Matt: I saw Pirates yesterday, but I think I was still too tired from seeing Avengers to enjoy it that much
Joshua: Avengers wore you out that much huh?
Joshua: Heheh really? Wow. Very cool. It was in my head for a few days too, but it sounds like it was more of an experience for you.
But then when it delivered on so many levels... so good!
It was strange, I liked it more and more as it went on... I was a bit dissatisfied with the opening sequence.
I got the impression that Whedon had written Nick Fury's lines as though he was the old, white Nick Fury from the comics. I couldn't help thinking that every line Samuel L. Jackson said in those opening minutes would have sounded better if he was just a little more gruff... This wasn't a fault of the script or the actor, just a perceived incongruity in my mind...
Sam Jackson's "angry" is not really a gruff old man type of "angry"
Joshua: Hm, what part of the opening? With Black Widow? Or the part in the lab? It's been a couple weeks since I’ve seen it
Matt: The very first scenes with Nick Fury, where Hawkeye gets possessed and they have to evacuate the building.
Joshua: Ah, right. Gotcha. It was a bit comic-booky, but hey…
Matt: I think I was still in my "come on, wow me" frame of mind at that point. It was certainly a well-done sequence.
Joshua: Yeah, I know I felt like I had to settle in
Like "alright, what do we have going on here." The tone and all.
Matt: I guess I just expected the story of The Avengers to start with one of the soon-to-be Avengers, not with SHIELD stuff, which has always been a peripheral element in the solo films.
Joshua: Yeah, but they totally set up that it was SHIELD that was starting the Avengers.
Matt: Yes, I realize that the story has to start somewhere, and this was the most logical place to begin - this really was only a slight "huh?" kind of moment for me, not even a complaint really.
The script was great. It never felt like it was "starring Iron Man, and the other ones" - the screen time felt proportioned well, and every character had their own cool moment(s).
Joshua: yeah, you definitely had to get your bearings in the beginning, I agree. I did think that Tony Stark and Nick Fury were the backbone of the story though, not in a bad way.
They are the “A” personality types
Matt: That's interesting; I didn't feel that at all.
Joshua: I felt it WAS evenly distributed between all the characters, but it was Stark and Fury that kinda motivated things and had the most exposition. I liked how Stark was prodding Banner all along. It had a good pay off rather than it being just antagonistic. Stark's whole thing is "be yourself, man".
Matt: Yes, the character interaction was why I think Whedon was a great choice for this movie - his skill writing dialogue really made the out-of-costume scenes just as entertaining as the full-tilt action stuff.
Joshua: Oh yeah. It felt just as cool within and outside the action. And of course Loki motivated things. I like the dichotomy with Loki in that, he was a menacing threat, but also taking on something that WAS beyond his capabilities. Like Baby's Day Out.
Matt: Tom Hiddleston gave another great performance as Loki. It would have been so easy for his scenes to have gone over-the-top, because his actions and goals in the movie are so extreme. But he actually gave a really layered performance.
Joshua: Yeah, he was great. it seemed real.
I liked the "you have heart" bit and the payoff later with Stark was brilliant.
Joshua: Oh yeah, the whole thing coming off the Thor movie was great!
The "my father never loved me because I was adopted" bit; the jealous brother…
Once the Hulk showed up!
And I loved how Loki tricked Thor into getting in the Hulk cage!
Matt: Even before that, you had Cap vs. Loki, Iron Man vs. Loki, Iron Man & Cap vs. Thor, and that was in the space of fifteen minutes!!
Joshua: And the moment when Banner looks at Black Widow as he's turning into the Hulk, all scared!
That really cemented the Hulk character for me.
Did you pick up on that the whole thing was Loki 's plan to begin with?
Matt: No that was a surprise for me.
Joshua: That until the Hulk smashed him like a rag doll (my favorite part of the movie by the way) everything was going according to his plan. He knew in order to take over the world he HAD to eliminate the world's mightiest heroes. So, get them all together, set the Hulk off and pick those off during the chaos.
“Once they are weak, I can bring my army in and defeat them.”
