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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS Discussion Spot (WARNING: POTENTIAL PLOT DISCUSSION SPOILERS)




WARNING -- POTENTIAL PLOT DISCUSSION SPOILERS BELOW.


Okay. Went to see this on opening night, as most of the U.S. did (last night), and have some thoughts about what was headlined as “one of the most influential and anticipated motion pictures perhaps since Titanic.”

First of all, the entire beginning was way too rushed – there was no explanation tying up the loose ends regarding Loki and Thor from the end of Thor, making Loki’s “arrival” on Earth a head-scratcher save for coming through the blue source of power from their home world; the notion of how Loki got there, what happened after Anthony Hopkins’ character saved Thor from falling into the vacuum of space like Loki did in the Thor film and other elements were hinted at in a brief conversation between Thor and Loki in The Avengers, but the entire opening sequence felt way too rushed and exploitation-heavy, making it feel as though Mr. Joss was simply in a big hurry to get all these characters to the screen without any detailed backstory time.

The next big problem was Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner – BIG, major mistake here. Not only can this guy not act, his performance here as Banner was as atrocious as Mr. Joss’ take on the legendary Marvel scientist searching for a way out of his gamma radiation problems. Ruffalo basically sleepwalks through his role as Banner, and the transformation scenes before he becomes Hulk did not include any glowing eyes a la the famous Bixby performances in the TV show, or even the semi-better motion picture version which featured Edward Norton. The CGI Hulk, once complete and in action, looked fine enough (much better than the joke that was Ang Lee’s variant) but Ruffalo’s transformation sequences were ridiculous, with him looking toward the rest of the Avengers at one point after Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow character says “Doctor…I think it’s about time you got angry…” and saying back to her “That’s the problem, Agent Romanoff…I’m always angry…” while he suddenly transforms into the Hulk without really ripping out of any clothing. The entire “discovery of Banner” and hunting him down to get him into the Avengers fold was ridiculous and rushed too, really not touching on anything about Louis Leterrier’s Incredible Hulk or the ending he set up with Norton’s Banner in a rain forest somewhere. It was like Mr. Joss simply took new direction with most of these characters, ignoring some ties that came before that were ultimately hinting at an Avengers project. We are lead to believe Banner has been monitored the entire time by SHIELD, knowing his whereabouts – something “General Ross” and the government could never seem to do effectively – and is simply “called on” through a setup, where Black Widow (Johansson) is sent to “persuade” him to meet with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) because of the global threat posed by Loki. The whole thing didn’t enthrall me, and is not the way I would have done it – if you are going to do a sweeping character study like The Avengers, you need to do it right, even if the film takes four hours to do it (not taking into account studio budgetary constraints).

Then, there were the “issues” with Thor – as Loki is being transported as a prisoner of SHIELD in a plane, the god of thunder suddenly lands on one of the wings from the sky above, there to take Loki in himself. But this is ridiculous – what happened to the end of Thor when Chris Hemsworth’s character was talking to the gatekeeper about Earth being lost to them? Thor seemed more interested in knowing what became of Natalie Portman’s character at the end of that film, and yet The Avengers sets up the arrival of Thor as merely flying out of the sky and landing on the wing of this SHIELD plane – but what happened in all the time before that on their home world? How did he find Loki so fast, after his brother was presumed killed or lost when he fell into the space vacuum at the end of the Thor film? Again, the whole thing felt rushed and not thorough – further, I had issues with Thor’s “strength” in The Avengers, or, seemingly, the lack thereof. The god of thunder basically has his rear end handed to him in not only the fight with Iron Man, but by Hulk (okay, that was acceptable) and some others throughout the film – not to say Thor doesn’t get his licks in, because he does (smashing Hulk with his hammer multiple times, kicking Stark’s tail a bit in their fight), but something seemed “different” about this Thor in The Avengers that made him seem less of a complete bad-butt like in his own film.

