The Avengers

bigbarada

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I liked it enough, but was pretty disappointed that the Hulk actually seemed to have a lesser role in this one compared to the first movie. Maybe they weren't happy with all the comments about how Hulk "stole the show" in Avengers and decided to dial him back significantly in Age of Ultron.

Spoilers might follow in the mini-rant that follows, if you haven't seen the movie yet; but I just need to get this off my chest…



Sure we got the Hulkbuster scene, but that was more of an Iron Man scene than a Hulk scene. Hulk had just been driven out of his mind by Scarlet Witch and the entire fight was all about Iron Man taking the green goliath down. Plus, the action moved so quickly and there were so many cuts that it was nearly impossible to understand what was going on. You'd think that filmmakers would have realized by now that the human eye can only follow onscreen action up to a certain speed and, if the action is too complex or moves too quickly, the viewer just mentally checks out. Because the brain is not able to process the images fast enough and it all just turns into random objects flashing in front of the audience's faces, causing any dramatic impact of your action scene to be completely lost. The Hulkbuster scene felt like Whedon decided to take a page out of Michael Bay's "how to make a big budget movie that means nothing" handbook.

Then, Black Widow is so intent on having Hulk in the final battle with Ultron that she pushes Bruce Banner down a hole, in order to get him to change. But all that wasted screentime going on about how Hulk was needed and what did he actually do in the battle? Other than being conspicuously absent for 90% of it, then showing up out of nowhere for the fancy team action shots, then conveniently disappearing again to keep from stealing the spotlight from the new team members. Well, he did through Ultron out of a plane, so I guess it was totally worth it. :rolleyes:

Eh, I guess I'll just have to wait and see how Hulk is treated after this film. I do remember a comment about how they have big plans for him even though he's not getting his own movie. Let's hope that's true. Without the Hulk, my interest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to take a massive hit.

I consider Hulk to be one of Marvel's top three characters. Captain America might be in the top five, but Iron Man and Thor are maybe at the bottom end of the top ten for me, at best. Scarlet Witch might be in my top twenty, depending on who's writing her. Hawkeye, Black Widow, Vision, Quicksilver, War Machine, Falcon, etc. don't even rank on my list since I don't really care that much about them at all. So, if the team that we saw at the end of the AoU is going to be the Avengers team going forward, then I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to muster enough interest in the next movie to even see it in theaters.
 

figrin bran

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For once I agree with JT!

I'll elaborate more when I have more time but for me, AOU is at best the 4th best MCU film behind Winter Soldier, Avengers and GOTG.

Whedon's comments to the press in recent weeks have certainly been very interesting!
 

bigbarada

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Whedon's comments to the press in recent weeks have certainly been very interesting!
I had to do a Google search to see what you were referring to, but I found a couple of interviews that confirm what I thought might have happened (namely Hulk and Thor having major scenes cut from the movie at the last minute). I guess the MCU isn't immune to the trapping of an enormously successful film that causes too many cooks to be in the kitchen for the sequel. I think they need to get the situation under control quickly, however, otherwise it could end up tanking the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe before Infinity War even gets here.
 

figrin bran

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Other things Whedon has mentioned in just the past several weeks have been a weariness of the MCU, that Coulson should have stayed dead (being an executive producer of AoS and his family members being the showrunners, this is a very curious statement), that he really wanted to have Captain Marvel in the film (which personally I would have enjoyed seeing). It is extremely odd that a director would be saying such things on a promotional tour and perhaps indicative that much of his original vision had to be compromised. It sounds like he had to fight to keep the Barton family farm scenes but lost other battles.

The trailer that was released earlier in fall of last year seemed to suggest a very dystopian film and that the Avengers would be split up and suffer crushing defeats. In short, the ESB of the MCU. Well, no trace of any of that in the movie. To boot, that haunting version of "No Strings on Me" is far more memorable than any musical themes in AoU.


The Whedonisms, so vital a part of the first film, came across as largely uninspired in this installment. "I got a bow and an arrow", "Can't afford to live in Brooklyn", "He's fast, she's weird", "you didn't see that coming" "no I'm too busy to go -wait, is Thor going to be there?"

The circle of heroes "Avengers Assemble" scene in the first film seemed within the natural flow but here, we have two of those sort of scenes - slo mo in the snow and then towards the end, circle of heroes 2.0. Unfortunately, they lack the impact of the original and it smacks of attempts to manufacture moments.

