Avengers: Age of Ultron

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keithcurtis
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Re: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Postby keithcurtis » Tue May 05, 2015 4:34 pm

Ikoma wrote:I actually really liked Quicksilver's death for a variety of reasons (not that I hated the character). But I totally can see why some people are bothered by it.

Fair enough on the CritFic point. But Whedon has stated that "it [Quicksilver's death] would be resonant and it would make everything work and matter more…"[1] He's said that he needed to show a death to demonstrate this is war and their are 'stakes'. Whedon has expressed this idea before with regards to Wash's death and others. This isn't the critic writing fiction about what Whedon intends. It's his stated goal. Kill character A in order to have an impact on character B.

And it works. A few times. But it gets old when you use the same tool over and over (see adage about hammers and nails). Future uses not only don't have the same impact, they reduce impacts retroactively as the audience learns what you do. Whedon is great. One of the best. So come up with a new way to show there are stakes. Because the consequence is that you drive a wedge of distance between people and new characters/works you create as your audience begins the death pool at the opening credits.

[1] http://www.blastr.com/2015-5-4/joss-whe ... ate-ending

Those are good criticisms. And I will certainly admit that it's a storytelling tactic that Whedon has used often. I'm not inured to it at this point. I,e, it still works for me.

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Re: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Postby keithcurtis » Tue May 05, 2015 4:36 pm

tombombodil wrote:
Tangential notion:

An even deeper and subtler separation that I feel is necessary for good criticisms was summed up by Roger Egbert in the phrase "It's not what a film is about, it's how it's about it." The perfect example is that some person might say that 'X' topic is to important or sacrosanct to be addressed in film, like say the Holocaust. But Schindler's List and even to a lesser extent films like Notorious Bastards which help to purge the emotional horror through violent catharsis, prove that this notion is false.

Good point. And it's true of all art. 10% is content. 90% is style. That's what they tell freshmen in creative writing and literature classes. "Slavery is bad" is easy. Huckleberry Finn is hard.

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Re: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Postby keithcurtis » Tue May 05, 2015 4:40 pm

Another criticism trap that people fall into is giving the author too much authority over the interpretation of his work. Once an author has published, the interpretation of his work is with the reader. JRR Tolkien can swear all he likes that TLotR is not "about WWII. And that's true. For him. (and for me). But it's a perfectly valid approach to interpret the work in that light. Just don't claim "Tolkien was writing about WWII". That's critfic, and demonstrably false. Saying, "There are many parallels between Hitler and Sauron" is literary analysis.

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Re: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Postby clintmemo » Tue May 05, 2015 7:06 pm

Over analyzing this, when you have a violent movie, there are only 4 possibilities:
1) Don't kill anyone (The A-Team)
2) Kill people that don't matter* (typical action movie)
3) Kill someone that matters (typical Joss Whedon movie)
4) Kill everyone that matters (Friday the 13th)

Are there any other possibilities that I haven't thought of?

* by matter, I mean "matters to the viewer," someone that the viewer is supposed to like and not want to die.

Note that this does not address how you kill them, just who you kill.
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Re: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Postby keithcurtis » Tue May 05, 2015 7:28 pm

clintmemo wrote:Over analyzing this, when you have a violent movie, there are only 4 possibilities:
1) Don't kill anyone (The A-Team)
2) Kill people that don't matter* (typical action movie)
3) Kill someone that matters (typical Joss Whedon movie)
4) Kill everyone that matters (Friday the 13th)

Are there any other possibilities that I haven't thought of?

* by matter, I mean "matters to the viewer," someone that the viewer is supposed to like and not want to die.

Note that this does not address how you kill them, just who you kill.

I might argue the last case, in that the intent of the movie is to watch everyone die. Substitute it with something more like "All Quiet on the Western Front?"

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Re: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Postby Noble Bear » Tue May 05, 2015 7:37 pm

clintmemo wrote:Over analyzing this, when you have a violent movie, there are only 4 possibilities:
1) Don't kill anyone (The A-Team)
2) Kill people that don't matter* (typical action movie)
3) Kill someone that matters (typical Joss Whedon movie)
4) Kill everyone that matters (Friday the 13th)

Are there any other possibilities that I haven't thought of?

