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May 27 2011

(SPOILER) Latino Review breaks possible MAJOR spoiler for The Avengers. If this pans out then it's pretty big.

That's disappointing. Why can't people keep stuff like that to themselves. Everyone's working so hard on the movie; it makes me sad people try to ruin that.
I'll hazard a guess that this sets him up for the sequel.
The same article is claiming that this film also involves Loki and Skrulls. Given all the exclusive Wonder Woman casting news we got from there (except for, ironically, the Latina girl who was ACTUALLY CAST), I'm not going to take this news particularly seriously.
Thanos WITH the Gauntlet is too big for the Avengers; they would be dead in two seconds.
Loki with the Cosmic Cube is too much for the Avengers.
I have to believe that all the omnipotent items will be scaled down in the movies, kinda like DC in past years made Superman the most powerful but no longer all-powerful.

[ edited by OneTeV on 2011-05-27 13:12 ]
I agree, but i see downscaling Loki with the cosmic cube more, lets call it, effective than using a downscaled Thanos with the Gauntlet. Maybe its just me, but...
This sounds like too much, how could they possibly fit all of this into a 2 hour runtime?
I'm skeptical - Joss isn't either dumb enough or locked-in by the studio enough (I hope) to go full Spiderman 3. If Thanos appears, it's in the stinger or the background. Or both.
He may be able to do Spidey 3 right, actually. Loki's already had an origin tale so only the Skrulls and arguably this guy need some sort of past before they can start fighting The Avengers quips abound. I'm not that comic book educated though, so it very well may be too much.
This movie needs an epic villain like Thanos. I'm looking forward to it!
Chris Nolan handled multiple villains effectively in both Batmans. I've no doubt Joss would be up to the task as well. Not saying I buy this rumor -- but if Joss did in fact choose to include all these villains, I think he probably has his reasons and they are probably good ones.

I'd be kinda surprised if Thanos is a big part of this though. I just don't see how he fits. And he's not really a central villain in the Marvelverse, so far as I can recall.

Does anyone know how reliable this source is?
Latino Review are fairly reliable in getting scoops.
Thanks Simon. I take it that means they're right more often than not but wrong sometimes.

I'm excited about Loki and the Skrulls, but not so much Thanos, so I kinda hope they're wrong this time.

Who else thinks that
I'm with eddy on this one. The Infinity Gauntlet storyline was a universe-wide arc spanning months of comics, if memory serves. There's no way they're cramming that into one film, and I don't think Joss would try. That much plot would come at the expense of the characters, IMO.
But Christopher Nolan only had one main hero, Batman. In the Avengers, you have to have all of your star players - Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk - get star screen time. But that's not all.

You need to explain how the Avengers get together.

You need to build up their relationships with each other so you have a real team dynamic.

You need to give sufficient time to your supporting cast, played by arguably bigger stars than, well, your stars, like Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, and Samuel L. Jackson.

And you need to introduce the villain you've already confirmed, Loki, and the Cosmic Cube thingy (non-initiates like myself have no clue what its deal is) to the heroes that aren't Thor, and give him sufficient motivation/screen time/etc.

And you need to have epic fight scenes that suit the scope of the film.

You have two hours, or maybe a little over, to do all of this. And do you really think it's plausible, at all, that this could be done AND introduce *TWO* villains who don't have the benefit of being in the mainstream collective consciousness due to Norse mythology? I'm intensely skeptical that even Joss could do this. And I still think more than well enough of him to think he knows that, though he made extraordinarily similar mistakes in Buffy S8. Or is it "especially?"

EDIT: This is the cast list that takes up the full first page of IMDB for the Avengers, without even getting into the "full cast and crew" section. It makes my case on its own pretty effectively.

