Cinematic Heritage / True Works of Art

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Minio, the only solution is if you put The Avengers in your museum.


And then move it to the basement.


And then seal it up forever so no one can see.



Minio, there's been an earthquake and your basement has caved in.


Good thing the only movie in there was...


...The Avengers.



Minio, people are demanding to see The Avengers!


What if we put some pantaloons on Michelangelo's David?


Will anyone notice?



Victim of The Night
I'm not keeping up with this thread and the merits of what should be considered art, but just on a specifics level, I am wondering a bit about this. It's been about a decade since I saw The Avengers, but were they really that deep into the, "not a stand alone movie, just a set up for the crossover which is just callbacks," at that point or did that start after The Avengers. I seem to recall when DC quickly failed on its crossovers, people felt that the MCU succeeded because it basically made a point of establishing the characters in independent movies that could stand on their own, and the set up was more the post credits teaser. And people marvelled that The Avengers and was novel in managing to pull off the crossover, that makes me think it wasn't swamped in doing callbacks. Because if it had, people would have complained that it demonstrated why the whole concept of crossovers is flawed.


Once it became established and acceptable, that gave them the leeway to fall into bad narrative habits (I'm guessing. I didn't watch a lot of post Avengers movies), including the sequels to The Avengers.


That subsequent bombardment and presumption this was going to work probably is blinding us if the first Avengers movie actually did something particularly well. Though it'd probably take this expanded universe craze to die off for us to appreciate it. Though that last part is me also me inserting some speculation on why some films once considered empty in their time have been reclaimed as having artistic merit.
I would say all of this is incredibly accurate.



The trick is not minding
Minio, there's been an earthquake and your basement has caved in.


Good thing the only movie in there was...


...The Avengers.
I believe there were some Fulci films keeping it company. 👀



I believe there were some Fulci films keeping it company. 👀
I'm afraid someone else was buried in the basement too.





The Force is Favreau
That a film that has "Cinematic Heritage" is not necessarily proof that it is a "True Work of Art." I think that is part of the problem here.



Later movies have been less slick and as a result more transparent in their calculation, but the bad artistic tendencies were present even in that first wave of films. There has always been a rot at the centre of the MCU, we only noticed now that it's spread to the limbs.

Admittedly, thinking about it, the only pre-Avengers MCU movie I saw was the first Iron Man. The Avengers worked fine for me (at the time). Granted, I wasn't thinking of it in terms of evaluating it as, "cinematic heritage." And I didn't watch a lot of the subsequent movies either. So, I'm really going off of impressions conveyed by other people.

I do think it's hard to estimate how much overabundant rotting glut affects how we perceive one of the original entries.


For example, the whole notion of the final girl being imposed upon Laurie Strode because of the decade of slashers in the 80s. Granted, compared to that analogy, The Avengers is more intentionally responsible for that subsequent rotting glut, rather than the rotting glut riding its coat tails.



Admittedly, thinking about it, the only pre-Avengers MCU movie I saw was the first Iron Man. The Avengers worked fine for me (at the time). Granted, I wasn't thinking of it in terms of evaluating it as, "cinematic heritage." And I didn't watch a lot of the subsequent movies either. So, I'm really going off of impressions conveyed by other people.

I do think it's hard to estimate how much overabundant rotting glut affects how we perceive one of the original entries.


For example, the whole notion of the final girl being imposed upon Laurie Strode because of the decade of slashers in the 80s. Granted, compared to that analogy, The Avengers is more intentionally responsible for that subsequent rotting glut, rather than the rotting glut riding its coat tails.
Speaking for myself, I had the same issues with the movie when I watched it back in 2013, although my dislike may not have been as pronounced at the time. My friends at the time were more enthusiastic about the franchise at the time, but sometime after the release of Endgame, they have cooled on it. I think thatís generally the turning point, from what Iíve noticed anecdotally.*

The rot was always there, but now the stink has gotten too strong to ignore.



My post wasnít aimed at stopping any conversationÖ.🤷
My ĎI donít careÖí paragraph was more about having some sort of check list a film must meet to be accepted as being deemed ďworthyĒ of merit.