As for Captain America? I thought he was one of the coolest in this film – his new costume devised by SHIELD looked great, Chris Evans was awesome in the role once again, and he kicked some rear ends on his own, first in his hand to hand combat with Loki in Germany, and then as one of the Avengers against Loki’s assembled alien army. Also, the sequence when Thor tries to come down on his shield with his hammer and learns the painful way how powerful Cap’s shield really is, was really cool. I didn’t have any issues with Cap in this.

That leaves Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nick Fury and Stellan Skarsgard’s character – what was ultimately wrong with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man performance in this? It seemed something was just “off” about his performance too, perhaps stemming from the lack of direction by Jon Favreau; I don’t know what it was, but Downey’s performance didn’t scream “Iron Man” like in his own films, and the whole Stark Tower in New York City thing again felt rushed and not explained enough. Suddenly, Stark has his own building in Manhattan (not that he couldn’t afford to build one fast) complete with a robotic suit up/suit off mechanism like in his California digs, and this just felt like a convenient setup by the filmmakers to tie in the culminating alien battle at the end which takes place in New York. There was a great deal of comedic banter between all the characters, of course again led by Downey’s sarcastic approach as the playboy billionaire, and that was refreshing, but there was something I just didn’t find awe-inspiring about the film as a whole, especially the beginning sequences.

Agent Barton (Hawkeye) played by Jeremy Renner and Agent Romanoff (Black Widow) get a lot of screen time here, and that was refreshing – Hawkeye in particular gets to kick some tail as he confidently shoots our alien visitors with laser guided arrows, plucking them off one at a time. There’s a subplot regarding Loki and his “enslaving” of Hawkeye and Dr. Selvig (Skarsgard) early on, but their spell is later broken and Hawkeye joins up as an Avenger to take on Loki’s evil army towards the end.

Then, there was the whole problem regarding the science of the film’s plot – most of the screen time is spent exploring the ways in which Banner, Stark and Fury can get together and close the portal Loki has opened, allowing his alien race he has hired to destroy Earth to come through, but at times the science they’re dabbling in gets so thick and convoluted, it’s difficult to follow what they’re talking about or what’s going on. We understand Banner is a scientist that has experimented with gamma radiation – supposedly what Loki’s blue-hued weapon is emitting in areas – but it’s suggested here that he is also some expert in the technology Stark has been dabbling in; the whole thing got confusing and off-putting after awhile.

We do get to see, finally, Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) in some gun-toiling action, which was cool, and the final sequence that finds our heroes in a duel in downtown New York with the race Loki has brought to Earth was definitely worth waiting for. CGI Hulk, in particular, was entertaining and sometimes awe-inspiring as he jumps around New York City, destroying it but smashing every single alien being in his way – including that huge snake-like thing we see in the trailers. Very cool. Then there was also the moment Stark puts Captain America in charge of telling them what they should all do as the aliens attack in NYC, and Cap gives them their positions and says to Hulk, “And Hulk – SMASH!” while the big green beastie smiles. That was definitely cool. But that also lends the question about Banner’s ability to control his alter ego, as hinted at in the comics and previous films – Ruffalo’s first transformation in The Avengers indicates he has no control over the Hulk, as he becomes the green monster and goes after Johansson’s Black Widow, trying to kill her. Later on, when he transforms to join the team in fighting Loki and his army, it’s clear he can control the monster as he quickly transforms into him, reacting to Cap’s instructions of “SMASH!” and being able to tell exactly who the enemy is. This was a bit confusing to me.

Tom Hiddleston was fantastic again as Loki, and the humorous exchange between him and some characters brought added relief to the dialogue, such as when Stark calls him “Reindeer Games” in an early fight scene between him, Loki and Cap (in reference to Loki’s horns of his costume) plus the line every fan was waiting for when Loki confronts Stark and proclaims “I have an army…” and Stark spits out “We have a Hulk…” Fantastic and goose bump-inducing.

