Monday, June 25, 2012

The Avengers Double Dip: Fan Facts and My Thoughts

It was with great pleasure that I saw a bit of fan-made genius the day after I saw The Avengers with my brother: it would cost $160 Billion to repair the damage caused to NYC by various evil aliens, demi-gods, and heroes. A week later, AICN posted first one article where a physicist weighs in on the science behind the movie (a flying aircraft carrier?), and then a later follow-up on its portrayal of scientists and specific heroes.

In the days after, even more articles appeared. Red Letter Media made a great Half in the Bag review on Whedon's work. In the penultimate week of May, Marvel itself released a timeline of its Avengers-related movies. Even Cracked got into the game with a fake script for the film; among other gems, it has this great bit of dialogue:
Nah, that's just writer/director Joss Whedon dialogue. Funny when it's trying to be funny, hilarious when it's trying to be serious.
Hang on a second, your hammer has decimated everything you've ever hit with it, you had no way of knowing my shield or Robert's armor would protect us. Did you just attempt to straight-up murder us? Don't change the scene, I want an answer to thi-
Even a mid-June followup on Comics Alliance came up with this great series of storyboards for the picture. All this attention not only entertained the hell out of me, it gave me a great opportunity for a spoiler-ific double dip. I wanted to track all this info and share it with ya'll. So check out those articles, and watch the How It Should Have Ended: Avengers video below.

The HISHE team did a nice job picking apart problems, and in a short time. I hope it made you laugh as hard as I did... I didn't see Thor or Captain America, so my expectations were based on several reviews. Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans were quite good in their roles; the muscle-mass they packed on for the parts did not hurt their ability to act, not in the least. I had already seen both Iron Man films, and I both loved the first movie while taking the sequel as an unfortunate, un-earned back-slide for Robert Downey J.'s character. Scarlet Johansson and Jeremy Renner were less-developed in their B/C-roles, yet they did very solid work and were given material suitable to their roles; clearly, they were peripheral characters, so it was nice that they got as much screen time and development as they did. The material was created with an expedient mindset, so I'm glad they got genuine pathos without seeming over-written. Mark Ruffalo, however, was exceptional as The Hulk. Much like the mild-mannered Bruce Banner, I had no reason to expect that he could so neatly develop - with quiet actorly grace - a character that I expected so little from. See, if The Hulk is a mindless beast, then it's easy to imagine that he'll just kill everyone around him. This means that his real personality, Dr. Banner, must be haunted by what he might do, always scared of his own feelings. You know what that does? It makes him a boring character. The Hulk is never going to "figure out" a problem; he'll smash right through it; and The Doctor will, over and over, have to deal with anger. There's not a lot of room to play around with that, in a movie; comic books are a different matter, as they have hundreds of issues, varied writers, and don't need to look or feel as real as a film must. So what was, perhaps, most impressive is that The Avengers doesn't over-use Ruffalo, while also making him critical to the main plot. The Hulk is at the center of Loki's plans, and the aliens couldn't be defeated without him. More importantly, they let the character sit and simply develop - rather gently - before they unleash him. It's appropriate that The Hulk doesn't appear often, but is used to great effect... I don't know Ruffalo's work well, so I was blown away by him. Mark was great at portraying a scientist, and did an equally-great job of playing a man who realizes that he's a time-bomb, and can't even panic about it because he'd "go off" if he did. It's easy to pretend you're a film character and claim what you would or wouldn't do; I was astonished that Ruffalo could bring so much reality to such an unreal role. Lots of films live and die by having an interesting and broad cast - Murder By Death, Clue, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, A Fish Called Wanda, The Unusual Suspects... Very often, these characters are grounded in the familiar, while still being eccentric enough to be interesting. Other parts are there clearly to be wish-fulfillment for the audience. I can barely remember a "mere" action movie using its actors so well, much less with so many famous, long-standing, figures. The Avengers, then, was not just an entertaining rollercoaster-ride. It's what the first X-Men film should've been. There might be more to point out, but DJ is preparing a Double-Dip on this film as well, so I will leave the closing thoughts to him.

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