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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!

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The Avengers Super Bowl Trailer

I love this trailer.  Marvel released an extended cut of the trailer shown during the Super Bowl and it is awesome.  Robert Downey Jr. continues to own the role of Tony Stark and the scene with all of the Avengers back-to-back preparing to fight looks like something straight out of a comic book.  I cannot wait for this movie!

First Look at The Avengers

Entertainment Weekly is running a big spread on The Avengers this week.  This includes interviews with the cast and some pictures from on set.  I haven’t gotten ahold of this issue of EW yet but I have looked at some of the pictures online.  This does not break my promise of going spoiler free for The Avengers as these are pictures officially released by Marvel.

I have to admit these first looks give little to nothing away but serve their purpose in continuing to get me hyped up for the movie coming out this summer.  There have also been some pieces of the EW article that have hit the web that speak of how the actors are interacting on set.

“In the sequence they’re about to shoot, Iron Man has just suffered serious ass-kicking, and Thor and Captain America are coming to his rescue. When Thor rips Tony Stark’s helmet free, the unconscious billionaire was suppose to wake suddenly, catch his breath, and ask, “What’s next?” Downey felt there should be more. Whedon agreed and put pen to paper, which resulted not just in a new series of exchanges between the three heroes, but a few alternates for Downey to say, giving the editors some options when it’s time to assemble the movie. One choice line from the bunch: “What happened?” Stark groans, coming back to consciousness as Captain America and Thor loom over him. “Please tell me nobody tried to kiss me.”

[Chris] Evans raises another question as the cameras are about to roll. ‘Wait, how do I check for a pulse?’ he asks, realizing that Iron Man’s armor makes it impossible. [Joss] Whedon’s face furrows as he thinks. Right. ‘Press his chest, lean down, and feel for his breath,’ the director says.

“‘May I see that?’ he asks, reaching for Evans’ star-emblazoned shield. ‘May I?’ Evans hands it over and Downey spins it slowly like he’s studying a record for scratches. He attaches it to his arm for a moment, striking a defensive pose, then flips it over like a bowl and turns to a prop master nearby: ‘Put some nachos in that would ya?’”

To me, it looks as though Joss Whedon is encouraging some ad-libbing in the movie.  Anytime you can let Robert Downey Jr. ad-lib lines it tends to work out well.  It has been reported before that RDJ ad-libbed a lot of his lines in the original Iron Man movie and that is one of the best superhero films made to date.  As to whether the other stars of the Avengers can ad-lib as well I have no clue, but I have faith that Tony Stark’s role in the movie will be lots of fun.  After reading the quote above it does seem as though the actors must be having fun on set.  What I really want to know, is did they eat nachos out of Captain America’s shield?  Sounds like that would be good for a laugh!

As for the pictures I think the best one to come out in this batch is Steve Rogers looking at his new Captain America costume.  The best touch is that Rogers is wearing clothes from his era while looking at a modern streamlined costume.  Fans of Captain America might notice that the headpiece of this costume does in face include ear holes just like the costume from the comics.

We can continue to assume that Loki plays a fairly large role in the movie.  It looks as though he is being escorted by SHIELD agents and Loki also looks to be a prisoner.

The remaining pictures looks to be action shots of both Nick Fury and the Black Widow.  They certainly look badass and seem to hint that there will be a lot of fighting in the movie.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Trailer

This has been a big week for news on the upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie.  The posters were released earlier this week and now the first teaser has come out.  Part of what makes this so interesting to me, is the introduction that Robert Downey Jr. gives for the movie.  If you pay attention you’ll see that he’s sporting the Tony Stark beard.  This makes sense since The Avengers is currently filming but its nice to see something tangible that proves it.

