Marvel Buddies, Assemble!

Filed under: Planet10Tech | |

I don’t usually do movie reviews. I tend to have quite contrarian tastes and I don’t care how good or important a film is. A cheap but entertaining movies rates higher with me than a technically perfect but heartless Oscar winner (e.g. Hugo). Plus, who really cares what I think. Still, every once in a while a movie is so big, so praised, so awesome, that I spend the big bucks to see it on the big screen and … it totally fails to impress me. And that sums up Joss Whedon’s “Avengers.”

Part of the reason I’m writing this is to memorialize my first impressions. There are a number of movies I initially found seriously flawed but ended up liking. JJ Abram’s Star Trek is one example: what the hell was with all those pipes in engineering? The Fifth Element is another movie I criticized up and down, but has become one of my favorites.

I have learned initial impression are based on your expectations and where the film could go. However, lasting opinions are based on what is actually on the screen and not what you hoped or wanted to see.

*Spoiler warning* I discuss some of the characters and scenes. It’s pretty general, but still… you have been warned.

The Avengers – What’s Bad:

  1. My biggest gripe is that the first hour and forty minutes feels like exposition – long, boring, drawn out exposition.
  2. Iron Man/Tony Stark is still the only interesting character. This is fine in an Iron Man movie; not so much in a purported ensemble piece.
  3. Scarlet Johansson was /gasp! boring. This is unforgivable!!! Remember when Scarlet wasn’t a big name and every role was different? Yeah, those days are gone. She’s now an action hero. Sadly, she isn’t even put to good use.
  4. The Hulk still doesn’t look believable. In fact I’d say he looks worse in this film. Yes, he has some good scenes and one of the best comedic moments. However, having this unbelievable CG character is still too “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
  5. The attacking army is… space bikers! /sigh. The generic silver armored look is straight out of Power Rangers (without entertainment value). Can you remember anything about the how the army looked other than “silver” and “armored?” Considering the amount of screen time devoted to the big battle, you never get any idea of what the bad guys even look like. Both the troops and their vehicles are nearly constantly blurred. It is as if the designers just didn’t care!
  6. Space turtle! See above.
  7. More space turtles! Oh for Pete’s sake. Ok, there is one space turtle: Gamera! All the others are just pale imitators.
  8. Failure to learn the lesson of the “Transformers” movies (or “Showgirls” for that matter) that spectacle does not equal entertainment.

The Avengers – What’s good:

  1. The six or so laugh lines are very funny.
  2. The scene between Loki and Tony Stark in Start Tower is the very best scene in the film.
  3. The finale (of the finale), and the comedic denouement with the Hulk, is thrilling and fun. “The Avengers” is one of the few movies that actually gets better toward the end. Many movies start with an intriguing first act and dissolve into a clichéd ending. While the big battle in Avengers is a given, the movie starts to work in the final 10 minutes or so. And the movie ends on a high note. I have to give it credit for ending very well and enjoyably.
  4. Shawarma sales will get a nice bump — stay to the very end.

Overall, there are some very enjoyable minutes in the Avengers. If you spliced them together, you would have a totally kick-ass trailer. Unfortunately, they are stuck in an overly long movie.

One final thing, early in the film when Peper is leaving with Agent Coulson, she delivers a throw away line asking about seeing a chalice. Anyone know what that was about?