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The Avengers: What did you think? (SPOILERS)


As I said in the Notes for today’s strip, I absolutely loved The Avengers. It exceeded my expectations by a wide, wide margin.

The plot was kind of unremarkable, sure — standard-issue, super-villain plot with some MacGuffin-chasing thrown in — but the character moments were beautifully handled (always Whedon’s strong suit); the action was amazingly good; and it was funny as all hell, without ever undermining the urgency of the story.

The alien villains were a little on the faceless side, but I think in this first movie that’s good, because it let us focus on the team much more than if we had a more front-and-center villain. If they follow through with the Thanos tease in a second Avengers flick, this shouldn’t be an issue again.

Some quibbles:

1) The score. Cool (if not spectacular) theme, but the score never really did much for me throughout the film. I barely noticed it, and as a huge fan of movie scores, I generally try to notice the music.

2) What’s up with the Hulk anger issues? This one is more of a question, really, because I loved how the Hulk was used in the film more than enough to overlook this, but in the first scene with him, he’s raging at everything and fighting everyone. In the finale, he’s in control enough to cooperate with the others. Why?

3) Getting knocked unconscious breaks the magical mind control? I guess so.

4) What, was Thor standing in that field waiting to pick up the hammer for like five hours while everybody else got their shit together?

5) When the mothership goes down, all the aliens just shut down, too? Really? Cheap.

6) More of a marketing complaint, but I wish — oh I wish — that Hulk catching Iron Man hadn’t been in the trailer. Such a great moment, and coming after the climax of the film, practically, it should have been kept as a surprise.

Minor quibbles, all, don’t get me wrong. If I were still reviewing movies, I’d still give the film a well-earned 5 star rating. (Remember: I don’t do halfsies, and that doesn’t mean I think it’s perfect — just that I loved it.) As soon as I can get my girlfriend caught up on the earlier Marvel flicks (she’s seen two of the five), I’ll be seeing it again.

57 Responses to “The Avengers: What did you think? (SPOILERS)”

  1. There were the 2 deus ex machina that you mentioned plus the ‘The old father used a lot of magic, and POOF! There was Thor!’ that kinda pissed me off – thankfully, there was enough explosions and distractions to immediately make me forget about them. Otherwise, fantastic film.

  2. I didn’t get why Thor stopped in the field either. I watched the movie twice(perk of movie theatre employment). I was also irritated by how the mothership went down and the drone/soldiers stopped and fell down. Not a great movie, but an awesome five star movie. Joss Whedon needs to stay on for the next one and all marvel movies. Too bad he couldn’t have gotten TMNT!!

  3. Sheason says:

    The first time Banner Hulked out, he was raging at everything because the stress that we saw moments earlier with everyone yelling at everyone else, coupled with Loki’s magical mental prodding via that scepter thing meant that he turned into the Hulk because he lost control. The second time he Hulked out, it was willingly letting Hulk out – if you noticed, the 2nd transformation was a lot faster, a lot smoother, and it seemed like it was a lot less painful.

    • Yeah, that was basically my theory, too, but I’m not sure the movie drew a strong enough correlation between Banner losing control (versus choosing to turn into the Hulk) and how much of a spaz the big green guy acts.

      •  Yeah I really felt they kinda just fast forward through this, I mean they started laying the ground work with Stark talking to Banner about controlling and living with your issues, but then they just kinda left it at that and went “hulk angry he hit everyone” to next major scene “hulk angry he hit what you want… mostly”

      • tim gottman says:

        They also let us know with the Hulk’s line before the 2nd transformation that he is “always mad” which led me to believe that on the ship he was angry due to an outside force. A bit less subtext there would have done it service, but i can’t help but think some of it landed in the deleted scenes. 

  4. keven says:

    I had questions about Thor’s being there, too.  No solid explanation of how he got back to Earth, as it was heavily set up at the end of his movie that he broke off that route.  Also, the clip from after the credits on Thor already showed Loki taking control of the scientist, and Avengers seemed to ignore that.  I still enjoyed the movie a lot, these things just felt off to me.

    • There is a point in Thor where Loki tells Thor that there are ways to travel between worlds other than the Byfrost (which he says that Thor doesn’t know about), so my understanding is that Odin *does* know about them.

    • Loki says something about “how much dark energy did the AllFather [Odin] have to conjure to bring you here” when they’re fighting for the first time, with the implication presumably being that Odin can move people between worlds, but nowhere near as easily as by using the Bifrost. And, possibly, that it’s to be reserved for special occasions, like “my adopted son is destroying a whole other planet, bring him back.”

