February 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm #56686
How about renaming and making this the official Avengers thread.
There will probably be a lot of discussion between now and the opening.February 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm #56687
Classy move getting Lou Ferrigno back to do The Hulk’s voice.
I admit I laughed when I noticed Mark Ruffalo playing The Hulk. Great to see him branching out.February 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm #56688
Oh look–it’s every crappy movie of the past few years wrapped up into one!
No, seriously, I actually like the idea of movies based on comic books. It’s just they are so often disappointments. Major disappointments.February 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm #56689
I’m optimistic mainly because it’s Joss Whedon. I’m a fan of his work.March 1, 2012 at 4:37 pm #56690
I am actually looking forward to seeing this film in a few months. It should be interesting.March 2, 2012 at 10:32 am #56691
This is starting to look really good. A little pissed Ant-Man and Wasp were not included, but maybe they’ll get that part right in the sequel.March 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm #56692
I really hope this is succesful for the people involved.. Every reaction I hear so far is something like, ‘Uggh.. More of the same and nothing new.’March 2, 2012 at 2:31 pm #56693
This is starting to look really good. A little pissed Ant-Man and Wasp were not included, but maybe they’ll get that part right in the sequel.
There would be too many characters in this film if Ant-Man and Wasp were included. And they would’ve needed their own film, too. We have Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America films. Loki had a basically co-lead role in Thor. Agent Coulson has been a constant presence so far in his appearances, but we still need to learn more about him. Same goes for Black Widow and Erik Selvig. Hawkeye and Nick Fury have only had cameo appearances. Maria Hill hasn’t even appeared yet. To shoehorn in two more characters would be overkill. I’d rather wait for them to possibly appear in the Avengers sequel, and perhaps the cast will rotate like in the comics.March 4, 2012 at 12:51 am #56694
[img]http://www.nobod.info/g.gif[/img] It should be interesting.March 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm #56695
I have no desire to see this. But I’m sure it will make a ton of money.
I wonder how the new Spiderman will do. It feels weird that they’re rebooting so soon. The only one of these I’ll probably see in the theaters is The Dark Knight Rises.March 4, 2012 at 12:33 pm #56696
So many hunky guys on the set. At the very least I’m hoping for some workout sessions.April 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm #56697
So who’s attending a free advanced screening of “The Avengers” in their home town??
All of the seats during the Chicago showing are already full.April 20, 2012 at 8:01 am #56698
Very strong Variety review:
Marvel’s The Avengers
Joss Whedon’s buoyant, witty and robustly entertaining superhero smash-up is escapism of a sophisticated order.
By Justin Chang
Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans star in Marvel’s superhero pic ‘The Avengers.’
However questionable an idea it may have seemed initially, and at times along the way, Marvel’s cinematic master plan for its comicbook all-stars pays off in extravagant fashion with “The Avengers.” Like a superior, state-of-the-art model built from reconstituted parts, Joss Whedon’s buoyant, witty and robustly entertaining superhero smash-up is escapism of a sophisticated order, boasting a tonal assurance and rich reserves of humor that offset the potentially lumbering and unavoidably formulaic aspects of this 143-minute team-origin story. With fan-ticipation reaching Hulk pressure-cooker levels, Disney’s domestic and international returns will be nothing short of stratospheric, ancillary streams close to eternal.
In preparation for this long-anticipated convergence, Marvel ambitiously envisioned not one series but an entire family of interlocking, self-perpetuating franchises, kicking off with 2008’s enjoyable “Iron Man” and continuing, in more erratic fashion, with “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2” and last year’s “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Under the stewardship of producer and Marvel exec Kevin Feige, it’s been a lucrative enterprise if not a consistently thrilling one, and for all but the most die-hard devotees, attendance has sometimes seemed a matter of obligation as well as pleasure. “Stay tuned,” the post-credits teasers may have urged, but after awhile, they seemed to send a different message: “Bear with us.”
“The Avengers” fully keeps the promise implicit in that plea, taking one of the dominant movie trends of recent years — the nonstop proliferation of comicbook-based superheroes — and pushing it to orgiastic new levels of CG-inflated, 3D-augmented geek-out mayhem. Expensive and expansive though it may be, however, the film is no bloated behemoth. As written and directed by the ever genre-savvy Whedon, it’s a clean-burning, six-cylinder entertainment that exudes discipline in every particular, from the script’s balance of sincerity and self-effacing humor to the well-integrated visual effects to the keen sense of proportion that governs the ensemble. Whenever the possibility of boredom or excess rears its head, Whedon finds an elegant solution.
