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Does well with its premise, but they really should've chosen a different premise
I enjoyed the film (though I wish they'd hire actual Russians to play Russian mooks and dub Natalia for once), but it still felt more like fast food than gourmet to me.

My main problem with the film was the lack of tension. It's a common superhero problem, but good movies circumvent it by making it not about the hero's physical survival or victory, but about what happens along the way.

Avengers has the problem of not just a plot and premise that leave very little space for surprises (come on, like they'd really kill off any of the main Avengers or have Loki succeed in subjugating Earth - now that, would've been a twist and real sequel hook), but having half the main cast be physically invulnerable. That leaves very little room for tension as they get the stuffing beat out of them (though the film did utilise it well on one occasion, having Hulk punch Thor in a cartoonish but still fitting moment). That may be why Black Widow, Hawkeye and Captain America intrigued me much more than I expected them to: they actually regularly got stressed and exhausted, as opposed to having blows just roll off them. Black Widow gets extra points for being a female superhero character, yet not being forced into a skimpy outfit or a formulaic romance with one of the leads, as well as having value as a badass beyond walking eye candy.

The film juggles its diverse cast fairly well without shafting anyone too much, but the invulnerable characters make the prolonged action scenes feel somewhat meaningless. Tony Stark's near death experience, while relatively engaging (his attempt to contact Pepper was touching) was one such example: have the cynical Anti Hero die saving the world, only to make them turn out okay again just as everyone is gathered around and beginning to mourn them? Reminiscent of bad Mary Sue fanfiction, really. Also, while I enjoyed the banter but did occasionally feel like the writers were trying too hard to be 'witty' - The "He's adopted" line was particularly Mood Whiplash-y and made his later attempts to appeal to Loki's sense of family utterly cheap.

Loki was memorable, but it felt more like the Avengers were helping Thor curb in his unruly, rebellious troublemaker brother than defeat an evil mastermind - a disservice to Loki as a villain.
  1. All three of the invincible heroes got hurt. Thor gets stabbed by Loki and visibly has trouble standing for a while. Iron Man's suit gets busted up to the point that he's barely able to fend off an assault from several Chitauri. Hulk gets pummeled by laser fire that he isn't able to stand up against. I agree, those are all pretty petty injuries, but they still suffered more overall damage than Cap, Black Widow and Hawkeye. A better question is how Cap gets shot in the stomach by a Chitauri and walks it off. What, are their super-special-advanced weapons weaker than bullets?
  2. Loki's characterization was pretty consistent to the comics. A mastermind though he may be, Loki's biggest failing is that he usually defeats himself and, when against an entire team like the Avengers, is out of his league. A bigger problem I had was that the Chitauri were, in the end, a pretty weak threat. I never had the feeling that they were some magnificent army that Earth's forces wouldn't have stood a chance against. For one thing, they're vulnerable to bullets—something we have no shortage of here.
comment #14536 KingZeal 1st Jun 12
1. They did "get hurt" in the technical sense, you're right, but I was actually dissatisfied with those examples. Thor gets stabbed by Loki and visibly has trouble standing for a while, yes. For a while, exactly as long as it's convenient for the writers to keep him wobbly. It just feels kind of random. And my biggest problem with Iron Man's suit is that it's all finely-honed technology but no matter how much it's beaten up we never see it actually malfunctioning as anything technological is bound to (correct me if I'm wrong?). It probably sounds petty to nitpick like that, but that's one thing that strains my suspension of disbelief about him. Although, Tony Stark is a regular human being inside that supersuit, so I'm actually more concerned about his Plot Armor than about the physically invulnerable one. What I'm mostly talking about is tension due to threat of death or threat of injury. On one hand, you have Thor shrugging off blow after shattering blow. When he wobbles about with a stab wound a bit, it's hard to take that injury seriously - compared to, say, Black Widow getting her leg pinned - her regular human, very shatter-able leg - within three feet of the Hulk and then having to run for her life seconds later, or seeing her and Hawkeye viciously beat each other up. (Though, on that note, I still dislike it when movies treat head injuries so lightly. If Hawkeye was out that long, he should've had intracranial bleeding at the very least.

