sub_divided: cos it gets me through, hope you never stop (Default)
[personal profile] sub_divided
Suspect Joss Whedon & cowriter made the first half hour of this movie clunky ON PURPOSE so they could create the effect of all hell breaking loose/the pace getting faster and faster in the second half.

This movie is totally about conceptual team-ups and rivalries - Tony Stark’s out of control ego vs. Bruce Banner’s out of control anger! Thor’s unbeatable sword vs. Capt America’s unbreakable shield! Spy (Black Widow) vs. Spy (Hawkeye)! Etc. etc. Even apart from how much I love conceptual team-ups and rivalries, this is a really efficient way to quickly characterize a large cast. I APPROVE.

Under the cut, some (conceptual) spoilers and criticisms:

Like:

Iron Man vs. Capt America, but mainly due to actor chemistry? Although this becomes a thematic thing eventually, the way they immediately single each other out is kind of random, actually. I saw this movie with a friend and she called it an alpha male thing - makes sense as they are the two guys who give the orders on the ground. OTOH, without all those teaser trailers wherein the two of them are roommates I think I would have been, like, taken aback by the immediacy of this connection? XD. (What were those about, by the way? They’re not in the movie. Deleted scenes? Scenes from the next movie? Pure fanservice?)

Black Widow vs. Hawkeye - the “normal” people - again mainly due to actor chemistry, or in this case Jeremy Renner’s chemistry with powerful grounded women lol. (Thinking back to his Hurt Locker Oscar acceptance moment with Katheryn Bigelow.) He is interesting to look at even when he’s just standing around - actually when he has lines, his enunciation’s not the best. Still mad that Anthony Mackie from Hurt Locker - the black sniper guy - hasn’t gotten as much high-profile work, though. (Although this seems to be changing - did you know he is in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter?)

Capt. America vs. Thor: just the one scene where Thor hits the capt’s shield and is repelled, honestly. Because I’m a logic puzzle nerd like that. :p Speaking of logic, though, Thor breaking out of the little room he was in - by throwing himself sideways as the room was plummeting toward the ground - actually shouldn’t have changed his impact with the ground. Because adding sideways momentum doesn’t take away the downward momentum. (I will stop now.)

Love:

Re: Tony Stark’s/Robert Downey Jr’s well-known “volatility and self-obsession” (this is a direct quote from the movie) - no comment - but I loved his antagonizing/bonding conversation with Bruce Banner/Hulk and that they drive off together at the end. BFFs 4ever?

Thor and Loki: Considering Thor is a King on his home planet, I wonder where he picked up his “the leader is the servant of the people” attitude. It’s almost like he is a president, or some other public figure who relies on public recognition to legitimize his standing (like an actor), or something. :p Anyway, this movie made me kind of want to see Thor, but I don’t think I could watch another superhero prequel movie without any surprises (e.g. the Captain America movie). People who have seen Thor, is it like that?

Black Widow and Loki: though her intelligence doesn’t stop Loki’s plan from working, but that’s not her fault. Actually what I REALLY liked was Black Widow in this movie, in general. She never actually uses sex appeal to seduce anyone: instead what she uses is her air of approachable friendliness and some men’s automatic assumption that she must be emotional and weak. Great feminist (and realist!) statement there. And that moment when the camera zooms in on her high heels, carried in one hand as she walks away from the fight she just won! Awesome.

Dislike:

Loki vs. Nick Fury: actually this was one scene that could have been handled FAR better, and used to send a message like the Black Widow/Loki scene. Because Loki is supposed to be this hurtful (because he has been hurt), manipulative person, right? It would have hurt more, and been more on point, if instead of saying that Nick Fury had never seen power until he saw Loki, he'd instead pointed out that Nick Fury is forever the servant of others who are in power, whereas he, Loki, is simply realizing his ambitions to lead. Because it is quite striking that the one black guy in the cast, unlike all the others, basically has his hands tied. (His bazooka moment notwithstanding.) It’s not like the scriptwriters even had to make an explicit statement here, but some acknowledgment of Nick Fury’s likely ambition and capability and the fact that he is constrained more than others, despite his higher official position, would have been nice. Such a wasted moment.