Crucially, sequences that might have played as laborious buildup are handled in a brisk, straight-ahead manner that quickly focuses attention while methodically elevating the stakes, scene by scene. A new threat of global annihilation looms from the outset when Thor’s megalomaniacal brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), arrives on Earth in a petulant huff and steals the Tesseract, the all-powerful energy cube found at the bottom of the ocean in “Captain America.”
Overruling his colleagues in the shadowy law-enforcement agency Shield, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) seeks to mobilize an elite squad of save-the-dayers known as the Avengers. A superhero summit is held aboard Fury’s enormous airship, though it’s more like a misfit meet-and-greet. The script deftly blends comedy, tension and on-the-fly character recaps as these life-size action figures, some of whom have superhuman egos to match their abilities, come into contact.
The best lines, naturally, go to dryly sarcastic playboy billionaire Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), who immediately clashes with earnest WWII relic Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans). An amusing early sequence finds these two squaring off with imperious god Thor (Chris Hemsworth) before they realize they share the same objective: Recover the cube before the evil Loki, ironically pronounced “low-key,” harnesses its power to summon a nasty intergalactic army that will enslave humanity.
Providing an extra dash of suspense is the deceptively reserved Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), serving in a strictly scientific capacity, as his transformation into the uncontrollable Hulk would (and eventually does) threaten the safety of everyone onboard the ship. That includes Fury’s whip-smart operative, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who more than holds her own amid all the chrome and testosterone, and gets more of a chance to flesh out her troubled backstory here than she did in “Iron Man 2.” Specifically, she has a vested interest in breaking the spell Loki has placed on her old ally, Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner, briefly glimpsed in “Thor”), a skilled archer with uniquely deadly arrows.
The prior pics tried to position each hero at the center of his own personal psychodrama, but here the balance feels right; these fighters work better, and hold one’s attention more effectively, as a unit. In a prime example of Whedon’s ability to turn problems to his advantage, the Hulk, seemingly the weakest link in terms of character engagement (Ruffalo is the third actor to play the role in a decade), comes satisfyingly into his own as the Avengers’ secret weapon.
While Downey consistently steals the show with his desert-dry delivery, each actor in the freshly re-energized cast gets the chance not only to crack wise, but to touchingly express the self-doubt that lies at the heart of every superhero. The inevitable question of whether the world needs this motley crew is answered most sweetly by Shield’s Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), a series fixture who stands in here for the film’s targeted fanboy audience. On the other side, Hiddleston gamely handles his villain-in-chief duties, which mostly consist of issuing petulant putdowns (“You crave subjugation!”) to the entirety of the human race.
Apart from a punchy setpiece in Stuttgart, Germany, Whedon confines the action to the airship for much of the picture, all the better to maximize the impact of an extended climax that involves, as it must, the catastrophic destruction of a major metropolis. Most memorable for the image of a giant blue sphincter excreting armed-and-dangerous floaties over the city, this endgame is too pro forma to convey real danger, images of civilians fleeing en masse notwithstanding. Even still, the battles are excitingly staged, with a sweep and coherence that actually gain something from the 3D conversion, especially when the camera starts to pinball from building to building in a breathless flurry of digital zooms and tracking shots.
Production is technically immaculate, with Seamus McGarvey’s lensing as sharp and focused as Jeffrey Ford and Lisa Lassek’s editing, though composer Alan Silvestri’s big, surging themes could have been more commandingly deployed.
“The Avengers” is the first Marvel production to be released by Disney since it purchased the comicbook giant in 2009, and it won’t be the last: The coda sets up a sequel that likely won’t materialize until after a round of “Iron Man,” “Thor” and “Captain America” follow-ups that will keep the studio occupied through 2014.April 20, 2012 at 8:04 am #56699
This opens outside the US 9 days before here, another sign of how we are becoming less important as a market (this film likely will gross at least 50% more total than HG since the latter has been not remotely as strong outside the US):
Rave review from Todd McCarthy, Variety
Director Joss Whedon pulls off a stunning feat in bringing balance to this superhuman circus, engineered to charm the geek core and non-fans alike.
The All-Star Game of modern superhero extravaganzas, The Avengers is humongous, the film Marvel and its legions of fans have been waiting for. It’s hard to imagine that anyone with an appetite for the trademark’s patented brand of fantasy, effects, mayhem and strangely dressed he-men will be disappointed; not only does this eye-popping 3D display of visual effects fireworks feature an enormously high proportion of action scenes, but director Joss Whedon has adroitly balanced the celebrity circus to give every single one of the superstar characters his or her due. Worldwide box office returns will be, in a word, Marvelous.
