Tag Archives: The Avengers

Brief Review of Avengers: Infinity War

We watched Avengers: Infinity War today (it appeared on Netflix last week). I don’t want to recap the plot and offer a bunch of spoilers. What’s the point of that? Three quarters of those who want to see it have already seen it. I’d just like to take a moment for a few thoughts.

  1. I still like comic book movies, but nonstop fantasy fighting gets old. Watch the Ip Man movies about the founder of Wing Chun and something of a superhero in his own right for several good, made-for-movie fights. The second season of Iron Fist had good fights too.
  2. The more power you give someone, the more difficult it is to watch him fight.
    Frank: “I can stop any attack with a mere thought.”
    Bubba: “And I’m going to shoot you in the head!”
    Frank: “Ha ha! You’ll never get –” [BANG]
    Budda: “Didn’t see that coming, didya punk!”
    [Spoiler] Did we see Thanos beat up the Hulk at the beginning? How is he breaking a sweat with these other guys? I hear that answer from the back. Convenience is correct.
  3. [Spoiler] I’ve haven’t read many comic books, and I know there are some bad ones out there, even among the good heroes. Still I am glad to learn the plot of Avengers: Infinity War doesn’t come from the comics. The story of Thanos and his quest to save the universe from itself begins in the books at the place the movie ends, not after a massive failed attempt to stop him but after his success quest to obtain all six infinity stones without the Avengers knowing about it. That’s a lot better than the story we’re given in this movie because of one overused formula.
  4. At the very beginning we see a character say he has one of the great-and-powerful stones and he would give it up to save the life of someone else. That formula is used twice more and a third time in reverse. Did we focus group other rationales to advance the plot and them all unbelievable? That gets as old as the hour-long battles and is probably the weakest part of this movie.
  5. The parody How It Should Have Ended proved its genius again.
  6. The last thing I’ll say is long movies like this make me want to take a hike in the real world. I’m not sure my new shoes are the right thing for hiking though. Maybe I could find alternatives.

Could Skywalker be an Avenger?

Marvel’s creator Stan Lee says the people behind the Marvel cinematic universe want to make successful movies. If that means they think an ultimate fan-fic mashup like Star Wars and Avengers together will make a great movie, well . . .

“I created the Avengers by taking many of our characters and making a team out of them,” Lee tells The Big Issue. “We can have as many characters join the Avengers as we want to for future movies. That might be fun, all of a sudden Luke Skywalker is an Avenger!”

Heh. I mean, if we’re talking  fan fiction here, why not something like this?

And in news that’s not even remotely possible to be related, superhero sit-coms are coming.

Death of an Avenger

Yesterday was notable, aside from a Supreme Court decision with which I strongly disagree, in seeing the death of a man who has been a major influence on my life (and who probably wouldn’t have been at all pleased to know it, from what I know of his social views).

Patrick Macnee (1922-2015) is best remembered as the only permanent star of what I consider one of the greatest TV series ever produced, the BBC series The Avengers (not to be confused with the Marvel Comics books and movies). The Avengers appeared on American TV just as I was entering an uncomfortable adolescence, and left me with an enduring love for slender, auburn-haired women (Diana Rigg), and three-piece suits (Macnee).

Yes, it was a breakthrough show for a trope I’m now thoroughly sick of – the delicate little woman who beats up 200-lb men in groups – but it was new and interesting back then, and hey, it was Diana Rigg. I was desperately in love with her.

The show was not intended to be what it eventually became, the spritely, half-comic show we remember. It started in 1961 as a gritty, realistic program. It was a spin-off of a series called Police Surgeon, starring actor Ian Hendry. In the first episode of The Avengers, his character, Dr. David Keel, loses his fiancée, murdered by drug dealers. He is recruited by a shadowy semi-official character named John Steed (Macnee) to help him apprehend the criminals. Keel signs on enthusiastically (it’s his way to “avenge” the woman he loved), but is often put off by the ruthless methods of Steed, who at this stage was as much a thug as a charmer, and had no distinctive style of dress. Continue reading Death of an Avenger

Which of Marvel’s Avengers Is the Best?