General comments:

Many other things could be said about the politics of this movie, but sticking to just interpersonal politics for now. Anyway, great handling of large cast, great pacing, fun movie. Much smarter than it needed to be! One of those things that is better if you know the actors outside their roles in the film. But it also stands on its own pretty well, I think.

Fight scenes were handled really well as long as you pretend that everyone has rubber skin. There was a lot of collateral damage but I think the movie avoided giving the impression that it’s okay for people to die on screen when they don’t have speaking lines - f’r instance the bus evacuation scene, the guy who was ejected from his plane but (of course) had a parachute, Black Widow’s gravity when she says “he killed 80 people in two days.” Of course, this being a superhero movie, you are still left with the impression that it’s good/right for some people to be more powerful than others and for normal rules to not apply to them; within those bounds, though, this movie is not too bad. (Oops I ended up discussing politics anyway.)

Please, please, though: no more 3D.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-01 10:41 pm (UTC)
keelieinblack: (that all i waxe grene)
From: [personal profile] keelieinblack
Considering Thor is a King on his home planet, I wonder where he picked up his “the leader is the servant of the people” attitude.

He picked it up in Thor, that's the whole premise of the movie! :D Well, not specifically that, but in Thor he's not actually king yet, and his character arc is about getting some of his arrogance (about his king-to-be position and in general) knocked out of him and getting some humility knocked in. I don't know if you'd find it interesting enough to watch without falling asleep, though; I liked it a lot, but I can't think of much that I found surprising about it story-wise.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-02 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] keelieinblack
Yeah, I can see how that'd be really jarring in terms of his character if you don't know what he'd been through! Avengers takes place not too longer after Thor (I think?), so the events of that movie are probably still fresh in his mind--and he actually came off really well in all except one of the physical fights in Thor, too, so perhaps this time someone felt it was necessary to let the Avengers whack him around like a piñata.

Heh, Hiddleston's Loki is probably a significant reason Thor turned out as well as it did (and got such a big fannish response from people who'd previously had zero interest in the comics). All of the actors in this franchise seem to be enthusiastic about their roles, but Hiddleston in particular has done tons of interviews in which he's talked very earnestly and articulately about Loki and his characterization and his issues and how they all tie into the plots of the films. It's weirdly charming.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-02 04:09 am (UTC)
lacewood: (city sings your song)
From: [personal profile] lacewood
I REALLY enjoyed Black Widow in the movie. The theatre cheered when Hulk wiped the floor with Loki but I enjoyed the scene where she basically plays him for info just as much (even if the dudes negated this by getting into a fight anyway). She's the one person in the movie who doesn't seem to try to persuade, argue or threaten him, she's there for one thing only and she gets it and then just walks straight out. It's a surprisingly effective burn XD

The Captain America/Iron man connection: You could argue that there's an additional connection there via Tony's dad, someone they both knew and valued in vastly different contexts, but I don't think the movie underscored this apart from Tony's one comment.

The Thor movie explains a lot about both Thor and Loki and how they got to where they are in Avengers. It's not all that surprising a movie but it's enjoyable and the rare superhero action movie with more than 1 noticable female character that actually passes the Bechdel test. Most people are into the movie for Loki and his character arc, specifically. XD

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-06 05:14 am (UTC)
ayalesca: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ayalesca
I enjoyed it a lot XD I mean it was very paint by the numbers and I got no surprises, but it was nice effective FUN storytelling with a lot of clever work to make it flow as fast and furious as it did. Loved the characters -- so distinct and well-drawn and different and the dynamics that Joss cooked up were just amazing. I know it looked effortless which means he probably agonized for months XD

And Black Widow rocked! So practical and efficient and smart but still knowing exactly what she is/wants/needs.

I do feel like I'm missing out on the bonus material (ie, extra ~meaningfulness~) by watching it without having seen a single prequel or knowing anything about Marvel, but it held up pretty well for me, so, quite perfect really XD

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-06 07:30 pm (UTC)
ayalesca: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ayalesca
Mmmm I guess I wasn't surprised at all by Coulson, but only due to a smattering of Genre Savvy and foreknowledge of Joss Whedon's leanings XD (there are people suggesting he isn't even dead, which wouldn't surprise me either, b/c superheroes story.)