This is a critique of the MCU in general that the villains more often than not aren't as threatening and overpowering as they should be. Ultron's drones should be a bit tougher than battle droids but unfortunately, just as useless and quite honestly, there's not much difference between them and Chitauri soldiers. With Ultron himself, James Spader seems to be playing him the same way he plays Raymond Reddington on the Blacklist. I still can't really explain this but it just seems like even though Ultron is on the verge of destroying an entire nation, I still didn't really feel it was a true threat and the stakes never seemed as high as they should have been.

All the appearances of Thanos we've had in these films have been even worse at this. Not everyone is familiar with Thanos from comics and whatnot so it behooves the filmmakers to portray how powerful he is but no instead, we've only seen him be a huge couch potato.

It's just sooooo very sad that I even have to bring up these points and it's so sad if Whedon had to compromise much of his original vision because he definitely can and should have done better.
 

JediTricks

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I liked it enough, but was pretty disappointed that the Hulk actually seemed to have a lesser role in this one compared to the first movie. Maybe they weren't happy with all the comments about how Hulk "stole the show" in Avengers and decided to dial him back significantly in Age of Ultron.
To me, this felt like Whedon not having a clue of how to fit the character into this particular storyline, mainly because he still doesn't get the Hulk that well and reinvents the character in this movie to be interesting without actually doing much legwork - now Bruce and the Hulk are each afraid of each other, and the Hulk is a giant baby that somehow gets rocked to sleep by Black Widow, and Bruce and Natasha have this bizarre relationship that comes out of left field simply so Natasha can have a false sense of depth. I dunno that it was done as a reaction to the Hulk "stealing the show" last time though, it felt more like a sense of confusion over where the character fits.

Sure we got the Hulkbuster scene, but that was more of an Iron Man scene than a Hulk scene. Hulk had just been driven out of his mind by Scarlet Witch and the entire fight was all about Iron Man taking the green goliath down. Plus, the action moved so quickly and there were so many cuts that it was nearly impossible to understand what was going on. You'd think that filmmakers would have realized by now that the human eye can only follow onscreen action up to a certain speed and, if the action is too complex or moves too quickly, the viewer just mentally checks out. Because the brain is not able to process the images fast enough and it all just turns into random objects flashing in front of the audience's faces, causing any dramatic impact of your action scene to be completely lost. The Hulkbuster scene felt like Whedon decided to take a page out of Michael Bay's "how to make a big budget movie that means nothing" handbook.
I would disagree that the action in the Hulkbuster scene was difficult to follow, of all the action scenes in the film I'd say it was in the top tier of clarity, there just wasn't much to show because it's a fight scene. I think it was more a ripoff that they used Scarlet Witch to turn the Hulk into a rampaging monster and we didn't get a peek into what was causing it, this was the very same ploy Loki used in the first movie and that scene had much more weight. Other than that, this was just a pointless fight scene eye candy moment.

Then, Black Widow is so intent on having Hulk in the final battle with Ultron that she pushes Bruce Banner down a hole, in order to get him to change. But all that wasted screentime going on about how Hulk was needed and what did he actually do in the battle? Other than being conspicuously absent for 90% of it, then showing up out of nowhere for the fancy team action shots, then conveniently disappearing again to keep from stealing the spotlight from the new team members. Well, he did through Ultron out of a plane, so I guess it was totally worth it. :rolleyes:
Nothing about Black Widow & the Hulk together was authentic, but let's be fair, nobody was remotely interesting in that final battle because it was literally just every member of the Avengers punching a CGI robot over and over, it was meaningless.

I consider Hulk to be one of Marvel's top three characters. Captain America might be in the top five, but Iron Man and Thor are maybe at the bottom end of the top ten for me, at best. Scarlet Witch might be in my top twenty, depending on who's writing her. Hawkeye, Black Widow, Vision, Quicksilver, War Machine, Falcon, etc. don't even rank on my list since I don't really care that much about them at all. So, if the team that we saw at the end of the AoU is going to be the Avengers team going forward, then I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to muster enough interest in the next movie to even see it in theaters.
Until they figure out that the Hulk has a brain and the ability to communicate and his own goals and needs that have to be expressed, cinematically he's a useless movie character because he's just a blunt object thrown at scenes, not a real character.

I'd argue that the top-tier Marvel characters/properties are:
Spidey
Cap
X-men

while the Hulk, the FF, Iron Man, Thor, Dr Strange, Ghost Rider, The Punisher, and Daredevil have ebbed and flowed into and back out of that tier from time to time, but don't reside there now.

