Avengers Discussion and Ann Arbor Event
Tonight at 7 p.m. I’ll be joining Emmy Jackson, Bethany Grenier, and Gary W. Olson at Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor for reading, Q&A, and signing of books.
Like so many others, I saw Avengers this weekend. Short version: I liked it. A lot. I don’t read comics, so I can’t say what they did or didn’t change from the canonical Marvel universe, but overall I thought it was a wonderfully fun story. My inner seven-year-old was thrilled. So was my actual seven-year-old, for that matter. (He particularly liked the Hulk.)
And now, on with the spoilerific specifics…
Loved Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. It was almost too much sexy intelligence in one room.
Loved Black Widow’s introduction scene, and her interrogation style (which comes back in a wonderful way with Loki later on).
My son’s favorite moment was after Thor and the Hulk finish taking down an alien ship, and the Hulk casually slugs Thor, sending him flying.
My favorite bit was probably Loki’s monologue to the Hulk … and the interruption thereof. “Puny god” indeed. Loved the Hulk’s comic timing. The green guy might not have had great standalone films (though I thought the Ed Norton movie was pretty good), but he was perfect in this one.
I liked finally seeing Nick Fury/Samuel Jackson in action.
The only moment I remember my suspension of disbelief breaking was Hawkeye shooting an arrow into a computer terminal so precisely that the various pins lined up with the terminal in order to hack the system.
Though the “Loki’s mind control can be broken by hitting you in the head” bit was a little too convenient as well.
Such lovely, lovely snark all around.
The final post-credits scene was just fun.
I never really felt like any of our heroes were in genuine danger. Tony’s heavily-telegraphed potential sacrifice at the end was nice and all, but you knew perfectly well he’d survive. The world was at risk, yes. The heroes, not so much. Heck, most of them are already signed up for various sequels.
I have no idea if Agent Coulson is really dead or not. I expected to see him in one of the post-credits scenes. It would certainly be in character for Joss Whedon to kill him off, but it also felt like a setup… What do you think?
I really wish they’d done more with Pepper Potts’ character. She had a fun exchange with Tony Stark in the beginning, but for the most part, she felt like generic off-screen love interest. In such a male-dominated film, it struck me as a missed opportunity to have another active female character, particularly given that the end of the film took place at Stark Tower.
Overall though, I loved it. Major kudos to Marvel for such an ambitious, long-term project. More please.
For everyone else who’s seen it, what did you think? I haven’t had much of a chance to get all geeky and talk about the film, and I’d like to remedy that now…
May 7, 2012 @ 9:51 am
It was fun. I think most of my favorite scenes line up pretty well with yours.
May 7, 2012 @ 9:59 am
I agree with you on every point except about Pepper. I really liked the way they handled her by having her at the beginning so we could all remember how much we like her and then taking her out of the story where she (and her relationship with Stark) would’nt distract from the butt-kicking and explosions that, to me, were the point of the movie.
Jim C. Hines
May 7, 2012 @ 10:07 am
Why couldn’t she be a part of the butt-kicking and explosions? Probably not a huge part, given her character, but it would have made her more than just the pretty love interest.
May 7, 2012 @ 10:13 am
I’m pretty sure that Agent Coulson (who was Agent Casper in The West Wing, a fact that has delighted me since Iron Man 1) is Dead Dead. There ain’t no coming back, etc, etc.
Peps does get under used in this film, but really she’s an aside. The film is not about Tony and his relationships with Mere Mortals, it’s about The Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Note that Happy (who, in the comics is a MUCH bigger role) doesn’t appear at all, and neither does Rhody, who at was an Avenger (as both War Machine, and Iron Man).
There are, however, a BUNCH more female Avengers they could pull out. She-Hulk (who’s fantastic, because she does’t lose cognitive function. Hell, she’s a lawyer!) The Wasp is a founding member!, Scarlet Witch would be interesting, they could start tying it into the X-Men movies (she’s Magneto’s daughter), Mrs Marvel, etc, etc.
