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May 08 2012

How much screen time did each hero get in The Avengers? Vulture does their best to find out. The findings may surprise you.

Renner may have had little screen time, but he mastered the time he was given. The final shot of him in sunglasses standing in front of Loki, smiling that knowing smile, as if to say “You may be getting off this time, but I will own you.” Epic.

Red ledger indeed.

[ edited by Hera on 2012-05-08 14:05 ]

[ edited by Hera on 2012-05-08 14:07 ]
Who else was unsurprised by the surprising fact that Black Widow came out with 33:35 mins? Or am I just being a cliché right now?
I wonder how much screentime Loki had.... I might actually time it during my second viewing tonight haha
Actually I'm surprised that the screen time ended up as even as it did, if I had had to guess I would have thought it was way heavier for Ironman and Banner/Hulk (and light on everyone else). It seems to me that Joss was pretty even handed. Probably Hawkeye could have used a few more minutes, but I'm not sure where you would have put them (maybe struggling harder against being Loki's minion in the first place? That would have given his enslavement more pathos).

I wonder how much screen time Nick Fury and Phil Coulson got?
I was unsurprised by Black Widow getting so much quality time. Her arc for the movie is exxxcellent.

It really puts Iron Man 2 to shame how much character development Joss packed into Black Widow's screen time in the already packed-full-to-the-gills Avengers.

I definitely noticed Thor getting a little less screen time. Of all the major hitters, he felt the least complete. I was hoping for one more significant Asgardian brothers moment in the aftermath of Loki's defeat -- but I imagine Joss thought he'd leave that juicy stuff for Thor 2.

[ edited by Emmie on 2012-05-08 15:14 ]
I'm surprised that Hawkeye's total was so low. He seemed to be around a lot. I suppose that because he was on the other side for half the film that reduced his screentime as we followed the team assembling.
To me, Iron Man, Bruce Banner and Black Widow seemed to have the most presence in the film.

Captain America's screen time makes sense considering how Joss has said he wanted to use him as the audience's way into The Avengers, but I wouldn't have guessed it. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot more Captain America scenes show up in the deleted footage.
I think Cap's the heart of the film in a really understated way. For all the characters talking about sentiment, he's the living embodiment of it 24/7. He doesn't need to say the words "sentiment" or "old-fashioned" as he's breathing it into every scene.

[ edited by Emmie on 2012-05-08 15:29 ]
I think the deleted scenes are predominately Cap. I think the "me" Joss took out was all that stuff. He visits an old Peggy Carter in one scene, I think?
All these interesting facts have been great but what I really want to know is how much sales of shawarma have increased.
Looks like Whedon realized he needed to give one of the film’s two strong female characters lots of talk time.

Err ..yea, 'cause Joss is so new to strong female characters that he had to "realize" it while writing this movie.

Oh boy...

That aside, nice idea to break this down. Would've liked more Hawkeye and even more Black Widow and Banner.
Err ..yea, 'cause Joss is so new to strong female characters that he had to "realize" it while writing this movie.

Less nitpicky and obnoxious is better... Everyone understands what they meant, being like that just makes you come across as a douche...
I think Joss really understands the old show biz concept of "always leave them wanting more...".
Don't judge Iron Man 2 unfairly (not for that, anyway, it's a pretty crummy movie in general). The plot is structured around not really revealing just what she was capable of until she is plowing through the hallway with Favreau gawking -- it was built for the naive audience who had no idea who Natasha Romanoff was.

I wish there had been more for Thor, I really like Hemsworth in that role. But he did get one of the best laugh lines and by far the biggest "OOOOOhhhhhhh" in the audience I was in -- you know which hit.

I sure hope Cap visited an old Peggy Carter, whether they actually shot it or not. Poor guy... he had a date. I was probably more wary of how Joss would write Cap than any other factor, because his "he is Captain Hammer" comment made me grit my teeth. Captain America is the unironic real mccoy, he's not a clever in-joke about how much conventional superheroes suck, and I was terrified that there would be overtones of that. I was very pleased and appreciative that Joss didn't make Rogers a subtly undermined punchline. It actually makes me wonder how good a Joss' Superman flick could be if he kept himself likewise in check.

I had the same thought about "shawarma", I was wondering if it would turn out to be a trending topic on twitter after this weekend. I still wonder, though -- do you think they got comped for that meal?

EDIT: I don't know if Cap is the real heart of the movie, I think it still ultimately follows Tony more than anyone -- his arc is to prove he is what Steve flat out tells him to his face he isn't. He does end up laying on a wire for his buddies to crawl over. I kinda wonder if there are deleted scenes that get into the Howard Stark connection, Steve judging the son as wanting.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2012-05-08 16:02 ]

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2012-05-08 16:02 ]
Djungelurban - cool it on the insults.
Besides, shouldn't Thor be Captain Hammer if anything?
I was VERY pleasantly surprised with the time and energy devoted to The Black Widow. Hers was (IMHO) the BEST introduction scene, and given her shortage of superhero cred when juxtaposed with Thor and The Hulk, I was very happy to see she had greater screen time. I also think hers was the cleanest arc, and her story was handled beautifully. I love the bits about her ledger - so subtle, yet so illustrative. And all her scenes with the Hulk, her fear was just PALPABLE. When Banner first slams his arms on the table, the look on her face... damn.

