Sunday, May 20, 2012

REVIEW - The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers
USA - 2012
Directed by - Joss Whedon
Starring - Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth
Color / 143 Min / Rated PG-13

Haters gonna hate.

That’s probably going to be the response to this review from anyone who reads it. That I don’t “get it” or that I’m just some trolling putz stirring up the pot and rebelling against something simply because it’s a success. Not so. I’ve stewed on my thoughts regarding The Avengers for a good two weeks now, simply because I didn’t want to write a knee jerk reaction piece on here. (I’ve got a Twitter feed for that kind of stuff, anyway). The problem is, the more I stew on Avengers, the more disheartened I become. So let me be clear. I wanted to love this movie.

The most exciting thing that happened to me while watching The Avengers was when the film had to be paused for an impromptu evacuation from the theater for about half an hour after a doofus teenager working the snack bar burned the popcorn, causing the smoke alarms to go haywire. As we exited the building, I saw a little boy with his parents. Only an hour earlier, the kid was running and jumping around before the film started, excited beyond belief to see Thor and Captain America kicking butt on the big screen. Now he was yawning and rubbing his eyes as he stepped out into the bright sunshine. Clearly the fire alarms had disturbed his nap.

Glad I’m not the only one bored by the movie.

Don’t get me wrong, Avengers has its moments. It’s somewhat entertaining on a completely mindless level. The effects are second to none, and the all too brief moments of typical Joss Whedon levity are always chuckle-worthy. (Galaga references in 2012!) But I don’t for one second believe Avengers warrants the second coming of Christ level of praise that the masses of aging comic book dweebs on the internet have awarded the film. It simply does not live up to the hype. While I applaud the effort it took to bring all the different film franchises together to form this movie, I don't feel duty bound as a fan of comics to automatically love Avengers just because of that. There are far better action movies out there. There are far better comic book movies out there. And gorram it, there are far better Joss Whedon movies out there.

Yeah, I dunno why they made me ditch my real costume for this lame Mad Max ripoff outfit, either...
The plot of Avengers centers around Norse demi-god Loki (Tom Huddleston, rocking an even sweeter mullet than in Thor) and his planned invasion of Earth with the help of the Tesseract, a glowing MacGuffin of doom. The stakes are high, but Loki's plan is unfocused, and he doesn't seem nearly as evil as he did in his previous appearance. Meanwhile, cyclopean badass Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) struggles to assemble his own Wild Bunch to combat Loki and the army of disposable blue guys from space. This culminates in a showdown in Manhattan that takes up the last forty minutes of screen time. The rest of the film preceding the climax consists of numerous (and tedious) banter scenes on the Helicarrier, followed by a few pissing contests between the heroes who initially grate on each other but (surprise, surprise) come together as a team after the death of a ‘beloved’ colleague (a guy Captain America knew for all of five minutes and whom the Hulk didn’t know at all -- but whatevs! We’ve got evil doers on jet skis to beat up!).

There's ample opportunity for development between the heroes, but it‘s all wasted. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) spends half the film hypnotized as a pawn of Loki’s. When he’s finally knocked back to his senses (literally -- way to think your way out of that one, screenwriters), his betrayal of SHIELD is neatly swept under the rug with a single line of dialogue. Uh… what? No superhero brooding? Nothing? Okay, what about these hints of romance between Hawkeye and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)? Anything going to happen there? No? Geez, give me something more than flashy explosions and tepid chase sequences, movie. How about Thor and Loki - the brothers who are now tragically opposed to one another? Surely their star-crossed relationship will yield some form of dramatic…

He’s adopted,” quips Thor. A few people in the front row chuckle half-heartedly while I start to remember why I don't bother going to the theater anymore.

At least Mark Ruffalo succeeds in making me give a crap about the Hulk for the first time ever. (I‘m more of a She-Hulk kinda guy). He outshines the rest of the cast simply by underplaying his part, bringing out the geeky, disheveled qualities of Bruce Banner from the comic books that’s been sorely lacking in previous big screen adventures featuring the character. While the rest of the cast preens and wisecracks, Bruce is content to sit back and be the adorkable nerd in his lab doing science-y things with beakers and computers. When he finally gives in to the ’other guy’ and turns into the Jolly Green Giant, it’s quite satisfying to watch him smash the everloving shit out of everything in sight (including Thor).

Alas, the Hulk alone is not enough to save the day. And when Bruce rides off into the sunset with Tony Stark at the conclusion of The Avengers, I can’t help but think that the inevitable wacky hijinks on their road trip would have made a more interesting movie than the one I just watched.

2 / 5


  1. Good review Matthew. Definitely one of the best Summer blockbusters to come out in recent time and I just hope that when, and if this sequel does end up happening, that they don't screw it up and not bring back Joss Whedon. Because in all honesty, he's the main reason this film worked as well as it did.

  2. I read it very care full and after reading and watching the movie i will give her to 3.5 / 5 and Thank for this such a nice review its really a good film it is very entertaining Movie, he is looking very cute in Chris Evans Captain America Avenger Jacket he is the one of in very good looking Hollywood actors ....