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May 01, 2012


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I knew you'd give it either three-and-a-half or four-stars-out-of-five. The inclusion of that Dude With The Giant Hammer (the only recent Marvel movie I haven't seen, partly due to your review) pretty much cinched the former, I'd say. ;)

Juggling large ensembles of super-powered characters is pretty much Whedon's bread-and-butter, but he still has to work with personalities created by someone else, and actors cast by previous producers/directors. I'm nonetheless glad to hear he was an effective traffic-controller here.

Will be seeing it in IMAX on Friday.


If they make enough 'Avengers' movies, maybe eventually they'll get round to the Carol Danvers seduced-and-raped-by-her-own-preternaturally-ageing-son storyline, so all these 'heroes' can get arrested for dumbly standing by and enabling sexual assault.

Tom Russell

Oliver_C is always such a ray of sunshine.


"I take full responsibility. I screwed up. My judgment failed, or maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention. Sorry. Avengers #200 is a travesty."

-- Jim Shooter, former Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics (and co-writer of 'Avengers #200'), 2011

Tony Dayoub

It's worth reading your entire review simply to get to the penultimate line: "But I can't complain too much, particularly if I want a clean email inbox."

J. Priest

I didn't know what the hell Oliver_C was talking about, but when I looked it up, I was surprised by how much misogyny there is in mainstream comics. "Women in Refrigerators"? The fact you can call a re-occurring problem that with a great deal of accuracy is pretty disgusting.


I don't know if it's that surprising. Even though the superhero movies Hollywood has been pumping out recently are nowhere near as graphic and angry and misogynistic as most of the stuff DC and Marvel pumps out these days, you can still see the barely-veiled "boy's club" mentality even in these supposedly mainstream-appealing movies. Just look at how female characters are treated in the recent Batman, Spider-Man or Iron Man movies.


Comicbook fanboys: they'll hand over good money to read Superboy-Prime's cosmic punches bring the dead back to life and Spider-Man make a deal with the Devil to annul his marriage, but God(s) forbid that a woman, superpowered or otherwise, be depicted as capable of holding her own or saving herself.


Okay, now you're just being ridiculous. On purpose, I'd wager, to see if you can start a fight with somebody.


A fight with a comicbook fanboy? I'm shaking!

Glenn Kenny


So...Steve Englehart. Was that guy a SCRIPTER, or what? I pretty much lost interest in the title after he bailed. When was that, anyway.

I used to know some comic book creators (attentive followers of this blog may recall that I once attended a....wait for it...Bernie Wrightson Halloween party!...and heard more than one anecdote relative to Jim Shooter being kind of a doofus.

That Fuzzy Bastard

What I would love would be a Joss Whedon Defenders movie! They were always kind of the Doom Patrol to the Avengers' Justice League, a bunch of freaky second-stringers who got to do the crazy stuff and have much more amusing dialogue (thanks to His Holiness, Steve Gerber), and that seems right up Whedon's alley. Perhaps it can be his digital video no-budget follow-up to MUCH ADO. As for Shooter's doofusitude, well, one need only read his comics to see that---the dude was sort of adorably dorky, and often seemed about as in control of his stories as a five-year-old recounting a Spongebob episode after too many slices of cake: frantic, then spacey, then dozing, then frantic again.

I'm intrigued by this notion of a laid-back Hulk. I always thought of Banner as the ultimate 1962 company-man scientist, with Rick Jones as the counterculture kid who might teach him to get in touch with his feelings before they destroy him. But is Ruffalo playinghim as post-Tibetan-journey Seth-Green-as-Oz, a guy who's lived with his problem long enough to have it in check? I'll admit to not quite getting the joke of "um... credible", though perhaps it was an attempt to avoid the word "believable" in the context of a movie about Asgardian gods and dudes in flying armor?

Glenn Kenny

@TFB: DUDE. "Credible" as opposed to "incredible," as in "The Incredible Hulk." Have some coffee!

That Fuzzy Bastard

Oh man, now I feel silly indeed.


Glenn Kenny said: "So...Steve Englehart. Was that guy a SCRIPTER, or what? I pretty much lost interest in the title after he bailed. When was that, anyway.'

