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The Avengers Review

Its taken me a little while, but I had every intention of reviewing The Avengers.  As I said on the podcast, this is the movie I’ve been waiting for since I first started reading comic book and it really didn’t disappoint!  I’ll to not got into spoilers right away, but they are coming.  And honestly, you really should you seen this movie, so hopefully I won’t be spoiling anyone!

There was tons of hype heading in to this movie and I think this is something that was expected.  After all, Marvel was doing what many people thought to be impossible and assembling a team of superheroes onscreen in a live action movie.  I had thought that Joss Whedon was the perfect choice to direct this movie.  Throughout all of his past TV series he has proven that he can handle a large ensemble cast and still build up each character individually.

I waited until Saturday to see the movie, and the theater was still packed.  Even in my 2D showing there was a huge crowd.  It seemed the 3D was just as crowded as well as there were tons of people exiting when I came in.  Sadly, I wasn’t one of the lucky ones that received a trailer for both The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises.  In fact I got neither of those trailers.  However, that didn’t matter as the main attraction, the movie, was incredible.  The 143 minutes just flew by and at the end the first thing I thought was, ‘I want to see this again!’

The scary thing is, that Whedon has said in earlier interviews that he ended up cutting a bunch of material from the movie to make it flow better.  Some reports say there is as much as 40 minutes of content that ended up on the cutting room floor!  In that case, I can’t wait for the Director’s Cut of The Avengers.  One of the scenes that Whedon spoke of was Cap going to go meet with modern-day Peggy Carter in part to see her with his own eyes and explain what happened to him.  This wasn’t included in the movie and I can see why as it wouldn’t fit very well.  However, the scene would be emotionally poignant and help to beef up Steve’s character some more.  I can’t wait to see this deleted scene in the future.

Just a heads up everyone, from this point on there will be spoilers and a discussion on the plot of the movie.  Read at your own risk!

There were so many things I liked about this movie and I really only had one minor quibble.  That surprised me as I can generally find something to complain about in most comic movies.  Some of the things I bring up here might sound familiar and if you’ve listened to the All Things Good And Nerdy podcast that’s why.  I was lucky enough to geek out about this movie with 3 other co-hosts.  To be fair, I am a big Iron Man fan so I probably focus on him a little too much.

Things I Liked:

