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TheMidnighter

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xx Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Man)
« Thread started on: Oct 27th, 2011, 06:03am »

So, I watched the first two Iron Man movies long ago. They were fun if you put your mind on zero and don't want any deep stuff. Thor had the same idea: slightly rehashed story about someone with power but lacking humility.

Captain America, on the other hand, plain sucked. Did it really have to be two f'ing hours? The origin was played out far too long and the rescue mission as well. Yet, the threat to the world that Cap needed to stop Red Skul for is left unexplained. What was Red Skull's plan exactly? He has a powerful gun. So? How is that really intimidating?

And the kiss Cap shared with a random girl that Agent Carter 'coincidentally happened' to stumble upon is never resolved. If she was so pissed off about it, why was it just ignored and feelings lit up again? Hayley Atwell's scene at the microphone with Cap was very good from her part, I have to say. On the other hand, I had expected more from an actor like Tommy Lee Jones. Instead, I just saw something bland.

Also, the soundtrack was horrendous. Try something else than lame heroic/patriotic jingles when you have a shot of Cap jumping over a battlefield. Goddamn, people. The trailer looked and sounded badass with Tool's Forty-Six & 2 but the movie sucked hard in the music department.

Captain America: The First Avenger, in my opinion, plain sucked. Too long, far too cliché, far and far too little content.
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #1 on: Apr 17th, 2012, 04:33am »

I am getting excited for the Avengers movie. The reactions I heard -- all from Marvel writers who might not be too objective -- sounded great.
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #2 on: Apr 18th, 2012, 12:05am »

Hey even I am very much interested in Avengers movie, can you tell me where could I get that the best??
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #3 on: Apr 18th, 2012, 02:22am »

Hi Michelle, welcome to the site.

I don't understand what you mean with "where could I get that the best." The movie will be in theatres May 4, 2012 so we will have to wait a couple of weeks still.
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #4 on: May 1st, 2012, 4:30pm »

My question about The Avengers is whether it's the movie that's been advertised or an advertised for other movies. I don't need another Iron Man 2 experience.
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #5 on: May 3rd, 2012, 4:01pm »

on Oct 27th, 2011, 06:03am, TheMidnighter wrote:
So, I watched the first two Iron Man movies long ago. They were fun if you put your mind on zero and don't want any deep stuff.


I think the first is a very well-crafted tentpole.

Its gets away with an overload of Q scenes through Downey's charisma, which likewise allows it's central irony and theme to have some emotional depth -- humility, maybe humanity, only after he becomes one of his own gadgets. And the romantic comedy element with Paltrow is unusually deft for a superhero entry.

The use of elements as a thematic expression -- fire & ice, first with Stark in what amounts to a reverse-Icarus tableau (a problem with the the iron that is also the central flaw in the man) climaxing with Obadiah in the same position (too cool to fly any higher) -- provides further depth of character exploration, conflation (Stark and Obadiah) and ultimately growth; as macrocosm, it's a fetishist, product-hawking venture that tries to be a lukewarm critique of the military industrial complex. Does it work? Does it ever? At least it isn't more James Cameron hubris/hypocrisy.

The film does so well making loner R&D cool, barmy and light that the action scenes never seem as exciting as what amounts to expository hardware-sell. They feel weighed-down and perfunctory.

It might also, of course, be the disconnect in too much CGI and not enough of the film's star in those moments, which is one of the reasons The Hulk attempts are inherently flawed.

The problem with 2 is that it's too much of too little. The idea of competing brands should have been the movie in an insular-narrative context, instead the movie is a series of product placements for other Marvel movies.

Quote:
Captain America: The First Avenger, in my opinion, plain sucked. Too long, far too clich�, far and far too little content.


Johnston's Rocketeer could be described as forebear. I don't know that I dislike it. I don't know that I like it. It's a WW2 propaganda film that expects us to accept it without cynicism in its lack of sophistication and postmodernism, complete with a milquetoast, aw-shucks lead as capstone and microcosm. Even Hitchcock had trouble making good WW2 propaganda, and making a film that's a love letter to such garbage is funny as a pitch but frankly stultifying as a result.
« Last Edit: May 3rd, 2012, 4:15pm by Will » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #6 on: May 13th, 2012, 02:58am »

I don't know about you guys but I simply loved The Avengers. It was a great, great superhero movie. The story was well-crafted, less well told (but still all right) and Mark Ruffalo stole the show big time.
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #7 on: Aug 20th, 2012, 07:48am »

The Avengers is a great movie to see with a packed house, especially after a few rounds beforehand. It sets up each target and the designated hero knocks each one down. Bam, bam, bam. Prosaic and predictable. It's both a commercial for who-knows-how-many other franchises, and itself as it's unspooling.

Bothering with critique would likely be a joke, self-realized or not.

My summation: aggressively pedestrian.
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #8 on: May 27th, 2013, 08:28am »

I can't get past the idea of the Iron Man franchise as allegory on celebrity culture commingled with the 24-hour Fox News War on Terror narrative. Its excess through Stark might be its most clever joke: each matchup like a Celebrity Death Match, complete with CGI metal clanging as neverending dick swinging.

