I’ve yet to see the new Avengers film but there already seems to be plenty to say about it. Firstly the name change in the UK, I don’t even know what the official names is but I can’t understand why they didn’t just go with Marvel’s Avengers. There are plenty of different films with the same name and there was never going to be any confusion, the worst scenario is that some unfortunate idiots may end up watching Uma Thurman as Emma Peel and doubling that films audience.
I’ve just read reports that the film has broken all opening records and Empire magazine are speculating that Joss Whedon will finally be able to get some of his projects off the ground, let’s hope so. I’m sure Whedon has made a great film but I suspect that people would have still gone to see The Avengers if it was a badly directed film. Interestingly enough I’m finally reading Mark Kermodes The Good, The Bad And The Multiplex which raises lots of interesting questions about the world of movies (although if you’ve ever heard Kermode speak then you will have heard all his arguments before). The Avengers success is perhaps the reverse of John Carter where Kermode, and others, have argued that a huge blockbuster will never succeed without a star name. The Avengers is a super group of a film and was always going to draw people in.
The main reason I haven’t seen The Avengers yet is because I wanted to try and see Captain America and Thor first. I was shocked to find that I couldn’t just pay to watch these films online, I honestly thought that this is how film rental worked now and that all new releases were available to watch for a price. Not the case at all, it was possible to purchase digital copies for probably twice what it would cost to rent but I didn’t want to do it. Unsurprisingly both films were available via Sky’s online viewing (I think Fox have a stake in Marvel so this is perhaps even less surprising than usual). At one point it seemed that the best option was to go out and join Blockbusters and physically rent the discs from an actual building. The lack of availability has to be one of the biggest reasons for piracy, if things were just easily made available to anybody then people would pay instead of having to jump through membership and loyalty hoops.
As it turned out my LoveFilm holiday came to an end and I’d moved both films to the top of the list and was pleasantly surprised when they were sent out. I was looking forward to Thor the most but Captain America came first. I don’t remember anybody talking about Captain America when it came out and I was expecting a sub-standard film but it was actually a pleasant surprise. Nice nods to the rest of the universe, a great cast and story and all zipped along nicely. Instead of a long drawn out series of pointless action sequences there’s a montage, yay montages! Thor on the other hand was a huge disappointment, mostly because it was directed by Kenneth Branagh and so I thought it would be good but flawed like Ang Lee’s Hulk. Watching it there was no real sense that it was directed at all and certainly not by someone as talented as Branagh. Even more disappointing when I found out the story was by Babylon 5’s J. Michael Straczynski. Thor is not a terrible film, in fact it’s more what I was expecting Captain America to be so it’s interesting to see them come out the way they did. Having had more time to think about it and remembering the robot vs robot anti climaxes of the Iron Man films I could be tempted to say Captain America was the best of all the Avengers film.
I was hoping to see The Avengers this week, having to take advantage of Orange Wednesday to justify the chain’s extortionate prices (especially for 3D – which I’ll probably be tempted by) but the art house may win out because I also want to see Marley and Damsels In Distress this week.