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Gary Farber

"But Iron man 3 will be about whether or not Stark’s going to screw up again and how and how bad and how what of that will carry over into The Avengers 2."

Iron Man 3 is strongly rumored, with great plausibility, to be going to be based on Warren Ellis's Extremis run, which did yet another major makeover of IM so that the armor is now biologically based. The villain is rarely called by the name he's best known by, but he's Chinese, and wears rings.

I recommend it.

Similarly, The Avengers the movie is mostly Volume I of The Ultimates, which I also recommend reading (along with at least Volume 2, probably).

Nick Fury as you describe him is exactly as he's been betrayed in recent decades (in both Marvel universes). A major Marvel development a few years ago was when he tricked Peter Parker, Matt Murdock, a guy known as Logan, Steve Rogers, Luke Cage, and another couple of heros into what ended up being an invasion of Latveria; eventual a certain Doomy guy counter-attacked, Fury was removed from S.H.I.E.L.D and went on the run, Tony Stark became Director of S.H.I.E.L.D, but that's nothing compared to when he was replaced after the Skrull Invasion by... Norman Osborn.

Gary Farber

I meant to write "portrayed" of Nick Fury, but "betrayed" is an interesting slip.

Oh, and it'll be interesting to see if LMDs show up more prominently in the sequel. I also think you underrate Cobie Hill's performance as Maria Hill. I admit I'm clearly biased by seeing lots and lots of Maria Hill in action in the comics in the past decade, but I thought she did a fine job with what she was given.

I'd also classify Scarlett Johansson and Black Widow as as much or more a star of the film, and not a sidekick, as Hemsworth and Thor, but if you're only strictly referring to the fact that she didn't have a prior movie of her own, merely a strong role in Iron Man II, that's inarguable.

But I think the portrayal, as I expected it to be from Whedon, of BW clearly showed why she's there without needing super powers. (Although as has often been explained, despite The Avengers always having the tag line of "Earth's Mightiest Heros," they've never chosen a line-up of all-power; instead, they need a mix of talents for different situations, so they need a covert type, a magic type, a strong guy, a scientist, a leader, etc, depending. And, of course, in the comics, the rosters of the long multiple Avengers groups has always constantly evolved. (The main Avengers group in recent years was put together partially out of Marvel's most popular characters, so Spider-Man and Wolverine have long been Avengers, for instance.)

chachabowl

Favorite throwaway line? Stark calling Hawkeye "Legolas" before flying him up a skyscraper.

Gary Farber

Oh, and as a point of trivia, they decided to drop continuity of decades in favor of the old school in that it's been Natalia "Natasha" Alianovna Romanova for decades, since they noticed that Russian names have male and female forms, and that Widow turns out to be a female. The fact that she was once called "Romanoff" has been explained as "a private joke."

You can read a moderate number of Marvel comics for free here at their digital site, btw.

Tom

Interesting take on a very entertaining movie. I've been a fan of Joss for years and this was the perfect movie for him - genre-bending ensemble with plenty of sharp banter and heartfelt emotion. (Somehow he always manages to make me weepy at at least one point in his stories and this movie was no exception. NOTE: I also laughed, clapped, yelled, etc.)

One thing that struck me was that considering this was a movie with Captain America, the Hulk, Thor and Iron Man, Hawkeye of all people turns out to be the major bad-ass as far as getting things done. (What John Rogers calls 'competence porn'). In this sense, he's a good match for the Widow.

Sherri

I guess my problem is, given all the hype, money, and talent, I was expecting a good movie, not just a good superhero movie. My husband and daughter didn't share my disappointment. I did specifically bring up Batman Begins as a comparison though, to demonstrate that it wasn't that I just hated comic-book movies.

It felt, well, lazy to me. Not lazy in pacing, obviously. But lazy in effort. Except for Ruffalo, who was great. But I think Whedon and Downey, in particular, are capable of more than they did here.

Kevin Wolf

Wow. So much to mull over. I do agree with your argument, Lance, that Tony Stark's arc is the main story being told. I wonder (perhaps cynically) if this is to keep Downey interested, though his paycheck surely helps.

Saw the film last night and it was good fun. I'm of the same mind as you, looking at it overall, yet with a few points of definite departure. For instance, despite Scarlett Johansson's way with a catsuit, I'm more convinced with each movie I see her in that she can't act worth a damn. I think she's a blank slate on which (mostly male) directors and (mostly male) viewers project their fantasies and flesh out her inner character. I suppose that's just me?

Mark Ruffalo is just terrific in everything I've caught him in, and he was perfect as Dr. Banner for the reasons you state. Meanwhile, the Hulk was kept marvelously Ruffalo-ish, and had some great, funny moments. (What a contrast to the Hulk movies, neither of which I liked.) The Hulk was the breakout character for me. I enjoyed the Captain America movie much more than I expected, and I thought Whedon capitalized on that story, and Chris Evans, very well in The Avengers.

I'm not the fan of Thor or Chris Hemsworth you are (and I find the idea of Hemsworth as Indy risible - please, though, someone make some period pre-1850 adventure movies with him) but he still worked here as far as it went. Obviously with Loki (so well played by Tom Hiddleston) as the villain it was important to have Thor on hand.

I could go on in dribs and drabs over individual plot points, characters, and actors, but I want to move to a broader view and say that I was glad - relieved even - that the movie was just a fun comic book adventure. Maybe that's way I liked Captain America. Maybe that's why during The Avengers I actually thought about the original Christopher Reeve Superman: The Movie. Before the show there was a preview for the next Batman. Can I just say how damn dour it looked? How seriously dark and non-fun it appeared? As impressive as the other films in this Batman cycle were, let me say that they weren't much fun, and I've no desire to see them again. (Still, never say never.) I'm not really looking forward to the new one, though I'll see it at some point. Whedon showed - and you demonstrate here, Lance - that a superhero flick need not be stupid or childish in order to capture the fun of the whole premise, of a whole superhero universe.

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