So while they make constant allusions to war, the two sequels never amount to much other than Downey's schtick versus the nominal celebrity Guest Star. Yet what could be a better expression of US foreign (Trotskyite) policy? Invade the world, invite the world...justified by slogans as empty as the rebranding of 'War Machine' to 'Iron Patriot', with vile consequences that are only presented with 2-digit IQ newsreader bathos for a news cycle or three. The lack of consequence is inherent in these movies, just as it seems to be in American culture: always time to invade another nation, pass another disastrous bill, and to never, ever connect A to B to C through media monopoly that defines each event it scripts.

Iron Man 3 may have perfected the formula. Turning the Mandarin into just a media creation, clearly as parallel to Bin Laden or Khadafi (or Hussein, or...), is the best joke in the film. The Mandarin's entire aura as nothing more than his wardrobe; it works decently as inverted piece to Killian's initial betaness, and as a franchise rejoinder to Raimi's Oz. It's an easy and accurate summation of media culture.

But the perfection of the formula is nothing more than one Downey joke piled on top of another so far as narrative. The middle of the film is hideous; what feels like it could be a decent detective story and redaction of Iron Man's cave creation/ingenuity, is played out in the way everything else in the film is...an excuse for Downey's snark. The small town mystery is the height of tonal tackiness, with the hick jokes on display as expected. It feels like a mix of Michael Bay and Superman III, one of the worst combos since a dick and a blender.

The capture/torture sequences aren't any better: no tension, instead Downey riffing in a way that starts to feel like desperate flailing in the comedy department just as much as it's supposed to be in any physical sense. And the Guy Pearce/Don Cheadle torture sequence is just...I don't know. It's either clueless or ineptly homoerotic. Take your pick.

The entire scene-setting feels like more Michael Bay...this time doing some sort of homage to Scarface real estate.

The brunt of the movie feels cheap. It doesn't look cheap from the standpoint of production design -- it doesn't look like, say, Green Lantern -- but it feels like a grab bag of American tackiness.

Here is a narrative that only exists to provide punchlines. It's amazing, but in some ways it's worse than Iron Man 2. Certainly on style, and tonal value from it; an homage to Uncle Walt, more Mid-Century Modern excess in the production design and ScarJo's ass in leather are all so much more pleasing and sophisticated than bathroom humor and Robert Downey in an okie saloon.

Honestly, the idea of Stark as Howard Hughes/Steve Jobs versus Jaun Trippe/Bill Gates through Justin Hammer was more exciting. Unfortunately, 2 (how's that for toilet humor?) was more concerned with franchising than a dramatic narrative arc.

Perhaps what 3 provides is apotheosis of form only by way of aiming as low as it can, basically the opposite of the initial film's central visual cue. Instead of Stark's excess as-patchwork-statement-on-America it feels like everything crass about this culture. Maybe it feels like America on a budget, without Manhattan shopping sprees...now stuck with trips to Walmart.

With Killian, it also misses a major visual/dramatic setup and beat: the first film plays around with Stark aiming for the moon and freezing, wouldn't it make sense to counter fire with ice at this film's climax?

The film works best as a romantic comedy. Unfortunately, that's about fifteen minutes of it's 2:20 runtime.

It's pretty awful as a film. But it's not half bad as another Marvel release. And it's a shining light next to many other comic book movies (Green Lantern can never be mentioned enough...in this context, and neither can DareDevil).

It could be worse. And I don't doubt that it will be with the inevitable sequels.
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #9 on: May 29th, 2013, 03:36am »

I do like 3's constant playfulness with what we think we see, as opposed to what we are seeing. The remote Iron Man concept encapsulates the notion of the iconic being just another lie: we assume (ok, maybe just me) that Stark is in the suit at least twice when it's nothing but stark tech (or an empty suit). And the President assumes that Iron Patriot must be Rhodey.

It seems that Robert Downey got to star in Oz after all.

The film's argument about Image as the Ultimate Lie is surprisingly frank for a stupid popcorn film. To some limited degree, I'm already questioning my dismissal of this outing...the more I think about it. Does that make me a sucker twice over?

Though Pepper's "death" feels utterly meaningless, as its happening (this is what matters most to Stark in the world?), it does allow for the film to continue to casually bend gender norms for these overblown productions. Again, Pepper saves Tony. It's much better than listening to Mary Jane scream over and over, at the very least.

Ending the film on an oil tanker is not exactly subtle, nor new. But is appropriate. Having an impotent President on display as would-be martyr in the Iron Patriot suit is a decent image; Irony Man 3, then. It allows the film to look big, and it allows it to at least pose as topical -- you know, war, oil and 2003 never stop being relevant within Forever Revolution/The War On Terror.

It does feel like Shane Black used this as yet another excuse to construct a Lethal Weapon outing. Downey's Mel Gibson, Cheadle's Glover and Paltrow is either Rene Russo or Joe Pesci. Even the tanker setup feels like the tableau for Lethal Weapon 2.