His whole hologram thing he did was great.
That was in the comics too yeah? Loki: The master of deception?
Matt: Yes. It was a pretty great plan, really.
Joshua: When he showed up at the opera calm as a cucumber, full well knowing he'd get caught…
I also like Thor in this movie a lot more than in the Thor movie
A little Thor goes a long way.
I even thought Scarlett Johansson did a real good job. I didn't expect that judging from Iron Man 2.
Hawkeye was awesome. I was a bit bummed that he was a baddie for the 1st half, but his payoff was well worth it. And it made it cool that he knew all the SHIELD stuff while he was under Loki's spell. Kinda like "Damn, you don't want this guy to be under the bad guy's spell."
Matt: Yes, I was glad they gave Black Widow her time to shine at the beginning of the movie - in which she was, indeed, a bad-ass - because I think she really got overshadowed by the other characters when they were all together in the final battle. I actually giggled in the sequence at the end where they show Cap doing all his awesome shield-throwing, acrobatic stuff, and Iron Man shooting rockets and lasers, Thor calling down the lightning, and Hulk just laying waste to everything, and then they have a shot of Black Widow with her two little pistols. I mean, she may as well have been making her own "pyew! pyew!" sound effects, she just seemed so out of place in an apocalyptic battle like that. I think they had to give her the "I figured out how to close the portal" role just to compensate...
Joshua: Right, I agree.
She did do a pretty wow move when Cap threw her up to catch that speeder going by.
I did think she had a good emotional bit with Hawkeye, and how she developed a relationship with Banner.
It was great how as tough as she was, she was shaking after the 1st Hulk bit
Joshua: And how he was just like a bomb going off wherever he was. No rhyme or reason just SMASH SMASH SMASH
Matt: They've just seen video of him ripping tanks apart and think "I don't want to be near this guy when he explodes"
Joshua: So when you see him at the end battle, actually thinking about what he is doing, it was great!
Yeah, even Stark didn't really expect what happened.
That part when he was fixing the propeller and gets smacked around by it was great.
That’s one thing I really liked about the movie also, was how nothing ever worked out smoothly. Even with Loki, his plans ALMOST paid off.
Matt: Yes and that was a nice payoff for the conflict set up by Tony's confrontation with Steve Rogers, where he calls him out for just being a glory-hound, basically.
Joshua: Yeah, and he needed Cap's help
Matt: It was almost like Stark had to prove to himself that he really was a hero.
There were a lot of subtle side things going on. I need to see it again. I was almost shell shocked by how much was going on, it's hard to retain all the information over time.
Definitely a good re-watch.
I was a little put off how much of a grumpy Gus Captain America was. I get it though. This was basically coming off the end of his movie, where his whole life was taken away from him. So, I guess he wouldn't be in the best of moods, and it made him more likely to have a chip on his shoulder with Stark.
Joshua: I agree with that, I think I just had something too specific in my head. But I LOVED how he clicked into gear as a great military strategist, not only with that hysterical bit with the cops, but with the Avengers themselves. And of course when he was kicking butt on screen. Helping Stark keep the Carrier in the air.
Matt: Yeah. I want to mention the humor in the movie, which is one of the things that obviously made it such a FUN, crowd-pleaser of a film. I think it's actually what made the Hulk work so well - they let Mark Ruffalo be the straight man, handling the pathos of the character, and the monster got the laughs. This is something we haven't seen in the previous Hulk films, but I think this is definitely the way to go for any future efforts. Whedon just acknowledged what's great about the Hulk - he has one reaction to almost everything, and that's to SMASH it! I was really glad we didn't get any "Beauty calms the Beast" moment here (like we had in the previous Hulk films), because then you start trying to get the Hulk to emote and I feel that totally weakens the character.
Joshua: Yeah, turns out, the Hulk was my favorite part of the film. I would have liked to have seen more about Banner realizing how to control it. That scene in the hangar/barn with Harry Dean Stanton was cool, telling Banner that the Hulk avoided hurting people. But there needed to be at least one more scene to show Banner's discovery. When Banner said, "That's my secret, I'm always angry" I got chills. And when he came riding in all measly on that motorcycle was hysterical.