Englehart bailed in 1976, after a four-year run on Avengers. (He followed Roy Thomas, who also did a great job.) Englehart also had a terrific run on Captain America, including the Nomad arc, at about the same time.

I agree. He was a SCRIPTER, and Marvel became less interesting without him.


Oliver_C-- Right, and if I were to generalize about Lars Von Trier fans, based on the abuse Bjork's character suffers in DANCER IN THE DARK, I would rightfully be chastised for silly, stereotypical generalizations. But comic book readers (and fans of their movie adaptations) are pretty much fair game, right? We just have the wrong street cred, man. I'm not excusing the Avengers story you cite, but I do think taking the worst of a medium (cough-- Geoff Johns-- cough) and assuming that's what ALL superhero comics (and readers of those comics) are like is fairly, well, dumb. And it ignores the work of Gail Simone, Ann Nocenti, Matt Fraction, Greg Rucka, Colleen Coover, Brian Michael Bendis, the Hernandez Bros., and others who are playing with genre tropes (and gender stereotypes within those genres) in interesting ways (sometimes in the fast of corporate conservatism, true, but trying nonetheless). I can recommend some titles, if you want to do some research.

Also-- yes, Glenn, the Englehart years of the Avengers are the best, although I have a lot of affection for Roger Stern's Wasp-centric run in the 80s, too.


Other than some of the off topic comments on this page, this one goes out to Glenn Kenny.

I read your review after watching the movie myself, and to all his/her opinions. however if you are going to criticize something, do your homework first. Nick Fury was originally white and stayed that way in most of the story lines, we have the david hasselhoff movie of him to prove it. However (and have that pen and paper ready for this is your lesson) look at the Ultimate Avengers comic book line. His story as well as race is different, and it made him seem stronger than his white counterpart who came out as a jerk with authority. So no, the writers of the movies Nick Fury has been in didn’t change it just because they could.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Then there are the comicbook fanboys who make all the rest of us turn our heads and uncomfortably examine the wainscoting...

Josh Z

@ResearchNeeded, if you really want to geek out about this, then you should acknowledge that Marvel's "Ultimate" titles exist in an alternate, parallel universe (so-called "Earth 1610") separate from the main continuity in "Earth 616." Therefore, the assumption that the Nick Fury in the live-action movies is supposed to be the Ultimate version is misguided, given that there is no other indication in any of these movies that the other characters are supposed to be from the Ultimate universe.

And, most ironically for you, this is all coming from someone who has never read an Avengers comic or even any other Marvel superhero comic in his life, but is capable of doing 60 seconds of "research" on Google.


@Josh Z, I wasn't geeking out, I was simply stating that before one criticizes on something, that one should look at all of the facts. In this case I was stating that the writers of the film did not make up a black Nick Fury, he is simply from another comic line. After watching all of the Marvel movies I do not think they are running the Ultimates stories for them, but they are certainly using elements from the Ultimates line in other Marvel films as well. For instance the Rogue/Iceman romance with the Shadowcat complication. Also the black leather suits the X-Men wear are more like the Ultimate suites than traditional. So this looks like you got another 60 second Google search ahead of you for your next rebuttal.

@That Fuzzy Bastard, in this case I AM glad I am one of those fanboys, much better than being the condescending “I can Google” internet flunkies.

@Glenn Kenny, I do appologize in hindsight of Josh Z, for it is people like him that make me not want to comment on pages for they feel like they must be the better. My intention was to enlighten you to the Ultimate’s existence, however my method of doing so was rude to say the least. Your review was well written and very insightful. In upcoming Marvel projects, you may want to just skim the Ultimate universe a little, and as Josh Z has shown us, Google can go a long way. Now I wouldn’t go as far as to memorize Earth 1610 vs Earth 616, but just the bigger points, like in this case that Nick Fury was an African American and only a General (comics), and I am highly certain that he is still referred as Col. Fury in the movies. I personal like the mixing of tradition and Ultimate lines for the movies, it gives the writers a bit of wiggle room if something does not fit right.

