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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Oh, look at my poor neck... all bare and tender and exposed."
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January 02 2013

The Avengers voted most overrated movie of 2012. A Los Angeles Times online poll voted The Avengers as the most overrated film of 2012.

I think you should add the source of the poll to the headline itself so it has some context, and don't forget to add a period (which a mod will make it happen soon)..
One of the issues I have with the idea of comic movies, and it is one that directly pertains to Avengers, is that you are constrained by the mythos of the characters; you cannot do anything you want to them since they existed before the movie was made, are sources of marketing tie-ins, and you cannot just kill them off- even Joss was constrained here. Notwithstanding the agent, who was a minor character compared to all the main Marvelverse ones in the movie that Disney clearly wants to make many spin-offs out of.
No surprise here. The People of the Internet (aka the ones living on reddit and tumblr and other similar websites) will soon start hating on Joss Whedon because he's too successful and mainstream. Firefly, the cult show cancelled too soon, will become that "overrated show from the guy worth billions". After Avengers 2, you'll hear a shitload of people saying how it's awful (even if the movie is good) and how Joss is the new George Lucas and how he has ruined the comics and their childhood and the entire world.
I edited this. If we're talking about this poll -- and that's fine, it's a bit more interesting as an aggregate than everyone's singular "best/worst" lists -- then we are talking about and linking to the poll itself, not one person's reaction to it. People can link to any reactions of interest here in the comments. Here's the Screen Rant reaction.
It's as statistically meaningful as any such online poll--not at all.
I would have gone with "Prometheus", myself. As beautiful as it looked, that was a horrible script that pulled me out of the movie.

I thought the "Avengers" did a good job of showcasing what I liked about the Avengers comic book, while still being an entertaining movie. (The Chitari army would not have been my first choice, but the team bickering and the banter with Loki were spot on.)
If we define overrated as a ratio of Expected Awesome / Actual Awesome and consider the fact that many anticipated nothing less than The Greatest Cinematic Achievement Of All Time and got A Pretty Great Summer Blockbuster With Bonus Schawarma then this list makes sense. The schawarma is worth at least .05 awesome units and was not in the ever-present trailers.
I second Prometheus. Worst movie I saw this year.
Avengers may not be Whedon at his very best but it's still an incredibly fun and entertaining movie with great dialogues. Exactly what comic fans were waiting for, right ?
Plus, a poll about overrated movies without TDKR/The Hobbit makes no sense.
Vegetaman, I couldn't agree more. This poll isn't realistic at all !
I wouldn't call Prometheus overrated. Pretty much everyone hated on it.
As I had no expectations going in to see 'Prometheus', I'd say I actually enjoyed it very much as a way to pass two hours. It was a very beautifully shot film.

I can't deny the success of 'The Avengers' but I must admit to being quite neutral about it. It's one of the better blockbusters around at the moment, but it didn't quite give me the 'wow' factor. Thats a very personal opinion and is not meant in a negative way. I just didn't respond to it as well as everyone else. In context of that, I think how it was crafted was extremely impressive, to bring those characters together and make a cohesive movie out of it is something that I believe nobody in the industry could have done as well as Joss. It was a very difficult task.

Did it deliver what it needed to? Absolutely. Was it overrated. Potentially, yes.
I think they actually got it right.
Avengers is overrated. It's got lots of flaws and isn't anywhere near Whedon's best work.
But who cares.
If you thought it was great, enjoy.
If you're like me and thought it was terrible, there's still a net good because of its success. Which allows Joss to have greater leeway and power for any of his future personal projects.

Oh the lament it didn't come before 2002...

[ edited by TheLastEvil on 2013-01-03 04:02 ]
Now that Joss is considered officially overrated, can we skip over his demise and get right to plotting his comeback?