2. Yeah, I'm a fan of the Chitauri either, but we're all used to mooks being some kind of disposable generic evil race. But the main villain usually delivers where the mooks fail, and Loki seemed deeper and more cunning in Thor, somehow. Why would Loki randomly leave his staff behind and leap into battle without it when low on power? Wouldn't going into hiding and watching from a distance be more his thing?
comment #14539 Hekateras 1st Jun 12
@King Zeal, as Star Trek and Star Wars and every Sci-Fi film ever have taught us, as we improve as a species, our knowledge of how to make cruddier and cruddier guns expands too.

Look at Minority Report, lets replace our automatic weaponry with guns that you have to twirl around in the air every single time you want to make a shot
comment #14540 Tomwithnonumbers 1st Jun 12
We do see Tony's suit malfunctioning. After it gets shredded in the propellor, the suit shuts down after he tackles the mook shooting at Cap and needs some work from Tony to get powered for the flight back to New York. When he flies to Star Tower, you see the suit wobble and the thrusters shut on and off as he struggles to fly back. After that, he's forced to upgrade to the Mark VII because his Mark VI is too beat up. Loki also didn't leave his staff behind, he lost it during the battle, either when Thor kicked off Stark Tower or Hawkeye shot him back on.

Honestly, though, I was less worried about the heroes because indeed most of them are so durable. I was more worried about the civilians, who the film emphasized were in danger, and that even though the Avengers were taking down horde after horde, the aliens were still coming and sooner or later the Avengers would run out of heroics. So for me that's where the tension came from, not from the danger to the heroes, but from the danger to the city.
comment #14541 Tuckerscreator 1st Jun 12
There's a law of writing that says a flaw isn't a flaw if it's only ever shown for cosmetic purposes. If a guy is rude and brash but it never gets him into trouble on significant occasions, it's not a real character flaw. If a suit starts malfunctioning precisely at the moment when he can actually afford for it to malfunction, it's not a real malfunction as writing goes.

If I recall correctly, Loki lost his staff when Tony Stark kicked him off the tower, yes, very good, but nothing says he couldn't have come back for it literally during any of the time it was just lying there unattended, conveniently within fifty feet of the gate. Like I said, nothing says he even needed to stay right there in the midst of the battle, either. He's never been a frontline fighter, he knows that.

I get what you mean about worrying about the civilians, but again, the problem with that is that a bit of good old urban destruction is such a staple of superhero movies that it's basically invisible by now. Good tension needs a more specific source than vague threats to faceless civilians - though if you felt tension for them anyway, that's great, good for you.
comment #14550 Hekateras 1st Jun 12
I think they did try to keep the civilians from being faceless. There was the waitress put in unusual focus for part of the battle, and she turned up in many scenes. There were the cops who got commanded to help out in the battle and take care of tasks the Avengers couldn't. A bad story would have just had them fleeing with the other guys. And the heroes explicitly make it a priority to try to protect the civilians and avoid causing collapsing buildings. As such, the fight was more than just killing mooks, but rather containing them from causing more slaughter. Sure, wreckage is a staple of superhero battles, but that's like saying punches are staples of a fight. Without them, there's no fight. Making us care about the blows is what matters, and discussing the strategy to avoid them is part of that.
comment #14551 Tuckerscreator 1st Jun 12
Plus there was the old German guy who Cap saved from being vaporated.
comment #14557 JackAlsworth 1st Jun 12
There's a law of writing that says a flaw isn't a flaw if it's only ever shown for cosmetic purposes. If a guy is rude and brash but it never gets him into trouble on significant occasions, it's not a real character flaw. If a suit starts malfunctioning precisely at the moment when he can actually afford for it to malfunction, it's not a real malfunction as writing goes.