Chris Hemsworth
Tom Hiddleston
Scarlett Johansson
Chris Evans
Robert Downey Jr.
Stellan Skarsgård
Jeremy Renner
Cobie Smulders
Samuel L. Jackson
Mark Ruffalo
Clark Gregg
Lou Ferrigno
Felicia Day

[ edited by goingtowork on 2011-05-27 16:20 ]
Lol Felicia Day isn't in the movie. So that's one character we don't have to worry about getting shafted.
I agree with the basic point that it's hard to see how Thanos could fit in here, which is partly why I'm hoping the rumor's not true. But if its true that he appears, I have faith that Joss can make it work -- Buffy Season 8 notwithstanding. Maybe he'll just be in the stinger to set up for a sequel, as you and Simon suggest. But maybe, just maybe, Joss will find a brilliant way to integrate a lot of characters and back stories without sacrificing character or plot.

Don't believe he can do stuff like that? Go see Serenity.
Eddy: IMDB is wrong on that one. Shouldn't have copied it. My bad.

Squishy: I love Serenity as much or possibly more than everyone else, but it's not a good comparison. The ship was already together, so there was no need for a "how they unite" storyline. There weren't nearly the same number of marquee actors who are most likely demanding screentime. Further, there are simply more centrally important characters in the Avengers than there were in Serenity. Finally, much as I love the Firefly characters, they don't have nearly the same established mythos as the Avengers given decades of comic history which needs to at least in part by dealt with.
I'm not sure we disagree much on the major points, but just to be a contrarian, I'll focus first on areas of disagreement.

The reason Serenity did not need much of a "how they unite" storyline was precisely because Joss -- efficient storyteller that he is -- made a narrative choice to have the ship "already together" and to use concise and effective flashbacks to address much of the backstory. Joss could use similar devices (or others) to efficiently handle the "how they unite" story in the Avengers, especially given that there has been at least some "how they unite" background in the individual hero movies. I'm not saying Joss'll choose not to focus on the Avengers unification story if he finds it interesting. The basic point is that Joss is exceptional at finding efficient ways to condense a lot into a story without mucking it up or making it incoherent (though he doesn't succeed every time, see, e.g., Buffy Season 8).

Also, I don't see involvement of numerous marquee actors necessarily impairing plot or character either, and would again cite the two Nolan Batmans as proof to the contrary. (Batman Begins had Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Gary Oldman, Tom Wilkinson, and Rutger Hauer, among others). See also, the X-Men 1 and 2 movies. Wonderful actors take small roles all the time, see, e.g., Marlon Brando in Superman. And the actors in the Marvel movies have much to gain by being cooperative, given this lucrative franchise of spinoffs and sequels, etc.

Finally, while I agree there are decades of mythos behind these characters, I don't see the characters themselves as terribly complex. To the contrary, the reason for the longevity of these heroes, and the reason they are so compelling, is that they embody very simple, universal conflicts and traits, which resonate among readers and viewers. I think Joss's characters in Firefly/Serenity resonate for similar reasons.

All that said, I think we don't really disagree much about the likelihood that Thanos will play a big part in this movie. I suspect he won't, because I (like you, I think) don't see how he really fits in with the rest. But if we're wrong, and he really is prominent, I part ways with you in thinking that Joss could not pull it off. I believe he could.

[ edited by Squishy on 2011-05-27 19:07 ]
You're right to point out that we agree on one main point - likely no Thanos - and disagree on the other - whether we'd be predisposed to thinking that an Avengers with Thanos (and the Skroo-whatsit things, don't forget a whole race of bad guys) would be a success. I also think your arguments are pretty compelling. I still think I'm right, though (this IS the internet, after all), and I'll try to explain why.

"How they unite:" The reason the sorts of devices you're describing probably wouldn't be as easy to use here as in Serenity is that the movies that have come before have all left the Avengers in very different places. Thor, for example, is stuck in Asgard. More importantly, at the end of Iron Man 2 Tony Stark is deemed "unfit" for participation in the Avengers by Black Widow and Nick Fury. That point, at least, will have explored in full, as it goes to the motivation of two other very important characters.