      At the end, it’s made clear that with the Tesseract interdimensional travel is easy, or at least unremarkable, so there’s definitely more ways than just Bifrost.

      • RDW0409 says:

        That was my takeaway too— and I was impressed with how they set up Thor 2 off the back of this. You solve the two biggest problems that the ending of Thor 1 created (how do you get Tom Hiddleston and Natalie Portman’s characters back into the story) without actually solving them in a now-they-can’t-be-sources-of-drama-or-conflict way.

    •  I thought the Thor after credits was more him influencing the scientist rather than taking control of him… dunno I’ll have to re-watch that.

      • stofcrcmstnce says:

        Not sure if “influencing” is the right word; if memory serves, we see him in Selvig’s reflection at the end of the movie.  I don’t know if that meant he was possessing Selvig, or simply existing in some sort of “mirror” plane (which is so comic-booky it might just be the right answer.)

  5. Ya, I agree with Sheason, with a slight twist. Hulk seems to react to Banners whims and wants. Hulk went after Black Widow because Black Widow was annoying the crap out of Banner as Banner was changing. That coupled with the fact that Banner wanted to see what Widow would do if she thought Banner would Hulk out made her an obvious target. 

    Later on Banner wanted, and actively choose to be a part of a team, and Hulk complied. 

    • I thought more or less the same – when he changes on the Helicarrier, Bruce Banner is knocked out by the fall. The Hulk knows he’s in danger, so he changes out of instinct – “get us out of here”. The second time, though, Banner points the Hulk – he’ll never be a sniper rifle, but he doesn’t have to be a nuke either. He makes the change voluntarily, says basically “you can smash these things and no-one will be mad”, and the Hulk gladly obliges.

  6. GeoffDepew says:

    The Hulk thing was, I read, an issue with timing – if there had been Hulk 2 before Avengers, part of the plot of that would have been him coming to terms with and learning to co-exist with the Hulk (including the scene with the attempted suicide).  So that plot was written, and it looks like the writers kind of changed horses in midstream (or maybe just that Banner was surprised and hurt in the fall, and he lost control).

    as far as the mothership went, I think part of it was the Chitauri commander and his boss going “And if Loki screws with us and closes the portal before we go through, he doesn’t get to keep playing with our toys”.

    Finally, the thing with Thor was, to me, him finally accepting that he couldn’t get Loki to change his ways, and putting it all to the back of his mind, and taking up the mantle of the guardian he claimed he would be.  He was wrapping his head around the change in his life, preparing himself, and maybe thinking about what Captain America said about being a hero.

  7. Mayhem says:

    There were some things I didn’t like.

    Thor hand-waved back onto earth with a throwaway line.
    Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury was wasted. Anyone could have played the role. It felt like he was reading off a teleprompter.
    Captain America’s stupid jump out of the plane. At night. Yeah, it was dramatic, but stupid, considering Thor could have flown Loki anywhere.
    Captain America was wasted in the movie. It was have been interesting to show his transition to the world, but instead he was just. . . Captain America. Even his parts in the final battle seemed contrived or forced, as if the writers felt like they had to do something to show him being heroic while Hulk, Thor and Iron Man did all the heavy lifting.

    But I still loved it. The battle scenes were terrific. The way the protagonists interacted for the most part was engaging; witty banter, just the right amount of friction, humorous moments that catch you off guard. Stark notwithstanding, the Hulk was easily my favorite character; just about everything he did made me either gasp or laugh, sometimes both, The movie was FUN.


    • Chris Woodrow says:

      I agree that Nick Fury didn’t do much, but they touched on his manipulative/spy-nature some, so that’s good enough for me.  A flashback or two of him in action would be nice in the future…or in action now, with S.H.I.E.L.D. workers actually appearing competent.

      Captain America, though, got just the right amount of characterization.  He had a few scenes that touched on his transition issues…
      1) aren’t the stars and stripes a bit old fashioned now?
      2) there’s only one God ma’am, and I don’ t think he dresses like that
      3) Coulsen freaking out around him and having trading cards
      …but not too many.  They didn’t have enough time to develop anyone too much, but they did enough.  And at the end, they look to him for leadership, being the most tactical-minded of the bunch (sans Hawkeye?).  That’s heroic enough for me, without contriving him to be more powerful than he really is.  (He could hold his own for awhile with the Hulk, but the Hulk can jump, and Cap can’t.)

    • I didn’t feel Cap was wasted at all! I thought he came across as the emotional core of the team, as well as the best tactician — in other words, as its leader.

