Friday, May 4, 2012

THERE WAS THE LADY IN THE CATSUIT, BUT WHERE WAS THE DUDE IN A SUIT WITH A BOWLER HAT?  The Avengers is pretty much everything you could have hoped for--funny, action-packed, and, yes, even a little tear-inducing.  In particular, Whedon nails bringing backstory to characters who were previously underdeveloped (Black Widow and Hawkeye in particular, managing to make Johansson far more than just a sex bomb and Renner far more than just a blank slate) with economy and effectiveness, and defining the relationships between the characters (there is a great romantic comedy banter scene between Downey and Paltrow early in the film, which makes me want to see a Whedon straight romantic comedy).

The one problem I have with the film is the same problem all the Marvel films have had--the villain.  In order to be a threat to even one of these superheroes (much less an assemblage of them) the threat must be so ridiculous as to be silly.  Some of the precursor films (Captain America, in particular) have done a far better job of it, but others (both Iron Man films, Incredible Hulk) have failed on that note.  Vulture annotates who the ultimate villains are (revealed in a post-credits scene that's a blatant set up for Avengers Reassemble), but it's a tricky balancing act.  (The Batman movies have done a better job, in large part because Batman doesn't have superhuman powers.)


  1. Seriously, the patented Whedon death works so well here, even though you know it's coming, in no small part because Whedon does such an amazing job establishing that character as both exceedingly likable and an audience surrogate.

  2. Duvall1:00 AM

    It's not an official Whedon production until someone gets a sucking gut wound.

    I wonder how intelligible this film would be to someone that hadn't seen Iron Man, Captain America or Thor.

  3. Joseph J, Finn1:05 AM

    Christina had seen both Iron Men, but not CA or Thor, and had no problem following it.  Good god, we enjoyed it.  Except for the death.  Damn it.

    First lesson of the Marvelverse?  Don't trust Nick Fury, even if he has the best interests of Earth at heart.

    But my god, I kind of wished there was a Damage Control mention.

  4. <span>That death--during the midnight show on Thursday night--caused a collective gasp from the audience. In the silence that followed a guy shouted "Fuck you, Joss!", which was what we were all thinking, anyway.</span>
    The romantic comedy scene with Downey and Paltrow and Downey's delivery of Whedon's dialogue, in general, made me want Whedon to write/direct Iron Man 3. A girl can dream.
    I had seen both Iron Men, but not CA or Thor, either, and I followed the movie fine. They gave enough back story without it slowing down the movie.
    Also, I think most people have probably read something in the reviews by now, but if you haven't seen the movie, yet, be sure to watch for both credit scenes. The last one doesn't do anything spoiler-wise, but it's funny.

  5. Also, one of my favorite moments was when Loki was giving his "bow down" speech for like the tenth time only this time it was to the Hulk. The Hulk's response was perfect. That was a good moment.

  6. Two truly impressive things about that post credits scene:

    1.  How effective and funny it is despite not a single word being uttered,  (Hemsworth in particular.)
    2.  They apparently shot it like 10 days ago right after the premiere (which I think is part of the reason it's shot the way it is, so we don't see some of the faces).

    Shane Black is doing Iron Man 3, and if the dialogue is as solid as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's was, we're in for some very good fun.

  7. One minor quibble is that I didn't understand how Rhodey wasn't at least mentioned in the story.  Given that he's high ranking in the military, how does he not get involved in some way in the third act?  Obviously, they may not have wanted to use this as one of the movies Cheadle was contracted for (everyone involved had multipicture deals up front, I think), but still seemed a little odd.

  8. Joseph J, Finn12:23 PM

    That was fantastic and got one of the biggest responses from the crowd.  (Other great Hulk moments were him punching on the shoulder, and the just right shot of Banner puttering up on a motorcycle in the middle of a scene that was so right that the audience burst to applause.)

  9. Joseph J, Finn12:24 PM

    Sadly, no Darcy Lewis either.

  10. Emily1:53 PM

    Did anyone else think that another great movie would be a bromance between Banner and Stark where they spent the entire movie in a laboratory talking nerdy to each other? Oh, that was just me?

    I thought Banner/Hulk had some of the best moments in the movie. The Thor playful punch and Banner revealing the "secret" to his ability to control the Hulk right before the big showdown.

  11. Joseph J, Finn2:51 PM

    That secret is oddly kind of Zen, isn't it?

  12. As I read it, the "rules" are:

    1.  Banner can become Hulk whenever he wants to become Hulk.
    2.  In certain, high-stress situations, Banner becomes Hulk even when he doesn't want to become Hulk.
    3.  Banner cannot control when he stops being Hulk, though, at minimum, some sort of shock to the system is required in order to bring him down.
    4.  Banner has increased his control over Hulk to at least some degree--Hulk still needs to SMASH, but the SMASH can be at least somewhat directed.

  13. Maret2:31 AM

    I saw it tonight (thanks Becca!) and loved it and had no trouble following it having only seen the Iron Man movies and none of the Marvel films. Just a great great action movie and Whedon flick, and it didnt feel too long to me. The two aforementioned Hulk moments were definitely my laugh out loud favorites, and as Becca and I discussed after, a part of the reason this film works so well is that you have the smart alecks to balance out the straight-laced guys, so the ensemble works really well. I want to go again. Now. And watch the Hulk SMASH all over again.

  14. I'm going again next week. There were many lines I missed because I was laughing so hard. And I want to watch the Hulk smash things, too.

  15. As I said to a friend while exiting tonight, I think that Hulk/Loki moment has to be the funniest scene in any super-hero movie I can remember.