Never heard of that, sounds conveniently made up and a Movingthe Goalposts to me.
comment #14561 marcellX 2nd Jun 12
Really? That's a pretty common idea. Not entirely certain it applies to this situation, though
comment #14562 Hylarn 2nd Jun 12
I agree for character tension and for something to be a genuine problem/hurdle for the character, it's got to occur when it might actually cause problems for the character.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure with Iron Man he was stuck in a giant propeller, whilst under attack trying to repair the stupid flying aircraft carrier before it falls and kills everyone. That feels like a significant hurdle.
comment #14564 Tomwithnonumbers 2nd Jun 12
As for Loki's staff, I recall he still had it while he was fighting Thor at Stark Tower, until he had to escape from him. Even if he dropped it, it hardly matters, it'd mean just one less hand to steer his flier and if he needs to fire any energy blasts the flier's got a cannon. Plus he could control the staff from a distance, like he demonstrated at the Helicarrier. Loki deluding himself into thinking he was a fighter isn't out of character for him, half the things he said were self delusions. He deluded himself into thinking he deserved Asgard's throne, that humans needed to be freed from freedom, that he could Hannibal Lecture the Hulk, etc. And the staff fell "conveniently" near the gate because Loki was standing near it.

Having Tony's suit constantly malfunctioning, I think, would have taken away from the exhilaration of his flying. It would have made him fall into Good Thing You Can Heal territory and made him seem like not a very good fighter, or making his new suit feel shoddy. The malfunctions to the Mark VI did cost him, in fact. It meant he had to confront Loki armorless, and be Alone With The Psycho. But this aspect, I guess, is more my opinion.
comment #14574 Tuckerscreator 2nd Jun 12
There's also the fact that the first time the suit suffered heavy damage Stark was smart enough to get a new one, and the second time was after the bomb and at that point the battle was over. Your objection only makes sense in IM would had kept on fighting and it never had any problems then only to brake down as soon as it wasn't needed.
comment #14576 marcellX 2nd Jun 12
I will say though, we had all those lines about 'The new suit? It's not ready! It hasn't been tested! Are you sure you want to do this??' and then, yeah it was just better than his old suit.
comment #14579 Tomwithnonumbers 3rd Jun 12
Also 'pulling out a better suit' is becoming a bit of a fallback for Iron Man. I'm pretty sure in every film he's been in, there's been a scene when he gets beat up and he decides 'better try that new dangerous prototype suit I was building!'. My memories fuzzy but I feel like they might have even pulled it twice in Iron Man 2
comment #14580 Tomwithnonumbers 3rd Jun 12
Ah okay, yeah they pull it once with Tony in 2 but also his friend also does it with the Mk 2. In general the plot of the Iron Man films so far has been "Tony is captured. But haha! He has an Iron Man suit! But haha his enemy has a better Iron Man Suit! But haha Tony has a better suit than that! End film Tony gets beat up, but haha he has a better Iron Man suit! Which his friend steals! And uses to fight the guy whose made a better iron man suit! But Tony shows up in a better iron man suit! End film. Tony gets beat up, but haha he has a better Iron Man suit! End film' :D

They're all fun films and it's pretty clear that it's Iron Man which has let Marvel do this awesome Avengers stuff, but it would be nice to see a new trick in Iron Man 3. Then again, I guess the thing with the Iron Man films is, that it's meant to feel like our world, except for these crazy suits Stark has invented
comment #14581 Tomwithnonumbers 3rd Jun 12
Why dd they disabled editing? my first thought was that something like that ^ would happen.
comment #14582 marcellX 3rd Jun 12
I'm not coping very well :D I was disorganised enough before, without having to make sure I've finished thinking, before posting
comment #14583 Tomwithnonumbers 3rd Jun 12
Huh. I did see the first Iron Man film but had no idea the gratuitous suit thing was so prevalent. I don't usually let scientific stuff get in the way of enjoyment ''too' much, but this just keeps rubbing me the wrong way. Most people don't have degrees in biology or chemistry or what have you, but most people DO have to deal with technology on a daily basis. There is simply no way a realistic Tony Stark would stake his life on a new suit that hasn't even been alpha-tested, and if he did, there's simply no way it would work without a hitch like that.