As for the new Sherlock Holmes movie, I am excited to see this.  However, the trailer doesn’t tell us much aside from the fact Holmes is pursuing a new case and Professor Moriarty is somehow involved.  There are some funny moments in the trailer one of which involves a main character in a dress.  Take a look, you won’t be disappointed.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Posters

I was a big fan of the first Sherlock Holmes movie that came out a couple years ago.  The film, directer by Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, was a a fun winter movie that I enjoyed a good deal.  I knew that a sequel was in the works, but had no idea that it was coming out on December 16th.

The big thing is that two posters have been released for the upcoming movie.  They don’t tell us anything, but they do look good.  However, rumors have been confirmed that Professor Moriarty will be the villain in the upcoming movie.  I for one will be checking it out.

Sherlock Holmes 2 Gets a Name

As I’ve mentioned before I’m a big fan of the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movie.  As such, I’ve been paying attention to a lot of the upcoming news on the new movie.  The movie releases on December 16, and the official title is Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

Doesn’t tell us much, but the title is suitably ominous.  Additionally,  a plot summary of the movie has come out.  Don’t worry, there’s no need to fear spoilers.

“Guy Ritchie helms a new action-packed adventure, following the world’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.), and his longtime trusted associate, Dr. Watson (Jude Law), as they match wits with their arch-nemesis, the criminal genius Moriarty (Jared Harris).”

Via: IGN

Sherlock Holmes 2

I’ll be the first to admit that I really enjoyed the first Sherlock Holmes movie directed by Guy Ritchie.  The biggest reason the first movie rocked is that Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law had a great dynamic as Holmes and Watson.  The folks over at Digital Spy have gotten the first picture from the set of the movie and I wanted to pass it along.  Really, it tells us nothing but I’m excited about the movie so it gives me an excuse to talk about it.  Enjoy!

Newest Iron Man 2 Trailer

Last night after the Academy Awards, Robert Downey Jr. went on the Jimmy Kimmel Show to show off the newest Iron Man 2 trailer.  And holy crap is it amazing or what?

Still doesn’t give away a large part of the plot, but there’s some amazing scenes to see.  This includes Stark’s Iron Man armor that deploys from a suitcase just like from the comics and cartoon.

In this second trailer we see Whiplash meeting Justin Hammer for the first time and eventually developing more of his robotic weapons.  And we get to see some of the Black Widow actually doing some fighting.  Finally, and quite possibly best of all some more clips from what looks to be the Iron Man and War Machine face off.  My favorite part of the trailer is the Stark and Nick Fury interaction.  I won’t give anything away, but when you see that clip you’ll laugh.  Basically, this trailer is great, and Jon Favreau looks to have made another good Iron Man movie.  The trailer is viewable and downloadable off of Apple’s site and I’ve embedded a HD copy of the trailer below.  Just remember this is trailer #2 if you look it up on your own.

Possible Tony Stark Cameo in Thor?

I don’t know if anyone watched the Golden Globe Awards last week, but if you did you may have noticed something interesting about Robert Downey Jr.  He’s grown out the Tony Stark goatee again so it’s a logical jump to think that he’s filming more as Tony Stark.

Robert Downey Jr. at the Golden Globes

There’s two possible reasons he’s brought back the Stark look.  First, he could be doing some reshoots for Iron Man 2.  This seems the most likely, but Paramount is denying that any Iron Man 2 reshoots are taking place.

The second possible alternative is that there is a Tony Stark cameo in the Thor film.  Thor is about to begin filming, so this lines up perfectly for RDJ to have his Stark look back in time for the cameo scene.  I’d say its likely, especially since we got a Tony Stark cameo in The Incredible Hulk.   If Stark cameos in Thor its continuing the trend of linking all the new Marvel films together, and personally I think thats great.

