As a comic fan, I've heard "Avengers vs. Avengers" before. In comics, there's nothing more fun than watching your favorite heroes beat the living snot out of each other over one trivial misunderstanding or another. In THIS case, however, we're not talking about pitting Earth's Mightiest Heroes against... more of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Instead, we're taking a look back at a previous "Avengers" movie... and learning many lessons.
For the uninitiated and those who blanked the 1998 Avengers movie from their memory in some act of self-preservation, the nineties Avengers film wasn't a super-hero blockbuster. Instead, it was based on "The Avengers" television show which actually predates Marvel's Avengers franchise. In the movie, Lord Voldemort teams up with Poison Ivy to take on a crazed James Bond, bent on blackmailing the world through precise weather control. That might sound totally awesome but the reality is anything but.
I know it's too late for Marvel's The Avengers movie to hear these lessons but hopefully they figured these out on their own:
This is something that Marvel has learned time and time again and continues to forget so it bears repeating. No one likes clones. In the 1998 movie, Uma Thurman's character, Mrs. Peel has an evil clone that only really serves as a plot device to justify her working alongside a British Intelligence agent (or whatever the hell John Steed is). After the surprise of the clone wears off, the evil version is summarily killed. And we don't even see a body.
By comic book terms, that means the clone is probably still alive but since there will NEVER be a sequel, it doesn't matter.
Odds are PRETTY good that we won't have any dopplegangers in Marvel's The Avengers, but it's still a danger. Who HASN'T had a clone in the comics?
Don't have an idiot running your intelligence agency.
The Ministry is run by a dude in a wheelchair called "Mother." While he claims to be super brilliant and stuff, he's absolutely inept at pretty much everything. The guy can't grab a clue to save his life and doesn't even realize that his second-in-command, a blind lady named "Father," is the definition of cackling super-villain.
I mean, look at her.
This is a lesson that Marvel has learned pretty well. In the movie, the intelligence agency, SHIELD (Strategic Hazard Intelligence You Don't Really Care), is run by General Fury; played by Samuel L. Jackson. If his previous appearances in the Marvel movies are any indication (or the Marvel Comics source material), Fury will be pretty damn competent.
And he'll be no one's damn mother.
OK, the Robot Insects were kind of cool.
You can almost HEAR the writers of the 1998 movie saying, "Oh bugger, the American audience will have fallen asleep by now, eh wot? Perhaps we should put in a car chase with machine gun firing robot bugs to wake them up? Pip pip!" While most of the movie is a snooze-fest with the actors delivering wooden lines back and forth, this one action scene is a nice change of pace.
Now, don't get me wrong. The robot insects are ridiculous. There's no reason they SHOULD be bugs. It would make more sense if they were more modern-looking drones. It might even look cooler. But when you figure this movie takes place in an obvious alternate reality, then you can let the robot swarm go as a sweet special effect.
This, again, is something you should expect to see in Marvel's The Avengers. Not robot insects per say but all manner of arial combat drones of alien origin. You can see them all over the trailers and will make excellent fodder for our heroes.
Don't do drugs.
Now, obviously, I'm not talking about maybe smoking some weed with your cast mates. That's just Hollywood. I'm talking about the parts of the 1998 movie that seem to come directly from an acid trip.
Maybe this movie would even be BETTER on LSD...
Again, there's no real worries for the Marvel movie. The Avengers television show originally aired in the sixties and the movie remake plays up the sixties flavor that had helped make it a success. While the Marvel comics ALSO began in the sixties, they have done their best to stay... "with the times." Expect everyone to have a "modern" feel to them. Unless Tony Stark gets some downtime, don't expect too many narcotics in this flick, real or implied.
Sean frickin' Connery.
No one gets out of the 1998 movie with their soul intact. As my wife commented while watching it with me, "Do you think they KNEW they were making a terrible movie?" I think most of them did and therefore they didn't deliver their "A" game.
Even Sean Connery under-performs. The difference is, when Sean Connery under-performs, it's STILL Sean Connery under-performing. And it's actually amusing to watch. Connery is a master at turning in great work on terrible movies and it is definitely the case here.
So, while the odds are very low that Sean Connery will be making even a cameo appearance in Marvel's The Avengers (since the man is officially retired from acting), it would still be awesome. C'mon. You KNOW it would.
Bring more guns.
In true British tradition, the heroes of The Avengers don't carry firearms. They prefer to fight with their hands, upgrading to an umbrella and an armored bowler hat if things start getting rough. Sure, some of the minor agents are armed and John Steed DOES get his hands on a mini-gun for the robot insect fight but there are so many battles that would have been a whole lot easier if someone had just packed a pistol in their coat pocket.
The larger issue is less the lack of gun play and more the fact that no-one seems committed to their job. The moment one of the Avengers gets injured, the other ends up abandoning the mission (and any other agent in the field) in order to return home with their injured partner in order to recuperate and have a spot of tea. Lots and lots of tea.
Because they are very, very British.
Since Marvel's The Avengers is an American movie, this probably won't be a problem. Sure, none of the Avengers (except MAYBE Black Widow) will be using firearms, their powers and abilities MORE than make up for that. Iron Man is more or less the best armed, what with his tank missiles. With any luck, we won't see them running away from the bad guys as soon as Hawkeye gets knocked unconscious.
Women in skin-tight clothing: Hell Yeah.
I'm not a great fan of Uma Thurman but she DOES rock a skin-tight suit. It's something that the original television series was known for and that is carried forward into the 1998 movie. Women secret agents just HAVE to wear spandex suits. Or leather. Or both.
Marvel's got this one covered all over the place. Super-heroes are KNOWN for their spandex costumes. While they don't typically wear them on the silver screen, the leather replacements more than do the job. Expect Black Widow to be at the forefront of the skin-tight costume brigade and that's just good movie tradition since she's a female secret agent and all that. While the menfolk probably won't be wearing the SAME kind of apparel, I'm certain Thor and company will have enough sex appeal to keep you entertained.
And that's what we've learned from far too many viewings of The Avengers. If you want more of my advice? Never, ever expose yourself to this movie again. If you've avoided it so far, count yourself lucky. If you HAVE watched it and this brings up painful memories, just hope that Marvel will help you remove them once Marvel's The Avengers is released on May 4.