Though if they did include a handwaved testing scene, it still wouldn't have changed how it only malfunctioned for cosmetic purposes, specifically as he was out of danger.

I'm trying not to sound as if I hate that too much, I'm only trying to explain to others and to myself why I had to keep yawning during the action scenes.

"Never heard of that, sounds conveniently made up and a Movingthe Goalposts to me. "

Perhaps putting it as a 'law' was a bit overbearing, but yeah, it's one of the major rules to follow when trying to make your characters rounded. Try the Informed Flaw and Mary Sue pages for more info. Though I guess in this case it's more a case of 'informed vulnerability' than a flaw - we expect his suit to be a potential source of tension, but then it isn't.

comment #14700 Hekateras 7th Jun 12
Well it is Josh Whedon who is famous for choosing just to handwave things if he feels like it :D At least the suit wasn't as bad as 'I had my nerve cluster moved' in Serenity :)
comment #14702 Tomwithnonumbers 7th Jun 12
I will say though, we had all those lines about 'The new suit? It's not ready! It hasn't been tested! Are you sure you want to do this??' and then, yeah it was just better than his old suit.

That part does annoy me. Hopefully they'll subvert it come Iron Man 3.

JARVIS: "Sir, I warned you that we hadn't completed the testing phase of the Mark VII. I'm afraid now you'll have to deal with a sudden glitch of gravity."
comment #14722 Tuckerscreator 7th Jun 12
Hekateras: Though if they did include a handwaved testing scene, it still wouldn't have changed how it only malfunctioned for cosmetic purposes, specifically as he was out of danger.

Tuckerscreator: After it gets shredded in the propellor, the suit shuts down after he tackles the mook shooting at Cap and needs some work from Tony to get powered for the flight back to New York. When he flies to Star Tower, you see the suit wobble and the thrusters shut on and off as he struggles to fly back

I don't think you and I have the same definition of cosmetic. Also, at first you say we never see his suit malfunction, Tuckerscreator showed in detail that it did, then you say we never see it malfunction precisely when it can, to which I said that both times it malfunctioned right after the beating but the first time Tony intelligent enough changed it, now you're saying that it only malfunctioned when he was out of danger, even when it would had ruin the story if Loki after talking so much about he escape, stayed around just so Tony would fight with his damaged suit or adding another fighting scene at the end. That's what I mean by Moving The Goalposts, also you're a little too focus on that detail.

it's one of the major rules to follow when trying to make your characters rounded

It's not a major rule for all the things above. That was my issue with that statement, that it was too absolute. The reason tropes are not bad is because many of then that are rather negative have examples of it being done right. As I said, that would only hold water if a character kept on fighting, getting beaten up over and over and showing the technology being destroyed and never malfunction until after the end.

There is simply no way a realistic Tony Stark would stake his life on a new suit that hasn't even been alpha-tested, and if he did, there's simply no way it would work without a hitch like that.

You think rather highly of your own opinion and or view. First of all when was it said that is hasn't been alpha-tested' as in tested ever? besides that being hugely exagerated at best it's said that it hasn't been fully tested, if I remember correctly his reply to Jarvas was something along the lines of forget the spinning rims or something like that. This being a suit, meaning a complex device made of many pieces, each piece that had to be made separately, and see that they perform their purpose. The way you said it (alpha-tested) would be like inventing a computer and selling it without turning it once. Not only that, but never in the process of engineering it, knowing it the power supply manages electricity, or if the hard disk spins, the video disk shows images, etc. etc.
comment #14724 marcellX 8th Jun 12
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