I ask this because these days it takes recommendations to actually go to out to a movie for the “theatre experience.” Most flicks you can wait for them to come out on DVD, cable, Netflix, etc. Of course theatre owners have to work to get adults into the seats (ones not dragged by their kids). Based on the TV commercials for a lot of releases it appears that 3D is the latest add-on in an attempt to paper over the lack of script and bad acting for a high-budget film.
But I only hear good things about The Avengers so far. On the plus side, my brother and I were avid readers of the comic book back in the 70s, so it would be nice to see it realized on the screen with the FX to handle what couldn’t be done in live-action back then.
If the answer is yes, then which way should I see it – I think my local theatre has all available options):
- 3D + IMAX
I will probably drag Kate to see it (she did not read the comic books). It’s her wifely duty to watch me regress to “watch sh*t blow up” and @ss-kicking flick mode. One of my guilty pleasures is a good action film (or even a not-so-good, campy one) – my brother and I used to watch and enjoy those outlandish martial arts films of the 70s every Saturday AM.
One of our favorites was Master of the Flying Guillotine.
The film concerns Wang’s one-armed martial arts master being stalked by an imperial assassin, the master of two fighters (the Tibetan lamas) who were killed in the previous film. When the One-Armed Boxer is invited to attend a martial arts tournament, his efforts to lie low are unsuccessful, and the assassin soon tracks him down with the help of his three subordinates competing in the tournament: a Thai boxer, a yoga master, and a kobojutsu user.
The title refers to the assassin’s weapon, the “flying guillotine“, which resembles a hat with a bladed rim attached to a long chain. Upon enveloping one’s head, the blades cleanly decapitate the victim with a quick pull of the chain.
Suspending reality for the sake of cinematic @ss-kicking every once in a while is quite fun.
UPDATE: I saw it Friday night with the missus – who never read the comic book or saw any of the character lead-in movies. Actually, I’ve not seen any of the recent lead-ins either — Thor, Captain America any of the Hulks or Iron Mans (though I was sorely tempted). She enjoyed it; albeit the narrative unfolds in a way that anyone uninitiated really has to work at figuring who the characters are and context, but that didn’t bother her.
Black Widow kicked major ass. Great casting on that one - Scarlett Johansson was perfect (and nice on the eyes). Actually the casting overall was great; it goes without saying that Robert Downey, Jr. is simply gifted with great, acerbic comedic talent. He definitely earned every penny of what was probably a motherlode payday for it. Samuel L. Jackson is always a treat. What I also realized is that I’m culturally WAY behind on contemporary popular actors — I don’t know who the F Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, or Tom Hiddleston are. I so rarely go to the movies. Anyway, I was quite taken by Renner as Hawkeye; since I didn’t see any of the prior Hulk flick, I didn’t have to compare Ruffalo’s performance to any one else’s save Bill Bixby (how’s that for the cultural time machine!).
Script? Well, it’s ridiculous — as it should be for roller-coaster, cotton candy action fare based on a comic book. But you are lead along pretty well, with the scenes of action/@ss-kicking/sh*t blowing up well spaced. It got a bit slow in the middle; Loki kind of bored me as a villain…BUT holy crap, any deficit was made up by the closing NYC sequence!
FX? Um…blown…away. The loooooong tech closing credits with myriad FX shops working on this flick were not unexpected. All of is up there on the screen. The bar is set really high, and I’m grateful that we’ve reached a state of the art where CGI can realistically portray the universe of impossibility these superheroes inhabit. Really, you had to almost cry at how bad FX were back in the day; you had to see comic book characters come alive in traditional animation because the technology just wasn’t there for live action portrayal that was satisfying. No more.
3D/IMAX: Paid the painful $15/ticket for the whole shebang. NOTE: I’ve never seen a film in contemporary 3D or IMAX. I have to say that I found 3D interesting, but unnecessary for me, primarily because, as someone who not only wears glasses, but wears bifocals, the plastic glasses are just flipping uncomfortable. I was adjusting my own glasses and the 3D glasses a lot. The latter were filthy and smudged (had to clean them), and as I said uncomfortable. Kate reported no issues, since she wears contacts. I guess for those of us with aging eyes and specs who had the same sort of experience I did, we’re SOL until there’s 3D that doesn’t require glasses.
I would like to see the film again in 2D to see if the viewing experience is more pleasurable.
IMAX? Having never been in the Southpoint IMAX theatre (here in Durham), I kind of expected the screen to be a lot bigger, quite frankly. Perhaps the problem is that screen sizes generally at most modern theatres are smaller, so IMAX may seem larger-than-life to people. For instance, Kate and I were in NYC in 2005 when War of the Worlds came out. We went to see it in a theatre in Times Square on a BIG HONKING SCREEN. Huge traditional wide screen. We had to go many rows back just to have the whole screen in your field of vision; it was the grand-scale size that was not uncommon before the age of movieplexes, when the cavernous palaces had a single screen. I certainly didn’t need IMAX or 3D to feel blown away by the FX or feel enveloped in the action.
The only impressive thing about IMAX is it’s all digital, and so for films shot that way, the quality of the image is tons better and film artifacts/defects/reel change indications are not an issue. But I’d venture a guess that many films are shot with digital cameras these days anyway, with or without IMAX.
But Joss Whedon did a great job on what had to be a whale of a film to wrangle, let alone do it well.