Here’s a good example of this blog’s need for a politics category. Here’s a post ranking all the Avengers according to their value to the team. For example, The Wasp comes in at #3. “If Captain America epitomizes the Avengers, Janet Van Dyne is still its heart and soul. She was a founding member, has led the team through some of its most difficult moments, and has the unequivocal respect of gods, robots, and the most powerful beings in the cosmos. Marvel actually put it best when it said if the Avengers were asked to rank themselves, The Wasp would likely be #1.”

The Incredible Hulk, More Werewolf than Hero

I wish I could say I thought of this myself, and maybe I did (along with you), but I never articulated it, so I can’t take credit even on my own blog.

The typical scenario Dr. Bruce Banner finds himself in, at least on film, is being the victim of gang abuse. Wrong place, wrong time or maybe he chose to stand up to someone who responded with a gaggle of thugs. They beat on him or kick him down an elevator shaft, and he hulks out.

That’s the rage-monster-as-hero idea, but Banner/Hulk is more complicated than that, as these guys point out in the middle of a long list of interesting details on Marvel’s The Avengers. If you’ve seen the movie, note #13-14. Joss Whedon sees the big guy as the beast Banner is trying to contain.

I saw a wag, making cracks about this movie, laugh at how convenient it is that Banner can control his power just when the story calls for it, but he’s missing the point. Whedon’s Hulk isn’t one who can’t be summoned; he’s one who can only barely be contained. In this movie, Banner knew he was holding a very dangerous hair trigger. He isn’t telling us, “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” He’s telling us, “Let’s keep things under control, because when I get pushed over the edge, very bad things can happen.”

Epic stuff

I just had to share this video. It’s something a few of us have been searching for for some time. The theme song from the old 1950s/60s TV series, Tales of The Vikings.

A cheesy series? From all I can remember, yes (note the comment that says only three episodes may still exist. So we may never know for sure).

But let it be set down for the historical record—if anyone wonders what it was that first sparked author Lars Walker’s interest in Vikings, it was this series. I actually only caught it in re-runs, but it caught me good and hard in return. I realized, in a blaze of enlightenment, that nothing in this world was so cool and romantic as Vikings, and that Vikings were my birthright.

While we’re on the subject of rousing entertainment, I finally made it to the theater to see The Avengers this weekend. My reaction: Holy moly.

I didn’t love it as much as, say, The Lord of the Rings movies. But I don’t think I’ve ever had such a pure entertainment experience in a theater. It was way, way longer than I think any movie should be, but I didn’t care. I hit the light button on my watch at one point, and realized I’d been in my seat for a full two hours. I couldn’t believe it had been that long.

Highly recommended.

It occurs to me that the whole comic book thing, and the ancillary stuff (like movies; comic books don’t actually sell that big anymore) is almost a form of myth. Having cut ourselves loose from our cultural tethers, we’re reverting to simpler, more elemental kinds of literature. Instead of epic poems, we have epic movies.

This is not a good thing.

Unless I get a movie deal for my books, of course.

There Is No God, But… Cool!

M. Leary has an interesting article (probably more interesting if you have already seen the movie, which I have not) on the few references to gods and deity in Marvel’s The Avengers.

Not one to sit on his duff when justice can be served, Captain America begins preparing to do his thing. “Wait,” Black Widow says. “You might wanna sit this one out, Cap. These guys are basically gods.” To which, the Captain replies, “There’s only one God, ma’am. And I don’t think he dresses like that.” And out of the plane Captain leaps, his fall to earth surely cushioned by his ideological purity.

Leary makes the valid point that whenever you pull God into the conversation, you can’t just side-step him. Somehow, a simple reference draws in a world of meaning.

What Our Superheroes Say About Us

Steven Greydanus discusses this summer’s superhero movies.

Perhaps Captain America offers the best depiction of what makes for a good hero: being a good person in the first place. … Like others of his generation, Steve’s character was tempered in the forge of the Great Depression as well as the shadow of world war. Next year’s Avengers movie will throw this Greatest Generation warrior into the mix with the Tony Stark generation. What will that show us about ourselves and the world we live in? I’m almost afraid to find out.