If you haven’t seen The Avengers yet, don’t leave before ALL the credits are done rolling – we have teasers for what appears to be yet another attempt at bringing these characters back together again (it seems another alien race has been called upon to destroy and enslave Earth, even after the defeated alien leader of the ones that came on Loki’s behalf warns of human strength) as well as what I feel was a pointless gathering of the heroes in a final comedic scene. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

There was also the issue of all the team members going their separate ways at the very end, which was again not tied up very well, and ends up feeling rushed to make the 2:45 running time; Stark is seen driving off with Banner in one of Banner’s exotic cars, while Thor is charged with taking Loki back to their home world for punishment (which again begs the problem…if Loki is the mischievous god of magic and can do anything to disguise himself, how is it he is allowing Thor to just “arrest” him? And where exactly do they go?) and Cap zooms off on a motorcycle (fitting)…but has Banner suddenly fallen off General Ross’ radar now, no longer a fugitive of the U.S. army? Where is the connection between all of the Marvel films up to this point and their conclusions that have teased the Avengers initiative? The whole timeline doesn’t make sense; remember at the end of Louis Leterrier’s Incredible Hulk, Stark (Downey) finds Ross (William Hurt) sitting in a bar and tells him they’re “putting a team together”? Well, where does that fit in within the Avengers story? At the end of some of the Marvel films, it’s as if characters like Stark don’t know about Nick Fury’s Avengers initiative, while some films hint at the fact that he does – like in the aforementioned Hulk picture. Why this inconsistency?

It was also nice to see the latest uncut international trailers of Amazing Spider-Man and Dark Knight Rises before Avengers, promising to be one exciting summer at the theater, especially for comic fans. The fight sequences between Peter Parker and Lizard and Bruce Wayne and Bane look especially awesome. Of course, I’ll be buying Avengers on Blu, but I wasn’t really knocked out by it as I thought I would be. Of all the issues, though, Mark Ruffalo’s Banner was simply the worst decision made in the history of comic adaptation casting next to using Topher Grace as “Venom” in Spider-Man 3.

Let’s discuss Avengers!
 

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Mark Ruffalo was great and this was BY FAR the best Marvel movie too date, hands down! I think you were expecting too much out of it, leave that for Thale Dark Knight Rises which better RULE!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mark Ruffalo was great and this was BY FAR the best Marvel movie too date, hands down! I think you were expecting too much out of it, leave that for Thale Dark Knight Rises which better RULE!!!!
ABSOLUTELY 100 percent DISAGREE with you here, Dale -- Ruffalo was AWFUL as Banner, mannerisms and all (if you're a diehard fan of the comic as I was growing up) and most other fans I have talked to concur.

Absolutely awful performance. Did I expect "too much out of it"? Sure. So were millions of comic adaptation fans for the years leading up to this -- I don't think it was what it could have been.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Edits made to some areas.
 

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I was a huge fan of the incredible hulk coming growing up and I really think Ruffalo was fine. I'm not sure where your getting that comic adaptation fans dislike the movie, everything I've read on IGN, Comics2film and the like has been extremely positive and agree that it's best marvel adaptation to date.
 

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I was a huge fan of the incredible hulk coming growing up and I really think Ruffalo was fine. I'm not sure where your getting that comic adaptation fans dislike the movie, everything I've read on IGN, Comics2film and the like has been extremely positive and agree that it's best marvel adaptation to date.
Don't take this the wrong way, but if you were truly a fan of the comic growing up and you felt Ruffalo's performance here in any way, shape or form even mimicked the authenticity of the character in the books, you need to have your head examined!

The input and feedback from sites like the ones you mentioned -- especially Rotten Tomatoes (which you didn't mention, I'm just saying) -- I never have put a lot of stock in for personal reasons (I have known people that have worked at these sites). I have collaborated with comic fanatic friends of mine across the world -- many of which saw the film internationally because it was released earlier than the U.S. -- and they have all agreed Ruffalo was downright awful and "sleepwalking" through this performance is really putting it lightly.