[ edited by hann23 on 2013-01-03 04:31 ]
Oh please, if we're talking about overrated movies, what about the Dark Knight Rises!? Please. Everyone FELT like they had to like it because TDK was such a great movie and this was going to be the last Nolan/Bale film; the movie (in my opinion) was very, very lackluster, but everyone I know loves it... yet for no specific reason other then "it's Batman!" The movie was bad, let's all admit it, haha
Also what Hann23 said, let's plan his comeback already :P
If I let other people's positive or negative opinions influence whether I liked a movie or not then I wouldn't enjoy too many movies. I don't care if a hundred or 2 people on the internet proclaimed a movie as great. Why do people always want to ruin other people's fun? Either you personally liked it or not. If you don't like it and others do, why does it always have to be "Those people are wrong! This wasn't that great! Stop liking things I don't like!"

Not talking about anyone here btw, just a annoyed feeling I get from articles like this.
There's something oxymoronic about "voting" to determine which movie is the most "overrated." If the vote of "most overrated" truly reflects the majority view, then what you really have is a movie that is "rated" poorly by most people, and thus cannot possibly have been most overrated at all.

I'll bet this sort of poll -- i.e., about what is "overrated" -- is only voted on by people who reflexively dislike the preferences of the majority. And since Avengers was extremely popular among and audiences and critics, it was inevitable that it would be found most overrated by the types who vote in these polls.

By the way, according to the most objectively correct poll -- the poll of me that is based solely on my own preferences -- The Avengers is the most well-rated and yet still vastly underrated movie of 2012. And also the most objectively awesome superhero movie ever.

[ edited by Squishy on 2013-01-03 06:58 ]
I am sort of skeptical about this poll for a few reasons, even if I could see some people legitimately getting annoyed at Avengers maybe not quite paying off as much as you might hope from the biggest movie of the year.

Seriously though, how did Project X end up on this list at all? I'm curious about the way they polled and somehow these were the only options provided. (I mean if anything I'd argue that Cloud Atlas was still underrated, despite how so many people rightfully called them out on some of the iffy racial casting dynamics.)
No surprise here. The People of the Internet (aka the ones living on reddit and tumblr and other similar websites) will soon start hating on Joss Whedon because he's too successful and mainstream. Firefly, the cult show cancelled too soon, will become that "overrated show from the guy worth billions". After Avengers 2, you'll hear a shitload of people saying how it's awful (even if the movie is good) and how Joss is the new George Lucas and how he has ruined the comics and their childhood and the entire world.

Heh. This is so accurate that it literally made me laugh out loud. Although, it kind of already happened to Joss when people got sick of the "Joss is GOD" statements and now hate him on principle instead. Go to some corners of BtVS fandom and you'll find people who'd sooner claw their own eyes out then say anything positive about Joss. Although, that does pretty much happen to every show-runner eventually.

But you're right about what will happen with Avengers 2. It's called tall poppy syndrome. People can only tolerate somebody's success for so long before they feel the urge to tear them down. Now that the hype has died down you can kinda already see it happening with the first movie too.

That said, I actually did find The Avengers to be overrated. I'll admit straight away that I don't have much interest in comic books or the previous Marvel movies so that certainly contributed to it, but I was expecting to like it more than I did after the hype. I'm a huge fan of most of Whedon's work and everybody I knew absolutely loved the movie (including people who hadn't even heard of Joss before) so I was expecting to be blown away. But whilst I thought it was ok it was pretty much a major CGI-fest with a very simple story. Itís certainly one of the more shallow things Joss has ever produced. Which is fine, itís a nice popcorn movie with fun dialogue, but itís nowhere my favourite of Whedonís stuff. And I think I actually preferred The Amazing Spiderman which had more character development and a pretty moving story with Peter/Gwen.

