Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Variety Of Thoughts About The Avengers Movie

I went and saw the Avengers movie for the first time yesterday. I've got a handful of thoughts circling around the movie and the rights issue. Spoilers ahead.
  • Overall, I think the movie was very well done. I've been impressed with Joss Whedon's storytelling abilities in the past, and this showcases many of his particular talents.
  • The biggest detriment to the previous Marvel movies, I felt, was in the portrayal of the heroes themselves. Not that they were written poorly necessarily, but I felt Chris Evans' and Chris Hemsworth's acting was fairly wooden. Tom Hiddleston was the only reason I didn't think Thor was terrible, and Hugo Weaving was the best part of Captain America. Here, however, Evans and Hemsworth seemed to step up their game and turned in notably improved performances.
  • One of the things I liked was that Whedon almost seemed to have written the movie backwards. There's an old saw that if you see a gun in Act One, it needs to be fired by Act Three. Basically, it means that you shouldn't drop in significant plot points out of nowhere. Hawkeye on the rooftops providing strategy against the aliens, for example, was established in the opening scenes where he's holded up in his "hawk's nest" watching the Cube. Nearly everything that happened in the climax was foreshadowed in some way earlier in the film.
  • ... except Black Widow's gauntlets. Was a tad disappointed with that.
  • Also, I didn't quite get why Banner shows up on a motorcycle just before the final battle, or why Stark was so sure he would arrive in time? Seemed a little too deus ex machina to me. But if that's the worst part of the script, I don't think there's much to complain about.
  • The scene where the Avengers get irritated and started bickering with each other? You don't see enough scenes like that generally. Did you notice that much of it was one continuous pan with no cuts? That means all of the actors had to be perfectly on point for the duration of that scene. Typically, you don't see that any more because directors like to cut and paste the best parts from multiple shootings, and that's very hard to do with people talking over one another. Kudos to Whedon for even trying it.
  • I thought Whedon, as scriptwriter, also had a particularly good handle on the characters. Banner especially. Also a very credible tension between Stark and Rogers.
  • Nice nod to the comics by making Hawkeye a bad guy initially. (Even if it was under Loki's influence.)
  • Interesting to see differences between the trailers and the final film. I noticed the initial scene between Banner and Romanov had decidedly different cuts. In the trailer, Banner has an intriguing pause in "What if I say... no?" A different take with no pause was used in the movie. I'm kind of curious why because I personally liked the original version from the trailer. By contrast, Cap's "Hulk, smash" line has more of a pause in the final cut, but that could be from the editing.
  • I've largely tried avoiding anything about the movie between when it opened and when I saw it to bypass potential spoilers. So I was quite surprised to see Jack Kirby's name in the credits TWICE (as co-creator of the Avengers with Stan Lee, and co-creator of Captain America with Joe Simon). I don't recall nearly as much fuss made over the Green Lantern movie, which gave more credit to a David Bowie poster than to creators John Broome and Gil Kane. So, um... what the hell, fandom?
  • Also, Brian Bendis did get a "special thanks" credit, but he did NOT get a creator credit for this version of Nick Fury or Maria Hill. No uproar over that that I've heard.
  • I get why Marvel isn't going to pay the Kirby estate any royalties for this (it starts to grey the legal area around who actually owns what) but wouldn't it be amazingly awesome if Whedon donated, say, 1/2% of his earnings from the movie to the Kirby estate? That would probably be more than Kirby ever earned from the characters, and would have a minimal impact on Whedon's bank account given how much revenue this film is already generating!
  • After all, the couple hundred bucks I got working as an extra for three days on the movie is probably more than Kirby will receive for it.
  • Speaking of me as an extra, there's no super obvious spot where you can say, "Hey, there's Sean!" Definitely will be a one-frame-at-a-time deal with the DVD later. But here's perhaps the "easiest" place you can spot me in the movie...
    Kenneth Tigar is standing between me and the camera for most of the shots from this angle, but just before Loki blasts at him, Tigar leans back a bit and you can see my back for a split second.
  • The three, 14-hour days of filming I did took less than two and half minutes of screen time. A second car being blown up, and a doorman getting slaughtered were both filmed during that period and evidently didn't make the final cut. (Presumably for time reasons.)
  • Also, it's weird to see the names of people I met as the credits rolled. None of the extras, of course, but some of the costume and casting folks.
  • Speaking of credits, that waitress that Cap saves, who thanks him on TV later? She seemed familiar to me, so I looked her up. Ashley Johnson. She played the youngest daughter on the last two seasons of Growing Pains.

2 comments:

Danny J Quick said...

Wow! That's amazing that you made it into the final cut as an extra! I didn't see a post about your experiences on set. I'll look harder lol! My little comic book project will be starting soon. its called Aceblade: Vigilante Complex, we have a page on Facebook and we're starting on kickstarter.com later this week. I hope you'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

She was also the daughter in "what women want"