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May 25, 2012

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You could have tried http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzLP_2Wi_nY>Marlene Dietrich dancing in a gorilla costume.

I don't know who's wearing the monkey suit, but that's not Frida Kahlo, it's Johnny Depp.

Maybe the Top Critics spent the whole movie thinking about the clever phrases they'd write instead of watching the movie.

John Cole has a post about how he just can't imagine why anyone would vote for Romney. I'm making a jump here from watching a movie to watching a Presidential debate. You know the annoying way the Media Talking Heads will talk after the debates about their fantasies about wha they saw and tell us watchers what our reactions must be? One year they had some sort of audiance reaction meters that appeared on the ascreen that were consistantly different from what the Talking Heads kept telling the audience our reaction was.It didn't matter to the Talking Heads, though. They just kept right on telling us what our reactions were even with the meter right there controdicting them.

Debates are visual events, not auditory ones. The winner is the candidate who appears the most confident, cool, poised, but warm and approachable. But that's a matter of filters, too. I could never see Bush as someone I'd like to have a beer with. I always thought he looked like a creep. I mean skin-crawly creep, like the guy you DON'T want to be sitting next to anywhere.

My point being that TV Talking Heads who are sort of the Top Critics of the political scene are often just as much stuck watching the inside of their own eyeballs and unable to see the politics thhey are supposed to be observing.

I wonder if there is any way to get a fix on what percentage of the population knows the Avengers to some reasonable degree and if that knowledge is completely absent in Top critics.

lj:

I've been wondering that too, especially given that the movie is being successful world-wide, not just in the US.

But what I've noticed, in listening to people talk about it, is that complete mundanes in the general population usually go to the movie along with a fan in their life (significant other, child, etc.). The fan will give the mundane enough crucial info ("who's that?") to help them keep basic track of the characters as they appear.

I also wonder how much of the tremendous take is due to re-watches. I've noticed that my fannish friends are going back to the theater repeatedly, much more than they did for other movies in the Marvel series -- because the very large number of significant characters makes it hard for even dedicated fans to noticed *everything* in the first viewing.

I'd also note that the movie hasn't come out in Japan yet and I wonder if it there was some marketing information about the penetration of Marvel fandom in various countries/markets. My purely anecdotal take is that Japanese don't really glom on to the Stan Lee universe, and the data here suggests that is correct, in that a Marvel movie with Avengers characters has never been the top box office draw. On the other hand, in China, Iron Man was top for 4 weeks and The Incredible Hulk for 2 or 3 (though their China data seems to have some problems) On the other hand Spiderman and X-men have been number one, though I'd argue that while those two occupy the same universe, they are discreet and therefore it is possible to separate them out. Still, if it is possible to work your data magic on the box offices in various locations, I'd love to see what you come up with.

There was a Japanese Spider-Man TV show in the late 1970s that, I think, was one of the major predecessors of the Super Sentai genre.

But the Spider-Man mythos was considerably modified: Spider-Man is a motorcycle racer who gets his powers from an alien spaceship that can transform into a giant robot.

...While Spider-Man and the X-Men occupy the Marvel Universe in the comics, it's not clear that they exist in the Avengers movie universe. Probably for contractual reasons, I'd guess.

i've read a few blogs trying to make the case that crtics are en masse chauvinist sexist pigs because nobody mentioned scarlette/natasha/black widow.

now, i'm not saying critics aren't chauvinist pigs, but i think their failure to highlight this character is less about thousands of years of institutionalized misogyny and more about which characters alreadybhad their own movies before the avengers.

i' m not a heavy marvel reader, but i love comic book movies. i myself was more of a daredevil fan, and you can imagine my disappointment at the ben affleck fiasco. what i'm saying is, whereas i had heard of the main avenger characters in my comic book reading youth, i'd never heard of black widow or hawkeye before seeing this movie.

i think that if marvel studios had bothered to (or been able to convince the marketing boys it would be profitable to) make a black widow/hawkeye film released last summer or fall, there would have been more hoopla surrounding johansen's (and even renner's) participation.

all in all, it was a good film. a little noisy towards the end, but still thumbs up.

I think Black Widow came off as fully as significant as any other Avenger in the film, but I too had never read a comic about her back in my antique past, so I had basically no context for her other than what the new film gave me. If I ended up thinking of her more as "Natascha" than as "Black Widow," that's because that's what everyone called her for the entire film. (Similarly, I think of Tony Stark as Tony Stark, because that's "who he is" whether he has the suit on or not).

Also, she was ultimately the only one of the Avengers with no identifiable "costume" or personalized weapon, so that, combined with her gender, her nationality and my total lack of a back-story context for her, made her somewhat unique in my perceptions of the film and somewhat the cipher among the team. I really appreciated the scene between her and Loki, because it filled in a LOT of needed exposition where she was concerned, it made me more invested in her history, her story arc, her relationship with Hawkeye.

As far as Ms. Johansson's performance goes, she was as memorable as anyone else. The film boasted a pretty high level of acting chops, but I definitely walked away from the film not really knowing the names of most of the actors, since I'd basically never heard of most of them before (I don't go to a lot of mainstream movies, perhaps this explains it). Downey, Ruffalo, Johansson, Jackson, yes. The rest I'd have difficulty naming even now, without Googling, and yet I thought they all did a great job, and there was some seriously cool acting from Loki and many others.

But I did notice Jenny Agutter's name go by in the credits, and both myself and the person I was with (we're both "old") said, aloud, "Jenny Agutter!" Apparently she was one of the three council members who advised Nick Fury badly from dimly-lit Skype monitors throughout the film.

So, as a guy, I'd say that Mr. Johansson definitely made a strong impression in this movie, despite the fact that I'd never heard of Black Widow before and knew nothing about the character. It's to Joss Whedon's credit that he was able to make this film so compelling to a viewer (like me) who has not seen a single one of the other Marvel superhero films. I'd seen the old TV shows (a bit), I'd grown up on the comic books. But I'm not really part of "the Marvel Universe" any more, and it all made perfect sense to me. And what I didn't know about the Black Widow character didn't prevent me from fully embracing her value to both the fictional team and the film.

Scar-jo in a gorilla suit, that might be the gorilla my dreams.
I am really disappointed that no one else went there.

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