Matt: Yes, it seems that Hulk was the breakout star of this movie. Thinking about it, I'm wondering if he actually got more screen time here than in either of his previous solo films!
But to your point, I think the Harry Dean Stanton scene gave us what we needed. I got it; I think the general audience got it.
So what about that credit scene, huh?
And I don't mean the shawarma one (very funny, though).
Joshua: Yeah, that's gonna be cool. So that was APOCALYPSE or DARKSEID? APOCALYPSE, right?
Matt: Are you joking?
You must be too cool to have gotten it...
It was a pretty deep reference
Darkseid is DC, dude
Joshua: Yeah, I thought so.
I know one was DC and one was Marvel. I’m not all that cool, but I didn't read a lot of those comics.
Matt: It was Thanos. The alien guy says "To face these humans again would be to court Death", and the shadowy figure turns around and smiles - it's Thanos, one of Marvel's "cosmic" characters, whose big thing is he's in love with Death (a female personification of death). So, "to court Death", get it?
Matt: I never thought I'd see Thanos show up in a Marvel movie, so this was a big surprise. When we first saw what was beyond the portal, with the alien leader, I thought, "ooh, that looks kind of cosmic, I wonder if they'll throw in an Easter egg of the Watcher or someone in the background", but then I thought, "nah, that's too out there for the movie universe". And then, BAM! Thanos!
Joshua: Cool. That opens up how a TEAM of super heroes is needed to beat an enemy.
We've kinda seen all that a person can throw out
Matt: So it suggests that maybe they'll do the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers 2? Since that's Thanos' biggest claim to fame in the comics, and I think we saw the Gauntlet in the background of the Asgard trophy room in Thor?
Joshua: I remember that, yeah
Someone here at work didn't get the Banner can now control the Hulk thing because of the barn scene.
I have to think that having one of the most iconic character traits on comic book history - don't make me angry - needs more than one scene to show such a change. And the personal journey that he may have gone through.
Matt: Yeah, but then you get into the question of is this an Avengers movie or a Hulk movie.
Joshua: they gave Thor plenty of time with Loki and him looking at his hammer
That I don't even know exactly what that was about.
Just that, what, he's humbled again? Should he pick up his hammer?
Matt: I don't know what you're talking about...
Joshua: After Thor escaped from the falling Hulk cage, he spent a whole afternoon staring at his hammer before he picked it up.
Matt: Aw, you're just a Thor-hater!
Joshua: If basically, Loki's whole plan was that the Hulk will destroy the main threat to his plan working, more time to see how that will not be the case, would be good.
And no, I'm just not a Thor-lover
Matt: I honestly don't think it was a big story point that needed expounding on. Whether you know he's gaining more control over the Hulk or not, after the barn scene, you still got the message when he says "I'm always angry" and turns himself into the Hulk before the final battle.
I really think another scene where he said "I think I'm gaining more control!" would have been too much.
Joshua: Yeah, but my friend here was saying - then why didn't he do that earlier in the movie when he tried to kill Black Widow and everyone on the carrier?
Such a huge emotional realization needed more attention and screen time.
Matt: "I'm always angry" turns it around in the audience's mind, and we realize, "ohh, he could have just exploded when Black Widow found him, or when Stark poked him, but he held it in". I think the idea is, Banner can choose to become the Hulk, but once he's the Hulk, he doesn't quite have control. I think the barn scene was where he actually started to realize he could exert a bit of control - it was still new to him AND to us.
Joshua: ok, I can see that. It worked okay with out it, but on this Monday morning, If I was the director, I would have given that more weight
Not "yay, I knew I could do it"
Joshua: Right, but if anyone sneezed during that line, they would have missed it
I'd be surprised if I saw Harry Dean Stanton after I fell through a barn
Matt: Yeah! I was surprised - I was kind of thinking "uhhh, shouldn't that be Stan Lee?"
I guess there were too many lines to say.
Joshua: Heh heh. Yeah.
