On Tuesday, Rob Beames and I recorded a podcast talking about all the Avengers movies: IRON MAN, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, IRON MAN 2, THOR & CAPTAIN AMERICA, as well as discussing our hopes and fears for the upcoming (and now awkwardly titled) MARVEL'S AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, coming out April 27.
You can listen to it on iTunes or stream it off the Picturehouse website.
Unfortunately the all night Avengers marathon we had planned has been cancelled due to Paramount putting all the movies (except HULK, which is Universal) on moratorium. This is a common - and frankly ridiculous - practice amongst distributors, in the belief that this builds momentum or anticipation for the upcoming film. In fact what it does is annoy people at a time when attention is focused on these characters and films.
That set aside, we recorded the podcast not just to promote the now cancelled all-nighter, but because in cinematic history there hasn't been anything like this - and although the commercial and corporate decision making behind it is shameless, I do derive some genuine geek thrills from the idea of mixing all these superheroes into one movie, and I really hope it's successful.
The movies leading up to AVENGERS are wildly uneven, and I think that there are really only two good ones: THOR & CAPTAIN AMERICA. IRON MAN has some good moments but its sequel is a mess, and HULK is a massive misfire. THOR in particular is a pretty good film in any genre, and reminded me of Richard Donner's SUPERMAN, which takes a trashy comic book and tries to elevate it to the level of drama. Branagh tackled the story as seriously and as stylishly as his Shakespeare adaptations and delivers thrills with believable characters.
CAPTAIN AMERICA, now one of Rob's favorite films, is an honest, simple movie that does the job, but I don't share his wild enthusiasm, given the structural problems.
I was very pleased to hear Joss Whedon was chosen to helm the AVENGERS movie. I'm a big fan of his BUFFY and FIREFLY series and his only feature SERENITY. I think he's a talented writer, and always delivers strong female characters. His deft skill with an ensemble and intimate knowledge of the comic book world - and as the creator of his own 'universe' - he seems like a perfect choice for this job. This shows a creative nerve from Marvel which is absent from a lot of studios, who could've easily given this to someone as crass as McG or Michael Bay.
You can read Rob's much more comprehensive piece about the AVENGERS here.
I'm sure we'll talk about AVENGERS when we see it, so stay tuned!