied with the final product.
I agree it definitely dragged in parts. It wasn’t a very tight script, that’s for sure.
The Avengers dragged so much…. 2:20. What the hell? There’s absolutely no reason for these films to be over 1:40.
I slightly disagree with this. The film has a lot of characters and weaving them into the story requires time. I don’t think the film managed the characters and intergrated them into the film very well—but I think it needed the time. Think of something like Seven Samurai, for example. The Avengers is no where near good, but both films need screen time.
Ah, Jazz I knew one of my favorite parts of the film would be one of your least faves ( not too much Captain America).
I’m actually not a big fan of CA (He’s OK), but if he’s going to be in the film, he needs to be the leader of the group—otherwise he’ll be dull, not to mention superfluous. The film does attempt to make him the leader, but it’s a weak attempt, imo.
_As for the lack of an emotional/thematic core : I guess I’m pretty OK with that. All I wanted /was expecting from the film was funny lines, fighting and explosions, so I was satisfied with the final product.)
Really? So fighting and explosions are enough for you? To me, without a solid story—one with a compelling dramatic core—the fighting, explosions, etc. often become boring to me. In some cases, if the situations involving action are clever and well-executed, that can be satisfying (This film didn’t have many of those scene), but generally there needs to be a decent story involving a compelling drama between the good guys and villains.
In this film, that dramatic core seems to be the conflict between Loki and Thor, but this story seems a bit underdeveloped (or maybe I forgot details from the Thor film). Loki seems to want to take over the earth to hurt Thor, but that reason doesn’t seem very compelling.
I don’t know if the film integrates the other sub-plots very well, either.
“Loki seems to want to take over the earth to hurt Thor, but that reason doesn’t seem very compelling.”
Yeah, I thought the villain as a whole was weak. I was never completely clued in as to what Loki wanted and why. His motivations where not entirely clear to me and that was a big problem I had with the film. The best superhero films have great villains and I think this is part of why the film failed for me, on a story level.
I agree with that, Santino. (FWIW, I never cared for Loki or stories that used Asgard heavily.)
“I slightly disagree with this. The film has a lot of characters and weaving them into the story requires time. I don’t think the film managed the characters and intergrated them into the film very well—but I think it needed the time. Think of something like Seven Samurai, for example. The Avengers is no where near good, but both films need screen time.
Huh? Where was the development of the characters? It was one set piece after another. The characters’ narratives were already pre-established (not knowing comics well and having not seen the individuals films of those characters, I had to catch up with back stories – don’t know anything about Captain America for example – he never interested me as a character when I was a kid). That seemed to be the point. No exposition necessary. The one narrative arc of the characters – “WILL THEY OVERCOME THEIR DIFFERENCES AND LEARN TO COOPERATE TOGETHER FOR THE GREATER GOOD” was strictly second grade stuff.
don’t know anything about Captain America for example – he never interested me as a character when I was a kid
Wow – I’m shocked! :P
Huh? Where was the development of the characters?
My point is that the film needed the time—but it didn’t use that time well.
…the characters’ narratives were already pre-established…
But the film could have weaved these narratives into the drama of the story. How would each of these narratives present challenges for the characters to form a team? How does the film resolve these challenges? You need time for that.
Honest question for those who didn’t like the film (this whole page I guess). Was there anything a movie like this could have done to win you over, or was the problem that it was a movie like this?
Well, let me first state that I had fun watching the film (even though there were definitely some parts where I was bored). However it’s not a movie I’d probably watch again.
As for what could’ve made it better, I think the script is the first thing. Choose a more compelling villain and make his motivations clear and not necessarily specific to one character from another film (such as in this film, THOR). That would’ve made the film infinitely stronger. Now of course you can work on the action and create better set pieces but those are ancillary issues for me. Also, like others have said, it might’ve helped to focus the story on one of the Avengers and have one clear protagonist. Think about how they handled X-Men by focusing the main through-line of the story on Wolverine. In The Avengers, who is the protagonist? Captain America? He’s the new guy, that’s for sure and I agree with Whedon that he’s the only guy that’s new to this world (since he’s been frozen for fifty years). But if they were aiming to focus the main attention on CA, they failed because I don’t think that was clear at all.