Interestingly, unlike DC, the villains of Marvel don't really need to be listed here, they don't have that same sort of disconnect, so when you might say Magneto could be on this list you really are just arguing X-men again. Kingpin? Daredevil. Green Goblin? Spidey already covers it. Yet DC has much more villain-worship, it's like a different type of marketing that comes from a different type of storytelling, I suppose Marvel has that with Venom and kinda Deadpool though.

For once I agree with JT!

I'll elaborate more when I have more time but for me, AOU is at best the 4th best MCU film behind Winter Soldier, Avengers and GOTG.
High five! Technically, I am agreeing with you since you saw it first. ;)

My list of MCU films:
The Avengers
Iron Man
Agent Carter
Captain America: The First Avenger
*end of top tier*

Thor: The Dark World
Guardians of the Galaxy
Thor
*end of 2nd tier*

Agents of SHIELD
Cap 2
Avengers 2
Incredible Hulk
*end of "eh, fine" tier*

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 3
*end of "whyyyyy?!?" tier*

The funny thing is how different my frustrations with Iron Man 2 and 3 are. I also didn't expect Thor to end up in tier 2, but it was on FX last week in anticipation of the new movie and I found a large part of it pretty compelling, tragically it's all the parts that aren't Jane Foster and her intern which technically are supposed to be the meat of the film.


I had to do a Google search to see what you were referring to, but I found a couple of interviews that confirm what I thought might have happened (namely Hulk and Thor having major scenes cut from the movie at the last minute). I guess the MCU isn't immune to the trapping of an enormously successful film that causes too many cooks to be in the kitchen for the sequel. I think they need to get the situation under control quickly, however, otherwise it could end up tanking the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe before Infinity War even gets here.
I don't know that Avengers 2 was too many cooks, I think it was 1 cook and too many ingredients.

Other things Whedon has mentioned in just the past several weeks have been a weariness of the MCU, that Coulson should have stayed dead (being an executive producer of AoS and his family members being the showrunners, this is a very curious statement), that he really wanted to have Captain Marvel in the film (which personally I would have enjoyed seeing). It is extremely odd that a director would be saying such things on a promotional tour and perhaps indicative that much of his original vision had to be compromised. It sounds like he had to fight to keep the Barton family farm scenes but lost other battles.
Don't forget that Joss Whedon also co-created Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. But he's complaining that Marvel forced Coulson to be the star of that lost-cause of a show, he wanted death to stay dead. It's kinda ballsy to complain about a comic book death not getting reversed though, seeing as Whedon himself has been a comic book fan and writer so long.

Seeing how poorly Whedon, a supposed "feminist", treated the women in Avengers 2, I don't think Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers is who he wanted, right?) would have come off that well. But more importantly, characters shouldn't be getting introduced in Avengers movies.

Whedon shouldn't have taken on this project without a clearer vision, he's tired from trying to do everything and lashing out at the MCU for flaws that are his own. Fighting to keep the Barton family farm scenes was a poor choice, those didn't add anything to the movie but they did bring it to a halt and feel wildly out of place and dishonest to Hawkeye. Challenges are part of moviemaking, otherwise you end up with The Phantom Menace.

The trailer that was released earlier in fall of last year seemed to suggest a very dystopian film and that the Avengers would be split up and suffer crushing defeats. In short, the ESB of the MCU. Well, no trace of any of that in the movie. To boot, that haunting version of "No Strings on Me" is far more memorable than any musical themes in AoU.
I'll survive very well without dystopian themes, there's been a mountain, even The Simpsons took a swipe at that last week. The point of the Avengers is always to fracture and reform, but there was so much going on it felt like there was no time to bother with characters actually thinking anything.

You're not kidding about the unmemorable music in this film though.

This is a critique of the MCU in general that the villains more often than not aren't as threatening and overpowering as they should be. Ultron's drones should be a bit tougher than battle droids but unfortunately, just as useless and quite honestly, there's not much difference between them and Chitauri soldiers. With Ultron himself, James Spader seems to be playing him the same way he plays Raymond Reddington on the Blacklist. I still can't really explain this but it just seems like even though Ultron is on the verge of destroying an entire nation, I still didn't really feel it was a true threat and the stakes never seemed as high as they should have been.
Ultron had poorly-defined motivations and goals that were also contrary at times to each other, his methods carried no weight, and ultimately his defeat felt just as manufactured as his creation. Spader played it very much like Red Reddington which would be fine except Red's goals and motivations on that show are intentionally shrouded, and he's a protagonist.

