Uncanny Avengers #1 cover
- 2 years ago
Professor Andy Howell (Astrophysics) discusses some of the science related to the Avengers.
Ok, so I’ve reviewed the film in what I think was a pretty non-biased manner despite that I have near encyclopedic knowledge of all things Marvel and DC. I mean I was predisposed to like it, but like any other film ever made it could have sucked. Luckily it didn’t and now I want to take this time to geek the hell out about the stuff in the movie.
So how awesome was seeing the Helicarrier? Amazing. I was so surprised and happy that it became invisible. I was not expecting that as I was kind of assuming that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that the Helicarrier would have been known about seeing as it’s a giant flying aircraft carrier. I was kind of surprised to see no apparent rocket action to help with thrust, but I guess it’s possible for a massive turbine engine system to achieve such lift.
The Mark VII armor?! I love the way it can be deployed. Other than that the new armor didn’t seem that impressive other than clearly being more powerful than the last armor- not that that’s unimpressive, but Tony making his next armor more powerful isn’t new or surprising.
How the hell do people think Hawkeye gets the short end of the stick in the film? The man may have been possessed for a good portion of his screen time, but that doesn’t make him any less badass. If anything forcing him to go up against SHIELD makes him more badass as he and a few men are able to almost take down the main force against Loki by themselves. Plus it references the whole Hawkeye was a bad guy at first aspect of this character. It was a clever way to acknowledge it and show off how awesome he is. The bow and quiver system was cool. Instead of having individual arrows he has a rotating modular ammunition selection for his arrows which he can remotely choose with his bow as a control system. So cool.
Hulk smashing was amazingly fun, but the cool part is that Banner can’t be killed apparently. Marvel created an in-story reason for having the character never go away and have him played by different actors in the future. I hope Ruffalo stays on as Banner for a long time and I hope Whedon consults on all Hulk scenes/movies in the future because while Ruffalo was awesome it’s because he had great material to work with from Whedon.
I’m sorry, but “Thermonuclear Astrophysics” sounds like they couldn’t figure something out so they just placed two science terms next to each other. Couldn’t they have said something like Celestial Energy Dynamics which would still sound like something in Marvel considering the Celestials and celestial meaning from space, so I don’t know. Maybe that’s just nitpicky techno-babble criticism, but I feel like they’ve done better with previous films techno-babble. Then again techno-babble has never been something Whedon was known for.
THANOS! So, I’m super-excited to see a cosmic level badass like him, but I’m also thinking they should be pretty careful on how they handle him because he’s basically an alien invasion and having two basically same plots might not help the franchise. But whatever, moving on to how cool it was to see him. He actually shows up in the beginning of the film and not just the end. I’m guessing he’s the real leader of the Chitauri and the guy who gave Loki the scepter rather than that other Chitauri dude. I wonder if Thanos is Chitauri or something else. The other dude looked different from the other Chitauri. He looked more Skrull, so I’m willing to bet that the Chitauri is the army of the Skrull and Thanos rules over the Skrull. The Chitauri seemed to be cyborgs remotely powered by the main ship which got blown up. It’s pretty convinent that they’re remotely powered or controlled rather than independently powered/controlled. I guess that makes it easier to prevent uprisings or having your enemy somehow turn them.
How does Thor not know about the Chitauri? What makes the Nine realms important and why doesn’t Odin apparently acknowledge places outside of these realms? What else can the Cosmic Cube/Tesseract do if it’s both a power source and a doorway since it apparently was telling Selvig and Hawkeye things they needed to know to help Loki out. I’m willing to bet it doesn’t have the reality-wrapping capabilities like it does in the comics, but what are the full capabilities of it? Why doesn’t Asgard use it for transport since it arguably works better than the Bifrost? How did it happen to end up on Earth (actually I’m sure Red Skull mentioned that in the legend. I just don’t remember. If someone wants to answer that I would appreciate it.)
So all the hero-on-hero fights were cool, but there were no definitive answers. If I had to guess though it looked like Hulk was stronger than Thor. So in terms of power levels it appears to be Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye/Black Widow.
I love the reasoning behind the phase 2 weapons. It makes total sense that SHIELD would create weapons to defend against Asgardian level threats because Thor made himself known. While Thor might be friendly, Fury is right that he’s not the only one out there and how can they depend on him. Thor’s presence would and did change everything for the MCU because before him the biggest threat was Hulk or Abomination.
I’m kinda surprised that Hulk or Abomination wouldn’t be reason enough. Speaking of Abomination where is he since he was only unconscious at the end of The Incredible Hulk. In the short The Consultant it’s mentioned that Stark is sent to Ross instead of Coulson to keep him off the team which means he’s still alive and not in prison apparently if he’s up for active duty. What the hell is going on with Blonsky?
Some dude (Chris Sims of Comicisalliance.com) said that it was weir that Iron Man diverted the nuke into the alien planet. Well it wasn’t a planet. I’m not even sure how he would think that as there wasn’t even a planet in that shot and it was clearly a ship. Why would it be weird? Isn’t it standard sci fi plot element that when aliens invade 20th century and early 21st century Earth that we try to use a nuke on them without regard for civilian casualties? The answer is yes as you can watch pretty much any alien invasion film or show and find it mentioned at least once. I think it’s weird that he thinks it weird. Actually I think it’s kind of stupid to think that, but whatever.
One thing I thought was kind of weird in the film is how they were all getting mad at Fury for making the weapons. I can understand that they were being affected by the scepter, but they’ve all killed and are weapons of mass destruction. Seems like a silly thing to get mad over considering that each one of them qualifies as a WMD let alone them working together.
