AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.1: “Pilot”

CHLOE BENNET, CLARK GREGGI can best sum up my feeling about AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. by saying that I really wanted to like it more than I did. And I did enjoy it; I just didn’t love it. Even though I wanted to love it.

It felt like the show was coasting too much on Executive Producer Joss Whedon’s reputation and its association with last year’s blockbuster The Avengers movie. I got the sense that the pilot was Joss slapping together a demo piece and telling the network, “This is just a placeholder; trust me, the real series will be great.” And, yes, the script was generously stocked with Whedonesque quips and Easter eggs, but I expected it all to be much more… well, polished.

As such, the pilot for AoS was pretty okay, but it demonstrated nothing close to its potential. It felt a bit like one of the characters, Grant Ward — shiny and a bit smug, and not as charming as it thinks it is.
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A Peek Behind the Scenes at ILM

We all know Joss Whedon’s The Avengers was nominated for just one single Academy Award — for special effects — but it should win the prize in a walk. Just to remind everyone how awesome and detailed the SPFX were, Industrial Light & Magic has released a special clip that demonstrates how some of the visuals were achieved.

Pretty amazing, if you ask me. (And I really love this kind of “how they did it” feature, so DVD/Blu-ray has been a real boon to me.) These were the effects The Avengers deserved.

Anyway, here’s what ILM had to say about the reel:

“We are proud to present this video, which showcases some of ILM’s Oscar nominated effects work for the 2012 hit film, Marvel’s The Avengers. This reel represents a small fraction of the work created by over 200 ILM artists, scientists, and engineers backed up by a world class production team.”

By the way, did everyone notice that the Oscar nomination list referred to the title of this film  as Marvel’s The Avengers?

The Avengers (2012)

It’s not hyperbole to call The Avengers the greatest superhero movie of all time — better than Captain America: The First Avenger, better than The Dark Knight, and better than Spider-Man 2. And the best superhero movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD starting today.

The cardinal sin of most superhero movies is that producers change too much from the page and the screen, and then crowd the story with too many characters (especially villains) that all have to be introduced. So how does Avengers — a movie featuring six heroes, a villain, a host of supporting characters and an entire top-secret international organization — manage to not only avoiding becoming an overstuffed muddle, but pull it all off brilliantly?

One name: Joss Whedon.
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Joss Whedon Gains Superpowers

Of course there could not be better news for the Avengers sequel than the announcement that Joss Whedon will write and direct it — but it now appears that, as part of his three-year exclusive deal, Marvel will let him shape the Captain America, Thor and Iron Man sequels to set up the characters the way he wants them for The Avengers 2.

Marvel’s statement this week declared:

“As part of that deal, Whedon will write and direct Marvel’s Avengers 2 as well as help develop a new live action series for Marvel Television at ABC. He will also contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel’s cinematic universe.”

What that TV series will be is anyone’s guess, but I’m more interested in the bit that promises he will “contribute creatively” to other movies — namely, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Iron Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man. Except for the Guardians, all those characters are closely tied to the Avengers. Maybe Whedon will be able to get Nathan Fillion to sign on as the Hank Pym original version of Ant-Man!
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Are You Ready for the Justice League?

Are you sitting down for a shocker? Variety reported today that DC Comics is dusting off its Justice League of America project and trying to get it jump-started in the wake of the incredible success of Marvel’s own team movie, The Avengers.

I’m sure pretty much everyone saw this coming when The Avengers opened so strong, but as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk, Hawkeye and pals continue to scramble up the box-office record list, JLA became more and more inevitable. And how ironic is it that Avengers helmer Joss Whedon once tried to get a Wonder Woman movie off the ground?
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Chris Evans Disses Captain America

I can’t tell you how disappointed I was in Chris Evans’ appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon May 1. Chris was there to promote The Avengers, but instead he revealed that he does not understand his own character, Captain America at all. As fantastic as Chris was in Captain America: The First Avenger, it appears that he did it without grasping the magnitude of his character, and instead thinks of him as a punch line.

Granted, Chris was goofing with Jimmy, but in the course of their bantering about the superteam starring in this Friday’s guaranteed blockbuster, Chris questioned why Cap belongs on the same team as Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Hawkeye and Black Widow.

“This guy has no business in this crew,” Chris opined. “You have the Hulk ripping jets in half, and Thor is calling down thunder, and Iron Man is shooting missiles. And I’m, like, ‘I’ll [Cap] take the stairs!’ ”
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Female of the Species: Deadlier Than the Male

This clip is the first piece of a scene released from the forthcoming summer blockbuster The Avengers, written and directed by Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame.

This snippet showcases the team’s only female member, the Black Widow, and demonstrates the two big reasons why she’s on the team:

  1. She kicks total ass (even while bound in a chair).
  2. She’s played by Scarlett Johansson.

In this non-spoiler scene, the Widow is being interrogated by some bad guys. She’s wearing a cocktail dress, so they probably captured her during an operation and then tied her to a chair. Bad move for them…

The Avengers opens May 4 in the USA.

Awesome New Avengers Trailer!

The new trailer for Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers manages to simultaneously make the movie look epic — by playing up the widescreen action and pumping up the threat level — and intimate — by featuring tiny little character moments that demonstrate these are Marvel characters (by which I mean, damaged souls). Check it out at Apple trailers.

And check out The Avengers in theaters May 4.

The Avengers Will Assemble in Britain — and Soon!

The U.K. poster

The AvengersJoss Whedon’s big-budget adaption of the comic book and featuring Marvel’s mightiest movie heroes teaming up — will sport a slightly different name when it is released in the U.K.  — and British fans will get to see it a full week earlier than we Yanks.

Marvel Avengers Assemble will be released on April 26, sporting the new title in an effort to avoid any nasty legal entaglements with the owners of the copyright to the ever-popular 1960s caper series, THE AVENGERS (of Steed and Mrs. Peel fame), which is a cultural touchstone in the United Kingdom. (The TV series was made into a wretched feature in 1998, starring Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes.)

Still, one would think there’s not much chance of mistaking the Hulk for the sophisticated John Steed…
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