Iím really happy for Whedonís success and I do think he deserves a LOT of praise for how he juggled the cast. It would have been so difficult to have all these major characters and making sure they all get adequate screen time and their chance to shine, and he totally pulled it off. I just think itís a bit of a shame heís receiving so much attention for this when, IMO, heís written/directed far better with his own original characters. Based on Whedonís own comments though, I have a feeling Iím going to greatly prefer The Avengers 2 now we donít have to spend so much of the movie setting the team up.
Just another weak attempt to undermine The Avengers' awesomeness. No one's opinion really matters at this point. It's got the third biggest box office draw ever. The world has spoken. Avengers? Obviously NOT overrated. Now for fuck's sake, let it be.
I actually think The Avengers was better than Dollhouse. Even Dollhouses original pilot wasn't that good because it lacked Joss's humor. The premise wasn't good either. It made it seem like the show was exploiting women even though it didn't.
Dollhouse should have been darker in tone.

The Avengers had Joss's humor. Which is why it was so good. Also, it was edited well.

That said, Cabin In The Woods was better at character development.

I think Whedon did the best job with an almost impossible task: get these characters together without the movie being a mess. Can you imagine Michael Bay or Zack Snyder directing this? It would have been a disaster.

He did the best job he could do with character development given the circumstances. JJ Abrams might have done a good job, but the difference between this and Star Trek is that the ensemble in Star Trek don't have special abilities. Now, you can say that Bryan Singer of the X-Men movies could have directed this, but, I think, The Avengers had characters with bigger egos than X-Men did which is why no one brings up the X-Men when people mention that The Avengers had a difficult task to accomplish.

The Avengers was better than Dollhouse.
Look at how people here reacted when the film came out in May

[ edited by BuffyFirefly on 2013-01-06 07:27 ]
The Avengers was better than Dollhouse

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you there. Dollhouse wasn't perfect and I know it's often treated like the red-headed step child of Whedon shows, but I think it's very underrated. When it was fire it was one of the most ambitious and challenging shows I've ever seen on TV. It's hard to compare the two because they really are just so different but I don't think The Avengers ever reached the heights that DH occasionally did. For example, Belonging was one of the most powerful episodes of television I've ever seen, The Avengers was just a really fun movie.

But I'm probably in the minority. I also consider Dollhouse better than Firefly and I'm fairly certain that most Whedon fans would disagree. Heck, I think Joss would disagree with me too! If I were to rank all of Whedon's work it'd probably be;

- BtVS
- AtS
- Dollhouse
- Firefly
- Cabin in the Woods
- The Avengers
- Dr Horrible
- Sugarshock.

I probably sound way more negative about The Avengers then I actually am. I think it was a good popcorn movie and respect that there are certain limitations in what you can do with the story. I also concede that my own apathy to comic books and the previous Marvel movies wouldíve played a big part in why I didnít love it as much as everyone else. But as someone who was a little underwhelmed by it and expected more after all the hype, I donít think itís ridiculous that it may be considered overrated. It doesnít mean I thought it was bad but that I went into the cinema expecting to be blown away and I just wasnít.

Even Joss said -- "I don't think it's a perfect movie. I don't even think it's a great movie. I think it's a great time, and I'm proud of it, but for me, what was exciting is that people don't go to see a movie that many times unless it's pulling on something from within, unless there's a need there. That's very gratifying."

I think he's probably right. But the reason I prefer some of his other work is that I think it achieves both. BtVS? That was a great TV show and a great time. Now that we've got all the setup out of the way, I'm sure The Avengers 2 can do both too.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2013-01-03 10:20 ]
I thought Avengers was amongst Joss' best work to date, up there with Serenity and Astonishing X-Men.

As for the internet poll, oh noes it's over for us. I'll delete the category in about an hour out of sheer shame.
Avengers was a HUGE disappointment to me, if I have to be honest.
It didn't interest me, I was hoping for great characters and great dialogue and didn't get any. Also, I was hoping for it to be more plot-oriented than the average superhero blockbuster, and it wasn't. I'm really happy for Joss, he deserved all the fame and money, but... It's kind of sad that the movie he got them for is the worst work in his whole career. Of course this is all my opinion, but... I'll rank them too