  1. Black Widow Gets to be a Badass – In Iron Man 2 Black Widow served as little more than eye candy.  Luckily, Joss Whedon knows how to write strong female characters, just look at his work on Buffy, Angel, or Dollhouse.  In The Avengers Widow has a chance to proves what a good asset she is.  The opening scene with Black Widow was both funny and badass as Widow is tied up and being interrogated when SHIELD calls to recall her.  The fight and the humor within just made for a great moment.  And then Black Widow basically played Loki like a violin later in the movie where she just manipulates him into revealing his purpose on the SHIELD Hellicarrier.  It was a great moment that showed off the manipulative background of a spy.
  2. Mark Ruffalo is Bruce Banner – I loved the way Ruffalo portrayed Bruce Banner as the smart quiet man in control of the beast inside.  Ruffalo’s Banner is easily the best in the Marvel movies as gives him a quiet strength.  I have to say I loved the chemistry between Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. as well.  The two played off each other extremely well.  The most powerful scene between the two was in the lab as Tony said he understood Banner.  Both of them received their ‘gifts’ through a tragedy.  In Stark’s case one of his weapons nearly killing him and for Banner his experiment going haywire.  Both Stark and Banner are making the best of a bad situation and trying to help others.  Meanwhile the other heroes chose to use their natural or non tragically acquired gifts.
  3. Continuity Moments – It was a very simple piece but Coulson informing Thor of Dr. Jane Foster’s status was a good moment to remind everyone why Thor is so attached to the Earth and to bring back references to previous films.  Including Pepper Potts in the movie in a couple short scenes also reminded viewers that we are in one big Marvel Universe.  And it was good to see how Tony’s relationship with her had improved.
  4. Killing Coulson – I had a feeling that Whedon would kill of a popular character but I can see why it was done.   Coulson’s sacrifice is the motivation all of the heroes needed to set aside their differences and band together.  The moment where Nick Fury plays on Coulson’s death to motivate the team is a perfect portrayal of Nick Fury.  He wants so hard to achieve his mission that he will manipulate or lie to make it happen.  Lying and saying Coulson had the Captain America trading cards in his pocket upon his death due to his belief in the heroes was just the tool to bring everyone together.  Was it right to play on everyone’s emotions?  No, but it was necessary to save to world and I doubt Coulson would have objected.  I hope this is a death that sticks, if they find some cheap way to bring Coulson back it would cheapen his death a great deal.
  5. Iron Man Armor Removal  – The platform on Stark Tower that is used to remove the Iron Man armor just makes the process look so cool.  It’s really impressive to see the evolution of this process over the span of the Marvel movies.  Originally, getting into or out of the armor was time-consuming and awkward but Stark has continued to refine it in each movie.
  6. Iron Man Mark VII – This armor was just cool.  When Tony was putting on the wristbands I was trying to figure out just how they would come into play.  Seeing Stark get thrown out a window and a suit of Iron Man armor deploy around him was just like something out of the comics.
  7. Quips and Humor – In typical Whedon fashion the movie is full of quick one-liners and puns thrown in the midst of a battle or dramatic moment.  This never takes away from the movie and leads to fun moments.  There were times in the theater where people were laughing so hard I missed bits of dialogue.  I think Thor had one of the best quips during a discussion about Loki where he tried to defend him only to learn Loki had killed 80 people in two days.  His response immediately thereafter of ‘he’s adopted’ had the theater rolling.
  8. Sibling Rivalry – It was interesting to see Thor try so hard to redeem his brother in the beginning of the movie.  In his own movie Thor had learned humility and how to set his pride aside.  It was very cool to see him try to pass that on to this brother.  Even at the end Thor tries to save his brother only to get stabbed in the gut.  Seeing no choice he has to fight and the realization of that on his face is powerful.
  9. Tony the Hero – In the earlier parts of the movie Tony and Cap had butted heads.  Cap pointed out that Tony wasn’t willing to do the hard things as a hero and that he was in fact not a soldier.  This fact, not being a soldier, is something Stark readily agreed to.  However, when faced with NYC getting nuked or sacrificing himself Tony didn’t bat an eye.  And how heartbreaking was it to see Tony trying to call Pepper and say goodbye and she doesn’t even see her phone ringing?
  10. Hulk is the Man – To steal a phrase here, Hulk does more hulking in Avengers than he ever did in his own movies.  There were so many great Hulk moments throughout the film.  There were two in particular that stand out to me.  One is Hulk grabbing a fallen Iron Man out of the sky and bringing the fallen Avenger to the ground.  The other is his confrontation with Loki, where Loki continues one of his longer evil rants and Hulk just grabs him by the ankle and throws him around like a ragdoll.  What made that moment perfect was Hulk muttering ‘puny god’ and walking off.  That was something that felts so much like the comics to me.
  11. Thanos! – This was an awesome setup for the future Marvel movies.  I’m guessing we will see the Infinity Gauntlet come into play as it was already seen in Odin’s vault in Thor.

Minor Quibbles:

  1. Cap’s Costume – I think they really gave Cap a near perfect costume in his movie.  I understand why they changed the costume, mostly to modernize it, but it would have been cool to make it look a little closer to his WW II uniform.
  2. Thor’s Return To Earth – With the destruction of the Bifrost Bridge in the Thor, many were left wondering how the God of Thunder would return to Earth.  To me, just saying as an aside that ‘Odin did it’ seemed a little bit like a cop-out.  My guess is that the explanation for Thor’s return is in one of the deleted scenes.

Overall, I loved this movie and I think it opened up a lot of possibilities for future Marvel films.  If I had to give it a score I’m thinking a 9.5 out of 10.  There were a couple of things I was left curious about that I’m hoping are in the deleted scenes.  I’m anticipating that the Director’s Cut of this movie will make this a 10 out of 10!

It is pretty interesting to note that Mark Ruffalo has already been signed to appear in 6 Marvel movies.  I would love to see him have a cameo in Iron Man 3 if only to continue building upon the friendship Stark and Banner seemed to develop in The Avengers.  In fact I think the Internet agrees with me based on one of the newest memes floating around.

Time for Science!

Time for Science!

