Posts Tagged ‘ Chris Evans ’

Avengers Assemble Review

On paper The Avengers should not work. Movies like X-Men have shown when it comes to superhero ensembles, it can be near impossible bringing together so many larger than superheroes and make it work. If anyone could make it work however, it was writer/director Joss Whedon, whose ability for strong characterisation had long been established on the likes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Astonishing X-Men. Needless to say Whedon pulls of the impossible. Avengers (or Avengers Assemble for UK viewers) is without a doubt one of the best comic book movies ever made, and a fresh relief from the over cynical cinema we’re so used to.

Whedon’s script is exciting, action packed, tense and hilariously funny. The Avengers is a film that doesn’t try and take itself too seriously. The banter between characters really encapsulates what the Avengers are about. These are heroes with huge egos and flaws, on paper they shouldn’t work together, yet Whedon makes it work brilliantly. The film’s climax is an action packed extravaganza, with one glorious set piece after another. Another important aspect Whedon brings the film is how he manages to avoid falling into comic book cliché. Just when you think you have the film guessed out, Whedon thrusts you into a different direction. It’s a ridiculously fun movie, one I watched with a huge grin on my face.

Performance wise, for me Chris Evans as Captain America is the standout performer. It takes a real challenge to wear such a bright patriotic costume, and not make it silly. For those worried this film would be more like Iron Man and his Avenging Friends, rest assured, Captain America is the true leader here. In contrast Robert Downey Jr. is on scene stealing form as Tony Stark, though he gets notably more balanced screen-time with his armoured alter ego in comparison to his previous movies.

Whedon works his magic with developing strong female characters with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. Her performance here adds context to her disappointing outing in Iron Man 2, but completely outshines it at the same time. Critics will argue a female superhero armed with guns fighting aliens amongst monsters and gods looks silly, but Whedon makes it work. Chris Hemsworth delivers a solid performance as Thor, though I did miss the rash, arrogant god of thunder from the beginning of his previous movie.

Much praise has been given to Tom Hiddleston for his portrayal of Loki. While Hiddleston delivers a charismatic evil performance, without seeing the Thor film it’s difficult to comprehend what’s made him tick. Then again, there’s only so much you can fit in one movie. Jeremy Renner draws the short stick as Clint Barton/Haweye. While he provides some impressive action scenes towards the end of the movie, his relationship with Black Widow is never fully explored and he goes missing for far too much of the beginning act. With a career in the Bourne films shaping up, I hope this isn’t the last we see of Renner as Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  A hero I would like to see more of is Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk. In his first Marvel outing, Mark Rufallo hits the ground running as Bruce Banner, giving us a Banner that’s more comfortable with himself, as opposed to the tortured interpretation we’ve seen before. It’s his monstrous alter ego that practically reinvents himself on screen, with the Incredible Hulk providing some of the best humorous moments as well as action sequences.

The supporting cast all turn in great performances with the exception of maybe Samuel L. Jackson. His Performance feels slightly phoned in compared to the delightful Clark Gregg playing Agent Coulson. Whedon certainly gives Coulson his moment to shine, with his charming humour providing a fantastic contract to all the larger than life superheroes. His SHIELD colleague Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) has her importance, but we don’t get to see the extremely confident and strict character from the comics just yet.

If I have any serious complaints, it’s the lack of focus the film takes on Steve Rogers/Captain America’s position coming to terms with a 21st century world. During filming, Whedon was quoted as saying how the film is shown through Steve Roger’s point of view. While that’s certainly true for the first half of the film, towards the end the focus shifts towards Nick Fury/SHIELD and the whole man out of time aspect is lost. I guess this is something that can be developed in a Cap sequel though. While others have certainly criticised the inclusion of the Chitauri for being nothing more than intergalactic canon fodder, I would rather Whedon spent time developing the Avengers rather than focusing on building up the alien race.

Special effects wise, ILM deserve an Oscar nod for their work creating the Incredible Hulk. All of the action sequences also look fantastic on screen, with only a few minor flaws with the effects on the Chitauri. I saw it in IMAX and it definitely enriched the experience.

It’s going to be hard going back to solo movies for Marvel now. The Avengers sets the bar so high; will audiences be satisfied with just solo origin movies for the next few years? That’s not a complaint; it’s a testament to how good The Avengers is. Whedon is about to become the most sought out man in Hollywood, for his Avengers is a masterpiece…

5/5

Ohh and if the post-credit teaser is anything to go by, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to get a lot more intense…

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New Avengers Trailer Deconstruction And Analysis

I didn’t think it was possible, but The Avengers is looking better than anybody could have ever predicted. Debuting exclusively via Apple, the new trailer offers us tons of fantastic action scenes, a closer look at Loki‘s ‘army’ and some intriguing story moments. Simply put, it was one of the best movie trailers I’ve ever seen.

