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April 27 2012

(SPOILER) Discuss 'The Avengers' - round two. It's out now in even more countries.

The previous discussion thread can be found here.

I watched it last night. Twice.

This is it, fellas. This is the comic-book movie. As I've said before, Nolan's batmovies are GREAT movies based on a comic-book character. Avengers just goes beyond that. It recreates a comic-book on the big screen. Everyone brought their A game, particularly Joss. The snark, the drama, the horror, the action. Oh, Zod, the ACTION. I went in there with expectations through the freakin' roof, and, somehow, it delivered more than I expected.

I honestly feel like those people must've felt back in 1980 after The Empire Strikes Back. I need to watch this again, a few times. There goes my paycheck...
I just want to say, THAT Loki/Hulk scene towards the end made me cry with laughter. I'd never cried with laughter before in my life.
@gossi "Puny god" was EVERYTHING.
Is it really not obvious that Alexis Denisof is in it?
If he's in it, I didn't see him at all.
@Simon When I read his name in the credits I couldn't believe it at all.
All indications seem to be that he does the voice over for the chief alien henchman but I haven't seen anything conclusive about it.
Me neither... But he is there somewhere, isn't he?
Saw it for the second time yesterday and loved it even more.
I was a little disappointed by the cinematography the first time, but I managed to look beyond that this time and concentrate more on how Joss used the camera. There are some some exceptional shots in this movie.

I'm also curious to hear what you think of the score. I think Alan Silvestri did a decent job but I was expecting something more epic, more memorable. The main theme is not bad but he could have gone a lot further in my opinion.

It's my only real complaint with the movie, I was so happy with it that I kept smiling afterwards.

I can also tell you that the reception in France is very good. The press is pretty unanimous (which is kind of rare). Even the more serious, old school critics have said some very nice things about Joss and the movie, I was pleasantly surprised.

[ edited by Liam12 on 2012-04-27 19:49 ]
Just got back from seeing it in 3D. Fuckity-Do-Dah.

So cute, at my showing, a little boy with HULK hand gloves did little HULK leaps of excitement as he left the cinema. Yeah. I very nearly joined in. Brilliant.

Mr Jossir, achievement most definitely unlocked. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
If I ever find the executive who's responsible for me waiting another week to see a film that the rest of my friends are discussing weeks in advance...
@azzers I know, but if it's any consolation you get an additional Stinger, if the rumours are to be believed.
Folks reading spoiler threads - you will get spoiled.
@viewingfigures You mean the extra scene RDJ and Ruffalo said they were shooting?
I loved it! so much, I can't even begin to express how awesome it was.
Loki remains my absolute favourite character.
@superboy13 Aye.
Alyson Hannigan tweeted about Alexis' role in the film...
If Joss just wrote dialogue for Tony Stark for the rest of his life, I think that would be okay.

Edit - I have more things to say thus:

I think I am going to go see it again which is pretty rare for me. Looking forward to seeing Johansson, RDG and Ruffalo again, who I think were the pretty clear stand outs. Is three too many?

I don't normally enjoy superhero films - I typically want to go to a cinema to cry or feel bad about humanity, but I am pretty excited to be seeing The Avengers again. My audience at the first showing I saw were awful. There was laughter during the death scene, I was not impressed.

[ edited by insistondoubt on 2012-04-27 20:58 ]
I heard some people who thought Cap was tipping Nick Fury when he first got on the Helicarrier... I thought it was pretty clear that he was paying the $10 bet from the gym, right?
Yes. People read that as racism? Oh dear...
People have to be told something an average of 8 times before they remember it (I read a research paper on it), so chances are some people didn't get it.
@gossi - I'm not actually reading anything spoilerish. That was my "quick-hit" annoyance post. And then I just scanned a few after if anyone responded just so I wouldn't seem rude. I'll be back re-reading when the film is finally released.
some people who thought Cap was tipping Nick Fury when he first got on the Helicarrier...

This moment got me confused for a couple of seconds, too; then I remembered about the bet.
HOLY MOTHER OF JOSS! I think this is how watching Star Wars in 1977 felt like! History in the making, I just witnessed to not only the best comic book movie ever, but one of the best movies I've ever watched. Flawless character devolpment, awesome Whedon-y dialog. And what an awesome ending! Well done, Joss, well done. Now people will start beleving what I'm telling them since 98, Joss is the best creator in the business. Joss is GOD!
Funny how it starts the way Buffy ended. That portal might as well have gone straight through to Sunnydale.
There's no "additional stinger" by the way. There's one after the visual portion of the credits, but nothing after the full credits have rolled. I watched all the way to the end.
Oh, forgot to mention this in the other thread. Never have I related with a character more than the moment Tony Stark made the big dramatic save and "Shoot to Kill" started playing over everyone's ear piece thingies.