Of course they played into Loki's hands, Loki is the trickster/manipulator - bringing 'em down from within is his style. I mean once I realized that the movie wasn't going to be about fighting the interstellar horde (until the last ten minutes) then I realized the conflict has to come from SOMEWHERE else -- so, Loki screwing around with everyone. I didn't know that he'd do it like THAT (since I didn't know character dynamics, I couldn't predict it), but it's fairly standard plot structure, which is not a criticism. Hero gets up a tree, hero tries to get down but only gets himself further up the tree, then hero falls out of the tree. XD

(... well I wasn't expecting BW to seduce anyone, though in retrospect I should have XD)

I should say I WAS surprise that the tesseract was on Stark's building, but I SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SURPRISED. Rules of procedurals would have predicted the answer, but I wasn't thinking hard enough! My genre-savvy-fu was not strong enough.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-06 06:27 am (UTC)
petronia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] petronia
Finally got to watch this. XD

What I appreciated a lot about the conceptual matchups -- other than the fact that this was the framework the entire movie was built around -- is that zero time is spent on explaining to the viewer what they just saw and what it meant. XD Regardless of whether it's a comics!physics effect (eg. Thor's hammer vs Cap's shield = shockwave), a future plot point (Thor or Loki vs Iron Man = the arc reactor is blindingly obviously at this point made out of the same stuff as Asgardian energy), a character moment (Steve Rogers vs Tony Stark = Tony is for reals pigtail pulling, or rather stress testing, because Captain America is technology passed down from his dad and therefore requires it; Steve only had to see Tony in real action once to get past the attitude, but it's a hurdle up to that point and rightly so), or a more subtle character moment (Tony Stark vs Bruce Banner -- Iron Man is the only one the Hulk instinctively saves, which argues that Tony is the only one at this point Bruce really trusts deep down; most likely because Tony is the only one of the lot who demonstrates a genuine lack of wariness or aggression toward him. I don't think Tony planned it that way, although one gets the sense he spent a bit of time thinking about how much *he* hates it when ppl are jumpy around him and try to coddle him. As well as how best to stress test Captain America's sense of humour or lack thereof.)

Anyway, my point was all this stuff was clearly there, but it is not spelled out. XD

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-06 06:35 am (UTC)
petronia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] petronia
The other thing is that Nick Fury kind of fucked up in not giving these guys the straight dope right off the bat, because all of them are 1) incredibly intelligent and action-oriented, 2) highly mistrustful of authority, so the chance they will not eventually figure it out for themselves was nil. (Captain America is the kind of dude who will say "we have to follow the rules" and then do damn well as he pleases in pursuit of his personal ethics, which he does multiple times in his own movie.)

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-06 09:57 pm (UTC)
petronia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] petronia
Having rewatched most of the other movies before this, I'm not sure any of them did a better job with Fury. XD;

Re: minor edits

Date: 2012-05-06 10:59 pm (UTC)
petronia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] petronia
Watched it again, and I think I would even complicate this a little bit, because of the Hulk vs Black Widow scenes. I mean, one of the things that doesn't get explained is Bruce Banner's psychology, possibly because you are meant to know already, IDK, but it makes a lot of sense if he really is one of those mild-mannered dudes who is internally angry a lot of the time. Because then the Hulk is a metaphor for how he's ashamed of those feelings and doesn't know how to harness them constructively, because he thinks he's inappropriately angry. Like, the only way the Bruce vs Natasha scenes make sense is if he wants to trust her, or just recognizes that she's trying to deal with him on the level, but she's instinctively terrified of him, can't seem to help it although she keeps a lid on it, and he's inappropriately angry at her because she's scared of him. And so the Hulk lashes out at her.

Also, it'd be pretty funny if the guy with the anger management issues was the only one who is not constantly coping with low-level rage directed at Tony Stark.

And yeah, Iron Man's eventual mirror sacrifice moment! Putting a picture of his girl up on his HUD and everything. This was actually so heavy-handed I don't know why I didn't pick up on it the first time around. Possibly because I was just caught up in the sheer hilarity of Tony Stark BLOWING UP A SPACESHIP BY PERSONALLY FLYING A NUKE THROUGH A WORMHOLE. Like, at the end he was clearly thinking, welp I am dead, but this is a pretty awesome death, and the view is lovely.