      Apparently some of the stuff that ended up on the cutting room floor revolved more around Cap’s transition, but I think it would be better to have that stuff in Captain America 2 than in an Avengers movie. This was his big coming out party, but he’s got a lot more transitioning to do.

      (I so hope there’s a director’s cut with at lot more character stuff added in. I didn’t feel there needed to be much in this film, because it’s about The Avengers, not the individual characters, but it would be great to have a little more.)

      • stofcrcmstnce says:

        Agreed on Cap’s role.  I think Evans has grown into it well, too, which speaks well for CA2 (assuming the script doesn’t revolve around Flag Smasher or something equally inane.)  All you needed to sell Cap was that bit during the climax where he orders some NYC cops around, and the Lieutenant (?) asks him who the hell he thinks he is….so he shows them.  Didn’t need anything else to know exactly who and what Cap is.

      • Brian Marino says:

        Yeah I totally agree.  There was something inspiring about him even when he wasn’t doing much.  Which is how it is supposed to be.  Even if you aren’t a gung ho patriot, the Cap is supposed to feel like a leader.

        Also it led to one of the funniest moments in the film (the Cop).

        I also felt like Evans was able to approach the role with a bit of wit. He sold that Cap believes all that stuff but also is able to laugh at his fish out of water status (It seems like it runs on some sort of electricity!)

        • Alana Abbott says:

          Some of my favorite lines from the film are the ones where Cap acknowledges he’s out of context — the line where he’s excited that he got the reference (flying monkeys), and the line where he says the power grid “seems to run on some sort of electricity” (or something like that). Those moments — and his evident frustration with not being up to speed — captured that starting-to-transition feeling that I hope we’ll get more of in Cap2. :)

  8. RDW0409 says:

    It had all the Joss hallmarks, for sure. It may even have been Joss-ier than “Cabin in the Woods”– about every twenty minutes, there was a line that made me say to myself “Such a Joss Whedon line.” I couldn’t list all of them… guess that means I’ll have to see it again! (what, you thought I was complaining?)

    • There’s one in India – Banner says something like “I don’t everytime get what I want” – that feels exactly like it could have come out of Nathan Fillion.

      • RDW0409 says:

        Exactly– thanks, I couldn’t remember the phrasing, which was the core of that line’s Whedonness. One of Widow’s lines in the scene with Loki, too. I’ll have to keep a list when I go back for Round Two.

    • Brian Marino says:

      That guy is playing Galaga.  He thought we wouldn’t notice…but we did.

    • Alana Abbott says:

      Mostly I loved the Whedon flavor, but Coulson’s death by impalement was such a Joss-ism that it took me out of the movie for a second. (Meaning I leaned over to my husband and whispered “Damn it, Joss!”) I don’t mind that Coulson died, but could Joss please just get over the impalement thing? His trademark could be something other than grisly impalement death!

  9. Alex says:

    I pretty much agree with the whole of your assessment, including the quibbles. I even downloaded the Avengers Theme from the score and it just won’t stick in my head, even after a few listens. The Soundgarden song from the End Credits packs a punch, though. 

  10. Kevin B says:

    I saw the movie in 2d and loved it.  I’ve been hearing good things about the 3d version and was wondering if it was worth throwing down the extra money to see it again in 3d?

    • stofcrcmstnce says:

      Saw it in IMAX 3D.  Didn’t see 2d, but I’ll be honest, I don’t think 3D is necessary here.  IMAX is a fantastic presentation for this kind of movie, sure…but it was filmed in 2D, so you’re not “losing” anything by not seeing it in 3D.  Frankly, I didn’t even notice it was 3D despite wearing the uncomfortable glasses.

  11. Amanda Ditzel says:

    Ok- so am I the only one who was annoyed by the fact that during Thor & Iron Man’s fight scene Thor re-charges Iron Man’s suit in, like, 5 seconds by hitting it with lightning but NOBODY thought to do this during the climax when Iron Man is running out of power?? I thought that first scene was a totall set up but the conclusion never came….

    • Did anybody else know he was running out of juice then? (Before he hit the ground, I mean.)

      Actually, for that matter, did anybody besides Stark know that Thor’s lightning strike charged up his suit?

      • Homebrew says:

         I’m pretty sure that incident was private between Stark and Jarvis.  Add on to that, Stark was pretty much “playing by ear” with the nuke and expected a one-way ticket, so why recharge?

    • Chris Woodrow says:

      If you recharged when he was carrying the nuke, you risk BOOM too early…
      If you recharged when his suit was completely dead, the suit might not have protected him from the lightning.

