It is one of the most anticipated films of the year. The build-up to it has been almost without precedent. But The Avengers finally opens today, and proves to be an excellent start to what looks to be one of the most prolific summer movie seasons in recent years.
In honor of the release of The Avengers, Spencer and Greg look back on Marvel’s road to its release.
With 2011 officially in the books, it’s time once again to look back and reflect on some of the best films that have come out in the past year. As with all movie writers, coming up with a list like this is usually expected, but also damn near impossible. To me, reading and writing these types of articles are only beneficial in spreading word about titles that really had an effect on me, while stirring up debate between those who strongly agree with my choices, or vehemently disagree. No one list is ever truly definitive; what is considered great to one may not register the same way to another. The only real truth is that 2011 had a wide range of very interesting and fascinating films, and just like every year, there’s always a good handful worth noting.
There is much you can tell about a movie from its start, the music, the images, and the tone. In Steven Spielberg’s new film War Horse, everything you need to know is spelled out in the first three minutes of dialogue and scenes. We have an over the top image of the countryside with overly cheerful but semi-epic music, giving the sense of a journey but with no real danger. (To bring this point home, the music is repeated several times over the course of the film, doing nothing to make the movie more intense, and gets very repetitive.) This sequence goes on for a while and we get to see a boy, Albert (Jeremy Irving), watching a horse grow up, and him obviously dreaming of owning him. So when his foolish father buys the horse instead of a work horse, for reasons of vanity, Albert and his new horse Joey instantly bond, as Albert tries to train him to be a work horse.
Thor (2011) is a film that I walked into wanting to like, I really did. I was hoping to see a slam bang, no holds barred superhero movie with lots of fun action set pieces, and for a while there, that’s exactly what I got. However, I came to realize something as I sat through director Kenneth Branagh’s movie, something that made me feel very discouraged. What I came to realize was: this film actually assumes that its audience is stupid. Believe me, for a film in which a mythic God gets thrown down from the heavens to become stranded on an isolated planet requires just a little suspension of disbelief, but the amount of twists and turns that the characters in this film take is simply baffling. There doesn’t seem to be a thread of continuity anywhere amongst these people; it seems the only reason the actors do what they do is because…well…I’m not so sure.