Empire Magazine Covers The Avengers

Empire Magazine has gotten some big scoops on upcoming superhero movies like The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers.  They continue this trend by getting exclusive magazine covers for the upcoming Marvel movie The Avengers.  Probably one of the coolest is the ‘subscriber only’ cover featuring a chunk of the ensemble cast in costume.  It looks pretty cool to see a collection of The Avengers in one place.

It seems that in this cover art that Tony Stark is wearing an older version of the Iron Man armor as he once again has the round arc reactor in place.  At the end of Iron Man 2 Stark had created a new arc reactor that was triangular in shape.  I noted this irregularity in some of the earlier artwork for the Avengers and didn’t understand why Stark would be using old armor in the Avengers.  Turns out the folks at Empire Magazine can shed some light on that.

Now that sort of makes sense that Tony Stark would make use of multiple suits or armor in the movie and explains why a good deal of the promo artwork features the round arc reactor.  My theory is that something happens to critically damage the current Iron Man armor.  As such, Tony will be forced to use the older Iron Man armor and the arc reactor that will slowly kill him.

Empire also released covers featuring each individual character.  These are featured in the gallery below.  They seem to be the same character pictures just with different backgrounds.  Is it time for this movie to come out yet? I’m really ready for the Avengers on the big screen.

The Dark Knight Rises Sweded Trailer

If you saw the movie Be Kind Rewind you are familiar with this concept.  A movie or in this case a movie trailer is recreated using little to no special effects or costuming budget.  However, the actors play it straight like this is a legitimate movie trailer.  The sweded version of The Avengers was quite funny and so is this one.

Avengers vs X-Men #1 Revealed

Well folks, after a brief recuperation from getting my wisdom teeth removed I’m back with more news from the upcoming Avengers vs. X-Men.  Tomorrow, I plan to continue the Fanboy Analysis detailing who would win in each superhero match-up.  There are a lot of promos I missed out on while I was out of commission.

Today, Marvel unveiled the cover for the first issue of Avengers vs. X-Men.  Getting Jim Cheung to draw the cover is just brilliant in my opinion.  I’ve loved his work on Young Avengers and seeing him drawing nearly all the heroes of the Marvel Universe is a treat.

I will fully admit there was one part of this cover that surprised me.  I thought that Marvel would sweep the event of Schism under the rug and have Wolverine side with the X-Men instead of the X-Men.  Looks like I was wrong as Wolverine is predominantly featured on the Avengers side.  It’s also interesting to note that Thor is featured on the cover as well.  Looks like he will be brought back to the Marvel Universe fairly quickly after falling in Fear Itself.

Looking at this cover I would certainly have the give the Avengers the edge in these battles.  They have a lot more heavy hitters than the X-Men.  It’s possible that the fanboy analysis of the match-ups reveals the X-Men win in the end but I would be very surprised.

Below is the cover for issue number 1 and the press release put out by Marvel Comics.

Marvel Press Release:

This April, prepare for the biggest super hero war in comics history as Marvel is pleased to present your first look at the jaw-dropping cover to Avengers Vs. X-Men #1 by superstar artist Jim Cheung! From the powerhouse creative team of Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brubaker, John Romita Jr., Adam Kubert and Olivier Copiel comes a groundbreaking event pitting Earth’s Mightiest against the X-Men with the entire Marvel Universe at stake. Cyclops and his team believe the arrival of the Phoenix Force will save mutantkind, but Captain America is convinced it will destroy the world! But who is right? Don’t miss out on all the action in Avengers Vs. X-Men #1 in comic shops worldwide and on the Marvel Comics app this April!

Which team will reign supreme? Join the conversation on Twitter with #AvX!
For more on Avengers VS X-Men, please visit http://avx.marvel.com
AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1 (JAN120625)
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS, JASON AARON, MATT FRACTION, JONATHAN HICKMAN, ED BRUBAKER
Art by JOHN ROMITA JR.
Cover by JIM CHEUNG
FOC – 2/27/12, ON SALE – 4/3/12

Avengers vs. X-Men Preview

Marvel’s next mega event is set to pit the X-Men against the Avengers.  In this battle of Marvel’s superteams your guess is as good as mine as to who will come out victorious.  Although I would guess the fact the X-Men have splintered into two groups led by Cyclops and Wolverine could prove to be problematic for the mutants.

