This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I love syphilis more than I love you."
11976 members | you are not logged in | 01 April 2020


May 01 2012

(SPOILER) Harry of AiCN reviews The Avengers! "I really am just gob smacked in love with THE AVENGERS." Read on for more of his love and other thoughts. A more negative review by Stephanie Zacharek can be found at Movieline.

While this is not exactly shocking (Harry Knowles loves pretty much any major genre film ever), it is pretty cool considering he's not a huge Whedon guy and was pretty mixed/negative on Serenity.
I've added under rug swept's link to the entry. As said before, the reviews will be bunched together.
Oh, I'm sad over the Movieline review by Stephanie Zacharek. She's one of my favorite critics to read and has led to me some movies I would never had seen but for her and loved (Hellboy, The Last Mistress, Bill Cunningham New York). Also, she is a huge fan of Joss and BtVS from way back...
I respect that she likes Joss, but I'm not a fan of Zacharek as a critic. She panned Dark Knight and Wall-E, and her (negative) Tree of Life review is just bonkers.

Anyway, it was a 6/10, not like she hated Avengers or anything.
Why do some reviews (like the Movieline one) keep saying that Zak Penn co-wrote the script. The only screenplay credit is Joss Whedon, and Zak Penn's story credit is obviously due to WGA arbitration as he was the first writer attached. Any interview with Joss where he talks about that script makes it clear that it was a page 1 re-write and he saw nothing in Penn's script.

[ edited by bivith on 2012-05-02 09:02 ]
I also hate reviewers who try to blame the audience for liking a movie they didn't

"given the heightened-lowered expectations of movie audiences"
"Writing" and "Script" are catch-all phrases for credits, I guess.
Seriously? This again? This film has hed near universal critical acclaim both from genre and mainstream sources, coupled with superb audience feedback, and yet people are still gnawing over nitpicky details, of reviews that are either still broadly positive, or the 1/2% of reviews that are negative? It doesn't matter, people are seeing this in droves, tracking figures for the opening weekend in the states has it outselling all other Marvel films, combined. It's going to be, shit, already is, a monster success. Relax.
The script thing is annoying, though. It mostly comes down to critics knowing a lot about analyzing film, but very little about how films are actually made. I read another, more egregious review that flat out said Whedon and Penn "collaborated" on the script. Ugh. Though I suppose it could have been cleared up in the press notes, but maybe Marvel didn't want to be sued by Penn if they implied he did very little.

Though it goes both ways -- one review I read said Whedon needed to stop doing the "portal to another world thing," which he does use a lot, but I believe in this case the portal was one of the few things already set in place when he came onto the project (aka something from Penn's draft).
It came from Marvel, i.e. Kevin Fiege. If it was in Penn's draft it would be for the same reason.

And Joss hardly has the monopoly on portals to other worlds tropes. The Chitauri invasion scenario apparantly came from Mark Millar's The Ultimates.
According to Joss in the Wired article linked a few days back, Marvel said that he needed to have 3 things in his script. Loki as the main villain, the Avengers fighting each other, and an alien invasion as the climax. I think this is why the movie plot is not quite as sophisticated as we might expect from Joss, but it's the way he tells it that makes it work.
Movie critics aren't paid to research the ins and outs of how a film was made; their job is to critically evaluate the finished product. And since Penn's name is listed as co-writer in the actual credits of the movie, that's why they bring up him up as co-writer.

I'm not distraught at Zacharek's review. I respect her taste but I don't agree with her 100% and I should find it creepy if I did. I happen to agree with her on TDK, btw, though not Wall-E (best Pixar film ever!). But even when we disagree, I find reading her reviews illuminating. The best film critics are great at analyzing why some movies work and others dont. Sometimes it hurts when they cut down a particular favorite yours, but that's reality: opinions are subjective.
Penn isn't listed as co-writer in the credits. He has a co-story credit. Joss has the only writing credit.
If it wasn't the "portal to another world" trope, it would be the "huge mothership filled with an army" trope, or the "armada of tiny spaceships with an army" trope, or the "using a teleporter beam" trope. Only so many ways to get an army from off-planet to on-planet. If someone is determined to worry that the idea has been done before, they'll find something somewhere.
Aw. I didn't read through the whole of Zacharek's review, but I'm sad to see that she disliked it, since she was one of the first professional film critics whose love of BtVS I discovered -- she wrote three great pieces during season six (about the musical, about Buffy/Spike, and about Dark Willow), all of them deeply affectionate; and her review of Serenity was similarly very positive. My big fear about The Avengers was that Joss would end up losing the intimacy between the characters in favour of action-spectacle, so her review makes me worried that this will end up being the case.
Actually I thought I had seen Penn get a co-writer credit at the end of the movie - it surprised me a little bit at the time. But perhaps I'm misremembering.

