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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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January 17 2013

Samuel L. Jackson: Joss Whedon had me baffled. The Avengers star revealed "that it was only when he saw the film on screen and saw Joss had made a "visual comic book" that he understood the motivation behind the director's approach."

"visual comic book" -- I see ;)
Would someone point out a few examples of how a "visual comic book" style would be different than a traditional movie? I mean, it's not like Joss was trying the exotic scene transitions from Ang Lee's "Hulk". (I can believe that Jackson is right, but I'm not sure what I should be noticing, that would leave him baffled.)
What, then, would be a non-visual comic book?
Link's not working... or is it just me?
I think it has to do with how he used "the space" that everything is set in; I don't know that there is just one scene that explains that. Which is what I think Jackson might have been "baffled" by, he's acting in these scenes that work together as a cohesive whole. The way it can go from a huge scene with all the characters in a tiny lab to the large bridge of the helicarrier that balances out the weight of these characters "just talking" to the epically large fight scene in New York where you are never confused where one character is in relation to another.

From several different interviews with Jackson I get the feeling that he walked into this movie thinking he needed to play everything "big" because it's a comic book and that Joss had to pull him back from that and explain that the movie is "big" already and the performances don't need to be, they underscore that and come together to create that feeling.
I guess he's saying Whedon's approach wasn't EXACTLY what favreau did on IM, other action movies he may have done or seen, even from the Marvel Phase I. Perhaps it seemed odd at the time.
What, then, would be a non-visual comic book?


The Crow. I could hardly make out what was going on screen.

Link's not working... or is it just me?


Seems fine here.
I think a lot of it is to do with the iconic imagery used too, I read a lot about the cast being confused about the 360 shot (done on green screen) right up until they saw it in the final cut.
I thought that perhaps Jackson (who, I understand, grew up reading comics) meant the way that Joss discourages improv/ad-libbing (which many directors encourage in order to get a naturalistic feel to a scene) because Joss is making specific choices that make the audience believe one thing and then be surprised when it turns out to be something else. In a comic book you'll see a page of artwork that looks like a character died and then you turn over the page (or wait a whole month for the next issue) and find out how that character survived. So that was how I interpreted Sam Jackson's comments: that his actions were limited in order to not give away more than Joss wanted to in any particular scene.
I just watched the commentary the other day, so I do feel like I have to bring up that Joss mentioned in the commentary that some of the actors said the same thing about not getting it until they saw it finished, this was in the scene where they were having the argument, the shot that ends with a flip of the camera and seeing all the actors past the staff.
@Judedeath: You just reminded me of a number of scenes, where Joss mentioned they were filmed differently with the 3D conversion in mind.
Okay, so it's not even just me, it's just Firefox. Odd.

Interesting, if somewhat vague, snippet from Samuel J.
Seems to me he's talking about how specific details had to be a specific way, in the same way a comic book artist would make very specific choices about how to draw things, possibly down to how someone holds an object in relation to where the camera is, multiple things happening on screen at the same time, how the camera moves through the space, the camera itself being used to convey ideas, characters standing or moving in specific ways, et.c..
Some of the angles in the movie I think are comic book angles. The under-angle shot of Nick Fury walking into the NASA center at the beginning of the movie. The already mentioned 360 and upside down shots. The "long take" shot during the battle was like looking at a a 2 page splash only it was in a movie, not a comic book. The shot of The Hulk rampaging behind Black Widow looked like it was ripped out of a comic book.

Theres alot of stuff in the movie I feel have a very distinct comic book look but I've always felt since the Buffy days that live action CB's were Joss' directing style. The people who used to say he isn't "cinematic enough" continue to perplex me. Alot of comic book art and iconic cinematic imagery go hand in hand.
Yeah, I could have sworn there were a couple scenes in interviews or the commentary where Whedon said something along the lines of how either he was surprised people let him get away with some stuff.
Or it was the idea that everyone thought he was secretly crazy or they were confused and just went ahead and did it, not getting it until seeing the final visual or hearing it edited together.
I always wondered about all the "dutch" angles in Thor, this was how Ken interpreted how a comic book film should look.

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