I also wasn't crazy about Capt's outfit. It was too super hero like. What I loved about the about it in the Capt. America movie was how it evolved with a purpose, and how the final outfit was utilitarian, and military-like. This was just an outfit. It came across as flashy to me. Not enough like a soldier. I am a little biased here though, Capt. America was the main reason I was excited to see Avengers, so I was expecting certain things.
Matt: Yes, the costume on Cap definitely needs improvement. I think it maybe the covered ears? Cap's are exposed in the traditional comic look... Maybe if they bulked up his shoulders a bit with pads or something, just to make his head look smaller?
I want to say, finally, that this movie, and the Marvel movies in general have done a fantastic job of making these characters likeable, compelling and cool. I've never been a fan of either Thor, Captain America or Iron Man in the comics, but I can't get enough of them in these film incarnations! (Always loved the Hulk though)
Joshua: Totally! I liked Thor here
It was a great mix for an ensemble.
I like Hawkeye and Black Widow too, how they held their own among these super humans.
Matt: Yeah, but I still think Hawk and BW would work better in their own, more down-to-earth, street level movie, to work better with their skill sets. They really seemed outclassed here, not having any major power.
Joshua: You know who I thought also did a good job was that HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER gal. She pulled off the tough soldier bit and sold all the exposition well.
Matt: Yeah, Cobie Smulders made a great Maria Hill, a cool character from the comics who I'm glad they included. Oh! what about Coulson?!!
Sad to see him go, but at least he went out a hero.
Joshua: I really liked Agent Coulson, and was REALLY sorry to see him go. But I didn't think it was enough of something to "Avenge." Yeah, we'll miss him, we found out his name is Phil & he's a Capt. America geek, but didn’t, like, 100 other agents die during that battle?
Matt: There's a chance he'll be back, since Tony Stark mentioned a "Life Model Decoy" in this movie (basically a robot doppelganger, for you non-geeks)
That’s a stretch, but maybe
Matt: I would not be surprised to see a Coulson-duplicate show up in a future movie... it would cheapen his death though.
Joshua: ah, yeah
Joshua: All the stuff I mentioned didn't take away my enjoyment AT ALL. I could geek out more about what I like, but the only REAL criticism I have is the way they shot the Alien Leader.
I thought his effects were good and the make up, but the way they shot him, it just felt like a guy in a costume standing there.
He didn't seem larger than life, so the threat just seemed like another army, not a force larger than man can imagine.
They could have sped up the frame rate on the camera to give him a bit of a slo-mo effect, shot him from a lower angle, or not shown so much of him.
He just seemed creepy and not as ominous as he should have.
All in all, it was one of the best ensemble Super Hero movies to date.
Matt: Yeah, I've seen a lot of "Best Superhero Movie EVER!" type-reviews, and I'm still trying to make up my mind if I would go that far. I definitely had a smile on my face for most of the movie, and there was nothing about it that disappointed me. But still... perhaps it's due to the fact that we get at least one superhero movie a year these days, whereas a few years ago, they were more of an event (at least for a geek like me), like "Oh my God, can you believe there's a movie about this character I never thought I'd see a movie of?!!" I remember thinking Spider-Man 2 was just amazing, I was almost moved to tears of fanboy joy while watching that, it just seemed at once a great film but also very authentic and accurate in its depiction of the characters and themes of the comic. Iron Man and X-Men 2 (especially the Nightcrawler scenes), gave me that same feeling. Part of the enjoyment of seeing these films was that sense that, "yeah, they got it right!" which, before Marvel Films came along, was by no means a sure thing. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, this was a great film, but I didn't come out of the cinema thinking "best ever" just because we've already had four great films featuring the same characters, so I was kind of expecting this film would just be more greatness.
Joshua: I don't think it was the best super hero movie, but it was up there as one of the best ENSEMBLE Super Hero movies. Off the top of my head, this and X-Men 2 have the spotlight.
It’s definitely something I’ll buy for good repeated viewing
I do know one thing, though... this will be the best BLOG POST EVER!!
Joshua: Yes ... Yes it will.