[ edited by Jackal on 2012-04-27 23:52 ]
It is kind of sad, that it is not possible to watch "The Avengers" in 2D around here(Berlin). 3D is so expensive.
I watched it on thursday and loved it. Hulk was awesome. All the characters were much more likeable than in their own movies. Even Gwyneth Paltrow's part was more likeable this time.
There were a couple of the-whole-theatre-is-laughing-moments.
I wished Natalie Portman made a surprise-cameo, but nevermind.
It's fantastic.
I'd place it alongside The Dark Knight and Kick-Ass as one of the best superhero movies of all time. And this is the first one to be this great without trying to separate itself from the comics or deconstruct the genre. There have been some good ones, but this one stands out.
And on top of that, the Hulk works. That's a feat in and of itself. The Hulk is difficult. Usually Banner is interesting and the Hulk is just anticlimactic. Not here. In the Avengers, the Hulk is very satisfying, and also hilarious.
Joss nailed it. As did the cast. I hope they'll all be back for a sequel.
I believe Alexis Denisof is THANOS, who appeared at the end after the credits, promising a pretty awesome sequel.
This was an impossible film to make, without ending up an incoherent mess. Yet, Joss has some how pulled it off.

I was a little unsure early on. The opening sequence was okay and intro to the various soon-to-be Avengers was a little slow. Then Tony Stark appeared and everything was okay. It just got better and better from there.

The standout has to be Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner/Hulk, particular during the final act. Thumping Thor and the "Puny God" scenes were just fantastic, and had the whole cinema in hysterics.

They all got their chance to shine though, particularly Black Widow, which shouldn't of come as a surprise really.

It was certainly the best of the Marval films by a long way, as even the best of them (Captain America and Iron Man) suffered from poor final acts, something that definitely could not be levelled at this. Best comic book film? I'm not so sure.

There were some ideas early on, which I assumed would be followed through with, but came to an abrupt end after the heavy handed Stuttgart sequence. There is also the issue of the alien race having zero explanation. Perhaps they mean something to readers of the comics, but as someone who knows nothing of the source material I was left entirely in the dark. Similarly, the previously mentioned problem of Hulk suddenly being less rampaging in the final act was pretty jarring.

The Cabin in the Woods probably remains my favourite Whedon project of the year, but this was a worthy contender. I still loved it.
Tut tut, there's room for both! Just call CithW the best Whedon project of 2010 and Avengers the best one this year
Watched it. Twice (will be going with friends a third time tomorrow). Glad I did so, cause I was able to appreciate different aspects of it. And the 2nd viewing was in a fully packed IMAX screen, in which people even applauded at the end of it. Seeing "A Joss Whedon Film" on screen brought me chills

One thing that clearly came to mind was how many different elements that did occur commonly from other Whedon projects, were reminiscent during Avengers, and were elements that felt organic to the movie.

The movie was funny, funny at parts, that I would only be funny in Whedon shows.

The scharma (sp??) thing reminded me of when Buffy, Willow and Xander set up a visit to the mall right before the final battle from Chosen, or Fury dealing with the council was just like dealing with the Watcher's Council.

All the pieces fit, and it didn't felt like a crowded movie, and it does set stage for the next phase of Marvel projects.

I was so happy that there was the shady side from what we assumed were the good guys. And Tony Stark is the embodiment of "I aim to misbehave".

I've tweeted a lot about the score of the movie. I haven't changed too much my opinion about Silvestri's score, it was an appropriate score for the movie, it just wasn't very memorable or iconic. However, the Avengers hero theme really grew on me, it does remind me of the theme for the 1st two seasons of Justice League.

During my 2nd watch I was reminded of some of the comments and criticisms that did circulate on the web way before the premiere. I remember reading criticism that the movie wasn't "cinematic" enough. Did we watch the same movie? I'm so glad that Joss never resorted to shaky cams (which is an acceptable way to shoot movies in certain circles), or if there was, it was barely noticeable, and very organically integrated to the rest of the movie. It didn't feel like a tv show being shot for the big screen. I did see a lot of the same angles and types of shots that Joss also used in Serenity, but in no way those felt like something out of the medium.

