Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Avengers tease


Jordan said...

You know what's really cool? I'm surprised I didn't think of this before.

I've made comments about how superhero teamups in comic books are pure gravy for the comics company, because 1) it's just ink; it doesn't cost anything to say "Okay, draw Spider-Man" to the artist who's penciling the latest issue of "Fantastic Four" and 2) it really doesn't cost anything because Marvel owns all the characters and all the drawings and concepts (at least in those days) so you can just combine all the properties at will, however you want, with no overhead. (By contrast, in a movie you've got to pay the actors, etc. plus the writers/directors are not working "for hire" at scale, so it gets prohibitively expensive.)

But there's another element, too. In the comic books, each superhero's schtick is represented by some kind of India ink convention that all the artists can easily reproduce (Spider-Man uses those webs that you draw a certain way; Silver Surfer's surfboard trail needs to have little sparkles and "Kirby dots"; etc.) but in the movie's it's different.

You know how, in Roger Rabbit, the clever part wasn't simply that the cartoon characters were extracted into the live-action real world (which had been done before) but that they brought their specific cartoon physics with them? (In other words, Roger could stick his head in one drawer of Eddie Valiant's desk and out another, or cut a Roger-shaped hole in a real-world wall when he went through it.)

The Avengers is going to be the first comic-book-movie example of the same thing. Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Captain America are assembled from their various disparate cinematic sources into one movie and they each brought their special effects with them (as is evidenced in these trailers). The challenge for each movie was to design and perfect a specific set of tricks, like ILM figuring out how Iron Man flying around would work and what it would look like, or how Thor spins his hammer etc. Now all that cinematic work is coming together into one movie. It's going to be like having Roger Rabbit ending both with Porky Pig saying "That's all, folks!" (as the Warner Bros. iris contracts) and with Tinkerbell swooping past in a swirl of "Disney dust" simultaneously. Pretty amazing, conceptually and (at least judging by the trailers) visually.

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