“The Avengers” was one of the most successful movies of 2012, making record-breaking income and playing in theaters across the globe.
If you saw the movie, you may think you know something about the Avengers. But unless you’ve followed the comics for the past five decades, you really don’t know anything. For example, what superheroes were founding members of the Avengers? If you don’t know, you can find out by opening a new book titled “The Avengers: Ultimate Guide to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!” by DK Publishing.
According to the “Avengers Ultimate Guide,” the first issue of the “Avengers” came out in September 1963. It lists the following superheroes as founding members: Iron Man, Thor, Ant-man, The Wasp and Hulk. Literally everything you wanted to know about earth’s mightiest superheroes is found within this beautiful coffee table-style book. Each page is glossy, full color and the edges are dipped in silver trim.
DK breaks down the history of the Avengers by following a timeline from the beginning of the comic book’s start to the present day. The book begins in the ’60s and details the plot lines in serial fashion month after month. One of a million facts contained in the book: It was only 12 cents for the first Avengers comic book and the first villain was Loki, Thor’s evil brother. The timeline continues to detail the major plots through 2012.
One of the most interesting things about “The Avengers” is all of the different heroes that have joined or helped out over the years. Did you know Spiderman joined the Avengers as a reserve member? One of Spiderman’s foes, The Sandman, tried to become a member, claiming he had reformed himself but never was granted official status. How about members of the Fantastic Four? Did any of them join the Avengers? Yep, the book reveals! Mister Fantastic, She-Hulk, Human Torch and the Invisible Woman were all at one point Avengers.
And how about romance? Older Avengers fans will never forget the wedding between Scarlet Witch and the android called Vision. Eventually, Scarlet Witch used her hex power to create two imaginary children so her and Vision could be parents. Other fans remember with fondness the on-again-off-again romance between Black Widow and Hawkeye. Hawkeye even proposed marriage at one point but Black Widow backed out and declined. The drama is all detailed in the new DK guide.
A number of Avengers guides and encyclopedias have been published over the years, but for Avengers fans, this book is the most current and one of the most attractive. The artwork is amazing. If you don’t own any of the previous incarnations, this book would be a worthy companion.
How do you top the combined size and scale that Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and their friends brought to the table with “Marvel’s The Avengers”? According to Joss Whedon, you can’t — so rather than trying to make a “bigger” film with his upcoming “Avengers” sequel, he’s digging “deeper.”
“Don’t go bigger; go deeper,” Whedon told MTV News at the Critics’ Choice Awards, talking about how he plans to follow up the first “Avengers” film. “All of these people have met, so you have that out of the way. Now you can spend your time just digging in — and by digging in, I mean with a scalpel, to cause pain.”
Pain might be the name of the game for Earth’s mightiest heroes’ next reunion, but certainly not for audiences around the world, who helped make “Avengers” the third highest-grossing film in history. Though Disney and Marvel executives breathed a huge sigh of relief when “Avengers” rocked the box office in its debut weekend, it wasn’t until the second weekend’s returns that Whedon shared their feeling.
“Something I always say to executives is, ‘the first weekend is your job and the second weekend is mine,’” said Whedon. “If it had done an amazing job on the first weekend and then disappeared from the screens, then that would be my fault. That was the one I was sort of counting on.”
Now, with “Avengers” already a monstrously successful franchise, Whedon is all in on Marvel: he’s “a couple of months” away from finishing his “Avengers 2″ script, he’s about to start directing ABC’s “S.H.I.E.L.D.” pilot, and he’s a creative consultant on the other Marvel Studios films currently in development — a very loose job that he greatly enjoys.
“I read all the scripts and I give notes on everything,” Whedon said of his work on Marvel’s Phase Two movies. “I’ll look at cuts when they’re ready to show me. I’ll talk to directors if they want to. I try to make myself useful without being intrusive. I’ve gotten to be a part of all of them. That’s a dream job for a kid like me.”
What do you want to see in the “Avengers” sequel? Tell us in the comments section below!
In celebration of its Oscar nomination, ILMVisualFX has released a video breaking down the slew of effects used in Marvel’s The Avengers. The reel shows how the company built and rendered the city of New York as well as the process of animating Tony Stark’s Ironman suit and Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. In the comments, ILMVisualFX has answered a few questions about its visual effects process, saying that the company uses ILM Zeno for modeling, Maya for animation, and — for the most part — Pixar Renderman for rendering. The textures of all the buildings in the animated version of New York City were created using about 1,800 panoramas of real city buildings. The Avengers faces strong competition from others in the visual effects category — The Hobbit, Life of Pi, and Prometheus among them — but it’s still fascinating to see what’s behind the company’s immense contribution to one of last year’s most popular blockbusters.