Firefly (no words to describe it, simply)
Dollhouse (a Good show dotted with Awesome episodes)
Dr Horrible
Cabin in the woods
Ats (Not that I didn't like it, it had its shiny moments and sometimes made me like Angel as a character, but there are too many weak episodes)
The Avengers
"I thought Avengers was amongst Joss' best work to date, up there with Serenity and Astonishing X-Men"

I think I'm on the other side of the fence. I'm not a great reader of comic books therefore I can't comment on Astonishing X-Men, but I wouldn't consider 'Serenity' better than any of the television shows that Joss has put his name to. Again, its all a matter of context, but I can't help feel the film was constrained by it's medium. I imagine that almost everyone here would have preferred a second season of the show, I imagine that the cast and crew would have preferred a second season of the show and we were lucky enough to get a conclusion in the film. I'm very grateful. This isn't a dissection of why I don't think 'Serenity' is as strong as Firefly, however I do think the film is weaker than the show. Still better than the majority of movies that have been churned out over the years, but would have been stronger in an ongoing format.

In a reversed fashion, it will be very interesting to see how S.H.I.E.L.D compares to it's movie counterpart and how the fandom responds to it.
Polls like this exist to do exactly what we are doing here, create discussion and posts- though, of course, on the actual site itself, since that will be how it monetizes itself. But in keeping with others' comments, I do always find it interesting how quick people are to dismiss a negative poll, as here, but to tout the positive ones and share them with others...
I wouldn't bother nominating Prometheus. Overrated is generally a designation that goes to something people consider "great" to begin with out of proportion to what it actually is. I still haven't met someone who thinks Prometheus who thinks it anything other than second rate. If the poll had been "Most Disappointing" we'd have a winner.

That said, I get this poll. I love Joss and I love his work in general. Hell, I was telling people to go see it and even took people myself. But (being Joss), there are some people who take it too far and sell it like you can rewrite the top 3 films of all time after adding it. I actually dislike hearing the film referenced at this point so it's an odd case of overselling and over referencing so I can see where it ends up in this list.
Welcome back, Apocalypse. Long time no post. :-)
Hmm. Looking at it now after it's all done, it's hard to tell if these were nominated by the people voting or if they supplied the only film choices for people to vote on. If it's the latter it feels a bit fixed since they haven't included The Dark Knight Rises, which seemed to top a lot of other Disappointment of the year type lists elsewhere.
And yeah I agree with the folks who said it should have been Prometheus. What a let down that film was..
Long time observer, first time poster...

When I saw this article over morning coffee, I rolled my eyes as my first reaction. I agree with someone who noted once Joss goes mainstream, people suddenly produce the for the backlash.

I enjoyed the film. I put my money down for a good time in a thoughtful manner; something Joss does very well. The poll should really read 'What film did the press write about so much they got sick of it, and now want you to feel the same way.' Most overrated sounds much more snappier.
BTW, for me, Prometheus was a huge let-down, just saying.
Frankly I can't say that I'm either that surprised or that I would necessarily disagree with this. After all - if fair is fair shouldn't the 3rd largest gross of all time go to the 3rd greatest movie of all time? (which - I'm going to go out on a limb here and say - is probably not the Avengers on anyone's all-encompassing best of list.)

With that said, things could be a lot worse here like - for instance - there could've been a poll concluding that people didn't like the Avengers...
"Welcome back, Apocalypse. Long time no post. :-)"

Thank you! I've been backpacking around the world for the last year and a half so I've kind of been out of the Whedonverse loop for a while. I check in every now and then just to see what Joss is up to, 2012 has been a bumper year I'm sorry I've missed it. Managed to catch both The Avengers and CitW so I don't feel like too much of a deserter and I'm looking forward to a massive catch-up on all of the new stuff when I finally get home in about six months.

