I'm writing this column (or at least, starting to write it) on Friday, May 4th at 7:35 am. I'm a little bit slightly underamped, fueled mostly by a mix of adrenaline, caffeine, and two hours' sleep. Thanks to my pal Terry at Third Coast Comics, I was able to attend a special private midnight showing of The Avengers...and you get to read the results.
Verdict - doesn't quite live up to the hype, but is a pretty damn good movie nonetheless.
Now, I'm taking a strict no spoilers approach to writing this review, and am going to ask that if you choose to comment, you avoid spoiling, even if you didn't like the film. Because people who knowingly and deliberately spoil films....need to get the Hawkeye treatment. What follows is less a coherent, well-written essay and more a series of bullet points, because let's face it - this is probably the best you're going to get out of me when it comes to this movie.
- Sean Connery and a weather machine? Giant Teddy Bears? Seriously?...Oops, thinking of the wrong Avengers movie. I sincerely apologize for the mishap, and promise that it will never happen again.
- The screenplay by Zak Penn and Joss Whedon hits all the high marks - it manages to create a very credible threat, uses some aspects of the characters to drive the story along, and inserts some nice pieces of wit and humor in essentially a two-hour-and-twenty-minute action movie. Michael Bay, please take notes when watching this movie - you will be tested. My only quibble is the handling of one character, moving this particular character into a slightly more comedic tone and it...well, it just doesn't work for me. Thematically, it works for the movie, but for this particular character...not so much.
- The movie mixes a variety of influences, including classic Avengers, The Ultimates, and past film mythology in a way that is both relatively exposition-free, but which gives the film a really solid grounding. There's no you-have-to-see-the-other-movies-before-this-one mentality, and quite honestly, this is the kind of movie to take someone who is not "in the know" to see. There's a little something for any and all fans.
- Stan Lee cameo? Towards the end of the film. Blink and you'll miss it. I almost did.
- Mark Ruffalo does a really good job as Bruce Banner/Hulk, and I think that's what past Hulk movies have lacked. For Avengers, motion capture technology was used with Ruffalo to turn him into the Hulk, and he was also on the set with the other actors. In short, I really think Marvel should do a third Hulk movie involving Ruffalo - I think it would avoid the overt pretentiousness of the first movie, as well as provide a heftier tone than the recent Ed Norton film.
- Based on his performance, I think Jeremy Renner should get his own solo Hawkeye movie. Appropriately tough and action-oriented when he needs to be, he is the coolest archer since Legolas in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. (And yes, the movie does call that out). Come on, Marvel, hire a really cool action-oriented director (like, say, Guy Ritchie) and make this happen!
- Favorite moment - Thor punching out Iron Man, and not just because I dislike Robert Downey Jr. But on that note...I understand that Iron Man is the "keystone" franchise in the Marvel movie empire, but the movie seems a little too focused on Tony Stark. Captain America seems to be there less as the leader (although Chris Evans can do no wrong in Avengers - and doesn't - but Cap seems rather underserved in this movie)
- Weakest link - Scarlet Johansson as the Black Widow. She comes across as rather wooden, except in the fight scenes. There are a ton of actresses who could pull off both toughness and sultriness....and Ms. Johansson is not one of them. Sorry, folks, but she has a minimum of screen time.
- Again, Jeremy Renner. Hawkeye solo film. Make this, Marvel. Now.
- There are two - count 'em, two - post-credits scenes. One, which takes place almost immediately after the end cast credits, takes place in outer space...and really serves as a nice Easter egg/set up for Marvel fans. The other, the payoff for a typical Whedon line...really seems pointless. So be sure to catch the first post-credits scene, and leave before the second one.
- If there were an Oscar for "Best Actress in a Skin-Tight Military-Style Jumpsuit", it would be Cobie Smulders as SHIELD agent Maria Hill. In fact, I would like to see more of her in that jumpsuit. Read into that what you will.
- Only disappointment, and maybe I missed it - nowhere did I hear the words "Avengers Assemble"
- Joss Whedon's direction? Effortless, with several sequences which had me wondering "how did they do that?" You'll know what I mean when you see this.
One note - with all the controversy surrounding Marvel's treatment of creators, you may wonder how you can justify seeing this movie, knowing that the company is engaging in some less-than-savory practices. Many fans have proposed - and I know I will be participating in this - donating the ticket price to a worthy organization like Hero Initiative, or some other organization that supports creators' rights. I'm planning to do so because, let's face it, it's the right thing to do, and will make a much better, stronger statement than boycotting the film.
Again, by the time you read this, you will have either seen the movie already, or plan to see it. If you have seen it, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, you're in for a treat. Avengers doesn't quite live up to all the hype...but then again, no movie ever does. What you are in for is a solid action-adventure film.
But enough of my yakkin' - you can check out more opinions via the Zone 4 podcast, or my blog. Follow me on Twitter, friend me or follow Zone 4 on Facebook (just send me a note that it's via Comic Related).
Thanks for reading, and as always, keep watching!
Read More! For more of Gordon's writings, insights, and
general information, please visit his blog at blogthispal.blogspot.com.
blog comments powered by Disqus