Now, I can certainly accept a film when it is absolutely art. Bresson comes to mind. Bunuel. Many others do as well.
Others donít have that same quality, but doesnít mean it isnít lacking merit in being accepted as art, does it? Iím not arguing The Avengers (which, again, I fully enjoyed) has that quality, but I do think one can make an argument for the first 2 Superman films, and Nolanís Dark Knight Trilogy (I suspect youíll disagree on those last three).

Themes are pretty important as well, for me, and I feel those can elevate a film in ways direction may lack. The films I mentioned above are examples of the examination of being a hero and the struggle between the dual lifestyles.

I'm not saying Avengers is not worthy of any merit. I'm explaining where it is lacking on the level of films which offer something, anything, one thing to give it some kind of distinguishing personality. It's an extremely low bar that I'm hoping a movie to make. Even an obvious pile of garbage like a Zack Snyder film at least is identifiable a Zack Snyder film. I'd be more comfortable with the idea of the Avengers being talked about as something worth being talked about if it could at least know how to do bad well. But it doesn't. So far all I've got is it pays proper respect to its source material. Which I think it should be clear, is hardly enough when we are talking about the cinematic value of a film


I also don't need a film to rise to the level of Bresson to be considered art. I've made that abundantly clear simply through my posting history here. I also, in this thread, have distinguished between art (which can be argued to be virtually anything of a creative nature) and Art (which becomes trickier to parse, but it usually involves the piece in question to have some kind of distinguishing characteristics or thematic idea or conceptual framework). My 'check list' is simply me giving someone, anyone an opportunity to distinguish what makes Avengers Art. Can it meet one of these standards? I'm still waiting and it really shouldn't be this hard.


Minio has also made it very clear the type of films he is looking for in this thread. Now I think its completely fine if someone wants to challenge the notion that only Minio branded films should matter. That would be one thing. I myself have already stated that as useless as I find Avengers as Art, it has value in how it represents culture (as any hugely popular film can do). But this conversation has moved past this point where we might argue how we just want this Heritage to be more representative of different types of movies, even if they aren't particularly interesting as art. What we have now are direct comparisons between the Art of Star Wars or Raiders (which, by the nature of their well established auteurship, very much qualify even while being narrative fluff) and the ****ing Avengers.


None of this is me saying no one should enjoy the Avengers. Or, if they can offer a different way for us to appreciate what Avengers is doing cinematically, not to offer it up here in order to defend this choice. As has been reiterated a thousand times in this thread , there are no genres being blacklisted from belonging here. I've already suggested the first two Donner Superman's as better alternatives. Or, even though I'm not a particularly big fan of Dark Knight, that would certainly be a considerably more understandable choice as it's clearly something.


In regards to themes, while those would qualify as something, for me they don't hold a tremendous amount of value unless they are somehow also being represented on screen. It's great for images to mean something, but unless I can also grasp these ideas instinctively through watching the film, and have what they have to say resonate emotionally with me, I generally find talk of themes to just be that. Talk. But that is just my personal preference to what matters and, obviously for some, it is completely fair that decoding a film for it's more intellectualized ideas has a value that sets the film apart from being little more than a diversion. You know, like The Avengers.



In regards to the sequels tarnishing the originals quality, you can rest easy that the first one is the only one I've seen. And it's rare for a movie to leave that little of an impact with me. I may have just as well never watched it at all. It was like it completely evaporated as soon as the light from it hit my eyeballs. Not an unpleasant experience but a pretty pointless one



Going back to the original question--
My brain keeps going back to Godfrey Reggio-type stuff. I wouldn't necessarily call his works "the greatest films ever made", but if I want someone from the 25th Century to know what cinema could be, that's where my brain goes. My background in visual arts and my overall lack of interest in "plots" is probably playing a role here so feel free to disregard my nomination.