There were rumors that the movie would be seen through the eyes of Steve Rogers, which I don't think happened that much. Yes, we did see more flashback from him, and we did see the extended version of the Coda scene we had in Captain America, but even when he took charge of the team in the end, it didn't feel forced, or that unbalanced the movie. Actually, Phil Colson, was in my opinion the heart of the movie, I was so distracted by the set up, that when I should've been expecting it, when things went to route of "leaf in the wind", I was caught by surprise during the 1st watch. And when Tony tells Loki, that he also made Phil angry, it made me cry both times.

The Chitauri and their look. I'm aware that the race originates from the Ultimate Universe, more specifically the Ultimate series (which volume??), but considering that I've only read like the 1st 3 issues of the 1st Ultimates volume, I don't think I'm familiar with them. However look-wise, and even from the one who talked, they actually reminded me of Ord and the Breakworld people from Joss' run on Astonishing X-Men. I didn't mind at all that they were mostly blank, we're just going to hit things creatures of the movie, without more set-up than a name. The way potential next threat was set-up during the final scene of the movie, I think that having being mostly a blank race during it, is understandable, with so many other things that were happening on-screen. I don't think that giving them some personality or even goals, would have increased my appreciation towards the movie, I even worry if that would have ended up as something distracting from the rest of the movie. In the end, I just concluded, they were mindless (mostly), because that was part of Thanos' plans for them.

The Alexis Denisof role. I was so surprised to find that name in the credits (we've been aware of Enver's cameo ever since the set photos from NYC shoot were leaked, but Alexis was a new one), but had a hard time figuring his role. I assume (and according to some comments above seems to agree) that he played the talking Chitauri. Wonder if we'll get a chance to confirm that information. I tried paying attention to the pronunciation of that characters during the 2nd watch, but it was impossible to discern whether that was Alexis.

When the end of the Summer comes, this will be THE Comic Book movie, while DKR will probably be the more grounded in reality one.

The zone of plot speculation.

I could babble on and on and on about this movie...but everyone else has, so I'll just cut to the chase: Great stuff. Just great. Tightly plotted, not a single inessential scene, every character is important and gets multiple big moments, it's terribly funny, it's terribly exciting, it has maybe the best climax of any action movie I can think of. Joss, you done good.

Also, Hulk being more in control the second time made perfect sense to me. It's already been established that Banner had learned to control his transformations, but it had been a year since he'd Hulked out, and being pushed into it after an argument with the group and a shocking explosion was terrible. He was the enormous green rage monster. The second time, it was his choice. He knew what he was doing.
So, anyone wanna get some shoarma?
I haven't seen the movie yet, but I've seen the mid-credits scene several times (it was leaked online). From what I can tell Alexis plays the Chitauri leader who is talking to Thanos. Thanos doesn't speak, so I assume he is just CGI and that's why no one is credited as him. But the Chitauri DOES speak, so I think that is Alexis. (And you can see his mouth while he is speaking at one point, and when he says the word 'court' it looks like him, but I could have just seen what I wanted to see). The Avengers wiki now has a 'The Other' page, saying that the Other is the Chitauri leader as well (and also makes it sound like he had another scene in the movie, but I haven't read that anywhere else).


[ edited by mossome on 2012-04-28 08:37 ]
@daylight Just to be clear. I meant that the rumours of a second Stinger, are for the American release of the movie, which has yet to happen. I was responding to azzers complaint that the US has to wait longer than other territories. Again it is only a rumour.


@unpluggedcrazy I agree with your assessment of the HULK and his control/lack of control of his abilities. Black Widow specifically states that at that point he is being manipulated by Loki.

Also regarding the general point of the Chitauri being faceless, this bothered me not one iota, I never had that problem with the Stormtroopers in Star Wars and I didn't have that concern here either. They were Loki's army, and within the context of the story, that was all the explanation I required.

[ edited by viewingfigures on 2012-04-28 10:57 ]
I was really worried going into this film that my expectations were just going to be too high to be met, but thankfully my expectations were met in full. I think it is up there as one of the best comic book movies of all time (and certainly the best of the Marvel Studios movies).

You really do have to take your hat off to Joss, to keep that many plates spinning in the one film, with every main character getting their chance to shine and no character coming to dominate the others was a great achievement. Also the fact that the over 2 hour long running time never felt bloated or stretched out is a fantastic thing.

Like nearly everybody else I've talked to, my favourite character was Banner/Hulk. It's the first time that they have gotten the tone of the character right in the films I feel and it helps that he got the best comedy beats. The entire cinema broke out laughing at his confrontation with Loki (and in Ireland that is a rare thing). I'd be really interested in seeing a new Hulk movie, as long as it stars Ruffalo and is written & directed by Joss. I'm not sure if another writing & directing team will get the tone right (they certainly haven't in the past).