All the appearances of Thanos we've had in these films have been even worse at this. Not everyone is familiar with Thanos from comics and whatnot so it behooves the filmmakers to portray how powerful he is but no instead, we've only seen him be a huge couch potato.
Ugh, Thanos' scene was terrible, truly an insult. At least in Avengers and Guardians he had machinations which suggested a greater need for being behind the scenes, but here he's just getting off his duff, suggesting he has been sitting around doing nothing until now.

It's just sooooo very sad that I even have to bring up these points and it's so sad if Whedon had to compromise much of his original vision because he definitely can and should have done better.
Honestly, Whedon's vision isn't perfect, I still can't forgive him for Serenity betraying Firefly so badly, but what made the first Avengers work so well is balance and restraint with a focus on character over action, things not seen in this film at all.
 

El Chuxter

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Aug 16, 2001
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I prefer that to the steaming crapfest Millar put out under the same name.

Of course, I'd prefer the entire movie be about Captain America and Iron Man cosplaying as Grant and Lee, but mistakenly thinking they're French, and fighting with waterguns to that mess of a comic book.
 

bigbarada

Jedi Apprentice
Aug 15, 2001
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bigbarada

Jedi Apprentice
Aug 15, 2001
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Hillsboro, IL
www.matt-hughes.com
To me, this felt like Whedon not having a clue of how to fit the character into this particular storyline, mainly because he still doesn't get the Hulk that well and reinvents the character in this movie to be interesting without actually doing much legwork - now Bruce and the Hulk are each afraid of each other, and the Hulk is a giant baby that somehow gets rocked to sleep by Black Widow, and Bruce and Natasha have this bizarre relationship that comes out of left field simply so Natasha can have a false sense of depth. I dunno that it was done as a reaction to the Hulk "stealing the show" last time though, it felt more like a sense of confusion over where the character fits.
Hulk got reinvented every other issue in the original comic series (first he only changes at night, then he's under the complete mental control of Rick Jones, then he's got Hulk's body with Banner's brain, etc.). So it's kind of expected since most people don't understand how to write for the Hulk.

I do agree that Whedon doesn't really understand the Hulk's character completely; but he's given us the best onscreen representation so far. Of which, I'm sure Mark Ruffalo deserves most of the credit. I just think that filmmakers need to stop treating Hulk like a movie monster and that's step one to getting him right.

Secondly, every single Hulk movie ends up with the same plot: "Bruce Banner tries not to turn into the Hulk, then he turns into the Hulk." We've seen a few versions of that story before, it's time to come up with something new. To do that, of course, they need to establish the more intelligent Hulk from the comic books and grow the character past the "rage monster" stage.

It would also help if they started treating the Hulk like a separate character with a separate identity and not just an extension of Bruce Banner. Which is probably mistake number one that every filmmaker, including Whedon, has made with Hulk.

As for the Hulkbuster scene, the theater I was in was pretty crowded and I was forced to sit only three rows from the front of the theater. I was so close that I actually had to turn my head to see everything onscreen. So that could be one of the reasons I had trouble following the action. When I see the movie again this weekend, I'll try to sit further back.

I'm kind of surprised that you ranked Cap 1 so highly and Cap 2 so low. I would put Cap 2 right near the top, it's not just a great superhero movie, it's a great movie. I thought Cap 1 did its job and told a competent story, but nothing more.
 

Lord Malakite

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Sep 30, 2001
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It would also help if they started treating the Hulk like a separate character with a separate identity and not just an extension of Bruce Banner. Which is probably mistake number one that every filmmaker, including Whedon, has made with Hulk.
If you haven't seen it, you might want to check out the animated Planet Hulk movie from 2010. I thought that was a pretty good representation.
 

JediTricks

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Hulk got reinvented every other issue in the original comic series (first he only changes at night, then he's under the complete mental control of Rick Jones, then he's got Hulk's body with Banner's brain, etc.). So it's kind of expected since most people don't understand how to write for the Hulk.
Those all had justifications though, this was totally left field.

I do agree that Whedon doesn't really understand the Hulk's character completely; but he's given us the best onscreen representation so far. Of which, I'm sure Mark Ruffalo deserves most of the credit. I just think that filmmakers need to stop treating Hulk like a movie monster and that's step one to getting him right.
Yeah, all of that is correct, except I have to assume Mark and Joss share credit on the representation in the first movie. "Puny god!" was a great line and suggested there was a brain inside, not just a monster. Yet in Avengers 2 it's all gone.

