Sci-Fi Fodder

Suggestions for "Avengers"

Over the past week, there has been a good amount of speculation on the movie prospects of "The Avengers", which is one of my childhood favorite comic books. The talks stems from the selection of Zak Penn ("X2", "X3", "The Incredible Hulk") to write the script.

Geek Monthly had a quick summary of the speculation:

It’s still unclear which characters will be part of the film. The original Avengers lineup from 1963 included Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Ant-Man and Wasp, but the roster has been expanded in recent years with Spider-Man and Wolverine joining the group. With most of those characters either currently being used for feature films (Spider-Man) or in the process of having their own (Iron Man and Thor), it may make it less likely that they’ll be a part of the story.

Now, I can't see Spidey in an "Avengers" movie. It just doesn't fit! The 1960's roster is a good one, especially with Cap and Iron Man, but I have to think Thor would be extremely difficult to pull off without being campy. The Hulk is also a problem for me. Sure, Penn is writing the script for that movie too - but, the Hulk is too unstable to be part of a team, so it would likely degenerate into the team trying to stop Hulk...and, thus, no time for a villain of consequence. For my money, I'd like to see a roster with an 80's flair - Vision and Scarlett Witch have to be part of the team. The people (me, in this case) want to take their kids to see the team that they remember from their childhood - and, for me, that is the Vision, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, Yellow Jacket and maybe even Wonder Man.

Part of the problem that faces Zak Penn is the expectation of an origin story. It's the first movie about the team - conventional wisdom says that they have to have an origin. However, origin stories are tough - witness the difference in quality between the first and second "Fantastic Four" movies. Even "Spider-Man 2" was better than "Spider-Man".

Contrary to the Geek Monthly article, I heard speculation that Marvel was going to wait until after the Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America movies to start on The Avengers. I can see why this might be a smart move. If you do not have to worry about telling the origins of each of these icons, it opens many more possibilities for the movie. So, I say, why even attempt an origin story for "The Avengers"? A quick shot of Samuel L. Jackson (playing Nick Fury, of course), with case files on each hero, should be enough of an introduction. Then, the movie can get down to business of defeating Ultron or Kang or whatever villain Penn can dream up. The story will be centered on the team, and not on the origins of each individual hero. Those could be saved for the prequels.

At least, that's how I'd do it.

You gotta do some more research. The Avengers is a title at Marvel Studios under the Merril financing arrangement which also includes the characters: Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Nick Fury, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Panther, Cloak & Dagger, Dr. Strange, Power Pack, and Shang-Chi. I might have omitted one but the Avengers film will only carry characters under the Marvel Studios Umbrella. All will be distributed by Paramount except Hulk which is being distributed by Universal. Other characters may fall back into Marvel's hands soon like Daredevil, Elektra, Blade, and possibly Punisher if LGF doesnt' get their act together. Wolverine is at Fox as are the X-Men. Spidey is at Sony so you can forget that. Just google Marvel Studios film slate to see what the potential is. Marvel is releasing these characters one by one on film first and when the time is right they'll all be teamed up in the Avengers flick.

-- Posted by: Advanced Dark at June 25, 2007 6:30 PM

AD -

That's some good info on the characters that Marvel Studios actually own. But, I stand by my thinking. *I'd* like to see Vision and Scarlet Witch...and, I think you are saying that I am out of luck on that front.

But the character roster is really secondary to the point of my post. The primary point is that there really is no need to go through the effort of releasing all of these character origin movies one by one and *then* do an Avengers movie. Let's just do the movie we all want to see, then spin off the character franchises from there, just as Magneto and Wolverine will get there own movies post-X-Men.

-- Posted by: fred at June 25, 2007 10:46 PM

What???? You gotta have Hawkeye!!!!!

-- Posted by: Fountainhead at June 26, 2007 12:05 AM

I agree, Spidey is so big, legal considerations aside, Spidey 4, 5, and 6 should be enough screen time for him! Wolverine will be in his own movie as well, so expect to see the more "traditional" old school members when this movie eventually gets made. I think they are doing the right thing by giving the rest of non-comic America an introduction to each character in his/her own right. The movie won't be out for 5 to 10 years, but if they do it right, it will be huge, bigger than either X-Men or Spider-Man.

-- Posted by: tpull at June 27, 2007 6:06 PM