If I have one slight quibble withe film it is that Cap never shouts "Avengers Assemble". As I said a very slight quibble.

I do have one question. Are we sure that Agent Coulson is dead? We really just have Fury's word for it (the medical team are still working on him when Fury gives the news) and as we see in the very next scene, Fury is quite capable of lying for effect.
Loved, loved, loved the movie. As many have said, I think it's the best straight-up superhero comic book movie I've seen. A small handful of other movies might be as good or a tad or two better (I'm thinking Dark Knight, Watchmen, V for Vendetta), but they're all just great movies that happen to be based on comics or superheroes - they don't FEEL like traditional superhero comics do. The only contender I can think of is X2. I'd have to rewatch both in the span of a weekend or so to be sure which is superior. But good lord, that is high praise.

And seeing as how Banner/Hulk was the character(s) I cared the least about going in, having Ruffalo's be my favourite characters in the film going back out is ridiculous praise for the guy. Especially considering I loved everyone else, too

Also, complements to Whedon for maintaining the brother-feud aspect of the plot throughout instead of having Thor show up going "Loki's evil, I'll help you take him down" and then never address it again. Grounded the villain very well for me.

mgmn - I interpreted that as them leaving the door open to go either way with it. I think he's dead until they decide in a sequel that he wasn't.
And I wished for that shout too, but oh well - leaves something for the sequel, I suppose.

As for the general conversation Loki's manipulations and the change in Hulk's self-control, I read it as exactly that - Loki wanted to create a situation in which their main weapon was proven a liability and a problem, so that neither Banner himself nor the others would dare to bring the Hulk into the final fight. Stark just managed to prod Banner in the opposite direction so that the ploy failed.

Finally, to balance the gushing, I do have my own peeves, even if none of them take away from the awesomeness that was this film. I get that Cap's vibranium shield can take on Mjolnir, but when Thor hammers with all his strength, I have a hard time buying Cap not breaking a couple of bones beneath it. And I also found it hard to believe no airforce fighters showed up in the final battle. Sure, it was too brief for any ground troops to get there, but a squadron of planes would have really helped me believe the situation a bit more.

By the way of nothing, anyone know if Denishof's "The Other" character was just voice-work or if it was motion capture as well? Doesn't really matter, I suppose, but I suck at telling these kinds of things, and I just wondered.
@mgmm No we're not sure, if Colon is indeed dead. We saw him die, while Tue medics were coming in. But the scene was cut in way that we never saw a body after he lost conscience or whether the medics were able to revive him or not.

I think he should at least stay dead for a while. If they want to bring him back for, do it 4 movies later into the line. The plotting was open enough to allow that.

I think he deserved that heroic death, and there's nothing wrong with him being Wash+Book of the movie.
I think he's still alive - purely on the basis that he's been introduced as a cartoon character and this week as a comic book character. I can't see the movie franchise writing him off.
He's also announced for Iron Man 3, I do believe.
So the Cap/Fury $10 thing was to do with that bet? Darn, I was one of the people who saw the other meaning, which still worked on a deeper note. Multi-meanings are always cool though, regardless of intentional. And even if the majority do see it the "Tip" way, I don't see it being at all offensive, just another "Man-Out-of-Time" moment for Cap.
Was anyone else walking out, dreaming of a Hawkeye/Black Widow TV show done by Joss?
Dude Meister, I walked out dreaming of good dozen spin-off movies for each and every character, done by Joss. Close enough?
Ah, Loki, how the hell did you escape Asgard!? I shall not be played by your trickery!

But seriously, so much potential for Jossomeness. Why don't they just give him creative control over the entire Marvel franchise already? Scratch that, over all of Hollywood!
All of Hollywood would be good, because then that would include Fox and we could get Magneto as the villain for the Avengers sequel. :D (All I could think about in the Hulk cage scenes was the awesome plastic prison in X1/2...)

I didn't escape Asgard, but my cell has pretty decent wi-fi.
Were we meant to know who Beth the waitress was? We saw her a couple of times and it seemed important. A character from the comics?

Loved the Stan Lee cameo that appeared shortly after Beth's interview.
That multi-screen "World Reacts" piece was really cool, glad that we got to saw that some people were pissed off at the team. Reminded me of the last few pages of Superman: Earth One, for any keen readers out there. Oh, did I just blasphemise?

