Posts Tagged ‘thor’

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/

 

Advertisements

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.

Image

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.

Even if you don’t like Thor, you will go see it because you want to know what’s happening in the Avengers movie.

This is a trick comic companies have been doing for years: You only buy Uncanny X-Men, but they want you to also buy X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, Generation X, Astonishing X-Men, Wolverine and Dazzler. So, they parse the story up and put a page or two into every title, forcing you to buy it.

Now, just think of it as a multi-million dollar film deal. They want you to watch each one, so they put Samuel L. Jackson into all of them, and spread the storyline around a bit, and then you’re hooked.

That said, it was a good movie.

Acting was solid. Costumes. Sets (except the New Mexico town seemed like it was built in the literal middle of nowhere).

Loki’s plot was good. He had me guessing. And he was a well-rounded character, not what I’d expect. Also, I appreciate that his plot wasn’t a MacGuffin. He had a real motivation, and it was layered.

The only issue was there was a bit of a reality problem. Like I said in:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/super-hot-super-genius/

I just don’t buy the idea of a beautiful young single scientist who just so happens to be in the right place at the right time. Maybe there are hundreds of young, gorgeous scientists who are busy chasing storms, spelunking volcanoes and exploring ancient ruins. Anyway, half of the movie is in Asgard, which has a lot of digital animation. And the other half is on Earth, with this relationship that’s blossoming between a scary stranger and a brilliant scientist who turns into a 13-year-old schoolgirl every time the Thunder God smiles in her direction.

I asked my friend Michelle, one of the people I saw it with, if she thought it was too weird. She didn’t think so. My reason for asking is that most super hero movies to date have been pretty grounded. Ideas like mutants and radioactive spider powers introduced slowly and carefully. Then, we have the 9 realms, Asgardians, Destroyer, the Warriors Three, Heimdall (who kicked ass) and the Rainbow Bridge. And…wow…is this too much for people to swallow?

Granted, maybe this movie isn’t for grandma and grandpa. Unless your grandpa is Stan Lee.

It helped that Sif and the others were pretty one-dimensional to begin with. You’re not really going to get into the mind of Fandral or Volstagg. That’s OK. You got enough of them to know their motivations, and not to get them confused with other characters in armor.

It’s worth seeing, if you can suspend disbelief about gods and about awkward romance blooming. Especially if you want to see Avengers.

Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”

I make silly videos and post them here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

I was never much of a Thor fan. I like the character all right, but all that “thou” and “zounds” got really hard to read. But what’s worse is the continuity. It’s hard enough to learn of the Norse mythology, but then it’s blended and mixed in with half a century of Avengers and other stories.

So the lesson here: If you’re going to borrow a mythology, either stick to it 100% or just take a few things and ignore the rest.

Because continuity is a huge wall to a new reader. Add a complex second backstory – mythology – and you’ve just built the wall higher.

Anyway, the trailer was good and bad.

It gave me a few small chills. I liked that this is a story of Thor’s redemption. In the comics Thor is a blowhard and only sees things in black and white. But I never really thought of him as a problem child. But yeah, he got tossed from Asgard. He’s like Lucifer, except it didn’t turn out the same. I wonder if Thor and Mephisto ever had a talk about that.

Other good things: The actor (despite the guyliner) looked the part. He’s an unknown, which is good. It’s directed by Kenneth Branagh, which is a curious choice. The costume and hammer all look good, and even Loki’s horns don’t look ridiculous. I was able to guess that certain characters were Fandral, etc. just with a second of screen time. And Jesus Christ, Destroyer?

I’m guessing that SHIELD guy bites it. He’s done amazingly well for a nobody character who I thought was an extra until the very end of Iron Man.

The Bad:

It isn’t really Bad as unexpected. Maybe I was the only one who was imagining this, but I wanted this movie to be more of a sword and sorcery epic. But the trailer shows explosions. Loud music. Thor knocking through an unending supply of generic guys in black.

It looked like every other super hero movie trailer. Maybe that was the editor’s fault. Maybe Branagh is purposely trying to ape comic book movies for fun. Or maybe he was told to do it. Or Marvel is trying to cash in on what made Iron Man tons of money. (Charismatic bad guy’s path to redemption littered with badder bad guys and rock music.)

Super hero movies have become a genre at best, and a formula at worst. Let’s try to make each one different.