That got rather off topic didn't it?
Maybe The Avengers draws its disappointment factor just due to expectations. I didn't hear of any expectations the moment I loaded it into the DVD player. I knew it was a huge box-office draw, but I didn't know what to expect. I had a blast, and still do. The movie has excellent performances (for the most part), it has modes, intrique, personnal stories, and a huge climactic battle. It's fairly what you would want-without being everything you'd expect.
The issue of what's on film is defined by what the studio wanted, the actors with contracts, and the guy without a contract that led to the movie being re-written. when you throw those factors in, the movie gets better. I eagerly anticipate him correcting most of those issues next time around-this guy gets comics and movies...he just gets it. (TDKR has it's own slew of these guys should understand each other.)
In terms of critical reaction, TDKR is way more overhyped, I think. Time will show that it just isn't the same quality as TDK. I honestly don't understand how its topped so many Top Ten lists. Which means obviously this isn't about critical reaction but fandom - and I guess Avengers naturally has a gigantic, constantly growing and in-the-news fandom. So yeah: makes sense, or whatever.
In terms of critical reaction, TDKR is way more overhyped, I think. Time will show that it just isn't the same quality as TDK.

Not to put a fly in your ointment, but imo TDK is hardly immune from overhyping itself (personally, out of that trilogy I would actually rank it third.) So - as they say YMMV.
Oh the irony.

A poll that's considered "irrelevant" on a board known across the internet for inflating votes in online polls that involve any kind of Whedon-based property.

So because it didn't go the way you wanted, it's suddenly irrelevant.

Any poll that puts Buffy at the top of a list or Mal Reynolds or whatever the poll involves from a Whedon property is so important that the Whedonesque troops must be rallied just to make sure that property wins.

Oh the irony.

And once again, it wouldn't be an Avengers thread without trashing a Nolan film.

Oh the predictability.
I'd like to see a moratorium on sarcasm that trashes this weblog and the members within it. We aren't one non-thinking body that runs around the Internet inflating poll votes, we are individuals. And some of the savviest, well-read individuals I've ever encountered, with widely-varied opinions on a plethora of subjects.
NL197, with all due respect, is it really that surprising that people on a Joss Whedon fan site, support Joss Whedon? I don't see the irony in Whedon fans on the internet supporting Whedon actors and characters in internet fan polls.

However, what I do find ironic is that the only person that used the word irrelevant to describe the poll in this entire thread was you.
Now now, NL197 ...more than a few Whedon fans here in this very forum have noted they are happy Joss is getting the kudos he deserves but felt The Avengers is not the best thing since sliced bread or that Joss has ever done.

And re: dumping on Chris Nolan/TDKR? While I personally loved the film, I can recognize that some people don't like it for a myriad of personal reasons and were hoping for some grand finale that would dispell any "third time crappy" second sequel quality issues forevermore. I personally wouldn't having picked the core storyline of the Knightfall arc from the comics for TDKR, due to the sheer magnitude of the idea and the villain...but I am not Chris Nolan or Warner Bros. People seem to hate on Nolan for the same reasons people hate on Joss: great big ideas and complex characters that get certain kinds of people orgasmic...but leave others cold from a lack of sympatico, which leads to frustration and anger when their opinions are treated like heresy. It is not nice or right BUT perpetuating the same negative behaviour back doesn't help you out...I know that from experience :S
NL197 you've ignored my warning from the other day so be off with you.
The Avengers was great until Uma Thurman turned up.

(PS: Love Uma really).

[ edited by gossi on 2013-01-03 19:30 ]
I, too, am among those who was underwhelmed by The Avengers. But, I never appreciated the comics (or any comics, really) in the first place. So I was hoping Joss would open my eyes to the wonder that so many see in The Avengers (and The X-Men and and and and). And that didn't happen. I left the theater and thought, 'then that happened.'