May 7, 2012 @ 10:17 am
Also, another scene that I loved (Along with the ones you named) was Hulk being unable to pick up Mjolnir. Despite being stronger then Thor, NOBODY else picks up that hammer.
Jim C. Hines
May 7, 2012 @ 10:22 am
Yes, that was a great touch. As was the Hulk’s confusion/frustration when he couldn’t do it.
There were so many good details throughout the movie, and I think that’s a lot of what made it work so well. It felt both thoughtful and loved, as in the people creating the film really cared about the material. (For a stark contrast, see the Transformers franchise…)
May 7, 2012 @ 10:25 am
So, having seen it, you’re okay with the under-10 crowd seeing it? I’ve been on the fence as far as taking my 9-year-old.
Jim C. Hines
May 7, 2012 @ 10:31 am
My seven-year-old was fine with it. Most (though not all) of the violence is comic-bookish. Big and loud, but not bloody or disturbing.
And of course, there’s always the option of seeing it yourself, then going back with the kid and seeing it again 🙂
May 7, 2012 @ 10:55 am
I knew you were going to ask that and I wished I’d waited to reply from a real keyboard, not my ipod 😉
I don’t think she could be a part of the butt-kicking and explosions in this one because it’s not an Ironman movie, it’s an Avengers movie 🙂 If she’d played a bigger part in the action it would have changed the chemistry in the group. Tony wouldn’t just be Avenger-Ironman, but he’d also be ‘Part_of_a_couple-Ironman’ and that would have effected how the group came together, interacted and all that good stuff. Plus it would have made the film even longer, and my bladder was screaming at me by the end as it was 😉
May 7, 2012 @ 11:02 am
It would have been as simple as swapping the “staring in useless horror while in plane” moment with one where she’s helping organize the city to evacuate civilians, really – and she STILL could have not answered her personal line at that time.
We already know she can handle a crisis situation in that respect, with Iron Man 2. Why not build on that here, along with the ties the company WOULD have on a military/city infrastructure services level?:)
May 7, 2012 @ 11:08 am
That could have worked too, I agree, but I was okay with the movie’s portrayal of her as it was, as well. 🙂
May 7, 2012 @ 11:50 am
I was totally okay with knowing the heroes weren’t in terrible danger. Actually, I give props to Joss for really not pretending in that regard, as I wouldn’t have belived it. It wasn’t about what hero will die, or gosh, what if they lose, but about HOW will they WIN.
And win they did.
I’d really like a pin or patch or something that reads “Agent Colson-The First Avenger”
May 7, 2012 @ 12:16 pm
I think there were already a lot of characters vying for space in this film, so I’d be hesitant to give the supporting characters of any Avenger too much extra screen time. BUT – I really hope they give Pepper a suit in the Iron Man films like she has in the comics!
May 7, 2012 @ 12:48 pm
My husband was laughing so hard when the Hulk started bashing Loki that our entire section of the theater couldn’t hear what the Hulk said. We had to find out it was “puny god” later.
Agent Colson is definitely dead. It is a classic Whedon thing. The heroes don’t know that they aren’t going to die — that’s what makes it interesting. Sure Tony lived, but he didn’t think he’d probably live, and so he found out if he was willing to lie on the wire so the other guys could escape as Cap asked him earlier. The post credits scene where they are all exhaustedly eating shwarma showed something of that psychic toll they went through.
Because Whedon was only allowed one female superhero — Black Widow — he did his best efforts to involve more women — having Colbie Smulders’ Agent Hill in there and including Pepper Potts. But Gwynneth is expensive because she’s top billed on the Ironman movies, (that’s why they didn’t also have Natalie Portman from Thor — too much money,) and so the amount he could use her for The Avengers was limited. And I think Whedon managed to use the Black Widow character way more than the studio was expecting. So effectively, in fact, that it sounds like a Black Widow solo movie has been green lit, which had not been really expected. Whedon’s written for the comics and the whole thing unfolded just like a comic book, down to the way he did the lighting and the images. It was very cool. (Although I agree that the knock on the head thing was kind of silly. The computer arrow, however, had a seeking sensor on it to get to the right place, one would presume. 🙂 )
May 7, 2012 @ 1:40 pm
You are a VERY wise man.