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1) Continuity Counts

One of my main fears when Marvel first announced their intention to build a cinematic shared universe was that it would be difficult to interweave the separate films into the same continuity. True, there have been some hiccups here and there, and the recasting of James Rhodes/War Machine and Bruce Banner didn’t help. Thankfully though, this trailer at least confirms that the ending of Iron Man 2 will be addressed in The Avengers. I’m a strong believer that when this film hits, it’s going to bring all the Marvel films before it into better context. Plus, the new Stark tech looks fantastic.

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2) There’s Conflict In The Team

For comic book fans out there, you may have noticed how this scene looks as if it has been taken straight from the pages of Mark Millar‘s and Bryan Hitch‘s revolutionary series Ultimates 2. In the original trailer, we saw signs of hostilities between Captain America and Thor, but now this new trailer reveals more to the story. Has Loki manipulated events and turned the other Avengers against his brother? Either way, praise must be given to Joss Whedon for bringing this interesting dynamic to the team.

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3) Maria Hill Finally

Here we finally get a shot of Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill standing alongside Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). We haven’t seen much of her so far, but knowing Whedon’s talent for handling female characters, I’m sure Maria Hill will be represented well on screen.

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4) Mind Control Or Double Agent?

An interesting moment here is seeing Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) engaged in combat with her former partner Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). First assumptions would be that Loki has somehow used mind control over Hawkeye and is able to use the Avenger as a weapon against Widow. As a big fan of The Ultimates, I can’t help but wish this shot represented Black Widow revealing herself as a double agent working against the team. I doubt that’s going to happen (there’s not even the slightest hint of Russian) but it certainly would raise the stakes of the movie to another level.

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5) More Ultimates Genius

Here is another shot that brought back memories of reading the opening of The Ultimates 2. In that universe, Cap jumping out of planes is a trademark aspect to the character and it looks brilliant on-screen in The Avengers.

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6) Hulk Is Loose

Another pivotal screenshot, this time perhaps revealing that Loki is able to control the Hulk, and even manages to chase down Black Widow possibly on board the Hellicarrier. I’m really happy with how the trailer is able to convey the mess Loki is causing. It really is exceeding my expectations.

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7) Kneel Before Zo.. Loki

Perhaps my favourite moment from the trailer, simply because it highlights how Loki isn’t on Earth to simply destroy it or invade it, he wants to rule it. Anyone following the set pictures online knows how this ends up, but for now, Loki is winning.

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8) Hawkeye Is In The Film

In case you didn’t know, Hawkeye is in this film. He only gets a few snippets of screen time in the trailer, and even Agent Coulson gets more dialogue than him. Why do I get the feeling he’s going to take down the monster revealed at the end of the trailer though?

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9) Thor Imprisoned

Once again, another scene that looks as if it has been taken straight from The Ultimates, this time revealing Thor imprisoned by SHIELD as he screams in anger. What’s interesting is that Thor is imprisoned; yet still holding his hammer Mjölnir. Why would SHIELD imprison Thor while still armed with his hammer? Something doesn’t add up, is Loki yet again behind this?

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10) The Skrulls, Or Kree, Or Something Else Entirely

We are yet again teased at the identity of Loki’s alien army. We’ve been told time and time again they’re not Skrulls, yet that seems the most logical choice. I’m beginning to think they will likely be a new race created by Whedon himself.

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11) Hulk Is A Hero

Putting aside any rumours of Hulk being a villain in this movie, here we see Hulk catching a fallen Iron Man after taking heavy fire while attacking the invading army. It’s a shot that looks as if it has been taken straight from the comics. The Hulk has slipped off radar in recent years, it looks as if Whedon is about to put him straight back at the top. Mark Ruffalo also impresses as Bruce Banner, reminiscent of the classic Bill Bixby series.

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12) The Midgard Serpent?

Easily the best Easter egg ever found in a trailer. Is this a nod to the classic Thor villain, the Midgard Serpent, or a different take on the Marvel dragon Fin Fang Foom? Either way, the mechanical beast has the potential to make for a fantastic cinematic battle. May cannot come soon enough.

Deconstructing: The Avengers Superbowl Trailer

(Warning: Spoilers In This Article)

Debuting during the Superbowl, the action packed trailer for The Avengers offers us our first glimpse of the full Avengers team assembled. Simply put, the action packed trailer was just pure brilliance. Here I will look at some of the interesting moments from the trailer, and discuss how I believe The Avengers will be one the best comic book movies of all time.

