Are you ready for the weekend Popsters?! Lord knows I am!
The Avengers have assembled and, for now, all is right with the world!
With the release of The Avengers this weekend the Summer movie season of 2012 has officially begun!
So? Is the latest release from the house that Stan the Man built the greatest? Maybe! Read on!
The Avengers (2012)
Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Joss Whedon, Zak Penn, based on characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Sam Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evens, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston and Clark Gregg
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ out of 5
Look out Batman and Spidey, The Avengers have officially set the bar for the Summer of 2012 and man oh man, is it ever high! As you can tell from my 5 diamond rating, though the potential for disappointment was always a factor, I am very happy to report, I loved this movie! By the end of this weekend Director Joss Whedon will be officially elevated to Geek God status, (true, in some circles he already has been for quite sometime).
For comic fans, the cinematic assembling of The Avengers has been one of the most anticipated moments in fanboy/girl history and Whedon understands this better than most other directors in Hollywood ever could. That’s because, with nearly every shot and frame of this film it is more than clear; Joss is not a pretender but rather a true, lifelong comic book fan. The glorious 360 shot (that comes about three quarters of the way through the film), with The Avengers standing together in the middle of the street, at last fully assembled, could only be realized in the way that it is by a comic fan who has Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s ink in his blood, (a shot I might add that delivered goosebumps for your’s truly and elicited a massive cheer from the audience at the midnight screening last night.) Whedon’s ultimate Marvel mash-up has more than it’s share of those moments and, as a result, often transcends the typical Hollywood Summer blockbuster and becomes more like an event, an experience to be cherished by comic book fans world over for many years to come.
Though the effects are, as expected, off the hook and groundbreaking, it’s the strength of the dialog and relationships and the expert blend of humor and heart that makes this movie something very different and special. No surprise, many of the laughs come from Robert Downey Jr.’s perfect delivery of Tony Stark’s patented snark, but the biggest gut buster of the night belongs to, (arguably), the last character you’d expect, (which actually makes the moment all the more hilarious). The writers also do a brilliant job of maintaining the characters developed in the previous films, (Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk) while at the same time appropriately fleshing out the characters previously limited to mostly cameos, (Black Widow, Hawkeye, Agent Coulson and Nick Fury).
I’m not one to ever offer any kind of plot synopsis and, quite frankly, you don’t need them. They often include spoilers, however minor, and usually tell you more than you need or should know. So… moving on.
The performances, across the board, are solid. Scarlett Johansson, (one of the newest additions to the Fanboy Aqua-Dream Society which includes Natalie Portman, Milla Jovovitch and a young Carrie Fisher), is a lot of fun as the tortured bit of hotness known as Black Widow, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is a preening, posing rock God wannabe and is in turns appropriately menacing and hilarious and Clark Gregg as the put upon Agent Coulson, the scrawniest man in a room full of muscle, represents the fanboy in all of us to perfection. Chris Hemsworth adds some new dimensions to Thor and Chris Evans is the perfect man out time as the slightly befuddled Captain America.
I’m not sure what exactly happened in the negotiations between Ed Norton and the producers that kept the actor from recreating his role as the Incredible Hulk, but I am sure we are the lucky benefactors of that contractual breakdown. Mark Ruffalo is a revelation as the big green guy and darn near steals the whole show, no small task when you consider that out of all the Marvel franchises The Hulk has been the weakest and most problematic. Much of the success of Ruffalo’s performance can be attributed to the actor but should also include major kudos for Whedon’s smart script and direction.
For my money The Avengers, simply put, is the best super hero flick I have ever had the pleasure of seeing and I’m looking forward to catching again one day soon…..after the crowds thin out a bit.
• The (Not So) Fantastic Four
So we’ve talked about the best from Marvel today but have you ever seen the worst? If you haven’t seen schlock king Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four you just might want to take an hour out of your day and check it out, it’s so bad it’s brilliant. Honestly, this is hilariously awful.
