A Superhero Summer: “The Avengers” Advanced Thoughts

In our second Superhero Summer article Burner, Alan and Chas discuss the upcoming sure to be record-breaking The Avengers.


When it comes to the Avengers, what concerns you?

Alan: That it is not coming to theaters fast enough. Of all the superhero flicks hitting theatres this summer, I think this is the one I am most excited to see because it might fully realize some of the mainstays of comics: the crazy ass fight that destroys a good chunk of New York City real estate. (Take that, Trump Tower.)

"Hulk SMASH!"

There have been few, if any, truly iconic fight scenes in a superhero movie. Maybe ever. The closest we may have is the Metropolis throw-down in Superman II. While I may have bought it as a kid, it’s really hard to watch that now and not see just four people in tights, playing around on a set. (Yes, I know superheroes aren’t real.)

The flip side of this coin is that Avengers will dumb down superhero movies even more, something Nolan’s Dark Knight has always fought against.

Burner: I’m excited for this and that excitement is based wholly on the presence of Joss Whedon. I’m not a Whedon superfan or anything, I haven’t seen Buffy, Angel, or Dollhouse, but I do enjoy Firefly and its movie Serenity and think “Dr Evil’s Sing Along Blog” is wonderful. I worry they he may exhibit a Kenneth Branagh like over reliance on CGI, but I’m not too worried about it being dumb.

Chas: I am so upset that Kenneth Branagh’s name has been slandered on this website I am nearly speechless.  Nothing concerns me about The Avengers.  I have a feeling when it comes I will come away with the following takeaway:


Are there any character’s you’re worried about?


Chas: I am seriously concerned about Black Widow and Hawkeye. In my opinion an actual comic book format makes it easier to hide inequalities between superheros and let’s face it: Black Widow and Hawkeye are no Hulk. On film, how is Joss Whedon going to mask the fact that those two are out of their league? I hope he plays it more honestly and while both Black Widow and Hawkeye contribute they also serve as damsels in distress (sorry Jeremy Renner!) And now on to a classic nerd trap…beyond the aforementioned “expert assassins” I don’t even understand how Captain America, blessed only with a super soldier serum is supposed to be on the same plane as a man in cutting-edge metal armor or a demi-god. Perhaps I should view it more as a team vs. a bunch of competitors…that’s the point right? Well then here’s my starting roster if the Avengers ever put up a basketball team:

  • Nick Fury: Point guard (due to awesome eye patch)
  • Iron Man: Shooting guard
  • Hulk: Center
  • Thor: Power forward
  • Captain America; Small forward
  • Bench: Black Widow, Hawkeye

Alan: Sorry, I don’t buy Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. Not even a little.

Mark Ruffalo is no Bill Bixby

Burner: I am also worried about Black Widow and Hawkeye. Black Widow because Scarlett Johansson cannot deliver comic book movie dialogue at all. And Hawkeye, because Legolas is gay (no offense to the homosexual community). Ruffalo strikes me as too much of a pro to get in the way here, he’s only an issue if they try to use him. Does anyone know if they got Andy Serkis to do the Hulk mo-cap? Finally, I hope they give Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury about same amount of of screen time as the movies leading into this one, as I had never heard of his character before these movies and the whole “Sam Jackson Thing” works better in small doses.


What was your reaction to the trailers?


Burner: The trailers make me pretty excited to see the The Avengers. The action looks serviceable and the dialogue quippy and fast paced as one would expect from Joss Whedon. Of course the trailers also remind me that human block of wood Scarlett Johansson is in this movie playing a character I’ve neither heard of nor care about. Mostly though, it’s excitement.

Alan: I’m in. They had me at Tony Stark saying, “We have a Hulk.”

Chas: I think after you’ve seen every one of the superhero’s lead-in movie the trailer itself is fairly irrelevant. Why? Because those movies are 10 hours worth of trailers for The Avengers. Why would I see Thor, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk and NOT see the Avengers? But if there was a question, the moment the Hulk bounded across the screen to snatch Iron Man’s disabled body out of the sky I mentally purchased my ticket. To echo Burner’s thoughts, the easiest way to improve the trailer would have been to delete Scarlett Johansson but I’ll save that rant for when I review the entire movie.


Beyond Loki, who exactly are the bad guys?


Alan: Um … some weird-ish metal dragon warship kind of things? Loki doesn’t deal with things quite that way — why build ships when you’re a demigod magician — so my guess is that there is another villain lurking about we don’t know about. My guess: Fin Fang Foom, a giant purple dragon who wears underpants. (I swear, I am not making this up.)


Chas: Haha, if Fin Fang Foom rolls up in his purple tighties I’m walking out of the theater, something I haven’t done since Mission Impossible II. It seems pretty cut and dry that the Transformeresque snake is Jormungand AKA the Midgar Serpent, a massive snake unleashed at armageddon. I believe Alan’s Fin Fang Foom is a variant or manifestation of Jormungand. It’s also so confusing. Let’s just call the damn thing the Driller from Transformers and be done with it.

You call it what you want. I call it a CGI mess.

Between the world eating serpent and the thousands of demi-god soldiers wearing G.I. Joe accelerator suits, it’s clear that Loki, the Master of Illusion, is ignoring his title and has decided to be as illusive as a flaming sledgehammer to the face.
Burner: The bad guys in these movies are almost always bad. Outside of Magneto and Zod, they’re all a bunch of duds. Green Golbin: lame. Topher Grace as Venom, Richard Pryor, the CGI Ice Giants, all of the Iron man villains, etc. The end fight will almost certainly be dull too, so for me the success or failure of this will probably rest on how good the team up stuff is. Good banter, a couple of fights among themselves, and some creative use of teaming up will all be mandatory.


Can Samuel L. Jackson actually act?


Chas: Yes. In the same capacity John Wayne and Bruce Willis can act…as themselves.

Alan: They’re basing this Nick Fury off the version in Marvel’s “Ultimates” line, which been admitted by everyone involved that it was based off Samuel L. Jackson. So, you could say that this is the part Jackson was born to play.

Burner: As I said above, I think using Fury judiciously will serve the movie best. Treat him like he’s the guy in a Quentin Tarantino movie who gets to have the one meaty scene but isn’t in the rest of movie.


"Joss, this is too much responsibility!"


Consensus:  The Avengers will be everything we want  if they minimize the silliness of the villains and limit Samuel, Scarlett and Jeremy’s screentime.

Next up on the Superhero Summer:  The Amazing Spider-man.

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