Also, anyone else see it in IMAX? I found the 3D better without it, and probably enjoyed it more without it too on my second watch.
I actually preferred IMAX 3D, rather the other "normal" 3D, still plan to watch it on 2D at some point during this long weekend.

And although it was a post conversion project, the 3D did look good.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2012-04-28 14:14 ]
Joss is directing RDJr. It is getting rave reviews. My life is complete (or will be after I have seen the film a time or 10).
Speaking of Waitress Beth, she was played by Ashley Johnson, who appeared in the Dollhouse episode "Omega" as the girl whom Alpha imprints with Caroline's personality.

Elsewhere on the Interwebs, I've seen a few people saying that the movie is underwritten or that it looks like Transformers. I really have no idea what to say to these people; in fact, I think the best course of action is to say nothing at all.
Everyone loves Loki's treatment at the hands of the Hulk, but I also liked the Hulk punching Thor aside when they bring down one enemy machine - and Thor's quick addition of "adopted" when his plea for respect for his brother is met with details of what the god of mischief has done.

The trailers and clips were well done in terms of mixing together quotations and scenes (lines such as Fury's "We are hopelessly, hilariously, outgunned" are expanded from the main trailer and have a completely different context).

I suspected that Coulson was in trouble as soon as reference was made to the agent having a girlfriend.

As Bluey (in the first thread) noted, there is an explanation for Jane Foster's absence (and it was nice that there was at least a nod to her and to Peggy Carter), but it seemed odd that there was no reference to her when Thor departed at the end.

At the end of Thor (and in the recent prelude comics), it seemed that Loki was controlling/impersonating Selvig prior to his arrival, but this didnít seem apparent when Loki returned to Earth.

While all the actors delivered, I felt that Scarlett Johansson turned in the most interesting performance. Not only was there her enounter with Loki but her expressions showed the Black Widow to be in real peril when threatened with being pushed down a shaft when we first met her or when trapped with the Hulk.

To me the film lacked a signature theme (indeed, some of the music when the heroes are together sounded a bit like the Fellowship's theme from The Lord of the Rings).
Comment above posted twice!

[ edited by Night On My Side on 2012-04-28 22:06 ]
UnpluggedCrazy - actually I felt like there was something missing. I felt like there wasn't as much Joss in it as I would have liked. Could have been slimmed down to be a bit more punchy I think. I'm really curious about the things he did cut out of it.
Fair enough, daylight, though I thought it felt pretty damn Joss. I don't really think it could have been slimmed down any more than it already was; it was very tightly plotted, without a single inessential scene. His original cut was three hours, so yeah, I'm also curious about what he cut out (such as the original intention for Cap to be the audience's guide character).
The DVDs will have the cut stuff restored. Just a heads up.
Really? I'm assuming that's a Marvel decision then, since Joss had the whole bit about the director's cut being what's shown in theaters.
Night On My Side, Seen couple people saying that, but I've not been able to get the main Avengers theme out of my head since I left the cinema. I just love it.
Oooh...I would really like to see the longer version. I hope that's true. I was very disheartened when Joss said that the cut scenes wouldn't be edited back in for the DVD.
I don't think the cut scenes will be edited in the movie, but we'll see them as separate extras in the home release.
I loved this movie so much! The humor is so Joss! I loved seeing Ashley Johnson and Enver Gjokaj! I didn't know Gwyneth was in it too, which was a great surprise. I wonder what it would be like to be in the same room with Joss Whedon and Gwyneth Paltrow. And bless the gods for IMAX 3D! The people in the theater were loving it, they laughed so much, and there was applause at some point. I think The Avengers will be the biggest opening of the year in Brazil. BTW, Alyson Hannigan's American Reunion opened here last friday and was the number one movie all over the country for the weekend.
I loved how the SHIELD's headquarters fell down just was Sunnydale did in "Chosen".
Man I loved this movie, and I think I'll watch it again.
I loved the bemusement with which Loki delivered the line, 'Are you ever going to not fall for this?'

I'm so looking forward to the DVD, so I could pause and rewind, not to mention the extra footage! Plus, a few lines were drowned by the audience laughter.
So... obviously I loved it, but
I loved the inclusion of that line, mjwilson. I don't think Loki is a misogynist (he seems pretty anti-everyone), but he's the master manipulator and was operating under the misguided notion that he could break Black Widow just by insulting her gender. Which, yeah, that's a pretty misogynistic line of thought. But the fact that he would be willing to go there--and that Joss was able to get that line in the movie!--cements Loki's brutality.
A lovely moment I want to single out: Cap getting to say "We won" at the end.