• Phoenix Comic Con 2012
I gotta tell ya Popsters, I’m pretty psyched about attending the 2012 Phoenix Comic Con this coming Memorial Day Weekend (5/24- 5/27), this year’s line up is looking crazy good! Not only will there be a Special 25th Anniversary Celebration for Star Trek: Next Generation but, the man, the legend, the Captain himself, William Shatner is coming to town as well! I would drop to my knees right now and exclaim “we’re not worthy!” but the truth is, we are. The Phoenix Comic Con is growing by leaps and bonds every year and it’s a fair bet the convention’s previous attendance records are going to be broken this year.
And lest you mistake this year’s event for a Trekkie convention, get a load of some of the other celebrity guests scheduled to be spending their holiday weekend in the Valley of the Sun; Jon Bernthal (Shane from The Walking Dead), Ed Asner (Mary Tyler Moore, Up), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett from Empire..and Return…), Gil Gerard and Erin Gray (both from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century), Colin Ferguson (Sheriff Jack Carter on Syfy’s Eureka) and the original Hulk himself, Mr. Lou Ferrigno!
If you’re in the area put this one on your must-do list! For more info check out their website! Hope to see you there!
• Star Wars Fan Film
I’ve seen a lot of Star Wars fan films in my time but this one is beyond impressive. We’ve come a long way from the Super 8 and Camcorder days, haven’t we? (yes, it is subtitled, deal with it, it’s mostly action anyway)
• I Know That Voice
If you love showbiz documentaries as much as I do you’ll want to keep an eye out for I Know That Voice, the trailer is pretty self explanatory so…check it out!
• Patterned by Nature
If you’re a regular Pop Bitez reader you know I always love to throw a little art and nature into the mix every week, (this one actually reminds me a bit of the camouflaged airship in The Avengers)
Patterned by Nature was commissioned by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (naturalsciences.org) for the newly built Nature Research Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. The exhibit celebrates our abstraction of nature’s infinite complexity into patterns through the scientific process, and through our perceptions. It brings to light the similarity of patterns in our universe, across all scales of space and time.
10 feet wide and 90 feet in length, this sculptural ribbon winds through the five story atrium of the museum and is made of 3600 tiles of LCD glass. It runs on roughly 75 watts, less power than a laptop computer. Animations are created by independently varying the transparency of each piece of glass.
The content cycles through twenty programs, ranging from clouds to rain drops to colonies of bacteria to flocking birds to geese to cuttlefish skin to pulsating black holes. The animations were created through a combination of algorithmic software modeling of natural phenomena and compositing of actual footage.
An eight channel soundtrack accompanies the animations on the ribbon, giving visitors clues to the identity of the pixelated movements. In addition, two screens show high resolution imagery and text revealing the content on the ribbon at any moment.
• Jack White in Concert
If you missed the Jack White concert on Youtube last week no worries, it’s still available for a limited time. White plays a perfect mix of the old and new stuff and it rocks hard! You might also be interested to know the concert film was directed by 2012 Oscar Nominee Gary Oldman, (Commissioner Gordon in The Dark Knight Trilogy, for those with a limited knowledge beyond the popcorn flicks.)
• Awesome App Alert!
Here’s a $1.99 worth of fun for your iPad2, I downloaded it myself the other day, it’s very soothing, check it out!
• Pop Nuggets
And here’s a few tasty nuggets for ya before we wrap it up today…
• As we approach another Mother’s Day, (5/13 for all you slackers out there), I thought I might nominate this woman for Coolest Mom of the Year, (seriously, this mama’s lunch packing is a work of art!)
• Now that we’ve become a world of iPads and Kindles, what are we supposed to do with all of those book?! Well, this guy has some interesting ideas!
• What’s the perfect cocktail to enjoy while grooving to the latest release from The Black Keys? Well, you might go with the libation created in their name, “The Black Key” is a combination of ” 8 oz. Canadian Club Whiskey, 8 oz. Rose’s Lime Juice and 10 oz. of Rum, Fucking Rum”. If The Chairman of the Board is more your style you might go with “The Sinatra”, which is simply “A Bottle of Cabernet, served at room temperature and garnished with salt”. Get your drink on with the hilarious and fun Drinkify!
• Before you jump into your weekend why not take a moment, (or to be specific, two minutes), to chill and collect your thoughts? Repeat after me, Ommmmmm.