Josh Z

Marvel Entertainment only produces and has creative control over the Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and now Avengers movie franchises. Even though the X-Men originate from a Marvel comic, that movie series is licensed to Fox, which has complete control over the films. What Fox is doing with the X-Men (willy nilly mixing and matching of comic titles, and complete reinvention of the team's origin story) has no interaction with what Marvel is doing in its own movies.

Likewise, Spider-Man and Ghost Rider are licensed to Sony, the Fantastic Four and Daredevil to Fox, and Punisher to Lionsgate.

I'm sure that Marvel probably wishes that it could reclaim the movie rights to all of these series, so that it could team up these characters as it does frequently in comics, but the original contracts state that the other studios will retain the licenses so long as they continue to produce new movies on a given schedule. That's why we're already getting a Spider-Man reboot this year, despite the fact that the Sam Raimi movies are still fresh in everyone's mind.

In its own movies, Marvel has been working very hard to create one consistent continuity. I seriously doubt that the casting of Samuel Jackson was done intentionally to draw from the Ultimates version of the character. It's much more likely that he was cast simply because he's a recognizable movie star and a notable comic book fan, who probably had his agent call up Marvel and ask to be part of these movies.

Josh Z

Marvel also makes the Captain America movies. Forgot to include that one above.


Then you will get a cosmic kick in the pants on this one. Go do one more of your Google searches, and find out who they designed the black Nick Fury after. The answer is quite obvious.

Have fun.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Josh Z: That is interesting about the need of the studios to keep cranking out superhero movies in order to keep their licensing. Explains a lot about some of the half-assed product that's been churned out (doesn't excuse, but explains). As for Fury: My understanding was that Marvel introduced a Sam-Jackson-inspired Fury in order to smooth casting for the coming films. I've heard that Spider-Man's black costume was similarly inspired, created for a planned movie when folks decided that it would look better on film than the red-and-blue (and they were right, imho!). But all this talk of Earth 616 makes me think of Neil Gaiman's awesome "1602" comic which has nothing to do with the movies but gosh, it was awesome.

Dan Coyle

That Fuzzy Bastard: incorrect. Spider-Man's black costume was created partially because of a story that a writer had pitched to the company a story about a black costume in 1984 and partially because the toy company licensing the Marvel Secret Wars line of action figures wanted another Spider-Man figure to sell. A proposed movie had nothing to do with it.

In regards to 1602: hearing Chris Evans say, "Well when you put it that way, I guess she's not." would be incredible.


"Nick Fury was originally white and stayed that way in most of the story lines, we have the david hasselhoff movie of him to prove it."


Anyways, I love THE AVENGERS. A lot. The beginning is sketchy and kind of lumped, but when it gets rolling, I was utterly thrilled. Glenn, even though you acknowledge this must have been "a pain" to make, I think your "droolerish" comment is a bit unfair. I'm not sure what this film would have needed to do for you to consider it *not* droolerish. Just on a craft level I think what's really impressive about this movie is that it really is about a team. I was concerned going in that this would basically be IRON MAN 3 with special guest star The Hulk, etc., but it really was about them all. And Whedon didn't achieve this in the easy way of giving each character their big moment, but by having them all involved, at all times. During the big aircraft battle (which I liked even more than the ending action sequence), everybody had their job, and their unique approach, and you knew what they were doing and why they were doing it, without it ever feeling like a bunch of boxes being check off. Whedon made the team focus seem organic.

And yes, by loving this movie everybody will assume I'm an idiot fanboy who demands whatever it is idiot fanboys demand. Oh well.

PS - I thought Tom Hiddleston was very good, properly slimy and awful and hateful. And he received the most crowd-pleasing...well, never mind.

PPS - I saw Jerzy Skolimowski's name in the credits and thought "No. I must have the name wrong." Weird.


"lumpen," not "lumped."

Glenn Kenny

@ bill: As one of the co-coiners of the term "drooler" (with Ed Hulse and Doug Brod, in the offices of Video Review magazine, circa 1987) I can only offer up the meek protest that I don't perceive said term as having an ENTIRELY pejorative connotation.


Okay, but even in the not entirely pejorative sense, this movie feels like it's probably, along with CAPTAIN AMERICA, the least droolerish of the Marvel films so far.

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