Unlike many suggestions on the internet that seem to imply the scene with Tony Stark and Steve Rogers is when they first meet, to me, it looks more like they’ve just been ordered to make up after a brief spat by Nick Fury. One thing that separates the Avengers from the Justice League is that it constantly feels as if the personalities of the Avengers team shouldn’t be together. Yet somehow, the team works brilliant. With a huge ensemble move like this, each character needs to have unique distinctive qualities, and based on what we’ve seen so far, they’re bound to clash from time to time.

Here we see Iron Man flying towards what looks to be an oncoming alien invasion. Some have argued that Iron Man is flying towards the alien mother ship, however it looks more like he is flying towards the portal that links the alien world to Earth. Upon Iron Man and the Avengers Quinjet entering the portal, it looks as if Thor thunderously lands on the Quinjet, initially believing the Avengers to be either imposters or belonging to the alien species. This is why I think Thor attacks Captain America in the previous trailer.

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We also get our first glimpse of ‘Loki‘s’ Army invading Earth. Marvel have done very well here, as they have revealed the alien army’s appearance, yet it’s still difficult to determine what species they are. Everything seems to suggest Skrull, yet FOX apparently owns the rights to them. It’s definitely not Frost Giants as some have implied, as the aliens seen here are far too technology advanced to have come from an ice realm. The same goes for Atlanteans. I’m thinking it’s a lesser-known species such as the aliens from the Breakworld or even The Sons of Muspell. Hopefully though, there will be some hidden references to army in previous Marvel films so that Nick Fury creating the Avengers feels organic like it was planned all along, and not forced for the sake of giving this movie a villain

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Whedon promised that every character in this movie would have their moment, and this trailer certainly confirms that. From Cap performing death-defying leaps, to Hawkeye shooting off arrows while free falling, it looks so far as if no character is going to get left behind.

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Seeing the team fully Assembled proves to me that Joss Whedon seems on intent on delivery the perfect comic book move. One that is action packed, over the top and not held bad by contemporary realism. He also seems to have captured the one element that other superhero ensemble movies seem to miss, teamwork! With the heroes combined, there is a sense that whatever threat they’re facing is incredibly serious, and it really adds some gravitas to the movie, which the previous trailer failed to do. My only complaint would be that compared to Cap, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk, Black Widow arming herself with one gun is a little underwhelming. Hopefully there’s more to her than what meets the eye, and based on Whedon’s history with writing strong female characters, I’m sure Black Widow will impress on screen.

Towards the end of the trailer we see the confrontation between Loki and Tony Stark. After being told by Stark that the team is called the Avengers, Loki tries to threaten Stark by claiming he has an army, to which Stark replies, “We have a Hulk”. It’s cheesy, but it’s brilliant. It highlights how well the dialogue is being handled in this movie, as well as illustrating how dark Loki has become.

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My second favourite screen shot from the trailer involves the Hulk. It’s shows our first glimpse of a fully transformed Banner in action, as he smashes through a building and punches an aircraft high in the air. It’s brilliant. Simply because the Incredible Hulk is one of Marvel’s best characters, but some average movies and meant that his popularity has declined over the years. By including the Hulk in The Avengers, Marvel has a chance to put the Green Goliath back at the top where he belongs.

So there’s my deconstruction of the Superbowl Avengers trailer. While it was a little short, it’s completely revived my interest in the movie after a lack of serious marketing. Now though, I can’t wait for the movie to hit theatres, and I want to hear your suggestions about Loki’s army, and any other thoughts about the movie.

Deconstructing: The Avengers Trailer

Avengers Poster V.2 Unofficial

It’s the day comic book fans across the globe have been waiting for. Today Marvel released their first full-length trailer for The Avengers movie due next year. Offering our first glimpse of Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, the trailer certainly did not disappoint. Not much was revealed though, confirming that this is more of a teaser to keep fans satisfied for the time being. What we can do though, is speculate about the movie from what we’ve seen so far.

1) Joss Whedon is certainly keeping the team’s main threat under wraps for now:

During the trailer we saw gigantic expositions destroying cars and streets, as well as military forces preparing for what seemed like an attack from above. Could it be Skrulls? Could it be the Kree? Either way I have to give Whedon credit for not giving everything away too soon. We know Loki is the mastermind behind everything, what else he’s using remains a mystery.