Sherlock Holmes Review

Over the Christmas Break I decided I was going to be antisocial for a while.  How’d I do that you might ask.  Simple I went out Christmas day to go see the new Sherlock Holmes movie.  I wasn’t the only one with this thought either, the movie theater was packed for the first showing of the day.  I was shocked that so many people had gone out for a movie Christmas day.  But I think they mad the right choice in what to go see.  Sherlock Holmes was a lot of fun and I’d recommend it to anyone.  There’s a nice blend of action and mystery so it ends up being a lot of fun to try to figure out what will happen next.  I enjoyed the movie so I though I would give you all a review of the movie, but without talking too much about the plot.  I’d hate to spoil the plot of the story since I enjoyed it so much.  I’d hate to give something away that takes away from the mystery.

First of all, the best part of this movie is Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes.  This should come to no surprise to anyone who has read my takes on Iron Man and RDJ, but I love RDJ’s work as an actor.  I thought his Tony Stark was hilarious and true to the character his work on Tropic Thunder was nothing short of hilarious.  Holmes like Stark is another character who is smarter than everyone else and he knows it.  It makes for some great moments and works to keep the supporting characters guessing what Holmes will do next.

When the first trailers for Sherlock Holmes came out, many people were upset claiming that Guy Ritchie was taking Sherlock Holmes and turning him into yet another action hero.  People were upset over the bare-knuckle brawling and excessive explosions in the trailer.  Simply put, some argued that this was not what Sherlock Holmes was about.

My response, they are wrong.  Sherlock Holmes is not the stoic detective many people believe him to be or how he was portrayed in some other movies/tv shows.  In the novels, he is known to partake in illegal drugs when investigating cases.  This includes things like morphine and cocaine.  Holmes appears to be a slob; he lives in a home covered in papers and manuscripts. In essence Holmes seems to live in a state of chaos.  He is infatuated with a woman named Irene Adler, the only woman to have ever impressed him.  Adler is played in the movie by Rachel McAdams.  Downey Jr. and McAdams play very well off each other in this movie and have some great witty banter.  Despite not knowing much about Adler’s backstory in the movie she fits in well with the overall plot.

As I’ve said Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic as Sherlock Holmes.  At times he approaches being over-the-top but is brought back to reality by Jude Law’s Dr. Watson.  Law’s Watson is desperately trying to set out on his own in the world.  At the beginning of the movie Watson mentions that he getting married and moving his offices out of 221 B Baker street.  However, his love of the adventure and of his ‘brother’ keeps him returning to Holmes’ current case.  It is obvious that he wants to do what he perceives is ‘right’ and spend more time with his fiance but at the same time cannot help himself when it comes to being involved in Holmes’ case and adventure.  Law does a great job of making that indecision viewable in many of Watson’s actions.  The core of Watson’s character comes shining through, simply out he is a man who loves his brother/best friend and will do anything for him whether it’s a good idea or not.

One of the nice things about this movie is that it was not an origin movie.  Its is expected that viewers at least have passing knowledge of the character.  Normally I wouldn’t really like this, but removing all the origin backstory makes for a better movie in this case.  We begin right with the mystery.  Holmes and Watson have solved numerous cases and that is what has added to and grown their bond.  This past allows the two characters to bicker almost like an old married couple and its hilarious to watch on screen.

There was talk of making Sherlock Holmes a new movie franchise, and honestly if the sequel is as good as this movie I’m all for a series of movies.  Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law have fantastic chemistry as Watson and Holmes and are a joy to watch together on-screen.  Their interaction and witty banter was half the fun of this movie.  At the core you could tell that both Law and Downey had found the core element of both characters, that being the bond of brotherhood between the two.  The end of the movie makes it obvious they are gunning for a sequel.  It’s a very minor spoiler, but the groundwork is laid for Holmes and Professor Moriarty to lock horns in the sequel.  Moriarty is described as being as smart as Holmes but much more ruthless.  At the very least, it would be fun to watch, assuming they can find the right person to play Moriarty.

If I had to rate the movie, it would be a solid 8.5/10.  I found it a lot of fun both action and mystery-wise.  If you’re looking for a movie to go see in the next couple weeks, check out Sherlock Holmes you won’t be disappointed.  And if you don’t believe me take a look at the last trailer that came out.

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