Captain America's shield is made out of "vibranium". I am not going to venture on what the specific comic book science is. XD;

Re: minor edits

Date: 2012-05-07 02:41 am (UTC)
petronia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] petronia
I always wanted to watch the Edward Norton Hulk, actually, to see what the fuss was about. But once it hit the run up to the Avengers I figured it would just be confusing... frankly, this makes it sound as if that Penn dude is not a v. good writer. XD;

I watched two hours worth of Iron Man extras, because I got the special edition DVD for $10. All the actors found very nice ways to say that they were mostly doing improv (I still can't figure out if the original script was really that bad, or if Jon Favreau just likes to shoot improv); there was literally only one clip in the making of where the dialogue/action was the same as what ended up in the movie. So part of the way these things just work now is that the directors and actors fine tune the script on-set, whereas it takes months and months to do the special effects and so all that has to be meticulously planned. It sort of explains why Black Widow is so much better in The Avengers, though.

I liked "tesseract"! It's one of my favourite words that I never get to use. XD And I think that thing Exists In Canon(tm) and is actually called that. But the three-dimensional representation of a tesseract is a cube, so...

Re: edits again...

Date: 2012-05-08 06:45 am (UTC)
petronia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] petronia
That seems like a good assumption - I just checked on imdb, and all the ones he's involved in that were any good at all were clearly rewritten by the director. (...and the actor, lol)

That was based on interviews and industry blog gossip, but the extras bore that out to a degree I didn't expect - literally, you just see them film variants of stuff. With giant poster cue cards off to the side, just like RDJ described. XD;;

I don't so much think it's deliberate as they started with SHIELD, and the SHIELD characters are straight foils. I'll just write this in a proper post, though. XD

I gather the Pentagon just wants the chain of command to be properly portrayed? XD Like how Rhodey has a rank in the Air Force and all. I know Coulson said specifically that SHIELD wasn't DoD in Iron Man.

Re: edits again...

Date: 2012-05-08 07:18 pm (UTC)
petronia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] petronia
LOL! (Unless something else triggered it... I saw a Wikipedia article go around describing a controversy in Montreal, where chicken shawarma is locally and inappropriately called shish taouk.)

That really was a genius clip, though. It just so perfectly conveyed that state you're in when you sit down and are hit by A WAVE OF EXHAUSTION as your adrenalin ebbs and are 0.5 seconds away from faceplanting into your plate, but at the same time you are SO HUNGRY, and the food isn't even very good or anything.

Re: edits again...

Date: 2012-05-09 12:06 am (UTC)
petronia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] petronia
Yeah, it did -- Canada almost always just follows the US. (In fact, Andrew is the one shipping the actual film stock from Kodak, lol, and for a while now he's been logistics manager for all of NAmerica. He says the number of copies for this movie was unprecedented.)

Re: edits again...

Date: 2012-05-10 03:08 am (UTC)
petronia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] petronia
I read that, actually! It's pretty good. XD

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-06 06:44 pm (UTC)
ayalesca: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ayalesca
(reposting comment to SD)

Damn, I really gotta watch the prequels huh? Because all you say makes sense but I couldn't legit say I twigged any of it FOR SURE from watching the movie. Jordan had to whisper in my ear "oh yeah um Iron Man fished Captain America out of the ice and that's why blah blah blah" because I was all WHAT IS GOING ON HERE at that point. XDDDD I do like things that have a historical meta-narrative though! Gah, as if my viewing queue wasn't long enough.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-13 03:54 pm (UTC)
marycontrary: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marycontrary
"OTOH, without all those teaser trailers wherein the two of them are roommates I think I would have been, like, taken aback by the immediacy of this connection? XD. "

I missed these, do you have any links where I might find them?

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-15 03:56 pm (UTC)
marycontrary: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marycontrary
Thank you. Though, I'm looking at the raw eggs going "You're going to get biotin deficient! Your hair will fall out!"

(no subject)

Date: 2012-07-26 04:21 pm (UTC)
marycontrary: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marycontrary
Thank you! It's really sweet to remember this question for so long.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-07-31 04:39 pm (UTC)
marycontrary: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marycontrary
Hmm. I do have an LJ, but I'm generally a lurker -- I don't think I've been terribly memorable anywhere fannish.

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