On the other hand, I had HUGELY inflated hopes for Prometheus. HUGELY inflated. And I was so disappointed in the result. I still think Ridley Scott can create more beautiful shots than almost any other big budget director and he larded the film with those. But he seemed to have left out everything else from plot to emotion. On the other other hand, I do think Joss would appreciate that the most human character in the film was an android =)
I don't recall The Avengers being particular highly rated very widely. Lots of people thought it was fun, though; but that's not quite the same as thinking it was strikingly good. Whether it was very good or not, I don't see it as being widely rated as such. Commercial success is another matter entirely. Perhaps the reviews I read and the people I spoke to were not representative.
I think most people, including Joss Whedon, expected "The Avengers" to be a really swell movie based on superhero comics; that is, the swellness is going to be measured in how much you like the tone of the original comics and the comic book movie genre overall in the first place. If your favorite movie ever is "The Piano" or "Midnight in Paris" or "Hostel," this is going to strike you as less terrific than if your favorite movie is "Iron Man." I think most people came away from "The Avengers" thinking they got a swell movie based on superhero comics; some people thought it wasn't so swell, but I'm not sure what they went in expecting. (I thought the dialogue was very Whedony, so for the people who thought the dialogue wasn't funny, clearly our mileage is varying.) So far, I haven't heard anybody going in expecting/coming out claiming "The Avengers" cured terminal illness. I'm having a "Princess Bride" moment with this whole "overrated" business - "I don't think that word means what you think it means."

[ edited by Shapenew on 2013-01-03 19:57 ]
hann23: "Now that Joss is considered officially overrated, can we skip over his demise and get right to plotting his comeback?"

I declare this to be one of the top ten remarks this week made by a Whedonesquer in response to an internet poll about overrated movies of 2012.

I swear, I don't know whether to be smug about knowing Joss when, embarrassed by loving this now mainstream creator, or indignant about all the Joss-Is-Boss-No-Now-He-Isn't blowback.

Think I'll just go with the love...
I loved the Avengers. Loved. it.
And this coming from someone who was extremely cranky and bitter about Joss because of my disappointment in the season 8 comics.

But the Avengers worked for me on many levels. It had so many excellent moments with a variety of characters. I was pleasantly surprised at it's level of success, frankly, because I have been following Joss' career for so long and usually surprised in the opposite direction.

[ edited by Xane on 2013-01-03 20:02 ]
By my understanding 'underrated' should not translate to 'bad'. I don't see any value judgement attached to the term really.

The Hobbit was overrated and it wasn't that good; The Avengers was overrated but it was still a really fun film which I think was higher quality than most superhero films.

I think any Marvel film by definition is going to be overrated - but this is definitely not a comment on Joss as far as I can tell.

Let's call a spade a spade - The Avengers was overrated. Does it matter? Not really.
Well it could not be overrated since it was. Number one movie in
2012 ( I don't get the uma Thurman reference)
Sorry, the only reason I cited TDKR is because I've seen it top a few Best Of lists. The fact Avengers hasn't, really, means this is more of a fandom poll than a critical one, (i.e. it's not critically overhyped). Or something. I know TDK isn't infallible (Not too keen on it, either, personally) but I think there's more Nolan meat to it. Seems like there is a passion there, when TDKR has a more of a cynicism. It's a pretty great superhero film, but not a Nolan film.

I'm way off-topic, I think, maybe, possible apologises mods!
I sort of think it is (sad) human nature to tout someone on the way up and then decry them when they get there...
I swear, I don't know whether to be smug about knowing Joss when, embarrassed by loving this now mainstream creator, or indignant about all the Joss-Is-Boss-No-Now-He-Isn't blowback.

This is also a top quote :)
Pureone: Uma Thurman starred in a movie adptation of the british 60 series The Avengers, a spy/sci fi/fantasy show that had nothing to do with Marvel or the superhero genre; the original series was great, the movie was awfull.
Ralph Fiennes as Loki, perhaps? Hmmmm, maybe if he had been younger but Mr. Hiddleston will do just fine.
Actually Dana, I think it's that as fans there tends to be a sycophantic obsession with bringing the fame we feel people deserve. Once that happens, people often see the fame get so large it crowds out other artists. Largely, it stops being something we control as a fandom and becomes cultural. So it strikes people the same way in reverse. Now we see Whedon's star blocking out others. I'm glad I rethought my drinking game based on "Cabin In The Woods" articles where Drew doesn't even get mentioned. So the human nature we're probably talking about in both cases is some sort of misplaced "justice." Joss, the guy no one has ever heard of, is undervalued. Joss, Alpha and Omega of geek culture, is overvalued. Same impulse.