Over the past several years, Marvel has, with accelerated speed, expanded its cinematic repertoire of over-muscled, generally double-identitied heroes not otherwise encumbered by exclusive contracts with other studios—most notably The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and Captain America–to arrive at the point where this summit meeting of superhuman good guys could be assembled. (A prominent relative, Spider-Man, has his own reboot coming up this summer.) After this, the characters will go their separate ways (Iron Man 3 starts shooting next month, with second chapters of Thor and Captain America set to roll within the year) before gathering again before too many movie summers pass. With the bundle this one will make, the pressure will be on make it happen sooner rather than later.
As creatively variable and predictably formulaic as the Marvel films have been, this one will not only make the core geek audience feel like it’s died and gone to Asgard but has so much going for it that many non-fans will be disarmed and charmed. This is effects-driven, mass appeal summer fare par excellence, that sought-after rare bird that hits all the quadrants, as marketing mavens like to say. As enormous as the production is, though, the appeal of the ensemble cast makes a crucial difference; you get enough but not too much of each of them and they all get multiple scenes to themselves to shine.
To boil down the particulars of this latest attempt to bring ruin to all we hold dear, sinister Thor villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston, looking like Richard E. Grant’s effete younger brother), has gained possession of the tesseract, an all-powerful substance contained in an opaque cube that not only provides unlimited sustainable energy but a portal to outer space. “I am burdened with glorious purpose,” Loki purrs while taunting eye-patched S.H.I.E.L.D. master Samuel L. Jackson (finally with something to do in a Marvel film) with the promised arrival of his army of outer space warriors.
Down but not out, the good guys begin assembling on board one of the cooler modes of transport seen anywhere in a while, a giant (and beautifully rendered) aircraft carrier that can rise out of the water to become an invisible space ship—hence, a helicarrier–and serve as a first-rate staging area for operations against Loki. Among those arriving on board are Bruce Banner, otherwise known as The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, the third actor, after Eric Bana and Edward Norton, to give the green giant a go); Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson), a sultry scarlet-haired assassin first seen turning the tables on nasty interrogators despite being strapped to a chair; Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki’s long-locked brother and bearer of the universe’s mightiest hammer, and Mr. Old School himself, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), a World War II hero who’s not quite up to speed on all the latest super-technology but who does carry an impenetrable shield. For his part, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man, joins incipient girlfriend Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) for a brief-tete-a-tete before deigning to lend his special expertise to the cause.
Although they really should be saving their energy for the the battle against Loki and his minions, the Avengers team can’t resist getting into it with each other from time to time. One could say that this is just gratuitous time-killing, but it could as persuasively be argued that watching The Hulk duke it out with Thor for bragging rights as to who’s tougher is what such a film is all about; at least there’s nothing perfunctory about it, as there is when superheroes routinely dispatch aliens and enemies who exist just to get blown away. The friction between Iron Man and Captain America, for example, is all about style and attitude; the former is far too irreverent and glib for the latter, for whom patriotism and coming to the rescue are not laughing matters.
‘With only one feature directorial credit to his name, the middling 2005 sci-fier Serenity, Whedon of Buffy fame would not have been the first name on most people’s lists to tame a potentially unwieldy project. But from a logistical point of view alone, Whedon imposes a grip on the material that feels like that of a benevolent general, marshaling myriad technical resources (including an excellent use of 3D) while, even more impressively, juggling eight major characters, giving them all cool and important things to do.
Never, though, does the film stall to dwell on individual characters just to give them screen time; the heroes are almost always doing something that relates to the challenge at hand. Even when the impudent Loki is held prisoner in seemingly inescapable circumstances, there is still forward movement, which crests and then crashes with tsunami force near Grand Central Station in Manhattan; uncountable numbers of alien warriors arrive from the skies, accompanied by strikingly designed metal leviathans that undulate like skeletal monsters of the deep as they cruise over New York seeking targets.
In this titanic battle, which occupies most of the film’s final half-hour, all the Marvel heroes’ talents are put to the test. In addition to Iron Man making a quick trip to outer space to deal with an incoming missile, special agent Clint Barton, or Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), is so good with a hi-tech bow and arrow that you imagine they’ll have to dragoon Katniss Everdeen into the sequel as a guest star just to see who’s better. For his part, Jackson’s Nick Fury has his hands full restraining army generals from nuking the Big Apple in order to off the aliens.
It’s clamorous, the save-the-world story is one everyone’s seen time and again, and the characters have been around for more than half a century in 500 comic book issues. But Whedon and his cohorts have managed to stir all the personalities and ingredients together so that the resulting dish, however familiar, is irresistibly tasty again. A quick coda reveals, to well-versed fans at least, who the new adversary in the next installment will be, underlining a reality as absolute as the turning of the Earth: Especially after this, Marvel movies will go on and on and on.
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