A little surprised by Zacharek's claim that Black Widow was "quickly relegated to the superhero back burner", I thought she was given quite a bit to do.
Considering Black Widow's role in the climax of the movie, she definitely wasn't on the back burner, but people see only what they want to see sometimes.
Actually I thought I had seen Penn get a co-writer credit at the end of the movie - it surprised me a little bit at the time. But perhaps I'm misremembering.

No, he definitely only got a story credit. "Story by Zak Penn and Joss Whedon, Written by Joss Whedon." I was specifically looking for that when watching the credits, and I've seen the movie twice now.
The first three credits soon as the film ends are: Directed by Joss Whedon, Story by Zak Penn & Joss Whedon, Screenplay by Joss Whedon." Then it says something like "A Joss Whedon Film." His name is everywhere.
Reading anything from AICN is tiresome. I don't agree with Zacharek's review, but at least reading it didn't give me a headache.
A few more negative reviews roll in but the overall response remains fantastic. Mostly I feel sad for the people who for one reason or another can't enjoy this movie.

I have my tickets for Friday afternoon. I won't lie if I'm disappointed, but I anticipate a thoroughly satisfactory whelming. That's to be expected since I am sooooooo much smack dab in the middle of the venn diagram where "People who enjoy Joss Whedon consistently", "People rooting for Joss Whedon to succeed with a dream opportunity" and "People who read and loved the same comics Joss Whedon loved" meet.
I think people remember things differently, I wrote something specific about Black Widow's role on our discussion thread last Sunday, which I reproduce below in invisio-text, as I do discuss some pivotal plot points in that paragraph:

There's also a curious reaction by following comments online, with praises to the movie for it being very Whedon-esque, I've also seen controversial comments and backlash for it not being Whedon-y enough, or people already hating it because it is Whedon-y.
I'm just glad they didn't go with the Zak Penn script...honestly how does that hack keep getting gigs? Fantastic Four 1-2 and X3 were all utterly crap-tastic.
Hmm...any speculation re: that extra scene they filmed for the US release? I'm hoping its Morena as The Wasp :D
There's already reports about what the additional scene which will be available in the US prints is all about. There's even pictures from it that already leaked online.

I don't think this is the right thread to comment on them, but will be adding a comment to commentary thread to cover it.
The news is out, actually. According to a SuperHeroHype forum poster, it's:
LOL, referrring the Zac Penn thing, there are some comments from Joss and from Zac himself from the GQ article that's now linked on the front page:

"There was a script," Whedon acknowledges. "There just wasn't a script I was going to film a word of." (Reached for comment, Penn says he was a little disappointed by Whedon's decision to take over. "We could have collaborated more, but that was not his choice. He wanted to do it his way, and I respect that. I mean, it's not like on the Hulk, where I got replaced by the lead actor," he says, referring to Edward Norton's infamous decision to install himself as lead screenwriter on that film. "That was an unusual one. This was more normal.")

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2012-05-02 18:09 ]
I didn't even know what about the Hulk...but man if Ed Norton can out-write him...LOL. Him and Bay should be consigned to an alternate reality where their thrash is considered 'good'...and they can leave our treasured properties alone.
Bay, as in Michael Bay.
What's with all the Bay hate? Been seeing that a bit around here lately.

Not that I like his films or anything, but still.
He has no soul. He's a vampire.
And as we serve as, what a certain publication said, un-tired curators or everything Whedon, or something like that, here's the link for Orlando Attraction Magazine review of the movie.
It might be because a couple of bad reviews have compared the Avengers to a Michael Bay film.
To be a little bit fair to Zack Penn, he might not be a Whedon-quality writer, but his comedy mockumentary, "Incident at Loch Ness" is very funny stuff. Anyone who has helped out the acting career of Werner Herzog deserves a little credit.
There are also comments cruelly attacking the reviewers who have given The Avengers less-than-stellar reviews. (The dark side of fandom...) It even got the attention of a Washington Post blogger ( ). Looking at the least-positive reviews (those with a score of 60 or below on, it is interesting to note that half of them come from women, and all the reviews with scores above a 60 come from men. Not to start a gender war here, but I wonder if they have higher expectations of Joss than men do. (I won't touch the "do men or women like explodey things more?" question...)
Well, The Avengers doesn't meet any of the various definitions of the term "chick flick" I've ever heard, so it's understandable that a lot of women wouldn't like it. It really is the movie version of the comics that all the boys I knew as a kid were reading - none of the girls read them (I was a kid in the 60's - yes, I'm THAT old), so I could see why women (at least the ones in my generation) wouldn't identify with the movie.

This thread has been closed for new comments.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.

joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home