Still love 'im.

[ edited by azzers on 2013-01-04 02:31 ]
Silly poll.
And the answer is Dark Knight Rises.

[ edited by redeem147 on 2013-01-05 03:44 ]
Funny, I kinda knew there would be this big conversation about this, but my reaction when I saw the headline was a bemused, "Huh." Not saying it can't be an interesting conversation, but ultimately, it doesn't really mean anything.
Darkness: thanks. I had wiped that movie from mind
azzers: it is not a zero sum game. Joss's rise does not stop others from rising as well. I just recall my son, when younger, following the musician Chris Carraba (Dashboard Confessional). While he was underground, my son took him to himself, so to say. When he got popular and was no longer just of the "cognescenti," my son lost interest. I think it is sort of the nature of pop culture and its changing "what's hot" items.
I liked Avengers. It was very much like the comics I remember - which makes it remarkable that I liked it, since I was never much of a Marvel fan. Go figure.

ETA: I haven't seen TDKR yet - I don't go to theaters anymore, ever - but I have to say that, IMO, this series of films were the closest of any, ever, to really "get" Batman.

[ edited by Rowan Hawthorn on 2013-01-04 15:17 ]
The most overrated movie of 2012 is without a doubt Skyfall. How that is getting such great reviews is a mystery, it seems people are too dazzled by the shiny and pretty to notice how bad the story is. The Dark Knight Rises is not that far behind - for all its problems, it's still better than Skyfall, and oddly enough not so many people seem blind to its plot holes and contradictions.

Prometheus is the year's most disappointing movie, but I wouldn't call it overrated since there aren't that many people claiming that it's good (not that they don't exist, but they're a minority) and it's not on any of the many "Best movies of 2012" lists I've seen online.
I think I'd rank Joss' work something like this:

The Astonishing X-Men
AtS seasons 1-3
Cabin in the Woods
The Avengers
Tales of the Slayers/Tales of the Vampires
Dr Horrible
BtVS comics season 8
AtS seasons 4-5
BtVS comics season 9 (including the spinoffs like Angel & Faith)

His run of Runaways and Much Ado About Nothing are not on the list since I haven't read/seen them yet.

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2013-01-04 15:45 ]

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2013-01-04 15:46 ]
I find all discussions of being overrated pretty tiresome, because it boils down films to a question of "ratings" and "worth." Why can Avengers and, say, Lincoln just not be two good films of differing tones and purposes? Cause then we wouldn't have anything to discuss on the interwebz, that's why!

All that being said, I think The Avengers was a fantastic movie, and about as perfect a film you could ask for involving this subject matter. People seem to underestimate just in how many ways this could have failed. Whatever you think of the film, Joss should be given credit for making a film that is legitimately groundbreaking, something that had never been done before, or even attempted. Of course it's going to be flawed. These are the things that happen on the cutting edge.
Mr. E- how would you define failure? Box office or something else? And what makes Avengers groundbreaking? The Matrix was groundbreaking. So was Blair Witch, in its own way. But Avengers?
Dana--It's hard to define failure, true failure, in any narrative medium, because you run into obstacles such as objectivity/subjectivity, place and time, and popular/critical consensus. Was Transformers 2 a failure? It's a terrible movie, but it made 384 million domestic, which was all it was supposed to do...the mind boggles.

