As some loyal readers of this small installment knows I’m allergic to hype, especially when it comes to something being blown out of proportion. So when the overly super positive reviews started crashing in on Twitter my hype’o'meter hit the roof. What finally tipped me over were the comments from friends and bloggers that stated: ”YOU gonna love it” and boy were they almost right!
I’ve never been a huge Avengers fan, being a Marvel boy I mainly stuck to Spiderman and X-men in my childhood. To be honest my only exposure to the Avengers was from Secret Wars. With that in mind I’ve been luke warm to the Avengers film from the start.
Of the origin story films I really appreciated Captain America and Iron Man (not as much as the general public seemed too though). Thor was ok I think but it slipped from my mind quite soon after watching it.
Then we have the Joss Wheedon factor. I’m an insanely huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV-series) and even the first season of Angel. They are both as close as one can get to perfect TV-shows and I give Joss a lot of credit for that. Beside Angel and Buffy I haven’t seen that much of his work as a director. For instance I haven’t seen Firefly but I watched Serenity in the theatre on opening night but came out of the quarter filled theatre wondering what all the buzz had been about. I know I need to watch Firefly to fully appreciate and understand Serenity but I don’t really have time to divulge it right now, that will be a future project.
Back to Avengers, when my hype’o'meter went of the roof I still had a notion that I was going to be disappointed. This had been the fact with Avatar, X-men First Class and even Inception. However, those times around I wasn’t adressed by the hypers that it was gonna be a ”Joel Burman” film.
I’m gonna be perfectly honest with you, I think the Avengers could easily have been 40 minutes shorter and the entire 1st hour could have been totally re-edited and changed to the better but this time I’ll disapoint you guys who stops by here to read my grumpier blogposts. This is not gonna be one of those.
What I really take with me from the Avengers is the fact that it totally won me over with its finale. That is a rare thing these days especially when it comes to block buster action films. Way to often they are hugely front loaded with all the good stuff packed within 45 minutes from the start of the film while the the last third is often hideous. The best thing by structuring it the other way is that at least I’m more inclined to like the film even though technically it was only good halfway through and I wouldn’t mind walking straight onto another showing of it directly after the first one. This was certainly the case with the Avengers.
Thanks god for a living proof that its still possible to produce commercial blockbusters the way it should be done. So here’s my main reasons why the Avengers finale is some of the most promising high concept filmmaking since Fast Five.
- The Comic Book Factor – To me it shows that Joss is a comic book geek (I’m assuming I don’t have any proof it other than his work on his own comics with Buffy and Angel). I almost got flashes back to my childhood greedily re-reading my worn out Marvel Comics books over and over. This is by far the closest comic book film adaptationI’ve ever sat through. I really liked Spiderman 2 in that sense but this is a completely different ballpark. The main reason for this feeling came from the cinematography and that goes into next bullet point…
- The Joss Wheedon Magic – When I realized the greatness of Buffy (I’ve appreciated it before but not realized the scope of it) I’d been starting to sniffing around the film industry myself. Mostly through a community college class in filmmaking and by working for free on other more prominent film school sets. So I was aware of some of the restrictions and boundaries that comes with filmmaking. With that in mind Joss’s work on Buffy blew my mind. I started to realize how elaborate some of his long takes were. Some of that creativity certainly came from budget restrictions but he always managed to make the most out of those scenes without being boring or overstating that its a wonderful long take just for the sake of it. To me its obvious that the cinematography of Avengers is a developed form of those elaborate long takes but still being shot in a modest old school style that never seeks the attention to itself. Just compare it to Tintin where it feels like the camera movement is made because it can be done rather than how it should be choreographed to suite the story. There were numerous times where the fluous camera movements made me gasp by excitement and even cry a tear at one or two places in admiration of how good it was.
- Editing With a Feeling – The editing ties into the cinematography but is still worth bringing up. Especially since the general idea right now among mainstream action films is to cut away as soon as you can making every cut hold for a maximum of 2-3 seconds. I’m surprised that not more people are brought of the theaters due to epileptic seizures. Maybe Avengers is cut like this as well but to be honest it doesn’t feel like that and the difference of perception of Avengers that is paced like this compared to Hunger Games or Transformers 3 Dark of the Moon is insane. On the latter two I just want it to end because I’m stressing out and/or is getting drenched by millisecond long impressions.
- The Over the Topness - Ok this rant is mainly about Hollywood storytelling in general. I’m just gonna give you a example on the way that tells it all. Tony Stark who has been a dick the entire film all of a sudden realizes he can fly with the nuke through the vortex and blow up the alien mothership a la Randy Quaid in ID4. The music tells us this is a defying moment, the cinematography tells us this is a defying moment, the other actors impressions of the situation tells us this is a defying moment and then it comes. Tony calls Pepper Potts (or what ever that blaise character name is) on the cellphone in his suite while carrying the nuke but she’s to busy to watch him perform this f*ckin larger than life act so she doesn’t even notice that he is calling her. I swear the god, that might be one of the most powerful scenes in this kind of big budget cheese burger movie and its even topped when Tony Stark is saved by the Hulk who has now transformed into a real team player while I was waiting for Thor to get off his ass to save him! Great filmmaking period! This is the fact why guys like Jerry Bruckheimer and Roland Emmerich keep ruling the boxoffice charts all over the world. See and learn!!! I’m certainly paying attention!
Well that was some of my impressions from a great cinematic experience. Then I haven’t brought up that I never thought I’d think Scarlett Johansson would be playing one of my favorite characters in a Marvel Film to date or the fact that I for once weren’t distracted by the 3D.
If you followed me all this way down I also recommend that you check out my Swedish blog fellows that actually watched the Avengers last saturday before our monthly Filmspanarna blog meet-up unfortunately I choose not to go with them due to personal issues but also because I was fed-up with the hype. Well we all have our sunspots right? here are the Filmspanarna links…
Fiffis Filmtajm, Rörliga Bilder och Tryckta Ord, Jojjenito, Fripps Filmrevyer (tack Henke inte alls säkert jag hade gått och sett den på bio om det inte vart för dig), The Velvet Cafe and Har Du Inte Sett Den (Swedish Podcast).
….and yes the Lammy’s are coming soon. =)