Sunday, May 6, 2012

F This Movie! - The Avengers (Part II)

The Avengers discussion continues, this time with SPOILERS.

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  1. I still can't believe Loki called Black Widow "a mewling quim." I guess it pays to have the majority of the audience (and the ratings board, for that matter)not know exactly what he said.

    1. I thought the same thing! I actually looked around the theater I was in to see if anyone else had the same shocked look on their face as I did and alas, I was alone. Glad to read someone else caught that!

  2. My repeated random notes w/spoilers from seeing "The Avengers" twice in theaters (with more to come):

    -the worst scenes are stacked back-to-back at the start: Loki's "Highlinder"-like entry into our world/destruction of the base and Black Widow's Russian torture/interrogation. They still work as set-up for good stuff later on, specifically Natasha's interrogation of Loki and Loki banging on Stark's mechanical heart device with his scepter.
    -even the little Calcutta girl that gets Banner into the isolated shack in India serves the purpose of pointing out how early into her life Black Widow was indoctrinated into her craft.
    -Romanoff's mention of Banner controlling his condition for a year ('you want to keep the streak going, don't you?') is a recall to the first made-for-TV movie after the series ended, 1988's "The Incredible Hulk Returns," in which Banner had managed to keep from Hulking out for two years. The event that got Banner angry and turned him into the Hulk in this made-for-TV movie's plot? The appearance of a certain Asgarth demi-God named Thor.
    -since Ruffalo is playing the same Banner character from the "Hulk" prequels it helps if you think of him as being the way he is for nine years. Banner is now a veteran of being with his condition, not the same angry guy from '03 or the hopeful-for-a-cure '08 guy, so his personality reflects the fact he's given up on a cure and is learning to live with who he is.
    -in the 'Superhero' podcast of April '11 either Mike or Adam mentions that, in the '08 "Incredible Hulk" movie, his realization that Bruce can't have sex with his girlfriend was a humanizing point that made him sad. "The Avengers" tops that for me with Banner's mention that he tried to put a bullet in his mouth and 'the big guy' spit it out. Holy shit, Banner can't get emotional with his loved one and can't kill himself... let that sink in!
    -did Banner throw himself away from Natasha to the scaffolding below (right before they exchange a touching look) to give her time to escape while he was transforming? It looked that way to me.
    -pay attention to what Agent Coulson says to Nick Fury just before he dies, because then Fury says the exact opposite (on top of his lies about the trading cards) to get Stark and Rogers back into their game;
    -Nobody actually says the location of where Loki implants the device when they find out (Stark by power of deduction, Banner with his gamma tracking device right before possessed Hawkeye's arrow explodes) until deep into the NYC fight;
    -When Loki orders the crowd to kneel and starts giving his speech, shouldn't he be speaking German since this is taking place in Germany? How can this crowd of Germans understand Loki and Capt. America when they're speaking in English?
    -Loki is thrown around/smashed by every member of The Avengers team except for Black Widow and Nick Fury (Hawkeye does it with his explosive arrow and Phil with that weapon he didn't know what it did). It becomes a recurring joke and, at the end, the movie's biggest/best laugh.
    -The single continuous shot of the superheroes fighting throughout NY (from Iron Man flying in/Captain in street level to Hawkeye on a building corner to Black Widow riding around in an alien craft to Hulk/Thor smashing the big fish-like monsters into Grand Central Station) is incredible, even better (though less 'money') than the now-classic 'posing' shot of the entire group.
    -There's a shot of a car that isn't damaged by the debris/firepower (when Cap/BW/Hawk crash-land) that's clearly a paid promotion for the brand (which I wouldn't mention even if I remembered). You also see paid promotional signs for a well-known bank (rhymes with Shittybank :-P) but, if you worked here, that's what midtown Manhattan looks like.

  3. Here's my nitpicking...Captain America didn't tip Nick Fury. In their previous scene Nick Fury bets Captain America ten bucks that he would be surprised by what Nick was going to show him. That money hand-off was Captain America paying off the bet after seeing the aircraft carrier become airborne. So yeah, I just didn't want you guys thinking Captain America brought an inordinate amount of racism with him 70 years later (I mean he's all gung ho with the monotheism already, he can go ahead and slow his roll on all the other isms.)