The groundbreaking attribute I'm speaking of is taking something as continuity driven as comic book lore and translating it to film in significant manner. As far as I'm aware (and I'm no student of film, but everything I've read seems to point to this) this is the first time in cinematic history where a continuity of this scale has even been attemped. Six completely separate characters, with completely separate actors, themes, directors merged together in the same universe. It was a massive, unprecedented undertaking, and The Avengers was the culmination of that effort. The fact that it succeeded at all--that it's not only a good Ironman movie, but a good Thor movie, Captain America movie, and even Hulk movie--is simply remarkable. The fact that it balances and gives nods to all the events that happened in the six or so films leading up to it, and the fact that it remains in continuity of those films and above all makes sense, plotholes aside, is nothing short of extraordinary. All the characters get their chance to shine, none of them are OUT of character (that alone bespeaks Joss's writing abilities) and the plot, while straightforward, does what it needs to do to get these guys working as a team.

So if any of the things that make it ground breaking--out of character Iron Man, or ignoring one character in favor of another--or if the film had not been able to balance the continuities of the six disparate films before it, or if the dialogue had been bad and the special effects weak and the direction atrocious--then it would have been a failure, and Marvel six year long, billion dollar project would have been all for naught, and Joss would have been a laughingstock (might be being a bit overdramatic here.)

Thankfully, none of that happened.
That's an excellent comment, Mr. E. I would also point out, on a far greater scale than Serenity with regard to needing pre-knowledge, how accessible he made the film to someone like me, not really a comic-book or graphic novel reader, per se, and so deftly drawn I was never in and out as to what was going on; an intensely pleasurable experience.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2013-01-04 23:15 ]
I'm not going to give it groundbreaking, Mr. E (which reminds me of what the jazz musician Sun Ra used to say: "Some call me Mr. Ra; I call me mystery." Say it out loud...). I think it's good fun, and large in scale, but let's face it, these characters already existed, they all had back stories (and in some cases at least 2 not so good movies, ie, Hulk), and Joss was constrained by that and the need to spin all of this off into a whole lot of other movies. I do think some of the back movies were good- Ironman (and I hate Robert Downey Jr., so that tells you that it was good), but I thought Thor was weak, and Cap'n A did not do much for me. But- I am a Silver Age DC lover, so what do I know? :-) In my estimation, groundbreaking means doing something new. Juggling a lot of characters is not new, and just setting it in a comic universe does not make it new. Any Tarantino movie juggles a lot of characters, for example.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2013-01-05 01:23 ]
Do the characters in these Tarantino movies come from six completely separate films with their own continuities, personalities and backstories? ;) That's really where the "groundbreaking" part comes in. Nothing of this type of continuity had ever been attempted on this scale. The very nature of movies sort of grinds against it. So maybe it would be better to say that this entire Marvel project starting with the first Ironman was a groundbreaking experiment at translating comic-book continuity to a medium that inherently rejects such a thing, and Joss headed the final glorious piece de resistance.
Well, it is not the final piece de resistance; there is more a'coming.
The Avengers kind of walked away with that one didn't it? Not very surprising when you consider the other options on the poll. Prometheus and Project X were virtually universally critically panned. Brave received a lukewarm reception from most (I personally thought it was underrated.) Ted, coming from Seth MacFarlane was always going to be a mainstream success; the critical praise was an extra surprise and there wasn't any backlash against the popularity. The Master is an art house film that may have received a lot of critical plaudits, but is unlikely to have been seen by as many people as the others on the list.

That just leaves The Avengers and Cloud Atlas. I don't know anything about the later of those, as it is not on it the UK for another month, but The Avengers does seem like the only choice for a film that got a lot of praise, a lot of hype, was seen by lots of people and will probably leave some of them feeling let down.

Very surprised that we don't see Dark Knight Rises or The Hobbit in this list too. I loved the former of these, but they are the only other films I can think of that had that much expectation that is being met by a vocal group of people. I more useful poll would probably have been "What was the biggest disappointing film this year?" which, I imagine, would have been won by Prometheus.
I liked the Avengers and I thought Joss did a great job on it.It's great to see him finally getting the credit he deserves however, I think Cabin in the woods or Dr Horrible which I would view as more legitimate works, deserve it a lot more.
Im sure Much Ado will be brilliant as well.

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