This is a structural difference between Serenity and the Avengers: in the former, its predecessor had already done the gruntwork on backstory, whereas the latter has explicitly been structured to build up to a "they unite!" storyline. There wasn't much backstory in Serenity, because 1) that ground had been tread in Firefly and 2) there wasn't much need for it given the story at hand. In the Avengers, 1) hasn't been done in previous films specific to team formation and 2) there is a clear need for it given that previous films had clearly set up barriers to team formation that need to be overcome on screen and as part of a character arc for Stark/Fury/Widow.

"Numerous Marquee actors:" The Nolan movies are a useful, albeit limited, comparison - useful with respect to the big actors in smaller roles, less so with respect to the point about the leads. Unlike in Batman, where there is one core defined lead, the Avengers have four lead heroes with nominally equal billing. The relationship between each of the characters and the group dynamic as a whole will be CRUCIAL to the movie succeeding. Though I have faith both in Joss as an excellent character actor and the Avenger actors as performers, it's just simply an issue that requires a lot of screen time. That's not particularly compatible with having THREE well developed villians (Loki, Thanos, and the Skreets).

As for individual characters, I dunno about how complex they are. I think that comic book fans (and, as my indifference to the actual name of the Skraps demonstrates, I am not one) would probably beg to differ. This is definitely the weakest argument, I made though. Honestly, it was kind of a throwaway.
You've gone a long way to persuading me that there are structural differences between the two that make unification story more important to the Avengers than it was to Serenity. You also make a fair point about the distinction between single leads and ensemble casts, though I'm not sure I agree that more screen time is required for the latter. I would merely conclude that each of the four leads will likely have to share the spotlight equally, not that they need four times as much screen time or some such thing. I agree your character complexity argument is the weakest, mainly because I myself am a comics fan and I don't beg to differ with me on this point.
And again, this whole discussion is probably academic because we both agree that the premise for it -- that Thanos will play a large part in the film -- is not likely true.

But if it is true, then I still believe Joss did this for a reason and will ultimately generate a great product. I also believe his work on Serenity supports this optimism, even though you're right that the two films aren't perfectly analogous.
Dammit, I was really hoping it would be Paste Pot Pete.
Lation Review's next scoop: "The Avengers" to have a theatrical runtime of over 4 hours, the director's cut rumored to be over 6.

But seriously. I don't know how much will be crammed into the movie, but I do trust in Joss. And in a wider sense I trust in the movie over all. I'll start placing bets on quality when I see the trailer, even though that can often be a crap shoot.

You can bet on the villain(s) of the movie being the reason the Avengers unite. Per the previous Marvel films, Fury is trying to put the team together already, but it's not together yet. The villain none of them can stop alone will be what does it, and you can bet that will be the real meat of the movie. This first movie will be all about what it takes to assemble a cohesive team of disparate super heroes.

Granted that's all my speculation.
Yes, I think that's dead on, and it's consistent with the dominant theme of The Avengers historically, as well as their famous catch phrase.

In the first Avengers comic (1962?) it was Loki who united the Avengers by tricking the Hulk into going all "hulk smash" on everyone (though Hulk talked like a normal person in those days) before joining the Avengers himself. I wonder if the film villains will similarly use Hulk as a weapon.
I have no worries about the number of characters on either side of the good/bad equation here. In the hands of a good writer/director, it's just more cool equipment in the big playground. In the hands of a bad writer/director, it doesn't matter how few or many pieces of a puzzle he's got to work with, the end result will probably be pretty bad. I would point out the second X Men film vs the third for a fine example of this phenomenon (not to put Singer on par with Joss, but he hit on all cylinders with X2). If Joss has Thanos, Kingpin, Dr. Doom and *crosses fingers* The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in there, he'll have a good reason for all of 'em, and they'll all move the story and character development along in harmony with everything else going on.
Maybe Felicia Day has a cameo as Land Shark?

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