      That may not be the best answer, but it’s a satisfactory one!  (Plus nobody else knew how it worked, as Gordon and Homebrew mentioned.)

    • Brian Marino says:

      I thought the same thing actually.  I was like “Use the lightning!”

    • Thesdawg says:

      So the suit that Stark ended up wearing near the end was an experimental one if I reminder correctly (the rings, Right?). Maybe he didn’t want to try it out on brand new hardware?

  12. jasonbob says:

    The hulk made this movie great.  When he randomly punched Thor and when he beat up Loki after his rant was the best part of the movie.

  13. As far as the scene were Hulk rages uncontrolled, look at everyone. They’re getting ready to fight each other with no actual provocation. Loki was influencing them and making them more and more aggressive and suspicious. But that’s my theory, at least.

  14. stofcrcmstnce says:

    Best superhero movie made to date.  Even with those tiny nitpicks you’ve mentioned above, I still give this movie a strong 9.5/10.  Good pacing, strong performances, fun script…and oh yeah: THANOS?!?!?!?!?!!

    Also, complete lack of Jane Foster, which is a good thing.  Tom Hiddleston was (again) absolutely fantastic as Loki, and while I loved Ed Norton in the role, Mark Ruffalo brought something more human to the role of Bruce Banner.  Renner was underused and under-developed as Hawkeye, though.

    • A friend of mine reminded me of the double-meaning of the “courting death” line at the end, in light of Thanos’s relationship (or whatever) with Mistress Death. Nice touch.

      • stofcrcmstnce says:

        I’m just going to say this: it Marvel wants to put the whole Cosmic Cube/Thanos thing on a screen near me, I’m in.  Completely committed.  But if they fuck it up like Fox did with the Dark Phoenix thing, I reserve the right to drive to Avi Arad’s house and beat him senseless with a rubber chicken.

        • No one can fuck up a movie quite like Fox. It’s pretty telling that the majority of their biggest hits (Avatar, Star Wars) have been movies they’ve had little to no control over.

          • stofcrcmstnce says:

            not to rehash 3 week-old commentary, but I think Universal’s proven they can absolutely fuck up a movie worse than Fox.  Or is this just further proof of the Taylor Kitsch Corollary, wherein any movie he’s cast in sucks big moose?

      • I also thought the line was interesting as it echoed earlier bits from Thor (“In my youth, I courted war”) and Bruce (during the time-bomb monologue, mentioning “courting chaos”). Not entirely sure if that was going anywhere specific, though.

  15. Yourfriendjoey says:

    so just to let every one know….marvel release dates are iron man 3 this year, thor 2 and capn 2 next year and avengers 2 2014

    • …whaaat.

      Iron Man 3 is currently set for May 3rd, 2013 —

      Thor 2 is aiming for November 15, 2013 —

      Captain America 2 is aiming for April 2014 —

      And Avengers 2 was only just announced today and doesn’t have a release date at all —

    • jasonbob says:

      Cant wait for Iron man 3 the other solo movies were just pretty good in my opinion

  16. Shadow_falls666 says:

    Thor stopping in that field made me believe he thought he might not be worthy of the hammer again since he essentially got kicked around by loki. As for everybody being confused about Hulk controlling himself towards the end…well last hulk movie with edward norton showed that banner had some form of control of it. now remember what banner said when he tried to commit suicide. he pulle the trigger and the hulk”other guy” spat it out. Essentially if Hulk perceives a definite bodily threat to banner then hes comin out. what was the first thing black widow did when she saw the hulk?she began running. this made hulk zero in on her. so he went after her. he was bout to pimp slap her and then thor attacks him. to the hulk widow was a threat…twice over. then thor jumps him. so he throws down with thor. when banner hulks out later he does it on purpose and so can direct things a little better. Think of the hulk as a really huge child. sure he could have started smashing the rest of the team but there was a ton of things flying around and guys on the ground and more of the huge things that  he just smashed. thats fun to hulk. hulk would have went after anything. but when cap looks at him and is like. hey go nuts well thats music to the hulks ears.

  17. AletheiaAgape says:

    Just watched the Avengers again (finally). I have a defensible theory for the aliens falling down, though it’s still cheap. (Original assumption was that they were hive-mind, so when the “queen” dies, so do all the drones.) If all of the aliens are linked in to some communication network, the nuke could have created a signal that overwhelmed the aliens (a “knock-out” frequency, so to speak). So they’re not dead–which in my mind is cheaper–but out of the picture long enough for Iron Man to wake up, etc.

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