Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Assembling Avengers

Dear Joss Whedon, I hate you.  Sure our relationship has had its ups and downs, (ups being things like Buffy the Vampire Slayer the TV series, Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and most recently Cabin in the Woods.  Downs being things like Dollhouse and Alien: Resurrection ).  But this is the last straw.  You humiliated me in front of my friends by proving me wro...  not entirely correct.

We've known about The Avengers movie for a few years now, and I've said repeatedly, it can't be done!  How can anyone successfully combine several major superheroes from Marvel comics, and create a grown-up movie, with a decent plot, plenty of action, and still devote a fair amount of time to each character?

The Ultra Nerds among us have followed the setup of each hero, from their individual origin movies released in recent years.  From Captain America (with Chris Evans, and my review here), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr, in Iron Man 1 and 2, with a review for 2 here), and even The Incredible Hulk, (the 2008 Hulk starring Edward Norton, not the Ang Lee directed 2003 version.  I have decided to disavow the 2003 version for many reasons).  Each character was fully developed in their solo movie, and all was  nicely tied together through teasers featuring Nick Fury (played by the baddest M*F* to ever wear an eye patch, Samuel L. Jackson), and/or Agent Coulson (awesomely played each time by Clark Gregg)... and in the case of Iron Man, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) *insert yummy sounds here*.
 
And now, you bring them all together to battle Loki, (Tom Hiddleston), aka Thor's brother.  Loki wants to enslave mankind because... well, because he can.  And if anyone wears a helmet with horns that big, I say you can do pretty much anything you want at that point.

I have said the only way this could work, is in a TV series.  I've said the plot will suffer.  I've said one hero will be the focus, and everyone else will be secondary.  Joss, I hate you, because somehow... you made it all work.

The characters were equally balanced and nobody was a main focus.  The story was simple enough but well written enough to work.  And your directing...  I could see the action clearly, and many scenes could have been taken out of the movie and made into a beautiful painting, suitable for framing your favorite hero and sold for way too much money at any Comic-con.  I regularly found myself grinning like a nerd discovering a box of golden age comics in mint condition in a forgotten box in his attic.  Why would you do this to me???

Well, before you start thinking you're perfect, I did find a few minor flaws, (and I use the word 'flaws' very loosely here).  Banner/Hulk (this time played by Mark Ruffalo) has always been a personal favorite of mine, so the super-nerd in me wants to protect his story and keep it safely sealed in a Mylar Bag with a board behind it.  His origin story and Hulk's behavior felt a bit conveniently written as if hoping nobody would notice.  It all seemed a bit shady to me.  And Mark Ruffalo himself mostly worked well, but at times he looked more like Reed Richards with that bit of grey in his hair.  And remember how impressive Hulk looked in his own movie?  Your version felt a bit too CGI in places.

I would also have liked to have learned a bit more about Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (did I mention yummy?), since they didn't get an origin movie.  But with a running time of 142 minutes, I can understand why many details were maybe edited out.  I imagine many things will be restored in the Blu-ray release.  Might I also suggest including several slow motion scenes of Black Widow getting in and out of her outfit?

But otherwise, you did it right, and this is truly a nerd fantasy come to life...  And I hate you for proving me wro... whatever.
Sincerely,
Deeesher

Now that I have that out of the way...

Dear Scarlett Johanson, I love you...