Considering Black accidentally makes reference to Downey-as-Iron-Man in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (you know, before it was true) it feels distinctly predictable, if not predicted, that he'd direct one of these things. Or maybe Lethal Weapon was the real giveaway.
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #10 on: Mar 1st, 2014, 8:23pm »

Just watched Thor 2. Had some trouble staying awake. It was pretty boring.
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #11 on: Mar 4th, 2014, 12:08am »

I like all these films to varying degrees, except the first Thor, which is awful. They all feel too pop, a little bland and safe. I'm pretty sure my grandmother could watch all of these. Iron Man Three is the only one that doesn't feel like committee film making.
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #12 on: May 12th, 2014, 2:35pm »

They're committee filmmaking on synergistic, brand-protected scale. Not just a big movie that is calculated from a boardroom, nor "just" a franchise made that way, but an entire subdivision of Disney that pumps out nearly every movie this way.

The fascinating thing is how complementary this is to the worldview of obsessive fanboys.

And that makes sense. An auteur is, by that very definition, going to have personal baggage he carries and projects onto the IP. You can see this in everything from Burton's Batman to Nolan's. with stuff like Singer's X-Men, Raimi's Spider-Man and Ang Lee's The Hulk inbetween. No matter how complimentary the fanboys are of the pieces initially, eventually the complaints about "inaccuracies" -- i.e. the Holy Text has been violated -- overwhelm that value and become the meme-as-wisdom within...the community. Maybe I should have said coven.

A product is much easier to manage than a personal statement. More to the point, the films mentioned above are a messier mix: they're both.

Painting with a broad brush -- but -- that's a paradigm that squares with Marvel Studios existence. Each piece is controlled by executives as a larger corporate strategy. It's a worse world than the one Hitchcock tore down.

That this has dovetailed so well with the general public is as predictable. It's corporatism that's as safe as a Ron Howard Oscar bait entry. It's "good" filmmaking within the larger demos.

And the fanboys joyously celebrate The Avengers as the comic book film equivalent of 8 1/2, Citizen Kane, Birth of a Nation and Last Tango in Paris *combined*.

They are the antithesis of that type of filmmaking. Not because of their perceived junk pedigree...well, maybe that is it. Isn't the irony that, in the end, to fully appeal to the fanboy id, one must either remove or forcibly muzzle artistic intent? The people, often, who perceived these IP as Rorschach were pilloried by the fanboys for the result.

We can't escape Warhol. Right back to that Campbell's Soup can. But is that an argument of graduation or degradation?

The best part is, we'll now see this with Lucas' IP and, likewise, a pantomime of it over at Warners.

And why not? It's been a brilliant financial success. I would never deny that the corporate is inherent to all these characters, but the films about them that really work are allowed to find a balance between that and personal expression, occasionally transcending their Happy Meal, toy aisle base in the process. Sometimes also/even subverting it.

Yet, compare Disney's successes to Sony's struggles with Spider-Man or Warners struggles with any DC character minus a Jungian cave.

The Disney movies are mediocrities artistically, at best. But they aren't really disasters.

They don't have a Catwoman (it's only saving grace is the understanding that it's a remake of The Wasp Woman) or Batman Forever. Even more frightening? Even under all the corporate trash -- maybe even because of it -- you can find the personal in Schumacher's gay fetish flicks.

I'm not denying there's still a measure of personal expression in the Marvel stuff. But it's hard to read most of it as from an auteur's oeuvre. More like a practiced autograph over a lobby card that has a million copies.

But the lesson becomes topical only insofar as a symbol on a poster. For reference and contrast, that was the strategy for Burton's Batman. It, on some level, did summate the film. But the film, proper, from its opening titles, is both about that symbol and the internal nature of it, communicated without a word. It's about the psychology behind an icon; the perversions and pathologies.

The Marvel Model feels like none of that. It just communicates as that film's marketing: look at the logo.

On some level the pivot away from the first Burton Batman is very telling: the style and narrative construction of the film, ironically, become more transgressive -- more subversive -- with time. The more comic book movies are released, the odder that film is.

Even if you dislike the film, I think it's a somewhat depressing point. It's this corporate Campbellian sanitation of these properties. Could you ever have something like Kraven's Last Hunt on film under these conditions?

And no. A miserable scene-for-scene Bruce Timm animated recreation doesn't count.

Maybe the best thing that could come of this is that success will allow for more daring looks at these properties with time. The shackles will come off because the properties are established enough as "big" corporate movies. They're safe enough on pre-loaded branding to be a little different.

But the reality is that Ben Affleck is Batman.
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #13 on: May 20th, 2014, 04:53am »

Ok, Cap 2: Winter Soldier was pretty badass. A good mix of 70's conspiracy thriller and over the top superhero movie. The shaky cam made the hand to hand action a bit of a mess, but the bigger stuff was great. Good to see Samuel L. Jackson actually caring in something for the first time in forever. Loved the Pulp Fiction reference.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a fail. A few good episodes towards the end, but a catastrophe on the whole.
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xx Re: Marvel Movie Universe (Avengers, Thor, Iron Ma
« Reply #14 on: Oct 21st, 2014, 3:30pm »

This covers a lot more than just the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I fear we have a bursting bubble on our hands.

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