    1. Doug was just making a joke in response to my comment on how Cap's line about "There's only one God" was charming in its squareness but totally politically incorrect. No one thought he was actually tipping Nick Fury.

  4. Forgot to mention one of my favorite, truly LOL moments (that's right -- I typed LOL unironically) -- when the Helicarrier officer plays Galaga after the Avengers leave. Very funny.

  5. Hey guys, great podcast!

    Just wanted to bring something up I though was funny. The Wikipedia biography on Agent Coulson is very leery about saying that he actually is dead, using the word "apparently", stating that actor said that the character would still be alive at the end of the film and that the character is supposed to return in Iron Man 3.

    A. Yeah it's Wikipedia, so what.
    B. Actors sometimes lie to the media about their roles in films(gasp!!)
    C. And I'm 99.9% sure Agent Coulson is dead, but yeah it makes you wonder who will grab the flag of conspiricy theories and run with it.

    1. I heard a RUMOR that he may come back as Vision (whatever that means) ... ?

    2. that would be awesome! Even better if he came back as Vision Quest, a remake of the Matthew Modine movie from the 80s.

  6. I was not particularly looking forward to this movie. The advertising showed me nothing of what it was about, and I was indifferent. It was only while we were standing in the hallway, waiting to go into the theater itself, that it kind of hit me that, at the very least, Marvel's long-term plan was about to pay off for better or for worse and that even if it was terrible we'd still have an Avengers movie with Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk. Like you guys, I was freaking bored during the beginning and was so checked out, all the way up until the Thor/Iron Man fight. By the end of the movie, I was a (true) believer, and it had completely won me over. My wife and I even went back a second time and enjoyed it even more. It's the principle often mentioned on F This Movie about enjoying a movie for what it is and not what you wanted it to be.

    I mean, I don't have a whole lot to say, because you guys did a bang up job covering the movie. I had things on my mind I wanted to mention, but between the two of you, you totally covered almost all of what I was thinking. I have nitpicks of my own, some that you didn't mention, but in the end who cares, the movie was really fun. This episode really brought home some of the reasons I love the show so much. You have a critical eye, you have the occasional nitpick, but you use moderation. You are neither slobbering all over a movie, proclaiming it to be the best movie ever, nor are you panning something that was clearly an awful lot of fun. It's that even handed approach that I think gives your opinions credibility in an internet flooded with the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, ready to proclaim everything the best or the worst movie ever.

    I will also say that I am really happy that Marvel's 5 year (plus) gambit really paid off, for the most part, and this is going to hopefully mean good things in the future. It also made me happy that here we have a movie with Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America in more or less the exact costumes from the comic. Captain America's was the hardest to pull off, in my opinion, but I didn't even think about it once he was on screen. This gives me hope that one day I'll get to see Wolverine in the yellow tights (the brown and orange would be even better) instead of a leather fest.

    Another point you guys made that had been on my mind was how they gave us no reason to care about Hawkeye and Black Widow. I get that this is what they had to work with and they were cheap additions to the team that required minimal investment, but who cared about them, really? Hawkeye is such a cool character, but you wouldn't know it from this movie, or his one minute cameo in Thor. And yeah, he spent half the movie under mind control, which is lame-o. But still, the fun far outweighed the bad stuff.

    Plus, this movie totally sets the stage for other studios (DC) to pay attention and get it right. They've got a Superman movie coming up, and they're talking about rebooting Batman after Nolan finishes up, which I think is a good idea, since Nolan's films aren't superhero movies, but crime movies and can stand alone. If DC can do a similar plan with Justice League years down the line, how awesome would that be? I mean, I have always been a Marvel guy too, but a well done Justice League could be amazing. Of course, they screwed the pooch on Green Lantern, so they're that much farther from the prize that Marvel seems to succeed so well at.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts. This was great coverage, fellas, and I'm just over the moon about the movie. I've seen it twice and I want to go again. It totally wove its spell on me and worked like a charm. I went from grumpy to giddy in the course of two hours and twenty minutes. Not perfect by a long shot, but definitely a standard setter for fun summer movies.

    And Patrick, keep us posted on your daughter, please! This is very exciting. We're all family, in a way, right? We need pictures, cigars, all the works.

    Thanks, guys!

