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The Avengers

The Avengers is a pretty decent film and, I am sure, a relief to the producers who started seeding characters and plot elements in four different films, beginning with 2008's Iron Man.

In many ways, the true triumph of the Avengers is not on the screen, but rather what happened behind the scenes, the deliberate planning and organisation of four large films so that characters could be introduced, ideas seeded, and then brought together in one film. Perhaps, even, the planning for the films could be suggested to have taken place a lot earlier, in the Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch Ultimates, where Nick Fury, suddenly black, is so clearly modeled after Samuel L. Jackson. That would place the planning of the film--the expansion of the Marvel franchise--at a decade, which may or may not be reasonable. Perhaps more telling in a reason not to think this is that Millar has a long history of modeling characters after actors and singers, partly, if I remember right, with the aim to sell them more easily to studios.

Nevertheless, the Avengers does represent a planning success, where an entire franchise is developed in not just one film, but four proceeding ones, which results in a film that can have sixty percent of its time having the protagonists fight each other, while the remaining forty percent of the time is them fight their common enemy.

Given then that the true success of the film is that of franchise, what then, can be said of it as a work of art?

Truthfully, not much.

It's not a bad film. There's nothing wrong with it, really. The plot is silly, but no more so than a thousand other films, and for a film that threatens an alien invasion on Earth, the invasion is pretty small, the aliens largely undefined. The dialogue is decent enough, the characterisation suitable, and the action moves along at a reasonable rate. Like I said, there's nothing wrong with it. It could have been written and directed by any number of Hollywood hacks--and that perhaps is the cause for disappointment, because you hope, somewhere, that director and writer Joss Whedon, who has been responsible for some fairly creative episodes of TV (including my favourite, the musical Buffy), could have bought some of that to the screen.

But in the end, it doesn't truly matter that he doesn't do this. It's a decent film and it firmly establishes Marvel not just as a franchise for films, but as a film franchise that has a wider spread than Batman or Superman.

In other words, learn to love the company.

Comments

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ashamel
May. 8th, 2012 06:01 am (UTC)
The musical Xena is totally more Art than the musical Buffy.

(Well, the first one, anyway.)
benpeek
May. 9th, 2012 04:19 am (UTC)
lies, lies
cassiphone
May. 8th, 2012 12:48 pm (UTC)
The story (now probably closer to urban myth) goes that when they asked Samuel L Jackson for permission to base the Ultimate Nick Fury on his image, he said sure, as long as he got to play the guy in the movie. Job done!

Though I fear he was upstaged slightly by his leather coat, which obviously has its own agent...

benpeek
May. 9th, 2012 04:18 am (UTC)
it was a nice coat.

i didn't know that story. did you ever read the ultimates?
cassiphone
May. 9th, 2012 04:22 am (UTC)
Yes, quite recently. I have only read Marvel comics much in the last year, and I started with the Ultimate universe, which means among other things that I feel quite disassociated and weird when I see Nick Fury as some white guy.

(The story on Wikipedia is slightly different, btw, they didn't ask Jackson's permission but as soon as he saw what they'd done with the comic, he made A Call to try to secure the role for himself)

I really liked the Ultimates despite the unrelenting grimmness of it - their takes on all the characters was cynical but very readable. I like the way that the movie took elements of the Ultimates Hulk but made Bruce Banner basically a decent guy, because before that the Ultimates version of him as a selfish jackass made so much more sense.

I became quite fascinated with Janet after the Ultimates too, & read up on her Marvel history. I'd really love to see them bring her into the Marvel movieverse, if only to throw her at Captain America to take him shopping!
benpeek
May. 9th, 2012 04:31 am (UTC)
you found it grim? i just found it kind of funny, for the most part. but perhaps this is why i could read the ultimates, but had no real interest in the avengers (or indeed those characters that form the series). but i liked the big screen feel of the series, and hitch's art was, as always, quite lovely in its detail.
Luke Jackson
May. 9th, 2012 03:01 am (UTC)
Personally, I like that Whedon dosed his action-adventure blockbuster with at least a modicum of wit. Much more than, say, a Michael Bay could manage.
benpeek
May. 9th, 2012 04:18 am (UTC)
i think it might have depended on who bay got to write the script. if the script had been whedon's, the direction bay's... i dunno. would it have been that different? who knows.

but you know, i didn't dislike the film. i enjoyed it, in fact. it was a nice way to spend a sat evening.
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