Or is Thor the protagonist since the main conflict is coming from his storyline and his brother is the villain? That makes sense to me however Thor was clearly not as focused here (how long into the film before he actually shows up?).
So those are a few of the things that I think could have made the film stronger.
I think while Whedon has always been a good storyteller, The Avengers is another display of things that can get limited by the blockbuster.
>>In The Avengers, who is the protagonist? Captain America?<<
That’s the way I would have gone with it as I find him the most compelling character, but it ended up being Iron Man, which worked for me. His loner becomes a team player arch makes sense in the context of establishing The Avengers a group of unlikely alliances. Not that Downey’s charisma, humor and box office weren’t part of the decision to be more Iron Man-centric. Still, every chracter got plenty of time to shine. (Too long? – too short!)
Brad – You think Iron Man was the main guy? Or just the most interesting? I agree that he was the most interesting but I didn’t get the sense that he was clearly our protagonst. Whedon said a couple months ago that Captain America would be the main guy for whom the audience can view the story from. If this was Whedon’s intention, I think he failed because I never got the sense that CA was the “eyes of the audience”.
Any original intention to make Captain America the main protagonist or the eyes of the audience was abandoned somewhere along the way. While no one character completely dominates, I got the impression that Iron Man received just a bit more focus tha the others.
My question is how did Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. wander into a vanilla human male model club?
Brad – While I don’t disagree with your assessment that Iron Man was more prominant, I’m not convinced that was intentional. I think Downey’s shear charisma might’ve played more of a part than anything Whedon was going for.
And the fact that there is a question in regards to this only adds fuel to cloud of confusion. “I think Iron Man was the main guy!” “No, I think Captain America is the focus!” “No way, it’s obviously Thor!”
Was there anything a movie like this could have done to win you over, or was the problem that it was a movie like this?
The former more than the latter, as I like the “team of superheroes” concept, when executed to my preferences. You could Seven Samurai and 13 Assassins are examples of successful films in this genre, even though, technically, they aren’t superhero films. The latter is salient to this discussion because it faced a similar challenge as The Avengers, namely, managing multiple characters. In this film, the filmmakers chose to emphasis one of the characters, and maybe a one or two more. The drawback is that the film neglects some of the characters—turning them into “bodies” on the screen. Nevertheless, 13 Assassins has a strong coherent story with a good drama at its heart.
I would have liked to have seen a stronger story in The Avengers—one that wove the characters and their personalities into the story of the film. Moreover, I would have liked to have seen the film do a better job of showing how the team comes together. (In the film, Phil’s death seems to be an important catalyst, but I didn’t think the film established a strong relationshp between Phil and the other characters.) I also think the dramatic heart of the story could have been better.
FWIW, I agree with almost everything Santino said about the film. The script is the because problem.
Santino said, That makes sense to me however Thor was clearly not as focused here (how long into the film before he actually.
Also, the circumstances for Thor’s appearance seems a bit rushed and unexplained. This is not a major flaw, but I thought it could have been handled a little better.
Brad said, Still, every chracter got plenty of time to shine. (Too long? – too short!)
The time spent on each character wasn’t the issue so much as the way the film integrated the character and his/her “story” into the main drama. Iron-man’s story arc—from loner to team player—was one of the more coherent subplots of the film which worked within the film, but the other characters and their stories seemed underdeveloped and poorly integrated.
Santino said, And the fact that there is a question in regards to this only adds fuel to cloud of confusion. “I think Iron Man was the main guy!” “No, I think Captain America is the focus!” “No way, it’s obviously Thor!”
Yep. And what this means to me is that the writing needs more work.
Ruffalo was a treat in this. Too bad the actor that can out act everyone under the table is given the least amount of screen time.
I liked Ruffalo a lot, but for me no one touched Downey Jr.
But I’m pretty sure that’s how Downy is in real life so it’s hard for me to be completely on board with him. I do agree that he’s quite good though.