Friday, July 27, 2012

Avengers


I have been watching Carmine Gallo for a while, always wondering if I can apply his lectures to a class report someday. Actually I was more hoping that I will cease to be the kind of person who Jerry Seinfeld describes as picking the casket instead of the person delivering the eulogy

Carmine was a former reporter and anchor on CNN and CBS; he now consults for big corporations advising them on effective communications. Among his lectures is a message map wherein there is one message supported by three supporting messages.

Now how does this relate to the Avengers?  That answer is simplicity.  

I have been thinking about the recent blockbuster a lot.  It made $1.4 billion dollars as of June 30 according to imdb.com and with revenues like that everything’s good right?

Revenues notwithstanding not everything is good, in fact the movie has much room for improvement. Hopefully the sequel that is sure to come will be better than this one especially with Thanos waiting in the wings.  

I have personal metric maybe more a gut feel, that if my mind wanders beyond the usual the movie is bad.  Avengers was a colorful movie in its entirety.  It had great action scenes but if you look at the story there isn’t much to enjoy. The story felt was fragmented.

A friend of mine perhaps summed it all when he tweeted that X-Men: First Class as a bench mark for great superhero team movies.  I agree, perhaps so much so that I believe First Class to be the best Marvel movie since Sam Raimi’s Spider-man

Using the message map I tried to diagram First Class into its component parts.  Mutants and along with its issues of discrimination as well as human potential was tackled.  Xavier and Magneto both acted as salesmen of the main theme.   They were like the first people to ever make sense of the mutant issue, like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in the birth of the PC era.

If viewers cannot related to either Magneto or Xavier there were younger mutants in Mystique and the Beast which will connect to those teens who are in search of an identity. The rest of the mutants, the CIA, and even the villain are all in support to these four main characters who held the movie together. 

That’s simplicity.  No more than 2 leads and the rest were in support.

That simplicity was not present in the Avengers.  It was as if they have not moved on with their Headcount trailer.  The trailer worked well as a come on for geeks and fans all around; Marvel’s elites in one movie, how could anyone refuse?  Would have been better had some of those elites disappeared or at least complimented each other.

The movie started out with Loki.  It was in the beginning and he was partially hidden, he was obvious by the next scene. How did you go from falling from Rainbow Bridge, observe the first appearance of the Tesseract, and end up where Loki is now.

SHIELD comes in the next few scenes.  Had this angle of super secret government agency building up a super hero team been properly developed like in The Ultimates it might have worked.  But how can a super secret agency hold the story if the trailer had already shown the Chitauri army?  Spy agencies connotes suspense. 

Then there was Thor.  Loki is lead villain so maybe the brothers can duke it out from beginning to end thereby making a main story.  But Thor didn’t come off that strong and somehow getting stuck in the street fight along with Captain America made him look normal.

Captain America a.k.a  Steve Rogers was a man out of place and out of his own time that he thought himself inadequate to lead  It is a classic theme, the best leaders are the ones who never sought the power, except that this failed because Chris Evans didn’t have enough presence to best Robert Downey, Jr.

Iron Man and Robert Downey, Jr., costume alone meant Chris Evans had no chance since the armor was predominantly red and Captain America had as the Tony Stark described as a spangly outfit.  Cool gadgets, red armor, best lines; Captain America should have stayed with the Fantastic Four with that competition.

Oh yes let us not forget the hot girl, Black Widow.  Perhaps because I am a sucker for the pretty face I found her the most distracting of all.  Whenever her character comes in it derails the mood I am in trying to connect with  the story; her missions with SHIELD, her dark past that she seems to want to make amends, and that she owes Hawkeye her life.

Pretty face distracting, pretty face with character proved too much of a distraction.  Black Widow’s predominantly spy genre didn’t mix well with a team of super heroes.   And where her story goes, Hawkeye went down with it.  

Over the course of watching the film I was kinda expecting them to kiss. Or maybe hoping they would kiss is the accurate word.  What's the point of their presence?  Guilty conscience, personal debt, assassinations not carried out; gods and aliens are tearing up New York.

I am reminded at this point of a piece by Jessica Zafra: Captain America: Not bad for a 2-hour trailer!  Now from the piece I can’t really say if she hated or liked the film because of Chris Evans, but the term 2 hour trailer seems a good fit for the Avengers.

As much as the movies Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, and Captain America all had teasers pointing to the Avengers, the movie in itself was trying to sell future sequels, maybe to some degree it was distracted by that goal.

Now, I won’t be as mean as Jessica though I don’t believe she was in the case of Captain America at least.

I am a fan of the comic book back in the day when I can actually afford them.  I was so eager for the movie that I braved the lines even with a wounded foot.  As I said my mind wandered off, so what is fan to do but deny the seemingly obvious.

My foot was injured, plus someone stepped on my other foot that very night so I was wounded on both feet.  Because of that I decided to watch the movie again for good measure, I think I even made sure again for the 3rd time.  With that many repetitions it will be hypocritical for me to say I didn’t enjoy the movie.

The Avengers had great, great action, and it had Iron Man.  At the end of the day I enjoyed the movie as Iron Man 2.5.