Here's a guy who was just in the thick of World War II a few weeks ago. He wakes up, is told the war is over, and that his country won. He understands that on an intellectual level, but he can't make sense of it on an emotional one. That's why (well, along with a million other little frustrations) he's so confused, upset, and isolated at the film's start. That he beats back the Chitauri as part of the Avengers finally gives him a sense of closure. They won.
I feel like the Grinch but that was ..... ordinary. Not the special effects or the acting but script itself, of all things! Maybe I expect too much but everything Joss has ever written before has had a "shiver down the spine" or an "AHA"! moment for me. In this - nothing! I couldn't have cared less who died, won or anything else. Joss's writing has never done that for me before.

I'm sure this will do well and will probably be a great success but it didn't feel like a Joss movie to me.

Congratulations to Joss for the box office figures and generally favourable reviews - just didn't do it for me.

I feel oddly deflated.
I think I know what you mean. In so many ways this movie will always be Marvel's and not Joss'.

Nothing wrong with that of course, the movie was a lot of fun!
Joss himself has said that at the end of the day, this is Marvel's movie and not his. I think he's selling himself short, though; this felt very him.
I think some for sure - the dialogue, and the interaction between characters. But the overarching ideologies don't belong to Joss, they are of the universe in which he was asked to work. Firefly was great because it critiqued modernist conventions of the hegemonic nation state and interventionist international corporations.

As far as I have seen, Marvel films will never be anything but unashamedly pro-US larger-than-life about stuff getting blown up and men and (always to a lesser extent) women with big muscles saving the day with little or no recourse to the consequences of said saving.

I think many of these things are fine, but I don't think they are particularly Joss.

[ edited by insistondoubt on 2012-04-29 14:09 ]
I strongly disagree with that interpretation. In The Avengers, it's revealed that the U.S. government is basically using our heroes to protect the Tesseract so that they can use it to make weapons. All four non-S.H.I.E.L.D. Avengers are aghast, and rightfully so. After all, Iron Man was all about Tony Stark giving up the manufacture of weapons. And let us not forget that S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to nuke NYC. That Fury ignores their orders and actively works to stop the nuclear missile is a big point in the film's climax. He and the Avengers disobey their superiors, and that's the only reason Manhattan is still standing by the time the credits roll.

I don't agree that there are little to no consequences, either; again, in the Iron Man films, the point is brought up that in giving up weapons-making, Tony turned himself into a weapon (granted, the sequel totally missed the mark in exploring that question, but I chalk that up to that film's generally sloppy writing). At the end of The Avengers, in between citizens proclaiming adoration of the group, you also hear the voices of those who are concerned or feel threatened by them.

Unfortunately, you're right about the diminished role of women in the films, which is something that's plagued superhero comics as a whole for their entire history. I do think that Black Widow was great, though.
Fair enough if you disagree with my interpretation; the point of my post was simply that I affiliate Joss' work with some themes which necessarily could not be present in a Marvel feature.

I think I'm just not really a fan of comic book films as a rule. That being said, I think The Avengers is by far and away the best Marvel flick I have seen.
Agree with all of UnpluggedCrazy's points on this one, although I was expecting them to go further with it then they actually did.

With Loki's questioning the importance of freedom to a happy society during the first 1/3rd of the film, I was expecting there to be questioning of how free a world with the Avengers and SHIELD would be. There were elements of it, such as the creation weapons with the Tesseract and Fury lying to coerce them into fighting for them, but this element felt to move towards the background the more the film went on. I was also expecting there to be more of an acknowledgement of the problems with what Captain America represents. This is very notably absent from the Stuttgart scene, which also felt very heavy handed in its allusions, despite a good build up.

But, and it is a massive but, this is a Summer blockbuster film. The fact that these are even touched upon is a massive improvement over the rest of its ilk and is something that Marvel films are actually generally pretty good at (see Iron Man and parts of Captain America.)

Joss's ideology was definitely present, even if it was a little muted. I would also say many of those things are probably best held off until a sequel, now the world is established..
Oh, there were plenty of bits that were very Joss. But they wouldn't have felt out of place in the first Iron Man either. As a whole piece, I don't feel like it was very Joss. And while there aren't any inessential scenes, I think they could have been shorter, quicker, tighter. That first hour felt very SLOW.
I went to see this today for my birthday! :D I loved it. As others have said, the Hulk was brilliant. Mark Ruffalo has this great laid back look almost permanently, so to use that and have it be this construct he's created to maintain control is great. The whole (packed) auditorium laughed when he punched Thor across the room, and were absolutely howling when he got Loki. I was crying with laughter.