Also why did Loki need all of the scientists to work on the portal tech? Couldn’t he have done that since he is a master of magic and Thor said magic and science are the same? Wouldn’t that thus make Loki a super-scientist in his own right? Logically the answer is yes and I can only imagine that he just didn’t want to do the grunt work involved with actually making it.
Oh, I like how since Tony’s new reactor is based on the same research that was created from HYDRA Tesseract technology that Loki’s mind control didn’t work and that Thor’s lightning only charged the Iron Man. I would have suspected more systems damage to the Iron Man in a blast like what Thor gave him, but whatever. I can forgive it as long as the Thor and IM fight is cool (and it was).
Ok I think that’s it for now. All I want to say is that I want Hank Pym, Wasp, and Ms. Marvel in the next film. I understand Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are available for Marvel to use, but I don’t know if I want to see them in the sequel before the first three I mentioned. Oh, and Hulk needs a sequel. Give it to Whedon and it shall be glorious.
Marvel’s The Avengers was a fantastic movie and wonderful payoff for everyone who was waiting since the first post-credits scene back in 2008’s Iron Man. The film is a blast to watch from the sheer spectacle of the fights to the character interaction, and most importantly like all other Marvel films it stands on its own while clearly being a part of a grander design. It’s very impressive how the film manages to be its own while simultaneously being the sequel to several different franchises. I’m of the opinion that it shouldn’t be necessary to do ‘homework’ to watch a film, so I’m happy to report to anyone who hasn’t seen the previous films or read the source material that it isn’t necessary to do your ‘homework’. There is no other movie franchise quite like what Marvel Studios has set up, and the culmination of their work pays off with definite crowd pleasing results.
The film was directed and written by Joss Whedon, whose only previous film was Serenity, is infused with his flair which made him famous with such cult hit TV series as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse while still remaining within the bounds of the established characters. The Avengers proves that Whedon knows how to not just create great dialogue and character moments but also create huge scenes of spectacular action and destruction as well as bring it all together in a satisfying manner. The film feels balanced between each character’s screen time and who gets their time in the spotlight. With such a large cast in a film with characters who have each clearly shown their ability to be leads in their own films The Avengers could have easily been a disaster of trying too hard. This movie could have had too much going on, but the film’s relatively simple plot, fun action, and great character work kept the film from imploding.
The cast was fantastic. Were these the best performances? I’d be willing to bet that no one receives a nomination from the Academy, but these performances will be remembered by audience members everywhere for being great and fun to watch. Plus I’d like to think that while I may love these films and characters that these actors will go on to beat their own performances here in future work. Each actor gave excellent performances, but Mark Ruffalo steals the show.
His take on Banner is a wonderful take on a man who has accepted his fate and who somehow manages to find the light side of things despite his curse. This sense of acceptance gives Banner’s transformations a greater sense of vicarious thrill for the audience when we finally get to see Hulk smash. Not to diminish the other actors in the film as they all bring the same greatness as they brought in their previous appearances, but Scarlett Johasson is the next stand out performance. Her Black Widow is kick ass in every way you would want a female non-superpowered super-assassin. She’s clever, deceptive, and deadly as she holds her own in the same battle where Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk duke it out with the Chitauri forces. And being portrayed by the beautiful Scarlett certainly doesn’t hurt the performance.
The visual effects and battle scenes are the best yet of any Marvel Studios film. Watching the Helicarrier, the flying aircraft carrier home to SHIELD command, rise up was awesome as it looked surprisingly realistic. The Chitauri forces looked fearsome, and the Hulk looks even more real than he has in his previous two films. Not only does the Hulk more real, but the sense of how massive the Hulk is on display much better which lends the completely CGI character more believability. The newest Iron Man armor was as impressive as any that have come before it in visual terms and in sheer in-story coolness. The action was the most thrilling and well choreographed of any Marvel Studio film or any other superhero film before it. The 3D is actually pretty good for being post-converted. It’s clear they planned on that and it pays off for them as the 3D does not hinder the film. Personally it didn’t do anything to enhance my enjoyment, but the 3D was well done.
‘Even with all of this praise there must be something wrong’ someone might ask, and the answer is not really. The film is arguably the best superhero film yet although I’ll stick with The Dark Knight as the best superhero film as my bias, but this film is not perfect. Tom Hiddleston gives a great performance as Loki, the would be king of Asgard and Earth, but the problem lies in that Loki could have been more menacing. It wasn’t that Loki didn’t work as a villain, but that an even greater sense of evil would have made Loki a more enjoyable person to root against. Another weak point comes in the form of the score. I don’t want to sit here and say the score was terrible because that would be a lie. Like Loki the film’s score isn’t bad at all-it’s actually good, but it could have had more to it. I guess the only real complaint I have is that the Tesseract harness technology looks too much like Stark built it. I wish the production team had ventured out beyond the Iron Man/Stark aesthetic.
Another weak point comes in the form of the Chitauri. In terms of greater story for the Marvel Cinematic Universe I’m sure they’ll be seen again, but in terms of breaking the story of the Avengers down it really didn’t matter who Loki’s army was. This takes away from their menace. Not that they didn’t serve the story’s propose, but there is little development on them other than what they represent for the heroes of Earth and to Loki, a major threat and a means to an end respectively.
Overall though this is definitely Marvel Studio’s best film and a great film period. Regardless of genre and summer blockbuster status The Avengers is fun thrill ride of a movie filled with action and laughs. I highly recommend this film.