Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes - (There, that wasn’t so hard was it Disney) Article of Geeky Informality and Film Analysis.

This week is an important week in the 2012 cinematic calendar. Today, April 26th, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble is released onto millions of geeks worldwide, who in unison, will squeal like tweenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert, only better…because we have a hulk. It’s something that comic book fans have been hoping will come to fruition ever since Marvel Enterprises gained independence in 2005. When Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will band together, or ‘assemble’ as it were, and save the world from destruction. I myself, have been eagerly and impatiently anticipating this moment for 4 years, ever since the sceptical image of an Iron Man movie directed by Vince Vaughn’s chubby chum became one of the most entertaining and awesome comic book movies to date.

The film was written and directed by Joss Whedon and produced by Jon Favreau. It boasts a powerhouse ensemble including Iron veteran Robert Downey Jr., Chris 'Cap' Evans, Chris 'Thor' Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo (replacing Ed Norton as the Hulk), Tom 'Loki' Hiddleston, Scarlett Johansson returning as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and of course Samuel L. Jackson. The latter already signed a nine-picture deal to play Nick Fury after the success of Iron Man (2008).

The story will see Director of S.H.I.E.L.D Nick Fury, assemble a team of heroes with super-human abilities to form The Avengers to prevent Loki and his army conquering our planet. Whedon is capable of handling a cast this size and to a lot of fan boys; he is the man for the job. As the creator of cult t.v shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, he has proven he can balance an ensemble of complex characters as well as interject just the perfect blend of humour and action. There is high hopes for the film as it is set to raise the bar for comic book sequels that tend to vamp up character roster and budgets. So let us hope Avengers Assemble can handle it's material unlike shall we say, X-Men: The Last Stand, Spider-Man 3 or umm...Fantastic Four (My my Chris Evans, you do get around).

In the last few days the reviews for the film has hit online and incredibly the film has achieved critical acclaim! Well, enough positive reviews for a film combining the superheroes of 5 previous movies down the Marvel tree, as well as being a comic book flick not made by our very own unstoppable Nolanator. I’m hoping for a whole lot of fun and some serious little Easter eggs for the fans. To be honest, something as simple as this shot below, seen in the trailer, of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor has me electrified with goosebumps.

It will be exciting to see the aforementioned big three in one big movie. For not just the die-hard fans but cinema-goers who saw last years adaptations of both Thor and Captain America; this is The Expendables of comic book cinema, apart from it's about the characters not the stars, and they are at their physical and pop-cultural peak. Of course we mustn't forget...they have a Hulk. Yes, this is the first time Mark Ruffalo will grace our screens as the big friendly giant otherwise known as the very angry and very green Incredible Hulk. It's also Ruffalo's first summer blockbuster and to celebrate all these firsts, it'll be the first time an actor has played both Doctor Bruce Banner and his computer generated transformation. Don't you just love the wonders of motion-capture!

One of the only real let downs so far has been the total lack of Jeremy Renner. Out of all the little trailers, promos and featurettes that have been released what we get from Renner’s Hawkeye is an “I got ‘em” from the Japanese trailer that surfaced last month. To be honest, he is super cool and that’s all he needs. I have also read that Hawkeye is part of a much darker storyline, along with his ‘friendship’ with Black Widow make it seem that he is the estranged character to look out for, where the marketing ploy to keep Hulk a big secret backfired. On another note, the ridiculous title change, Marvel’s: Avenger’s Assemble? Really? You know Disney, having all these guys in one film makes it sort of obvious, that yes, they’ve assembled. As for big studio name Marvel, we understand you like to shove that in front of our faces along with your front man, but we love you Stan Lee. All that title change nonsense is because those big shot Execs at Disney think that its primary target audience, probably between 13 and 25, will somehow be confused between their beloved superheroes of The Avengers and a 1960's cult British spy series of the same name...

Well, you can't be too careful, it's certainly not surprising that Disney's marketing campaign for The Avengers has been so full-on. Their last output, last months effort John Carter was in shambles, with a pushed-forward release and with a budget of $250million it was a big risk for the studio, one that didn't pay off. It had initially dropped the original and slightly more compelling title, John Carter Of Mars, and that was only the beginning. The frantic and jumbled mess before the film hit theatres involved 10 minutes being released online and Disney officially putting out a ban on reviews of the film a week prior to its opening. It's a shame really, seeing as its source material was the basis for all things science-fiction and other-wordly (yes Star Wars). However, Avengers Assemble does not carry the same burdens. The film is set to be one of the biggest box-office openings of the year and most probably, of all time.

My hopes for the film are to see a very even spread of character close-ups for each of our avengers and to see some great banter between our heroes. Also I'd like to see some interplay and link-up where all of our heroes are involved in big action set-pieces. But establishing a strong sense of the Avengers Initiative is the most important factor for me. After seeing the movie, it'll be interesting to speculate what they could do with a possible new Hulk movie with Ruffalo or where they can go with a Fury lead S.H.I.E.L.D movie or Avengers sequel.  

With the release of Avengers Assemble it is no surprise that the buzz for Iron Man 3 has picked up. The threequel is set to start shooting next month with Shane Black behind the camera and Paramount announcing a release for 03/05/2013. Ben Kingsley has signed on as the films villain which will also feature Guy Pearce and Jessica Chastain. [UPDATE: Chastain has been replaced by Rebecca Hall] I am extremely excited for this especially with the involvement of these three names.  
Marvel executive Kevin Feige has said of the film that it is a, 'Full on Tony Stark-centric movie...very much inspired by the first half of Iron Man'. Dropping back to a more small-scale Iron Man film is a very good idea and one I will anticipate even more as the release date draws closer.

But the biggest release is today! And I am so very excited, so excited it hurts! You may call it pathetic, but I believe this will be the ultimate movie experience. This is the reason we all go the cinema, to be thrilled, entertained and blown-away on such a grand-scale. And believe me, scales don't get much grander. I will be returning to London this weekend, it's my duty to see this with the geekiest of my brotherhood as we assemble a team to watch the blockbuster of all blockbusters. Prior to when I see Avengers Assemble on Saturday, I will be going to a Marvel Marathon, I only hope that includes critically acclaimed classics such as Daredevil and Punisher: War Zone....Too far?

It doesn't matter, because we have a Hulk.

Adam Bloom

Link to the trailer for any losers who haven't seen it >


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