I don't know why you feel you need to "ram" your opinion down my throat, for lack of a better term, regarding this sentiment; it is my opinion that Ruffalo was awful, it's your opinion that he was awesome. Of course, I was joking with regard to my "head examined" comment back to you, but my point is that it's all our OPINIONS at the end of the day.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Even Harry Knowles gave it a 9.9
That's an opinion. And I know of just as many people that feel Ruffalo was TOTALLY the wrong actor for this spot.
 

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It's all good Osage, you and I often have differing opinions. And I know you were kidding about the head examined part, you don't have to concern yourself with making sure I didn't take it wrong. Additionally, ramming my opinion down others throat is kinda what I do, not unlike yourself. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
It's all good Osage, you and I often have differing opinions. And I know you were kidding about the head examined part, you don't have to concern yourself with making sure I didn't take it wrong. Additionally, ramming my opinion down others throat is kinda what I do, not unlike yourself. :)
"I don't have to concern myself"? I was merely trying to say I was joking in case it was taken the wrong way -- which it could have easily been, you realize that...I know you do, Dale.

And I never think of myself as a reviewer, or critic, that "rams" opinions down anyone's throat; I am merely very passionate about certain viewpoints in film and optical playback media, and try to convey it as a personal passion, not rhetoric that needs to be followed by everyone. :T
 

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"Hulk say puny Banner acted GOOD and Hulk is comedian now.:D" I have to say as a long time comic collector [Marvel & DC] since the 70's anyways I loved it. Yes rushed scenes but we didn't have 6 hours to play with. Also there were 2 scenes that made me blow soda out of my nose from laughing so hard. (That doesn't happen often.) Good detailed review! However on the Hulk subject I'm siding with Rasco...
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
At any rate, I am going to add some spoiler warnings to the above original post in case some of the analysis and discussion is taken as being majorly spoiled (which it seems to have been on other sites I have discussed the film on)...
 

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"Hulk say puny Banner acted GOOD and Hulk is comedian now.:D" I have to say as a long time comic collector [Marvel & DC] since the 70's anyways I loved it. Yes rushed scenes but we didn't have 6 hours to play with. Also there were 2 scenes that made me blow soda out of my nose from laughing so hard. (That doesn't happen often.) Good detailed review however on the Hulk subject I'm siding with Rasco...
That's fine that you thought Ruffalo's acting was good and in line with what Dale found, Jason; that's what opinion is all about. I completely thought his performance was beyond nausea-inducing, and I never once bought him as Banner when watching this. I agree there were really funny parts, but I was more concerned with Ruffalo's portrayal, which I find surprising actually that as a collector you found the opposite.

As for the "rushed sequences," of course I understand we didn't have six hours to play with here, but it's my opinion that if you're going to do a film like this -- all-encompassing and something that had never been done before (bringing all these characters together) -- then do it RIGHT. Way too much of this left plot holes and question marks in how a lot of it tied together. I mean, if they had to make this four hours (like along the lines of Gods and Generals) then that's what I would have done as the filmmaker (given the greenlight and budget by the studio execs, of course; if not, I would have tried to persuade them in understanding why it was so important to connect the previous films to this one).
 

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I think we're both coming from the same place on this. So on to other aspects...

I loved the special effects in the film and the A/V is superb! I thought Joss Whedon did an incredible job of capturing each character and never letting it feel like one character stood out more than the other. If I have one critique it would be that the giant alien creature at the end. It looks to me a lot like the one from Transformers DotM as well as Skyline.

Lastly, great write up Osage!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think we're both coming from the same place on this. So on to other aspects...

I loved the special effects in the film and the A/V is superb! I thought Joss Whedon did an incredible job of capturing each character and never letting it feel like one character stood out more than the other. If I have one critique it would be that the giant alien creature at the end. It looks to me a lot like the one from Transformers DotM as well as Skyline.
I agree. The CGI, in partucular, used on Hulk in this one, was rendered much better than it was in Ang Lee's film version; I just wish Whedon included the "eye changing" elements to Banner's transformations, as it really was the "calling card" if you will of this character's essence (which I think Leterrier did a good with on Norton's transformation sequences in The Incredible Hulk).

