Movie review: THE AVENGERS

Man, am I pooped. My old ass went to the midnight release of THE AVENGERS last night, which meant I was up until 4am. Oh, don’t worry, the Døg of Evil made sure I couldn’t sleep in at all, so I have that going for me. Which is nice.

THE AVENGERS was rocking. As a comic book fan from way back in the day and a die-hard CHAMPIONS player in high school, this movie got super fights right. Iron man vs. Thor vs. Captain America alone is worth the price of admission, let alone Thor vs. Hulk, which alone was worth my $12. They were that much fun. And all of this outside of the fights against Loki (which really aren’t all that spectacular).

I thought the acting was excellent. Marvel has done such a great job of type-casting that these people make it look so natural. Chris Evans is f-ing perfect as the squeaky-clean Captain America: dude looks like a walking World War II recruiting poster. Chris Hemsworth is a solid Thor, and Robert Downey Jr. has set the standard so high for Iron Man it’s hard to imagine who could play the role in the inevitable re-boot five years from now. Scarlet Johanson is quite at home in the skin-tight bodysuit of Black Widow and Jeremy Renner does a decent job trying to make Hawkeye shine amidts far bigger “super” stars, but Mark Rufalo doesn’t really do anything for the role of Bruce Banner. His CGI Ruffalo-faced Hulk, however? Holy crap on a cracker, the green giant totally steals the show.

And just in case you missed the memo? Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. My nerd-chub is still throbbing the next day. What? You want more Hollywood powah? Gwyneth Paltro gives good face as Iron Man’s best girl Pepper Pots, and Tom Hiddleston‘s evil Loki grin is a slam-dunk.

I think the real star of the show is director Joss Whedon. Giving generous screen time to each of these A-list actors and their legendary super-characters was a major challenge, and Whedon pulls it off. Everyone gets a chance to shine. Whedon keeps the pace moving through the mandatory “all is lost” moments. He has to do some serious juggling to show everything off — I’m betting there are two or three directors could have done it better, but 99 percent of them would have done far, far worse.

Plot-wize, it’s kind of a thrown-together schmoz. Whedon has a lot to do and a short amount of time in which to do it. Where they are talking story, for the most part I was thinking “yeah-yeah, I know, you have to justify something so that people can square off in a super-powered battle royale, so let’s keep it short, shall we?”

I’m not crazy about Loki as the choice for the first Avengers flick. Once you’ve got a Norse god and an alien army ripping the shit out of NYC, it’s hard to step that up a notch for the sequel. And trying to keep track of god-powers vs. Iron Man’s weaponry vs. just how super is Captain America, anyway? is impossible, so just don’t do it — sit back and watch the face-smashing.

The reason to see this flick at the theater? Fights, pure and simple. If you are now or ever were a comic book fan, THE AVENGERS is an eye orgy that will leave you spent. And I’m not talking about “graphic novels” or whatever the artsy, angsty, “we’re Hipsters pretending to be nerds” term of the day is for the modern comic, I’m talking about the late 80s pulp where kicking bad guys in their Super-Nuts was what sold the books.

My final take: THE AVENGERS is why it’s still worth it to see a movie in the theater. Don’t wait for it to hit your home screen, because you’ll probably be watching it again there anyway.

Comments

  1. GeeRace

    Hahahah we must be cut from the same cloth and  I don’t care what my wife says, because that was some funny stuff right there…lol

  2. TheManiacWoodpecker

    Deal :-) in fact Whedon said that they had to cut about 45 minutes of the movie. A scene where Cap is meeting Peggy and i am pretty sure you are right about the Hulk Control thing scene, Scott.
    If you are right i will put in a flight to germany for you, so you can come over and visit us german junkies, maybe we do a bbq and have some beers too…

  3. scottsigler

    I am not saying Whedon got it “wrong,” I’m saying there was a scene cut out of there. Wait for the director’s cut. I’ve for $100 that says there is a scene about Banner controlling the change, probably with Stark’s help.

