‘Avengers’ films stand alone

You'd think, at some point, the military would figure out that shooting bullets at the Hulk really doesn't help. At All.

You’d think, at some point, the world’s soldiers and military leaders would figure out that shooting bullets at the Hulk really doesn’t help. At all.

I won’t go in to the long and the short of Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s worth watching and better than the first. As I look at the films from the Marvel-verse – not counting the Sony flicks – the two Avengers films stand out from the pack. I think it comes down to two things:

JOSS WHEDON: ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTE. The mind behind a whole lotta great shows has made that work on the big screen. Whedon understands ensemble drama better than most in Hollywood right now. Avengers worked because it was about people with god-like powers figuring out how to relate on a human level. Ultron works because while there are relationships in place and certain concessions have been made (e.g. Captain America is now the acknowledged leader of The Avengers), the happy chatter and synchronized ass-kicking mask the fact that there’s still a general lack of trust among our heroes, which almost breaks apart the group from within. Whedon makes it look effortless. If it was, everyone would be doing it. And they’re not. I find it a little bit sad that Whedon won’t be behind the camera for the third/fourth Avengers flicks, but I look forward to seeing what else he does with his time (including a rumored project with Warren Ellis).

THE HULK. It’s sad that Ang Lee had to make such a horrible Hulk movie, and that Edward Norton just didn’t quite work in the Hulk re-boot, because Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk is dying for a stand-alone. Ruffalo is a far better Banner than Eric Bana ever was, and he reveals a dark sense of humor lacking from Norton’s portrayal. The way Ruffalo has become sort of an ever-willing confidante and co-worker of Tony Stark has added dimension to the role, and having he and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow start to fall in love with each other was a minor stroke of brilliance, adding yet another ripple in the Hulk’s hard-luck story. Ruffalo’s less-than-jolly green giant also looms over both Avengers flicks, the violent chaos that none of the heroes can stop should it be unleashed, uncontrolled. The “other guy” is always there, in the back of everyone’s minds, a force that no one wants to think about, yet alone deal with. A lot of credit goes to Whedon here, of course, for writing the role, but Ruffalo makes it work in a way that Bana, Norton and even my childhood favorite, Bill Bixby, could not.

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3 thoughts on “‘Avengers’ films stand alone

  1. I agree that the Avengers movies stand out from the pack. I also am very hopeful that they will come up with a new Hulk movie with Mark Ruffalo. He nails the complexity of Dr. Banner in my opinion.

    I didn’t, however, think that this movie was better than the first. I actually thought they tied. Both were extraordinary in their own ways.

    Great post.

    • adamlaredo says:

      Thanks. For me, what gave Ultron the slight edge was the familiarity of the characters with each other, and the reinforcement of the idea that came out of the original Iron Man about just how dangerous Tony Stark is. He always asks if it’s possible to do something, but often ignores the problematic thought about whether what he’s doing is a good idea. You can see that starting to create a rift between Stark and Cap. I think something’s being set up there, subtly.

      • I did like the party scene where we got to see all of them relaxing together with their “hair down”. It did show that they have learned–almost–to work and play together as a team.

        I also liked that Ultron personified Tony’s darker thoughts about humanity.

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