Sure, it featured one of the most star-studded ensembles in the history of comic book movies. And yes, it took in more box-office dollars than any other movie in 2012. But Marvel Studios’ “The Avengers” can now also boast another, less noble distinction: the most overrated film of the year.
According to more than 2,600 respondents to a Times online survey Joss Whedon’s get-the-band-together take on the iconic superheroes was the most overpraised feature film of 2012.
The sometimes-quippy, sometimes-geeky save-the-world-fest garnered a whopping 85% of the votes, besting by a wide margin the next-closest film, Ridley’ Scott’s sci-fi actioner “Prometheus,” which drew just under 5%.
Of course, big money tends to come with a big backlash. Last year respondents voted “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” a huge blockbuster, the most overrated film of the year. But while that film was praised largely by the faithful, the Hulk- and Thor-centric “The Avengers” also had a fair share of pundit and critical love, prompting the 85% to bring down the hammer.
Perhaps not helping in eliciting goodwill among the naysayers — the “Avengers” rode a long train of hype that began years ago with films like “Thor” and “Iron Man.”
“The Avengers” joins “Bernie,” which was voted most under-appreciated movie of 2012, in The Times’ look-back polls ont he films of 2012. The message from fans: a little less love for the man in green, a little more for Jack Black.
When it comes to choosing a presidential candidate, you have to think of what they’ll bring to the table. And if it’s a zombie apocalypse you want, then you should vote for Mitt Romney, according to filmmaker Joss Whedon.
“The Avengers” director released a spoof video endorsing the Republican candidate, saying, “Like a lot of liberal Americans, I was excited when Barack Obama took office four years ago. But it’s a very different world now, and Mitt Romney is a very different candidate.”
Why is he different, you ask?
Whedon says Romney is, “one with the vision and determination to cut through business-as-usual politics and finally put this country back on the path to the zombie apocalypse.”
He adds that Mitt’s election would “guarantee poverty, unemployment, overpopulation, disease, rioting — all crucial elements in creating a nightmare zombie wasteland.”
The Avengers are creeping close to James Cameron’s box office records after sailing past the $1.5 billion mark at the global box office.
The blockbuster hit the mark over the weekend, 17 weeks after its release.
It remains third all-time behind Cameron’s films Avatar and Titanic, which have both made well over $2 billion. Avatar netted almost $2.8 billion worldwide, while Titanic raked in almost $2.2 billion.
What’s green, 8½ feet tall and steals the show from the screen’s greatest collection of superheroes in “The Avengers”?
Answer: Mark Ruffalo’s turn as the Hulk, which has fans buzzing that the angriest superhero has finally lived up to his massive screen expectations. Speaking more grunts than actual words, Hulk smashes — in every way.
“They finally got Hulk right,” says Borys Kit of the Heat Vision fanboy blog. “He’s a total breakout character.”
Even Lou Ferrigno, who played the title role in the 1978-1982 TV series “The Incredible Hulk,” is impressed. “This is the best I have ever seen on-screen,” he says. “He looks more realistic than the other two movies. He steals the whole show.”
There have been other screen versions of Bruce Banner, whose experimental mishap with gamma radiation leads to a big, green transformation whenever he’s angry. But Eric Bana’s 2003 “Hulk” and Edward Norton’s 2008 “The Incredible Hulk” received mixed audience and critical reactions.
Ruffalo and director Joss Whedon used motion-capture technology to achieve a realistic Hulk, working extensively with a special-effects team at Industrial Light & Magic.
“Technology has advanced to where the actor playing Banner can actually play the Hulk,” Ruffalo says. “It was something I had always missed in the previous movies. The Hulk parts always felt like another movie.”
The downside: Ruffalo had to wear a “humiliating” tracking suit that included a Lycra onesie. But his Hulk is so real that his 4-year-old daughter, Odette, freaked when she saw the character chasing Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow.
“My daughter was saying, ‘Why do you want to kill that girl, Papa?’ She really thought I turned into the Hulk,” Ruffalo says. “I had to leave the theater to convince her that it wasn’t me.”
The Hulk humor and Ruffalo’s everyman performance as Banner have led to calls for a solo Hulk movie. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is not ready to commit but promises to fix the Hulk onesie.
“Rest assured,” Feige says, “we have already discussed ways of redesigning that suit.”
Even if you haven’t yet seen The Avengers– and if not, get out there, everyone’s doing it– you can probably guess that the movie sets the stage for Iron Man 3. That film, scheduled for May 3 next year and going into production now, will be the first Marvel movie to attempt to follow up on the enormous success of The Avengers, and to test whether it’s possible to tell the story of one superhero, by himself, after we’ve seen him team up with all of his super friends.