Lastly, great write up Osage!
Thanks Dale; but it really wasn't meant as much as a review as it was as more of a "discussion point/place" for those who wanted to vent their opinions, passions and overall feelings on the film, as it was one of the most anticipated motion pictures in years...:bigsmile:
 

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Oh, another thing, with regard to your comment about the A/V aspects -- I'm not sure if it was just the theater I was in, but I wasn't impressed or knocked out by the theatrical audio presentation of The Avengers. Bass was there in wallops, but dialogue was on the hushed side, and was even difficult to make out when the theater broke into laughter during certain parts. Also, I noticed a distinct lack of surround movement and activity, and I am hoping this was just due to the theatrical mix or some element of the theater's setup -- I am praying the Blu-ray doesn't suffer from the same lack of sonics and surround envelopment.

The projector's video presentation looked clean enough, but that's a whole different ball of wax to analyze once a title gets to Blu-ray home video, as well all know...:T
 

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I just saw it and the sound was good. It is hard to be sure until we get the BR, but I think the problem was your theater.

Overall this was one of the best written action films I have seen.
 

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I just saw it and the sound was good. It is hard to be sure until we get the BR, but I think the problem was your theater.

Overall this was one of the best written action films I have seen.
Indeed, lcaillo; I suspected the issue was probably the theater we were in...

Let me ask you this -- when you say the "sound was good," do you mean there was good surround envelopment? Clear dialogue? Loads of LFE?

Also -- it does, unfortunately, sometimes happen that a sound mix just doesn't warrant praise or experlatives, whether intentional by the filmmakers and engineers or due to a simply poorly mastered track. Take, for example, the Captain America Blu-ray: In my opinion (and I reviewed this title for at least a half a dozen sites when it was released), the DTS-HD Master Audio track in 7.1 ("dumbed down" to 5.1 in my setup, which I don't see as being the issue) was far from impressive. I just refamiliarized myself with the title a couple of nights before Avengers, and what I originally thought of the mix was there in spades again: The overall track is on the low output side, requiring massive hikes of master volume turns, and there's really no "heat" or "energy" to the mix...sure, there's an abundance of surround activity when called upon, such as when the HYDRA experiments are throwing the blue energy source around the soundstage, or when Steve Rogers throws his shield and the metallic ringing rips right through the surround channels, but for the most part, that title never thrilled me on Blu-ray, audio-wise.

This could happen on the BD release of Avengers, but I hope it doesn't...:blink:
 

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Indeed, lcaillo; I suspected the issue was probably the theater we were in...

Let me ask you this -- when you say the "sound was good," do you mean there was good surround envelopment? Clear dialogue? Loads of LFE?

:
I would not say that there was loads of LFE, nor extreme surround effects. I thought it was a decent mix with clear dialogue, OK surround and solid bass. As you say it is hard to tell in a theater with who knows what equipment and setup. Overall, good sound experience, but not exceptional. Visually, however, very good, with very realistic effects.
 

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I would not say that there was loads of LFE, nor extreme surround effects. I thought it was a decent mix with clear dialogue, OK surround and solid bass. As you say it is hard to tell in a theater with who knows what equipment and setup. Overall, good sound experience, but not exceptional. Visually, however, very good, with very realistic effects.
I see; very similar to what I experienced in my theater (it was a Regal chain, running Klipsch speakers believe it or not) -- so perhaps the mix was "supposed" to sound like this...

Although -- I did find the soundtrack in our theater to have wallops of low LFE as well as hushed dialogue, making it difficult to make out, as I stated, what characters were saying when the theater broke into laughter during certain scenes.

I suspect -- only a suspicion -- that the Blu-ray, unfortunately, is going to carry this "unexceptional" audio experience over in its TrueHD or Master Audio track. :rolleyesno:
 
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