The stories in Avengers vs. X-Men will tie-in to the main overarching story of the summer event, however Marvel editor Tom Brevoort has said that ‘Primarily, you’re talking about one-on-one bouts’ in the upcoming books.  As a fan I find this to be really interesting.  I’ve got in many arguments with my friends on topics like, ‘Who would win in a fight, Thor or Storm’ and other similar comparisons.  From that perspective I think the Avengers vs. X-Men books are going to be a of fun.

The first matchup in Avengers vs. X-Men will pit Iron Man against Magneto in a fight that I think will be a lot of fun to see.  Iron Man’s metallic suit against the Master of Magnetism… I’m sold.  Also in the first issue we will see a battle between Namor and the Thing.  Marvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe described the first issue as ‘two huge knockdown, dragout battles that play with the characters’ powers in amazing ways.’  One of my favorite artists, Adi Granov has drawn an incredible looking teaser for the first issue.  I love the way he draws Iron Man and seeing the pieces of his armor shredding off while he flies towards Magneto just looks incredible to me.  Credit goes to CBR for getting this fantastic looking promo art online.

Marvel has also released the following press release for the first issue of Avengers vs. X-Men…. and while it’s a bit light on details and any potential spoilers it’s still enough to get me interested in the upcoming series.

Official Press Release

AVENGERS VS X-MEN: ROUND 1!

The biggest superhero brawl in the history of the Marvel Universe begins this April in Avengers Vs. X-Men #1!

Which team will reign supreme? Join the conversation on Twitter with #AvX!

For more on Avengers VS X-Men, please visit http://avx.marvel.com

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1 (JAN120625)
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS, JASON AARON, MATT FRACTION, JONATHAN HICKMAN, ED BRUBAKER
Art by JOHN ROMITA JR.
Cover by JIM CHEUNG
FOC – 2/27/12, ON SALE – 4/3/12

I’ll be the first to admit that I am generally vehemently against having a large number of tie-in books during a company wide event.  However, this series intrigues me since it seems to mostly be one-on-one fights between characters which should make things a lot of fun… and be used to settle lot of fanboy debates.  The first issues of Avengers vs. X-Men hits stands in April so keep your eyes open for it.

Avengers: X-Sanction #1 Cover Art Revealed

Marvel has released the coverart for the next Avengers event entitled X-Sanction.  The big thing coming out of this is the return of the recently deceased Cable to the Marvel Universe.  The premise of this story is:

With only 24 hours to destroy the Avengers, can he take on all of Earth’s Mightiest alone? Find out as superstar creators Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness kick off the countdown to the 2012’s status quo-shattering event in the Avengers: X-Sanction #1!

Should be interesting at the very least.  I do believe this is the first real interaction between many of the Avengers and Cable.

Cable Returns in Avengers: X-Sanction

In what seems to be about par for the course at Marvel a hero who recently died is now being resurrected in a 4 issue mini-series.  In this case, Cable is returning to the Marvel Universe after falling in Second Coming.  Marvel had released a teaser poster that seemed to indicate that the X-Men would be involved in an Avengers event in December.  Turns out it is only one X-Man and he will be combating the Avengers.

A good deal of information about X-Sanction was released during Marvel’s live blog this week. The participants on the Marvel side were writer Jeph Loeb, artist Ed McGuinness and Marvel VP Tom Brevoort.  Loeb has been involved with Cable since the very beginning of the character so it makes sense to bring him in for Cable’s most recent resurrection.   As a fan it might seem a little strange that Cable’s resurrection is being handled in an Avengers book and Marvel seems to realize that as well.  According to Tom Brevoort:

“This story puts Cable in a situation where he’s surrounded by and dealing with characters he doesn’t normally. It’s not just another story with Cable and the X-Men. The idea of Cable as a man out to protect his daughter by any means necessary gives the character an emotional heft and underlines everything he does. It’s richly fulfilling.”