    1. Glad to hear you liked the movie despite your reservations, Heath! I feel like as long as you have any affinity whatsoever for this sort of thing (be it comic book movies or just big summer blockbuster types), it's a hard movie to dislike. Even its problems are pretty easy to overlook because the stuff that works works SO well. And there's lots of that.

      There's some stuff coming out that I'm really excited about, but I feel like Avengers is going to be tough to top in terms of fun. It's nice when a movie gives you exactly what you want -- some stuff (like a pretty kick ass version of The Hulk) that you didn't even realize you wanted.

      I would be totally on board for a JLA movie, but -- like you said -- I think they screwed that up when they blew it with Green Lantern. The character is toxic as far as movies go -- for now, anyway. Plus, I think they were going to have a tough time making audiences understand that the Batman and Superman in George Miller's Justice League had nothing to do with the characters from the Christopher Nolan/Zack Snyder movies.

      Thanks for all the nice words. SUMMER 2012!

  7. ^^^ We also need to know where in IL to send flowers, diaper bags and a steady trickle of pizza boxes. There's no way Erika or Patrick are cooking anything anytime soon (baby duty calls!) so that's where tasty Meat Lover pizza comes in. Lucky for Charlie his uncle Doug will take care of feeding him/acknowledge his existence over the next... I don't know, 6 monts-1.5 years? ;-)

  8. Film Critic Hulk (of internet fame) reviews the Hulk in "The Avengers" for The New Yorker: .

    I agree with just about everything this man... or woman... 'being' says 100% :-D

  9. So...just watched this last night** (I KNOW, okay?) and just finished your epic podcast on it. Both were a shitload of fun.

    I won't bother trying to start a discussion on it at this point but I will say it was pretty great and that Man of Steel could've taken a page from it - e.g. Superhero movies can be FUN and that you can pull off bright, colourful, true-to-the-comic costumes.

    I will ask a quick sorta unrelated question that you may or may not get around to answering - I'm not sure I've ever heard an explanation as to why you dislike 3D so much. Is it purely a comfort thing? I almost feel embarrassed to admit it around here but I really love it - recently bought a 3D TV and everything. Watched The Avengers in 3D and it was awesome. Always wondered about your obvious distaste for it...

    **I was kept waiting until I had watched all the other five before it, which made it feel like a bit of a JOB, especially Thor.

    1. Sol, I'm also a fan of 3D. Bought a new HDTV last December and being 3D was one of (not the main but up there) reasons for choosing it. I still have to like the movie on its own merits for me to go the 3D Blu-ray route though, i.e. no "Immortals 3D" or "Prometheus," but yes to the last "Chronicles of Narnia," "The Avengers" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" in 3D when I can get snag them on a sale. Long live the new (3D) flesh! :-)

  10. funny you bring this post up because I just rewatched Avengers the other day. It is a good, solid, fun movie...but I have found it to diminish its returns the more I watch it due to getting everything it has to offer the first time round. But its not trying to be anything other than exactly what it is, which I give it credit for.

    I cant speak for anyone else, and you're not even really asking me (but ive never let that stop me before), but when it comes to 3d I find my dislike of it a combination of discomfort (I wear glasses so I have to wear glasses over glasses. its possible and it works but its just uncomfortable and they are always slipping), Im yet to find a cinema that gets the lighting right so everything seems darker than it should be, the "Wow" factor wore off half way through Avatar so i dont really care of the "3D" as an effect anymore, and the increased ticket price on an already expensive pass time is near impossible to justify. so there's that.

    I too bought a 3D TV and I used it a lot when I first got it, because Toys. And as a result I had pretty bad eye strain for a could of weeks. This might just be me, but as a result I think ive used the 3d function about twice then ive had it for about a year and a half.

    1. Actually I did mean you! I should be more specific!

      I kind of had the opposite experience with my 3D TV. For the first little while I used it, I got a sort of queasy feeling, and thought I might have to take it back, but I got over it and haven't had a problem since. No noticeable eye strain either but I can see how the glasses-over-glasses would be an issue.

      I don't know, for some reason I'm just a sucker for it - I wouldn't say it makes the movie as a whole better, but for me it does enhance the visual experience. I don't miss it when it's not there, but I would generally choose it.

      As for The Avengers, I can see it not having a whole lot to offer on repeat viewings but I imagine I'll catch a few new things the next couple watches at least.