It’s a huge challenge, but Tony Stark– with two hit movies already behind him– is probably the man to do it. And while The Avengers doesn’t contain any explicit hints to the plot of Iron Man 3– at least, not from what we could tell– it leaves the character in a very specific position that we think points to what might be next. Katey and Kristy got together to hash out some of these hints, and also figure out how the sarcastic, brash Tony Stark might lead his own movie after The Avengers proved that energetic earnestness is a tone that sells a lot of tickets. Check out our speculation below, and let us know in the comments what you’re expecting yourself.
KATEY: At the end of The Avengers, they pretty clearly hand the action over to Tony Stark, not only because he’s kicking off the next Marvel movie with Iron Man 3 next summer, but because he might have undergone the most change out of any of them. The last time we saw him, at the end of Iron Man 2, he was rejected from The Avengers because he was too volatile and wouldn’t play well with others. To go from that to a guy who willingly flies into a portal in space with a nuclear bomb, confident he won’t return, is a pretty major transition. But at the same time, the Iron Man movies promise very specific things: gadgets, beautiful woman, witty humor, and the devil-may-care character of Tony Stark. The very last shot of The Avengers suggests that Stark is becoming more of an earnest team player, and the huge success of The Avengers indicates that moviegoers might like that brighter and shinier attitude better. But can Iron Man keep being Iron Man that way? How do you think Shane Black is going to pick up the reins from here?
KRISTY: Well Black has notably worked with Downey before on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and I think that alone guarantees Tony’s quips and snarkiness will be intact, but I imagine it will also mean Tony will be an underdog as that’s kind of Black’s bag. The end of The Avengers suggests an easy setup for this because we’re shown plenty of footage of America responding to the Avengers and what went down in NY, but there was a reaction that I think was purposely excluded: New Yorkers blaming Tony for what went down. I mean, Katey, as New Yorkers you and I know that we tend to get extremely riled when anything associated to the wealthy disrupts day-to-day life in the city. It’s impossible to imagine that NY wouldn’t turn on Tony as a massive alien invasion broke out RIGHT over his new structure. It would make him seem like a lightning rod for trouble, especially since he’s the most known Avenger in this world, he’d get the brunt of the blame. So I think that will be the jumping off point for Iron Man 3.
KATEY: Totally agreed Kristy– as New Yorkers we love nothing more than finding someone to blame for whatever has gone wrong, and the destruction at the end of The Avengers is a pretty huge liability. But they’re not even shooting Iron Man 3 in New York! At least The Avengers had the decency to come here for a few days. If Iron Man 3 is entirely about the wrath of New York and doesn’t come here at all, I’ll cry foul.
So I’m with you that Stark will be under some fire, but I think New York won’t quite be the entire scope– they’re shooting in China, after all, and superhero movies tend to go for a bigger scale. And I’m still not sure how the movie will deal with Tony’s development as a hero, since the first two movies were all about him making halting steps toward being a good person, and he completed the arc in The Avengers, not his own movie. Do you think we’ll see him going back to his old demons in this next movie, or will he have figured all of that out, and leave all the contemplating to Captain America and Thor in their own movies?
KRISTY: See I think this could be the jumping off point because some of the casting notices suggest pretty heavily that Iron Man 3 is going into the Extremis line, which finds Stark having to confront how little his innovations have actually helped the world, and with The Avengers finale, I think the argument—of the public in the films—could be made that he has actually made the world worse. I think Iron Man 3 will begin with Tony in PR crisis mode, then this super-soldier thing comes up and he has a chance to A) bury himself in work, which is his typical mode of coping with a crisis and B) possibly find redemption.
KATEY: What you’re describing sounds like a pretty dark situation for Tony Stark, but I’m wondering if it will actually get that intense. Sure, The Avengers had stakes– and one death I’m still upset about– but it was fundamentally an optimistic film, about people being their best selves and working together and doing good in the world. Tony Stark probably has reason to question whether his work has helped anybody, but after the success of The Avengers, I wonder how much they’d be willing to delve into that darkness– it’s clear that optimism sells. Yes, we have The Dark Knight Rises coming this summer for a big dose of darkness, but I feel like the Marvel movies are going another way. So how do we balance industrialist Stark with that brighter optimism? I have a feeling the Marvel folks are asking themselves the same thing.