I didn't have any problem not having been introduced further to the Chitauri. The scene was enough to tell me exactly what their place in the movie was, and set up the rest of the plot.

To me, the scene where the S.H.I.E.L.D complex is collapsing was SO reminiscent of the Buffy finale, I did a little happy dance in my seat, turned to whisper something about it to my daughter, then remembered she hasn't seen it yet-she's on season 3.

I loved it so much, I could go on and on.

I now have a dilemma though, I only have enough money to go and see one more film. I was going to go to see Cabin again, but now I want to see this!

My first post! :D
Just wanted to add some additional thoughts on things that I really enjoyed and I think Joss got so right.

HULK not being able to pick up Thor's Hammer. (Take that Jeph Loeb.)

Black Widow being on top of Hawkeye before he realised she was there. Yes! She is a Super Spy. Plus, her not trusting him to be free of the influence of Loki, and knocking him out completely.

Steve Rogers' paid bet to Fury being in old money. Hah! Also the fact that he solved the Phase Two mystery quicker than Banner and Stark because, quite frankly, sometimes the old fashioned way just gets things done.

I loved the realisation from Tony that, of course, Loki would want Stark tower as his base. Where else would someone with such a huge ego position themselves?

Rescuing civilians was a priority.

Loki catching the arrow. Yeah, have it!

And Black Widow's response to Iron Man bringing the party to them.

I know there was other stuff I appreciated because it fulfilled my geeky comic book side. Little references and catches. All I know is I have to see this movie again on the big screen. Have to. Must. Will.
Had to randomly comment on a few things, but since I don't want to spoil it to my US friends, who've been so nice not to spoil Cabin in the Woods for me. Will just post them here, instead of tweeting them, risking ruining it for completely un-spoiled people.

- Ruffalo is amazing as Bruce Banner, as Joss proves that it Banner and Hulk duality can work. Also, anyone else thought that he got the Xander/Topher/Wash-ish lines of this movie.

- It's impressive what Joss did with Black Widow in the movie. Although It's really hard not agree that women really get short-handed (as they've been in most of the movies). Maria Hill barely gets anything to do, but she did get a few scenes showing how badass she can be as Fury's right-hand woman, as I commented if Colson is not dead, I hope they don't bring him back immediately, and we can see her get some spotlight, as a possible new character to tie-up the following movies (Iron Man 3, Captain America 2, Thor 2 - I wonder if Doctor Strange and Ant Man will be included in this sequence). But even with very little screen time, Pepper Potts does prove how important she is, and she doesn't even play a "hero". But back to Black Widow, I don't think that that action scene most outlets been using to promote how strong she is, is her highlight in the movie. I love how in the confrontation with Loki, as he tries to use every aspect of her being a woman to demean and insult her, she is the one actually conning him. Yes, she didn't leave unscathed from that, but that was the push she needed. And one can forget she doesn't have super powers in the end, as she leaped to the aircraft, and maneuvered it so she could return to the Stark Tower, and be pivotal to the closing of the portal. I remember being bummed they wouldn't be introducing another female heroine to the line-up, but now I'm somewhat glad Joss only kept her, as he was able to show her as being on par with the guys, and highlight sometimes even stronger. It unfortunate and sad, but a reality that women had to do more, so they can prove themselves as equal as men in certain situations, and although the movie doesn't really anything to disprove the point, it does reinforce that it is a reality.
I loved this film, and the more I think about just how logistically tricky it must have been to create, the more I am amazed by it. There is so much I could say about it, that I really don't know where to begin!

So, I'll just note twenty things I particularly liked, in no particular order. NOTE: This is not a "Top Twenty" list of things, either.