Jim C. Hines
May 7, 2012 @ 1:45 pm
Seeing the movie twice makes you a better parent. DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN!!!
Martin L. Shoemaker
May 7, 2012 @ 1:48 pm
I think (meaning no disrespect) that your spoiler warning needs to be a LOT more prominent. The two best scenes — the scenes that had the whole theater laughing and applauding — are both described herein.
Other than that, this is a great review of a great film.
Jim C. Hines
May 7, 2012 @ 1:50 pm
There’s a cut tag so that if you’re viewing the post at http://www.jimchines.com/blog/ or on LiveJournal or somesuch, you can’t see the spoilers without clicking through. But you’re right, if you get a direct link to the page, that doesn’t help…
Martin L. Shoemaker
May 7, 2012 @ 1:55 pm
Ah! My buddy (Epee Bill) sent me the direct link. When I realized you described the Hulk _____ing ____ and _____ing ____, I told him to close his browser immediately!
Jim C. Hines
May 7, 2012 @ 1:59 pm
Sorry about that. I bolded the spoiler warning, so hopefully that will help a little.
May 7, 2012 @ 2:25 pm
I’ve heard she was only in the movie because RDJ wanted to emphasize that he wasn’t still a lone genius anymore, that he had a stable home life. So basically they shoehorned her in w/ just the two scenes (but they were nice scenes 🙂
May 7, 2012 @ 3:09 pm
Honestly, I thought that the mind control was broken not by concussions, but by loss of consciousness. You can see the mind-controlled characters getting more and more disheveled as time goes on, so Loki was obviously preventing them from sleeping. Then again, he might just have been ignoring their basic needs. Because he’s a jerk like that.
Jim C. Hines
May 7, 2012 @ 3:12 pm
That’s plausible, but if so, I wish the movie had made it a little bit clearer.
May 7, 2012 @ 4:36 pm
I thought, purely from a how much fun it was perspective, that this was possibly the best superhero movie I’ve seen. easily the best movie I’ve seen in a while, in the theater. That said I don’t go to many in the theater.
I didn’t mind Pepper’s few scenes, I thought that it was kind of funny how she could have said, “well the shit’s about to hit the fan, so I’m getting on the plane to D.C.”
I also didn’t mind the lack of mortal peril. Killing off X-Men kind of ruined that series for me, and i think others too since they decided to reboot rather than continue. They aren’t supposed to die. I really don’t like it when people start killing off iconic heros just for the sake of dramatic effect. It also backfires pretty much every time they try it. I know it’s not as realistic, but they are comic books after all. That’s probably the thing I liked best about the movie. I felt they captured the feel of a comic pretty well. Killing off supporting characters is another thing entirely. we all know what will happen if that blonde in the new spiderman is Gwen Stacy right?
May 7, 2012 @ 7:05 pm
Not much to add other than we took the entire family and they all loved it! I only wishwe had more time to rewatch the earlier movies beforehand (didn’t manage to fit in seeing Thor and Captain America again).
The Loki monologue was so good, that was the first time I cried in a movie in quite sime time. LOL indeed. That night I even had to track down the animated gif version. Beautiful!
Although growing up, i was always more of an X-Men fan, this was easily the funnest superhero movie to date, and right up there with Nolan’s Batman movies as the best superhero movies ever. It was even better than we expected and can’t wait to see it again!
May 8, 2012 @ 12:06 am
You didn’t say who’s playing Mrs. Peel.
May 8, 2012 @ 12:38 am
The Loki and Hulk scene was, by far, my favorite. I think everyone in the entire theater was applauding.
However, there were so many other wonderful moments that I’m ready to go see it again — in the theater!! I think the original Star Wars movie was the only movie I’ve ever seen more than once in the theater. Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner is simply brilliant, I have always loved Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, and gosh darn it, I even teared up a bit when Agent Coulson died.
Definitely the most fun movie I’ve seen in a few years.
May 14, 2012 @ 1:59 pm
I saw it again- and loved it just as much. (And I don’t even have children to do it for!)