So it sounds to me as if Cable will be fighting the Avengers at some point and the recently released promo art (see below) seems to indicate this as well.  My guess is that the Avenger and Cable will initially be opposed to each other before joining together to stop a common foe.  Not only that, but X-Sanction is kicking off the events for the next big Marvel crossover event:

As we’ve said, it’s not a coincidence that Fear Itself, Schism, and other big stories end at the same time. This is the first brick in the next road. Cable knows he’s coming to battle the Avengers, so he comes loaded for bear, with the specific gear he needs.

Overall, I think its interesting that Marvel is using the Avengers in Cable’s resurrection story.  Its something that is different and unexpected and surprisingly new from the House of Ideas.  But the reason I’m most interested in picking up this series, the ‘merc with a mouth’ or Deadpool will be making an appearance.  Anytime Deadpool and Cable are in the same book its a lot of fun.  Don’t believe me, just check out the older Cable and Deadpool series.

Via: Marvel

Avengers Assembled

Say what you want about Marvel, but they sure know how to promote their movies and get fans excited.  This week at Comic Con Marvel released individual posters of each Avenger, and when placed together they make one large banner.  The Hulk was the last Avenger to appear in this format, but he completes a pretty awesome banner that the folks at Super Hero Hype have been kind of enough to piece together.  It blows up so click on it for a full screen look.

Here’s a few of the things I’ve noticed about the Avengers in this new poster.

  1. Iron Man has gone back to the round arc reactor.  We know that The Avengers takes place after Iron Man 2 so what causes Tony to go back to the old tech that was gradually killing him?  And strangely enough in the teaser trailer it looked like he still had the triangular reactor.  So when does the switch take place?
  2. Black Widow has changed her look some.  Now the costume looks to be leather-like and she is sporting shorter hair.  Not a major change, but a change nonetheless.
  3. The Hulk looks old school.  By that I mean he has the exaggerated facial features and large brow that was distinctive in early comics.  It looks good but its a little jarring to have Hulk look different in each movie he’s appeared in.  Hopefully they are able to stick to this look.
  4. Cap’s new costume is pretty streamlined.  You can see the difference between the World War II era and modern era costumes.  The new costume and streamlined and armored looking.  The wings on the helmet look a little odd though.
  5. Thor’s costume hasn’t changed in the artwork.  However, in the teaser trailer he is sporting the short sleeves without the chainmail.
  6. Hawkeye’s costume is straight out of the Ultimates comics.  If you look at the costumes side-by-side they are the same aside from the sunglasses worn in the comics.  I like this look and it translates to the big screen much better than the traditional 616-style costume.
  7. As for Nick Fury, he’s still pretty badass but that might be because he’s modeled after and played by Samuel L. Jackson.  The really cool thing to see is the SHIELD Helicarrier.  It looks awesome, and its safe to bet that we will be seeing it in the Avengers.
Kudos to Marvel for putting together this awesome artwork.  Between the art and the teaser at the end of the Captain America movie this has been a big week for news on the Avengers.  Only a year away now!

Hulk Smash Avengers

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has been talking about Marvel’s slate of superhero movies a lot lately.  In a recent interview with SFX Magazine he even set the stage for a possible sequel to The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton.  However, he didn’t say if Norton would be starring in The Avengers movie slated for 2012.

He had a very interesting statement about how The Avengers is currently shaping up:

It’s fun now, and we’re introducing some new characters in [‘Iron Man 2′], but it’s not about just cramming in lots of new people; that’s sort of the cardinal sin of the sequel – adding in too many characters. This is totally Tony Stark’s story. And that’s gonna weave into Thor’s story, and Steve Rogers’ story, and it’s already ingrained with Nick Fury’s story and an organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D.

My only concern is that when we launch a franchise–whichever character’s franchise that may be–it should stand on its own two feet… So by the time ‘The Avengers’ comes in 2012, it’s not just a team superhero movie with a bunch of characters with powers. It’s three people – four including the Hulk; five including Nick Fury – who you’ve seen before in other movies, coming together for the very first time.

To me that strongly hints that Hulk will be showing up in the movie.  I for one am excited by this news.  The question is, will Hulk be a good guy or a bad guy.  The Tony Stark cameo in The Incredible Hulk seems to indicate that the Avengers might be rounding up Hulk.  Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Avengers Assemble

I’d forgotten about this poster that was released late 2009.  It’s just further proof that Marvel is unifying all their films in one universe now.

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