1. Tom Hiddleston's evil Loki grin.

2. Black Widow's genuine fear when trapped in a tin can with the Hulk.

3. Captain America honouring his bet with Fury.

4. Thor's "He's adopted" line.

5. Thor and Iron Man's fight - especially in the context of Loki's "I'm listening" line.

6. Fury's early comment about the potential harm gamma rays can cause.

7. Thor's line about humans being petty "and tiny".

8. The scene with Banner and Harry Dean Stanton's character - "Son, you've got a

9. Black Widow putting Agent Coulson on hold.

10. Coulson's listening to the hold music.

11. Stark's "threatening" of Loki, and the staff-to-chest epic fail.

12. The impossible-not-to-include Hulk demolition of Loki.

13. The also impossible-not-to-include - Hulk's punch to Thor.

14. The equally great slow-motion Hammer wallop that Thor gave to Hulk!

15. Thor's entrance in the film, and Loki's unease.

16. Banner's decision to become Hulk.

17. Hulk's reviving "roar" for Iron Man, and Stark's subsequent reaction.

18. Rogers' delight at getting the 'monkey' reference.

19. The rage that RDJ brings to Stark's reaction following the death of Phil Coulson.

20. Thanos.

If for any film you can name twenty things you like without even trying, it's a damn fine film.
viewingfigures - when Jeph Loeb had (a different) Hulk pick up Thor's hammer, it was in space, rather than on the ground...
@daylight Yeah I know it was the Red Hulk but that was a hideous piece of retroactive continuity IMO. The wielder of Mjolnir is supposed to be worthy, not just happen to be in Space. The only (humanoid) characters in the comics that I have not had issues with using it are Beta Ray Bill, Odin and Steve Rogers.
Just got to see it last night, and absolutely loved it!

I went with a friend who's a massive comics fan, and who'd said beforehand that she was apprehensive about Joss's handling of this movie she's waited for all this time.

But by the time we went on Sunday, she'd already seen it twice since it opened on Wednesday. The fact she was willing to go back a third time says a hell of a lot!

Also, I have a question for people who've seen it in both 2D and 3D: how would you compare them?

I went to a 2D screening, because 3D sometimes gives me a headache (and often seems pointless). But I'd be willing to try the 3D version when I inevitably see it again, if the consensus is that it's worth the extra money...
I know this isn't an option for some, but if you watch a lot of 3d cinema it really really is worth investing in a pair of decent 3d glasses, they make all the difference in the world, I have a pair of Oakley* ones, and they really do eliminate a lot of the issues people have with 3d: blurriness, murkiness, crosstalk between lenses, ghosting etc. Not cheap, but worth it.

*other quality 3d glasses are available
Just saw it this afternoon in 2D (definitely my viewing type of choice), and absolutely loved it. Such a tremendous amount of fun, and even in my very empty cinema (maybe 20 of us in total), the right lines got chuckles and the moment that really deserved it got out-loud laughter (Hulk punching Thor sideways off screen. Just so nicely done. Hee). I hadn't watched any of the previous films except Iron Man, and I had zero interest in any of the heroes represented here before seeing them on film, but I still had a marvellous (heh) time. Great stuff.
I loved it!
Will Joss write/direct another Marvel movie? I think it's unlikely. I suspect the lack of full authorial control drove him nuts (yeah - all the way to the bank :). I don't think that situation will improve - there's an interesting Forbes article here which discusses the Marvel marketing division and their general plans for the various franchises. It's a depressing glimpse into the machine; a world away from Belwether.
Will Joss write/direct another Marvel movie? I think it's unlikely.

Joss has signed an option for the next two(?) Avengers films. If Marvel wants him, they've got him.
So, contrary to what people were assuming, reports have come out that confirms that there's really a second stinger for the US release, and we can assume it is the additional scene the actors shot after the LA premiere.

Wonder if Disney will issue updated prints for the International markets, so we can also see this additional scene.

Bleeding Cool sums it up:
Itís hard to discuss the scene without taking all of the air out of it. Iíd suggest you wait and see it in context. Suffice to say, itís a neat idea and contrary to expectation that it might be used to set up an upcoming Marvel movie Ė Ant Man, say, or Iron Man 3 Ė it actually serves to pay off something from earlier in The Avengers.

And they link to sources that discuss and even show a screenshot for this additional scene, that will appear at the very end of the credits.
Saw it last night in 2D with the family. Just.pure.brilliance. Cinema was packed, the audience responsive and laughing at all the gags. The minute it ended I wanted to see it again (which I probably will but perhaps in 3D)

Got to go with effulGentleman's '20 things' there too, pretty much what I would put on my list.
Roger Ebert said:

"The Avengers" is done well by Joss Whedon, with style and energy. It provides its fans with exactly what they desire. Whether it is exactly what they deserve is arguable.

Wait a minute... does that mean we did deserve it or didn't?

(It's the movie Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs?)

Do you have a link to that news, as it is pretty major? I assume that deal was done when he originally signed onto the project, but I'm fairly certain I have heard him say recently that he is much more drawn to smaller scale productions and doesn't have a lot of interest in becoming known for making big budget blockbusters.
mermaidnz - I haven't see the 2D yet, but I do think it's worthwhile to see it in 3D. To me, it's the best 3D I've seen. (Take note, I didn't see Avatar in theaters).

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