As for the Hulkbuster scene, the theater I was in was pretty crowded and I was forced to sit only three rows from the front of the theater. I was so close that I actually had to turn my head to see everything onscreen. So that could be one of the reasons I had trouble following the action. When I see the movie again this weekend, I'll try to sit further back.
I don't think it's fair for theaters to have seats close enough that the screen wraps beyond the viewer's field of vision, this isn't Circlevision at a Disney theme park.

I'm kind of surprised that you ranked Cap 1 so highly and Cap 2 so low. I would put Cap 2 right near the top, it's not just a great superhero movie, it's a great movie. I thought Cap 1 did its job and told a competent story, but nothing more.
Cap 1 was a charming, joyful, exuberant story that bogged down about halfway in, but still was colorful and exciting. In comparison, Cap 2 feels drab, joyless, generic, and full of video-game like action and writing. I know a lot of fans felt it was better than the Avengers, but I cannot see why. The conspiracy felt like a pastiche of conspiracy movies right down to the stunt casting of Robert "help, my face is melting" Redford. The scripting and directing were shallow, it turned out because they got sitcom writers to handle it. There's a bunch of deus ex machinas. And the titular Winter Soldier was an absolute flop of writing - there's nothing in there that justifies the character at all nor why they would do what they did, instead it's all shortcuts that make him a shell. But the most frustrating is Cap's plan, the whole Marvel superhero world is in danger so what does he do? Not call in any existing friends, that's for sure, instead he takes a side trip to steal the Falcon suit so his buddy can pal along until it fails because it's not actually a good idea in any way and then Cap has to take a few bullets that mean nothing in the end.

No, the praise for this movie confuses me, it's an entirely dishonest expression of a Marvel movie and it doesn't feel in any way true to Cap or his universe.
 

bigbarada

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I don't think it's fair for theaters to have seats close enough that the screen wraps beyond the viewer's field of vision, this isn't Circlevision at a Disney theme park.
It's an old theater, originally designed for stage plays and was converted for movies in the 1940s or 1950s. So it's not an ideal location for watching big budget action film, but it's within walking distance and I'm friends with the owners, so I like to give them my business as much as possible.

Normally I sit near the back, but it was just too crowded. These superhero movies are a huge draw for the little farming town that I live in. I went back this evening to see it again and I was suprised that the theater was just as crowded as it was on opening weekend. I did manage to get a better seat though.

Anyways, upon second viewing, I like the movie much more. I think I had just watched the trailer too many times, so I was too preoccupied with trying to spot the trailer footage on the my first viewing. That's actually something that happens a lot when I watch a movie's trailer too many times before watching the movie.

Also there was something that didn't sit right with me, at first, but now I think I understand what it is. From 2008 through 2012, every movie that Marvel made was building towards the first Avengers film. It was the culmination of everything up to that point. However, Age of Ultron isn't the culmination of anything, it's just another building block as Marvel moves towards Infinity War.

So, it doesn't really work that well as a standalone movie, but it was never designed to be viewed that way. I'm not saying this to defend it's flaws, though, just trying to understand why those mistakes were made.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

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Someone said a comic book movie was coming out this weekend. Comic books are for nerds. NEERRRRRRDDDSSS!!!!

(I haven't seen it yet; plan to)
Only took about a year. :rolleyes:

Caught it on a free preview weekend on the TV (I did miss the first 3 minutes: anything important then?). Would likely have been better on a larger theater screen, but overall decent. I wasn't really a big Avengers comic fan when I was a frequent comics reader, but I followed it enough. Having avoided most spoilers then, I still could enjoy it as a smash-it-up film and not over-analyze it.
 

JediTricks

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A very exciting trailer, the first moment I really snapped into 'wow' mode was the spidey sense and the floating stargate. Using the Alan Silvestri Avengers theme was another really great touchstone.
 

JediTricks

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Even the CW Crossover event that just wrapped up was more competent than the DCEU, and all they did was punch generic Nazis and evil doppelgangers. But they did it with charm and character. Not knowing The Flash, or Cyborg, or The Gorton's Fisherman ahead of time really did nobody any favors, especially when the film ALSO has to take time to reset the lesser elements of Batman v. Murderman.

Meanwhile, the Avengers continues to build characters through which the stakes can be conveyed so even seeing a glimmer of a reaction from them holds meaning.