Posts Tagged ‘Captain America’

I’m happy for Joss Whedon, after hearing the announcement he’ll write and direct Avengers 2. I like to see a geek inherit the Earth.

But I worry about the franchise in general. Whedon has a tendency to make his villains too comfortable around the heroes. Considering he worked with vampires so long, I’m surprised how quickly he removes his villains’ teeth and makes them just ordinary guys and gals. Perhaps he just likes villains better, like Dr. Horrible. But I’m afraid that, in Avengers 2, Loki will be joining the heroes for a shawarma dinner.

Which one is better?

In the beginning… Later on…
Spike from Buffy Dangerous. You never knew what side he was on. Just kind of hung around because he had nothing else to do.
Danger from X-Men Living embodiment of the Danger Room. Coolest and most deadly new villain in the mutant titles. Just kind of hung around and poked fun of the heroes because she had nothing else to do.

Also:

“The Avengers” fixed the problems of the Marvel prequels

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/the-avengers-fixed-the-problems-of-the-marvel-prequels/

Editing mistake in Dark Knight Rises:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/a-mistake-in-dark-knight-rises/

 

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At one point during The Avengers, I suddenly realize that here I am, in a big screen theater, full of people, watching a live action Thor and Iron Man fight. And it’s good.

Decades of comic book movies have brought us to this point: Where we can have high budget movies with A-list actors and directors bring our comics to the screen for the mass audience.

Sure, there have been some bumps along this road. But Marvel’s The Avengers paved over a lot of them.

Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts had more charisma in five minutes of screen time than in the previous two movies put together. (But why was she dressed like that?)

Chris Evans stopped being a boy in man’s clothes who didn’t emote (like how he was throughout the whole Captain America movie) and started being the take-charge man of principle that we all know he is.

The Hulk looked less like a cartoon, and more like a big, green Mark Ruffalo (This is a good thing). Ruffalo did a good job playing the conflicted Bruce Banner, and you could see in every scene that he’s trying to hold it together. I think Edward Norton could have done it well, too, but these things happen.

Black Widow was given something to do. Instead of just slinking around and kicking people, she was the brains of the operation in a way that Stark and Banner couldn’t be.

I should add here that I liked all of the previous movies, but The Avengers became the rug that really tied the room together.

Joss Whedon’s fingerprints were all over this thing. The bickering. The long stretches of dialogue. The humor.

There were times when a few characters are talking, then it switches to another scene where a few characters are talking, and then another. Compare that to the X-Men movies, where there’s a few minutes of dialogue and then someone is attacked. It was a welcome change, with all the testosterone flowing around, for people to have intelligent, character-revealing dialogue.

I’m very happy for Whedon. He helmed a very large, very expensive, and very high profile project and he did it well. However, I do NOT want him to direct any sequels. Whedon has a tendency to get too familiar with his characters, rendering villains harmless and heroes little more than people who just hang out together.

The plot was paper-thin, when compared to what Loki attempted in the Thor movie. But, this movie was all about bringing the heroes together, and there might not have been room for an overly elaborate villain plot. That’s debatable. The heroes spent almost as much time fighting each other. That may have been the plot, actually.

Loki was a bit too brutish with some of his combat. I don’t see him as the type to bring down helicopters with an energy weapon while riding on the back of a truck. He is the master of illusion. However, maybe his fight was just a ruse. As you see later, when he gets caught.

There was a hint of romantic subplot that may happen at some point, but there was no burden of forced romance when there are a bunch of big storylines running around.

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So, I’m very psyched for a sequel, although I have no idea how they’re going to top the villain they introduced (I saw it coming, for the record!) for the eventual part 3.

Superheroes are supposed to be sexy…right…?

On the cover of today’s Entertainment Weekly, there was one Avenger who I didn’t recognize: Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner.

Banner is supposed to be a 90-pound weakling, someone that bullies kick sand at before he discovers Atlas. The physicality is part of his character – the Hulk acts out the things Banner can’t or won’t. He wasn’t lucky enough for a super soldier serum like Captain America’s Steve Rogers. He goes crazy instead.

But the cover of the magazine has Ruffalo sporting this come hither pose, as cheesy as a Ben Stiller Zoolander. I had to laugh a little. I guess he needed to compete with the other hunks in the movie. (When I went to see Thor, the ticket taker said to me “Chris Hemsworth…definitely worth the price of admission.”)

This is definitely one of those cases where I had already heard of the story, and that ruins the surprise. But I probably wouldn’t have been so eager to read it had I not known what the story was.

 

For spoilers sake, I’ll leave out as much as I can.

 

The book contains stories about all the different Scourges. If you’re like me, you thought there was just one. Honestly, they should have stopped at one.

 

The original Scourge was a vigilante who gunned down costumed villains. He didn’t just go after B- and C-listers. He actually went for Kraven and Hobgoblin, but they got away. The B- and C-listers like Miracle Man weren’t so lucky, probably because the writers saw less potential in them for future stories.

 

My biggest surprise was that the storyline crossed over into so many books. Often it was just one page. Villain shows up. Bang. Justice is served. The worst issue in the series was in The Thing, where Ben Grimm, Miracle Man and Scourge are all on the same bus.

 

The best issue in the series has him going after Hobgoblin in Spider-Man’s book. Flash Thompson was just unmasked as the Hobgoblin, even though it turns out to be a trick, so Spidey’s got to protect him from Scourge. These big crossovers tend to be awkward when they sprawl into other books, but this was a real strong way to tie in to the current Spider-Man story seamlessly.

 

Usually, when you read an older book, it’s a bit dated. Here, not too much felt old, surprisingly. I think the only thing that was glaring was that during this era Steve Rogers made his living as an artist drawing the Captain America comic book. Seriously. I don’t think this would have flown these days. Not with a character like Cap. If Peter Parker was an artist and not a photographer, then I definitely could see Marvel hiring him to draw Spider-Man. Then he’d have to draw Spidey being a bumbling fool or be told by his editor “You’re drawing him too muscular! Everyone knows Spider-man is a weakling!”

 

The entire storyline was very well done, and could have created a villain with a great future. But, the ending was perfect.

 

The later Scourge stories were less exciting. Once writer Mark Gruenwald said that there was a Scourge program, and that once one was defeated, another took his place, it started to get old. An organization like this is interesting. But I think an individual acting alone is much more interesting. The later stories tended to be retreads of the old story. I guess that’s the way it is with comics. If you like it once, they’ll try it again over and over until you don’t like it anymore. They played with the toy until it broke.

 

Several people took on the identity of Scourge over the years, mostly with the same motive. One notable stand-out was that Red Skull had hired someone to be a Scourge to take out his competition. Unfortunately, we don’t see much of this Scourge’s exploits in this book.

 

Also unfortunately, in the copy I read, the title on the cover and spine of the graphic novel read “SCOURGE of the underwolrd.” Nice job, Marvel editors. Still, it wasn’t as bad as an X-Men collection I read. There were character bios in the back, and they were completely unedited. There was actually a note from the editor to the writer (Write about this for 3 or 4 lines…) that went to print.

WHAT I LEARNED: If you’ve got a good story, know when to end it. I often retread the same thing over and over again. If it can be done once, why not again? Because it’s boring. That’s why not.