* by matter, I mean "matters to the viewer," someone that the viewer is supposed to like and not want to die.

Note that this does not address how you kill them, just who you kill.


Speaking for myself, these deaths were done correctly:
  • Most Shakespeare (e.g. Hamlet, MacBeth)
  • Breaking Bad
  • Game of Thrones
  • Dumbledore
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Sons of Anarchy (for the most part)
  • Owen, Bureau, Vader, & Palpatine.

Most deaths that are done wrong in my view, are usually treated as some variation of a TOS Red Shirt wherein the death is rendered because that's the only way to communicate stakes, apparently, or follow a - for want of a better example - Walking Dead model where is done for cheap drama.
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Re: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Postby Azhrei Vep » Tue May 05, 2015 9:20 pm

clintmemo wrote:Over analyzing this, when you have a violent movie, there are only 4 possibilities:
1) Don't kill anyone (The A-Team)
2) Kill people that don't matter* (typical action movie)
3) Kill someone that matters (typical Joss Whedon movie)
4) Kill everyone that matters Don't have anyone that matters, then refer to #2 (Friday the 13th)

Fixed.
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Re: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Postby DistinctlyBenign » Tue May 05, 2015 9:26 pm

Saw this today.

I enjoyed it a lot. Probably more than Avengers 1, but not quite as much as GotG or CA:tWS.

I feel like they were setting Clint up to die all movie then killed Quicksilver just to have the bait and switch. I don't really think his death added anything to the movie, except distracting his sister for a minute so that his sister could get distracted and Ultron could push the button. The button that pretty much only gave Iron Man and Thor a timer and upped the drama, but I never felt any real threat that they might fail and wipe out half of a continent.

That would have made the next few movies interesting.
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Re: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Postby tombombodil » Tue May 05, 2015 9:37 pm

DistinctlyBenign wrote:Saw this today.

I enjoyed it a lot. Probably more than Avengers 1, but not quite as much as GotG or CA:tWS.

I feel like they were setting Clint up to die all movie then killed Quicksilver just to have the bait and switch. I don't really think his death added anything to the movie, except distracting his sister for a minute so that his sister could get distracted and Ultron could push the button. The button that pretty much only gave Iron Man and Thor a timer and upped the drama, but I never felt any real threat that they might fail and wipe out half of a continent.

That would have made the next few movies interesting.


It's certainly meatier than the first, but I think the first was a better realization of exactly what it wanted to be, with a more solid structure and better pacing (imo). You know time has only made me like Iron Man 3 more. That movie kicks ass. I think my top 5 marvel movies would look something like this:

1. Captain America the Winter Soldier
2. Gaurdians of the Galaxy
3. The Avengers
4. Iron Man 3
5. The Avengers: Age of Ultron
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Re: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Postby MrElzebub » Tue May 05, 2015 11:36 pm

keithcurtis wrote:The difference here is term I've had in mind a lot lately: Critfic. It's a term coined by corey Olsen (The Tolkien Professor), based on an essay on criticism by CS Lewis. Basically, they caution against criticizing a work by characterizing or making assumptions about the work's creator (A fiction about the criticism—"critfic"). Lewis wrote the essay after a critic lambasted a bit of phrasing in one of his works with something along the lines of "Obviously, Lewis was getting lay and bored here and rushed this out", when in fact it was one of the passages he had worked the hardest on. Whether or not the passage was any good would have been valid criticism. Assuming knowledge of the creator's intent is not.

The only things we know about Whedon's intentions are what he has explicitly stated. Anything else is the opinion of the critic. In other words, judge the work by what happens in it, not what you think the creator's intent might have been.
It's a tough habit to get into, because so much of what passes for criticism these days is the latter: "Oh, the director got lazy here", "They ran out of money for CGI", "The Director hates the fans", etc. Once you listen for it, you hear it everywhere. It's also hard not to do, because it's easy criticism. I do it unconsciously, and try to guard against it.

I'm going by what Whedon has stated in interviews, or using my own reactions to the work as presented. Anything else is critfic.


Thank you for sharing this Keith. This is a very interesting and challenging idea. Clearly you shared this because you hate fans that are made out of CGI. See what I did there.
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