I will also point out that when I was taking Art History (30 years ago ), German Expressionism was the only art movement we studied in which films were given as much importance as the painters. Un Chien Andalou was probably mentioned as a side note during the Surrealism lesson, but it was more of a "by the way, Dali made a movie" kind of thing. I'm not saying that's how it should be, but that's where we were in the 90s.
__________________
Captain's Log
My Collection



Going back to the original question--
My brain keeps going back to Godfrey Reggio-type stuff. I wouldn't necessarily call his works "the greatest films ever made", but if I want someone from the 25th Century to know what cinema could be, that's where my brain goes. My background in visual arts and my overall lack of interest in "plots" is probably playing a role here so feel free to disregard my nomination.
Iím curious if youíve seen any films by Marie Menken. A podcast I listen to recently did an episode on her, so I watched a few of her films last night. Her films Go! Go! Go! and Lights seem like pretty clear influences on Koyaanisqatsi, the former with its time lapse street footage, the latter with its abstracting of car headlights into smears. I plan to see a few more, as Iíve been finding them quite enjoyable. (Also an interesting change of pace to delve back into avant garde type stuff, given my usual viewing habits.)



I do think it's hard to estimate how much overabundant rotting glut affects how we perceive one of the original entries.
Yep. Also, the frequency (inevitability?) with which people critical of these films reference the money-making aspect makes it pretty hard to avoid the conclusion that that's coloring perceptions at least a little, too. Death of the Author, but not the Producer.



The original Avengers is now ten years old. When Star Wars was ten years old it was already established as a critically revered classic, regardless of its enormous financial success.


Same with Jaws. And ET. And Raiders when they were ten years old. All simple and crowd pleasing successes that also happened to be more.


If anything the universe of related Avengers movies is what has kept it in the discussion this long, when maybe it probably deserved to be forgotten with lots of other succesful flavors of the month from years gone past. Because where exactly are the critical appraisals of that films particular greatness. Who is actually even talking seriously about The Avengers anymore?


If no one can come up with any examples of their own, maybe I can make this easier. Who can point towards a single article that has been written relatively recently about its cinematic virtues. Surely someone out there has been enlightened.


Anyone? Anyone?



Every single movie I have brought up in comparison to The Avengers has been a big budget blockbuster, including another movie from the same franchise. I donít take issue with it being an overtly commercial enterprise, but that the commercial aspects manifest in bad artistic decisions.



Minio, people are storming the museum gift shop, and weíre all out of Avengers DVDs!


What if we switched the discs out with Koyaanisqatsi?


Would anyone notice?



The Force is Favreau
The original Avengers is now ten years old. When Star Wars was ten years old it was already established as a critically revered classic, regardless of its enormous financial success.


Same with Jaws. And ET. And Raiders when they were ten years old. All simple and crowd pleasing successes that also happened to be more.


If anything the universe of related Avengers movies is what has kept it in the discussion this long, when maybe it probably deserved to be forgotten with lots of other succesful flavors of the month from years gone past. Because where exactly are the critical appraisals of that films particular greatness. Who is actually even talking seriously about The Avengers anymore?


If no one can come up with any examples of their own, maybe I can make this easier. Who can point towards a single article that has been written relatively recently about its cinematic virtues. Surely someone out there has been enlightened.


Anyone? Anyone?

Fair point. I have heard the MCU praised as being great for creating a large canvas (an idea that Rock has deflated considerably), but not really any of the films, save for Infinity War.



At the point that we're seriously arguing Avengers as a true work of art, it seems we're just steps away from debating which color crayon tastes best (I am a magenta man, myself).



The original Avengers is now ten years old. When Star Wars was ten years old it was already established as a critically revered classic, regardless of its enormous financial success.
I'd like to hear more about this. Are you suggesting the old fogies (critics, audiences, whatever) who dismissed it as silly and/or some kind of pop culture fad had all done a 180 by this point?

If no one can come up with any examples of their own
I mean, I'm pretty sure people can (I know I can), but I've said a few times I don't think those kinds of responses get us very far. While I enjoyed reading your explanation for why Star Wars has artistic depth, it didn't (couldn't) really settle anything. If I give you my version of that it won't come from a shared premise. I'll just be a person explaining why they like a thing. Sometimes that's all we can do, and that can be valuable, but framing this as a challenge strikes me as odd, as if there's some kind of logical proof here that needs refuting.