I do think Thor got shorted, given that he's got his own movie coming in. Banner didn't have or need much more screentime, but his was arguably the biggest impact.
Captain America is the unironic real mccoy, he's not a clever in-joke about how much conventional superheroes suck, and I was terrified that there would be overtones of that. I was very pleased and appreciative that Joss didn't make Rogers a subtly undermined punchline. It actually makes me wonder how good a Joss' Superman flick could be if he kept himself likewise in check.

Yes, Joss is known for being unable to hold himself back from flippant handling of genuine, honest characters :). Oh, wait...
Uh, I didn't say "he is Captain Hammer" for him, he said it himself, and it is a legitimate reason to question how much respect for the character he had. The guy had to be in the movie, but he could have been at the periphery and barely relevant, or had an arc about realizing how silly his earnestness is, etc.

I can't really find when Joss had already already written a stalwart-and-true-real-american-hero type character without subverting him on which I could have hung any concern on my part. Everytime Angel trended that way he was undercut. Riley existed to show that image as one of a man rather floundering and struggling to keep up with the flow of things, always a step behind the plot. Captain Hammer is an explicit mockery of it. Mal is the antithesis. And Buffy herself is not really much like that Captain America persona at all -- I mean, she's the closest in his resume. Maybe one could argue Curt, but, no, that aspect gets deconstructed along with everything else. None of the X-Men are really in that mold, nor the Runaways. So... this was pretty much, that I can think of, the field test of whether or not Joss could take that kind of character seriously and have it turn out well. And he did.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2012-05-08 17:22 ]
@KoC: When did Joss say "he is Captain Hammer"? In what context? Joss says lots of things. He has also referred to actors as "meat puppets", and pointed out that brilliant creative people need to be "slapped down". But given the context in each case, I suspect he really didn't mean them. Or at least, he meant them only in a specific capacity.

In most interviews I've read, he has respect for Cap. He also acknowledges that if it isn't done exactly right, it does fall into parody. And writing a parody of Cap is easier and a lot funnier.

You mention undercutting Angel. I had a different view on that. Joss was undercutting the *image* of perfection, and the idea that if someone is good then they must *always* be right (even when they are not). (Plenty of examples from people that fanatically supported either Bush or Obama.) But the undercutting allows Angel to be more heroic, not less, because the struggle is greater.

And it makes him more sympathetic. In one of the interviews linked to from here, Evans was worried that the "flying monkeys" joke would make Cap look like a doofus. Joss assured him that it would cause people to relate to Cap's confusion in the modern world.
King of Cretins, what about Cyclops in his X-Men comicbook run? I thought he did a brilliant job of making boyscout Scott Summers interesting without turning him into someone completely different.
OneTeV: About the Captain Hammer/America thing, this is what found when I googled it:

It's just Joss answering questions, some silly, and it seems like a joke response. Is that where KingofCretins got it?
The Captain Hammer thing was definitely just a joke.

As for the shawarma thing...
I had shawarma for dinner last night. Wasn't really thinking about the Avengers when I ordered it, but was by the time I was done. Went home and added it to my list of Whedon-y cuisine, along with the capsicle, next to lentils (completely incomprehensible), Mudders' Milk, and the Doublemeat Medley.
KofC - I don't think anyone said that you were the one that said it... My comment was just for silliness, because... Thor has a hammer... and for a brief second during viewing #2 it totally crossed my mind.

If the reddit is where you got it, then yeah, that wasn't serious. If it had been, it totally would have been a valid concern going in, but since like you said, he turned out great, I didn't really have anything to comment on that...

Also I think Riley is that character. I think he floundered and struggled when it turned out his belief in the initiative gets crushed, but I think 'As You Were' clearly shows him back at his boyscout capacities...
The interesting comparison between Cap and Riley is this idea of being the golden-boy soldier with old-fashioned morals, struggling to honor a mission in a world that's decreasingly black and white. A less obvious (for obvious reasons) parallel could be drawn between Tony and Spike - the snarky rockstars who appear to fight for their own best interests, but who ultimately demonstrate greater altruism and heroics than anyone expects of them.
Yeah, that was my one major disappointment of the film, how little emphasis there was on Thor (his movie was my favorite coming into The Avengers). I thought, since his brother was the villain, he would have more of a major role. Oh, well, at least I have Thor 2 to look forward to, and Hemsworth's other films to tide me over until then!
Hemsworth is coming to Philadelphia in about three weeks, so I'll get to see the real thing in person!

If people watched the Entertainment Weekly roundtable videos of the cast, Joss talks about Captain America in the context of the thinking of his time (during WWII), and in the movie, a conversation between Coulson and Cap concluded with Coulson saying "I think we need a little old fashioned," tells me that Joss saw Captain America as the moral center or heart of the group. The character was neither a demigod, or a millionaire, playboy, philanthropist. He was just an average guy who wanted to "fight the good fight" against Hitler. He was more in touch with the average person than the others (except for maybe Bruce Banner), and thus (as with Buffy), he was us.

See 'Avengers': Watch EW's exclusive interview with the trash-talking superhero cast, and puny human Joss Whedon -- VIDEO - the first video.
I highlighted and right-clicked the word shawarma in wasabi17's post and did a Bing search. Shawarma has its own wikipedia page. Scroll down to Regional Variations and check out the United States info. Too funny. Looks like it's been updated in the last day or so.
Must have been, because I checked out Wikipedia right after I came home from the movie on Sunday, and there was no United States listing. :)

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