2) Tony Stark takes the spotlight:

We saw a lot of Tony during the trailer. Whilst that’s certainly not a bad thing, it does however look like he will have a bigger part than most. Providing the film doesn’t suffer from X-Men syndrome, where other characters were ignored in favour of Wolverine, I’m happy for Tony to take the spotlight.

3) There is conflict between Steve and Tony:

One of the best moments in the trailer was watching Steve and Tony stand face to face. It’s great to see the dynamic between the characters taken from the comics. Credit to RDJ, who made the scene his own with an excellent response to Steve’s questioning. If they can provide this kind of character dynamic throughout the film, it could end up being one of the best comic book movies of all time.

4) The team has problems:

One of the more interesting moments was watching Thor attack Captain America in the forest. Given that Steve was in his new outfit, it would suggest Thor is either a late addition to the Avengers team, or perhaps Loki’s manipulation is what’s putting Thor against Cap. I’m presuming Loki’s voiceover at the beginning of the trailer was taken from a scene with him and The Hulk, plus Loki seemed to bother Black Widow when he walked past in captivity, so I expect Thor’s brother will be manipulating with the minds of all the heroes during the film.

5) Nick Fury unleashed

Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in four of the five Marvel Studio’s films so far, but he hasn’t really had any character development. Based on what we’ve see from the trailer, Nick Fury is set to get a bigger chunk of screen time next year, and seeing him armed with a bazooka was brilliant. It emphasises that Earth is facing a huge threat, whilst giving Fury some action scenes at last.

So there are the main things I took from The Avengers trailer. I can’t comment much on the Hulk, as we didn’t see much, but from what we did see, I’m glad we aren’t getting the ripped version from The Incredible Hulk. To conclude though, I have complete faith in Joss Whedon. He oversaw the brilliant Ultimate series by Mark Millar, and wrote one of the best X-Men story arcs ever created. From the look of this trailer, this is going to be huge.

Are People Judging The Avengers Movie Too Soon?

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Image by Boogeyman13 via Flickr

It’s still many months away from being released, but fans are already getting frustrated with the Avengers movie. Whilst the movie cannot possibly live up to fan boy expectations, it wasn’t too long ago people were really excited about seeing the world’s finest superheroes united on screen. My question is, what’s changed?

Similar to next year’s The Dark Knight Rises, leaked videos and photos are already swarming from the The Avengers film. What seems to be the cause of the criticism are the recent pictures showcasing our first look at Captain America fighting alongside Hawkeye and Black Widow. I’ll skip my initial concerns for Cap’s goofy looking costume, to get to the main point. Nothing looks spectacular. I’m sure Iron Man and The Hulk will look impressive, but Hawkeye and Black Widow look entirely out of place, and to be honest quite dull. When you have a team of war machines, super soldiers, gods and monsters, two assassins seem to come up short. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be in the movie, but considering no one has been greatly overwhelmed by the performances and cameos from Black Widow and Hawkeye so far, is it likely they’re going to blow us away with scene stealing performances next year? Perhaps Marvel should have considered this when they set out creating their cinematic universe. What the Avengers needed, is Ant-Man and Wasp.

If Whedon had originally chosen to include Hank and Janet Pym in the Avengers movie it would have added a whole new dynamic to the team. The two original Avengers founding members would have created a sub-plot far more interesting for older viewers. I’m not suggesting Whedon should have looked at the Ultimates series and have Hank unleash an army of ants on his wife, but considering their unstable relationship, including Hank and Janet would have really added some much needed substance into Marvel’s cinematic universe. Would the movie suffer from having a congested cast if Ant-Man and Wasp were included? Mark Millar‘s Ultimates series managed to handle all members of the team just fine. Joss Whedon‘s excellent Astonishing X-Men run proved the man in the director’s chair could handle ensembles brilliantly. I don’t believe it’s a question of what might work for the comic book medium might not work for film. After all, these are meant to be comic book movies!

One thing I have to praise Joss Whedon for is that he isn’t giving anything away too soon. Yes we have set-pics, and we know Loki is the main villain, but we still don’t know what threat brings this team together. There have been rumours of shape- shifting aliens, sea monsters and frost giants but that’s all speculation. Thanks to leaked photos and plot details, we already know most of the plot line for The Dark Knight Rises. Considering it’s still many months away, I’d rather not know too many story details about the Avengers at this point.

Too summarise I think it’s a little too soon to be judging The Avengers movie. We haven’t even gotten our first full-length trailer yet, and fans are bashing based on leaked pictures. I’ll admit, there are factors that could have been improved on, and I’m not a big fan of the film’s roster. You have to give Marvel some credit though. They’ve put a huge amount of work into making this movie happen; therefore perhaps we should just be happy with what we’re being given. It won’t pack the substance of The Dark Knight but it’s not like we’ve got a Justice League movie to look forward to.