KRISTY: I totally agree. Dark isn’t really Marvel movies strength; hope is. But they need to be mindful of the cultural shift that’s taken over America in the wake of Occupy Wall Street. I don’t know that a free and breezy billionaire Stark will delight audiences in this climate, even with all of Downey’s charm. Marvel has got to do something to make us root for him in this solo adventure, and if the public is demonizing him, that’s an intriguing place to start. Then Tony goes abroad with a smug facade to hide his hurt and a mission to crush a super soldier that’s not on the side of “good”. If he’s protecting the US from some foreign threat, it’s a great device to keep us on his side.
KATEY: Hey, it worked for Obama! “Things aren’t going well at home, so go overseas and kill a major threat!” In all seriousness, though, I do think you’ve nailed where we’re headed with Iron Man 3– though of course, there will always be plenty of surprises thrown our way. Now that we think we know what will happen, what are we actually hoping for? In the wake of The Avengers I feel more enthusiastic about superhero movies than I have in years, but it’s hard to also not think of the huge disappointment that was Iron Man 2. It’s clear now that superhero movies aren’t going anywhere, and The Avengers feels like a fresh example of where we can take it– but how can Iron Man 3 build off that? It’s coming in such an awkward plot, carrying on the post-Avengers Marvel legacy, that it’s almost hard to imagine it’ll be absolutely everything we want.
KRISTY: Well, as much as I hate to say it, I don’t think Iron Man 3 will be as satisfying as The Avengers because it will have more heavy-lifting story-wise to do and less opportunity to dazzle fans with “nerdvana” moments. However, I’m really enthusiastic about Shane Black’s involvement because he has a sensibility that pairs so well with Downey’s bravado. Plus, Marvel has shown a remarkable evolution in their filmmaking/storytelling, and seems to have learned from their missteps. The major problem with Iron Man 2 was that its stakes were unrelatable–two very wealthy egomaniacs in the middle of a city-threatening pissing contest–and so was thereby forgettable. I’m confident they won’t make such mistakes again because I think–like Pixar–Marvel Productions is working hard to develop incredible stories with the film medium, and in doing so are showing audiences they can expect more from their respective genre.
KATEY: I’m also lowering my expectations slightly for Iron Man 3, but I think that’s smart in pretty much any case, especially when you’re on the kind of high that everyone seems to have in the wake of The Avengers. At the same time, The Avengers has me more interested, both in the character of Tony Stark and in Marvel, as evidence that they really have learned from their mistakes.
To close out this conversation with a Big Question, how do you think The Avengers will affect not just Iron Man 3 and the other Marvel movies, but superhero movies as a whole? Do you think it means we’ve finally won the battle between bright, kid-friendly superhero movies and dark, dramatic ones? Or is The Dark Knight Rises going to shift the conversation again and bring us back into the black? The main thing I’m worried about is that The Avengers is going to continue defining superhero movies as “big,” and make studios through even more money at them, when it seems like there are so many more stories to tell on a smaller scale. But while we’re still celebrating one of the biggest superhero movies that’s also one of the best, it seems a little silly to worry about that. How about you?
KRISTY: Personally, I favor the more spirited superhero tales to Nolan’s brand of brooding caped crusader, but there’s certainly room for both. I hope the lesson that studios learn from The Avengers is that good storytelling is absolutely key to the success of a film like this. Whedon’s biggest accomplishment in the film is that he managed to create fully-fledged characters in the midst of nearly relentless action, and he did so dynamically – by showing us who they are through conflict. Jaw-dropping visuals/action sequences aren’t enough – you have to root us in the characters and their journey. That’s why critics and fans alike have rallied behind The Avengers, because it offered us so much to connect to! Without engaging characters you have what? John Carter?
KATEY: And engaging characters and a good script seems to be exactly why they hired Shane Black, so maybe we really are in good shape on Iron Man 3.
A Diamond Select Release. Designed and Sculpted by Gentle Giant. The Marvel Select line has become famous for its oversized characters, especially the Hulk, but it’s never tackled a movie version of the jade giant — well, no longer. With the Hulk appearing in this summer’s Avengers movie, Diamond Select Toys is making a massive, 7″ scale figure based on Dr. Bruce Banner’s latest look. Utilizing digital data from the film, the figure will stand over 8″ tall and feature 16 points of articulation and will look great alongside your existing Avengers Select figures. Only available on the specialty market, the Hulk comes in oversized collector packaging, ready for display.
With his legendary hammer in his hand, THOR is an unstoppable force, wielding the wind, rain, and mighty lightning as his weapons. Though he is but one man, he is a man with enough power to hold armies at bay.
This detailed Shock Strike THOR figure puts you right into the heart of the battle for the future of the planet. He carries his signature weapon and won’t back down in the starkest of circumstances. Launch your heros hammer and imagine his opponents suffering a crushing defeat.