  4. TheManiacWoodpecker

    Well you Guys know, there are several types of Hulk right? Smash Hulk, Professor Hulk, Grey Hulk etc. etc.
    Maybe this was just another personality and as long as everyone is nice to hulk and he got something to smash, why shouldnt he be helpful? and this time the mind influencing tesseract staff wasnt near him, maybe that played role too?
    Don’t forget that Whedon is a huuuge Comic Fan. His run on the X-Men is one of the best story arcs ever! i am pretty sure he did a lot of research on the marvel characters to get everything right.

  5. scottsigler

    That “Crazy Hulk” to “Mr. Helper Hulk” is driving me batty. Everyone is so busy patting Joss on the back for this that this major, major plot hole is being ignored. However, I have a feeling he addressed it, but the part where Rufalo gains a degree of control was left on the cutting-room floor. Look for it in the director’s cut. 

  6. Wyll

    I really enjoyed Rufalo’s performance as Banner. There was little things in his delivery that I felt made him feel consistent and character driven as opposed to Norton’s performance, who seem to slip in an out of modes based upon the scene and time of day.

    I look at Rufalo’s Banner as a person who has had time to come to terms with his condition and made efforts to live with it (for now) instead of trying to cure it with super science/deus ex machina twist. I could easily see myself sitting through a whole Hulk film starring Rufalo.

    Having said that, I did have one issue with the Hulk. I could not figure out how the film went from uncontrollable Hulk to Banner controlled Hulk (kind of sort of). I can suspend my disbelief pretty good, but this was a stretch for even me.

  7. TheManiacWoodpecker

    You are not spoiled Scott, in fact for me Bill Bixby was, is and forever will be THE Bruce Banner, period. But since he has passed on to a better world, rest in peace Bill, i fell that i can only compare the three living Banner Actors:
    Eric Bana, Edward Norton and Mark Rufalo.
    You just can’t compare them with Bixby, would be like comparing Joe Montana and Peyton Manning (maybe that comparison is a bit off since Montana still lives)
    Out of those three i thought Norton was hands down the best Banner so far. But after watching The Avengers three time already, i have to say Rufalo beats him, although Norton got a whole movie all for himself. He really captured the brooding, tortured core of the Character and the Hulk finally looks awesome.

  8. scottsigler

    The Hulk scenes were absolutely amazing. However, every one seems to be all a-buzz about Mark Rufalo’s performance as Bruce Banner. I thought Rufalo did little more than show up and talk. Am I spoiled because Bill Bixby is the only Banner for me?

    What did you guys think of Rufalo’s turn? 
  9. LadyBane

    The movie was great. I’ve always loved the Hulk and he had some great and humorous screen time here. Joss Whedon is a master of weaving humor with action and he succeeded here again. Definitely check out the after credit scene (you won’t have to wait long) and if you don’t recognize the new Big Bad then go read “The Infinity Gauntlet”!

  10. HammerheadSharks

    Rarely do movies with high expectations pan out let alone exceed them.  Avengers was simply AWESOME!  Great interaction between our superheroes (nice one liners throughout the movie).  I must say I didn’t expect The Hulk to come up with the funniest scene in the movie.  Don’t miss this one on the big screen. 

  11. TheManiacWoodpecker

    Great review FDO !
    As i am living in germany, i got to watch The Avengers on 26 of April, since it was released a week earlier over here, hooray.
    I think Whedon did an amazing job, giving every character enough light to shine, and the talking part i liked best of all, so Whedonesque pure genius, “Puny God” that scene was pure gold and the best line in the film: “What is this, Shakespeare in the park? Dost thy mother know thou wearest her drapes?”

    So go out people, watch this awesome movie, you heard the FDO and THE MWP, thats me :-)

  12. CleverScreenName

    I unexpectedly got today off from work, so I didn’t have to worry about my usual bedtime and almost went to the midnight show, but there were way too many annoying-looking fanboy types outside the theater when I got there. Yeah, I should’ve anticipated that. Oh well. So I went to a morning showing today instead. Surprisingly crowded for an 11 a.m. show, but fewer fanboys, which was nice.

    Anyway, yeah, it was pretty awesome. But you know what was weird? A lot of people — probably over half — left the theater as soon as the credits started rolling. Doesn’t everyone know by now that there’s always a post-credits scene in these movies, and it’s usually pretty awesome?

    (No exception here — I was a voracious comic book reader as a kid, so I immediately recognized the new character they introduced. And… yeah. Awesome.)

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