Is There Too Much Face-Time In Comic Book Movies?

Anne Hathaway

Image by David Schexnaydre via Flickr

A little while ago I did a post on if there’s too much face-time for high profile actors in comic book movies. Whilst this is not a new concept, it is definitely an ever-increasing one. The latest and greatest comic book movies are now starting to damage the integrity of their characters and storylines by altering classic costumes, or causing impracticalities to the storylines, just to get the actors some facial recognition? Is it worth it?

When Warner Bros recently unveiled our first official look at Catwoman from The Dark Knight Rises, fans were shocked to see that Anne Hathaway was not modelling Catwoman’s classic Cowl, and instead wearing a minimalistic mask. Storyline wise, perhaps wearing a cowl with cat ears would be impractical for battles, but is that the actual reason behind the dramatic costume alteration, or is just so Anne Hathway receives a good chunk of face-time as Selina Kyle. Whilst it’s too early to tell if this is just Selina’s suit, pre-Catwoman, but so far it resembles too much of Marvel’s Black Widow, and not enough classic Catwoman. This is what I mean by face-time ruining comic book movies. By destroying the classic looks of their characters, the studios are pointless going to infuriate fans who have followed these characters for years. I agree some aspects need updating, but that should be for the sake of the characters, and not so that the lead actor/actress can have more face-time.

I’ve mentioned the clichéd Spider-Man movies, and how Spidey manages to lose his mask in the final act of every one of his movies. Will that change now Andrew Garfield is wearing the tights? Considering Garfield’s rising stardom I highly doubt it. It plagued the last Spidey movies, so it’s not something fans would be pleased to see again.

Another interesting matter is that recent leaked snippets from the set of The Avengers, showcases Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) fighting together, both without Masks and helmets. Whilst this may sound pretentious, but these are two of Marvel’s most iconic heroes, and their classic costumes are a huge part of their characters. So why the need for Cap to face off against (spoiler alert) aliens with futuristic weapons, providing unmasked, the Srulls/Kree/aliens could just shoot both Cap and Thor in the head? I just don’t see the need for the alteration of classic costumes, just to provide high profile actors enough exposure in the movie. It’s become an overused, distracting comic book movie cliché.

Does anyone else agree with me? Do you find the common alteration of classic costumes as a way to reveal the actors and actresses faces to be annoying? As always leave your comments below.

Deconstructing: Captain America Modern Day Bookends

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Image by Boogeyman13 via Flickr

(Warning, if you haven’t seen Captain America: The First Avenger, the following article presents a major spoiler)

Marvel Studios are on a roll. Since the construction of their cinematic universe back in 2008 with the fantasticIron Man‘, Marvel Studios have given us four fantastic superhero films, and joint top of the bunch with Iron Man, is their latest flick ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’.  Starring Chris Evans as the skinny guy with a heart of gold, who volunteers for a top secret operation that will turn him into a super soldier, The First Avenger is Marvel Studio’s last solo film, before delivering next year’s pay-off ‘The Avengers‘. Of course, to get WW2 movie ‘The First Avenger’ to present day Avengers territory, Marvel had to connect the ending of Captain America to The Avengers film. Did it work? Not really. Check out the short clip here.

What damaged the ending of The First Avenger is that the emotion suffered through Steve’s suicide mission in the 40’s, was instantly lost as he awoke in the present day. I really enjoyed the final fight scene in Captain America, as Steve’s sacrifice was really well handled. His modern day revival wasn’t though. In recent adoptions of Steve’s modern day awakening, his revival is a tough ordeal for those involved as he lashes out suspecting he’s being held prisoner. It just wasn’t very satisfying.

I praise the decision to have Steve’s first reaction as ” I had a date” to being, told the news that he’s been asleep for almost 70 years. It was a sweet moment that really adds some gravitas to the Steve Rogers/Peggy Carter romance. It just wasn’t enough. We didn’t see enough scenes of him being freed from the ice. Also, the way the scene had Steve asleep in the bed with the football report on the radio was slightly cheesy, as how could the nursing team be sure of the exact moment he’d awake? From then on Steve’s escape from the facility was too easy, with dozens of guards failing to apprehend him, whilst on right on cue, Nick Fury appears. How did Fury even get to Times Square so fast?

I hope Joss Whedon chooses to revisit this scene in The Avengers, as it could do with a bit more explaining. Don’t let this fault put you off seeing the move however, as I stand by my claim that Captain America: The First Avenger is one of Marvel’s best.

 

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