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The Avengers

A little late to the party, but yay! Great movie. 95 out of 100 popcorn points.

 If you’re a fan of these storylines, you should definitely see it in the theater. Actually, if you plan on seeing it at all, you should definitely see it in the theater. I can’t imagine any home video set-up, however stunning, giving you the full impact.

And there’s a lot of impact, since everyone fights with everyone about everything, over and over. That’s one of my tiny quibbles with this movie. But first the excellent stuff:

Loki – in the movie THOR, he was fine. In this movie? He’s amazing – perfect characterization and perfect performance. I loved the over-the-top arrogance and strutting, and while he’s all about the self-pity, he does that part well too. I give equal credit to Tom Hiddleston and to the creating/writing/directing team. Well done!

Stark – if you’ve read my Iron Man reviews, or worse, if you were stuck in an elevator with me when I was raving about those movies, you know how I feel about this guy. Best character ever. And sure, there are other best characters, but he’s the best character in a superhero-ish movie ever, and in the top ten of all movies, ever. Forget Superman, Spiderman, any man – Stark’s the man. Here, full credit goes to Robert Downey Jr. Sure, the writing is amazing, and Stan Lee and company get amazing props, but seriously – full credit to RDJr.

Scarlett Johannsonn – Perfect job as the Black Widow. So much depth and snark and talent – I wasn’t sold after Iron Man II. Now I’m a believer.

Chris Hemmsworth – U R Thor. And because U R Thor, Thor = amazing. In the wrong hands, I would have winced at this character. In your hands (okay, in your bulging muscles and deadpan delivery) Thor works. Unbelievably good job!!

The Hulk in Hulk form – loved him. So droll, so invincible, so surprisingly engaging, plus mean left jab.

Stellan Skarsgard – effective, especially considering the scant number of minutes.

Robin Scherbatsky – okay, I’m taking liberties here. This is actually Cobie Smulders playing a gov’t agent who runs the show for Fury. For those of us who have seen her other show, which is a sitcom – once good, now not-so – it took a few minutes to re-calibrate. But guess what? After that, she was good in the role.

Lots of hilarious one-liners, great delivery all around.

That’s it for the excellent stuff. Here’s what’s good enough to get the job done:

Fury, Hawk, special effects, the Hulk in non-Hulk form, Captain America (who was great in his own movie, but that movie was ultimately forgettable, and we had to try too hard here), and the plot. (Hopefully I’m not leaving an Avenger out. There were so many of them, and only three and ½ who lit the place up).

And so I’ve settled on 95 out of 100 points, which is pretty awesome. Those extra 5 points? Show me something I haven’t seen before. It’s almost impossible these days to do that, but “almost impossible” is not the same as impossible. In other words, in terms of plot and special effects (and indefinable elements) you didn’t take this to the next level, and I have to believe there’s a next level. Because there’s always a next level (otherwise, we’d be watching Star Wars and Citizen Kane all the time…)

I get it that there is an existing universe and fan base that must not be disturbed. Guess what? I love that existing universe. But as we know, universes can continue to expand/grow.

I don’t envy you, Joss Whedon and assorted wonder-folk. Since your plot here was basically – SPOILER ALERT!!!

Loki is an angry demi-god who wants to take his angst out on humans;, there are scary otherworlders out there; and the Avengers have to learn to play nicely with each other as a team or they’ll defeat themselves before they can save us

and since Loki is possibly neutralized for the moment and the Avengers are now the best-est most camaraderie-laden team ever –


what will you do for the next film? My suggestions? Get something going on the FX for sure, please, because I’m not even a gamer and I’ve seen all this before. As for characters, my first instinct was that you should downplay Captain America and concentrate on your heavy-hitters, but I know in my heart that’s too simple. The Captain was a great concept in his time, but as a provocative anachronism, I think he hit the mark in the 20th century and misseshis window in terms of the 21st century. Can’t you re-invent him as the same guy, but make him relevance-tinged-with-nostalgia, rather than vice versa?  Oh, and you should either make Hulk be a hulk all the time, or find a way to make his human form less whiney. Tortured, sure? But  


 When Mark Ruffalo said “I’m always angry” it didn’t ring true. Who/what is he angry at? If it’s the world, then yeah, he’s a scary dude. If he’s mad at himself, then that’s not anger, that’s depression. Ask anyone at Pop Psychology 101. So please, make him mad at the world, not at Mark Ruffalo. (And if you were trying for tortured, that’s Edward Norton, so either way, we’ve got some work to do)


I know I sound critical, which is insane given how much I liked this show. But here’s the thing:

I want to love The Avengers II even more than I loved this one. So please…Make it so.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 18th, 2012 07:45 am (UTC)
Black Widow was much, much better in Avengers than in IM2. I must completely disagree with you on the revamping Cappy idea, but

When Mark Ruffalo said “I’m always angry” it didn’t ring true.

First time I saw the film I agreed with this. The second time, though, knowing that line was coming? It's a lot easier to see the anger he's got burning beneath the droll quippery. He's not angry at himself. He's definitely angry at the world. And it's actually there, in the acting. It's just...very well disguised, which is the whole point, I think.
May. 18th, 2012 11:30 pm (UTC)
Oh good, I'm seeing it again this weekend so hopefully that will be my reaction too. It is always possible that it was his jacket that looked depressed and it affected everything else! Were they going for eccentric? Anyway, the danger to me is that he's got reasons to be angry with the world (good angry) and reasons to be angry with himself (which feels like depression). So hitting the right note is important for his character.

And yeah, I wasn't really sure on the Captain America thing. So you're right, it's not that they should change him from what he is, but maybe change their portrayal a bit, because the nostalgia vibe shouldn't overpower the timeless quality if you know what I mean. So I guess I was projecting to the sequel, and starting to fidget in advance.

Thanks for the input!! I really did struggle on that one.
May. 19th, 2012 10:05 pm (UTC)
*laughs* His jacket does look depressed, now that you mention it. And it does ... yeah, you're right. His slumped casual posture and everything informs the portrayal of the character to a great degree. I'm not sure they were going for eccentric so much as possibly a guy who has in a lot of ways opted to stop presenting himself as someone you might want to know. And he really is fairly full of wry quippery, so the package seems...off. I totally agree. So I was kind of surprised on the second viewing, and I hope it works for you too.

They're following the Ultimate Avengers comics fairly closely with Cappy's story, and he had/has a lot of angst and out-of-timeness to get over in that storyline. And, y'know, to be fair, waking up 60 years out of time is kind of a big thing to take in the teeth. But yeah, I do see what you mean. We want him to be a hero for always, not just a throwback.

But mostly I want to see him in a better costume, because the one for this movie wasn't very good. :)
May. 20th, 2012 01:20 am (UTC)
so I think we've narrowed it down to a perfect movie with a couple of wardrobe issues! Not bad at all.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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