Monday, May 7, 2012
So I think somewhere on this blog I muttered in one of my depressive episodes following my disappointment with "Thor" or "Captain America" that "Avengers" was going to suck and I had no interest in seeing it. Well, I was being a snob and a terrible person, so I'm going to stop that right now. Ultimately I guess I don't really have any problem with Superheroes per se, its just that Superhero movies are typically the most mediocre of the mediocre blockbusters. Let's review: "Daredevil", both "Punisher" movies, both "Fantastic Four" movies, "X-Men 3", "X-Men Wolverine", "Captain America", "Iron Man 2", and all three "Spiderman" films, all mediocre. Or you get something like "Green Lantern", which is just so bad you wonder if the move you're seeing is some kind of sick joke made by the Joker. Seriously, any moment during "Green Lantern" I was certain the movie would cut to a blank screen with the words "HAHAHAHAHAHA" written on it, and then Joker laughing gas would be pumped in from the vents. That only could have made that movie better, come to think of it.
Luckily "the Avengers" is not a bad movie. Or even a mediocre movie. It was actually good, shockingly good. A lot better than I dare would have believed considering last year's crop of Marvel films. Yeah, there was a part of me wishing this movie would be a miserable trainwreck considering that "Captain America", a movie I wanted to love, sucked primarily because it only existed as a two-hour trailer to this film, but I won't be. I'll be a better person and be glad that a decent movie got made that everybody in America can enjoy. This is basically as good of a movie as ever could have been made about the Avengers. And remember, if America wasn't out breaking box office records "The Avengers", they could be out watching a Transformer film or the certainly-shit "Battleship", that's coming out in two weeks.
Off topic: there was about a half hour of trailers before this movie started. What the heck is deal with that? Do I really need to see the trailer for "Dark Shadows" again? Look, Hollywood, I already know that's going to be the worst movie ever, you don't need to prove it to me again.
Now, "Avengers" was good, I concede that, nobody can deny this. But did I love this movie? No. This was basically just a time killer, it wasn't great. Honestly, I felt the movie was slow here and there, and the villain sucked. But I'm going to try to avoid harping on the negatives, I'm a happy person, I promise you all. I'm not some curmudgeon living in a vault someplace hating the universe. Not BH, no sir.
As you all know from the trailers, the Avengers are the Marvel version of the Justice League, with all the heroes of the last Marvel movies coming together to fight the greatest threat the Earth has ever faced. ...Unfortunately that threat happens to be Thor's chickenshit brother, but I'll get to that in a second. So you got Iron Man in all his Robert Downey Jr. awesomeness. Thor is played by Chris Hemsworth, who seems to be all over the place this year, rightfully so since that guy is a star, trust me. Captain America is played again by Chris Evans, who is still decent as him. Edward Norton got into a fight with Marvel over the last Hulk movie, so now Bruce Banner has transformed into Mark Ruffalo, who is still decent. We all wish Edward Norton were here, but that's not going to happen, sadly. SAMUEL L. MOTHERFUCKING JACKSON plays Nick Fury, who unfortunately is just the boss and doesn't get to do much. Jeremy Renner plays some other superhero whose name I forget, but he fights with bows so I'll just call him "Green Arrow". Then there's Scarlett Johansson, who is just there to have her ass in black leather. Yeah, she's a spy and knows kung-fu, but we all know she's really there for the ass shots. And who is complaining?
The movie opens with Loki attacking the top secret black ops base in order to steal a glowing blue cube of power, which is either called the Tesseract or the Allspark, I'm not sure. He wants the Allspark to open up a rift in time and space and summon an army of aliens to take over the Earth. There's a government conspiracy, alien heroes are helping the government, there's a big battle in the middle of a city. Wait a second, isn't this the plot to a "Transformers" movie*? Well, yes, it is. Only this movie is good, and those suck. Mostly because this movie is about the Superheroes and not the humans who waste an hour of the movie's running time with pointless unfunny comic relief.
I'm going to say, I thought the superhero team-up of the Avengers would make for a muddy plot with too many characters and too much confusion for a proper storyline to take place. I was wrong. "The Avengers" actually manages to handle a diverse cast a lot better than "Watchmen". No one hero dominates the story, everybody gets a role, and a decent role. Even the minor heroes that most people don't care about, you know the two, they have good parts in this movie. I was even satisfied with the amount of Robert Downey Jr. in this movie, and I'm one of those people who wish that Robert Downey Jr. played every role in every movie. All the heroes get their characters developed nicely, they all get something badass to do, they all get their moment beating up aliens, and they get a good joke in here or there.
Of course, when the fight scenes actually started up, the Hulk stole the show. But what do you expect, he's the Hulk! He's indestructible! Yeah, Scarlett Johansson might be able to fit a lot of kung-fu in her black suit along with her ass, but ultimately the jolly green giant and the other heroes is the one everybody wants to see. I was surprised how fast I turned Team Hulk, since I was Team Robert Downey Jr. before that. The Hulk just fucks shit up, nothing can stop him.
...Unfortunately that's where this review turns a bit negative for me. When you have a superhero team come together the threat they should be facing should be something equal to these heroes. Unfortunately the threat is Loki, who Thor was already able to defeat by himself. Now Loki has to fight Thor AND Iron Man AND Captain American AND the Hulk AND... those other two guys. Loki doesn't stand a chance! I don't want to pull spoilers here, but I'll drop this one, when Loki actually does have to fight one of these heroes one on one at the end, he gets crushed in seconds. Its hilarious how fast he goes down. Yeah, he also has an army of anonymous aliens, but they aren't doing much better.
Tom Hiddleston does a good job as Loki, but again, I have no idea what his goals were in this movie. I didn't understand what he was after in "Thor" either, come to think of it. He's teaming up with this group of evil aliens who want the Gamecube for something, but why is he doing it? To be king of Earth? To piss off Thor? Is he going to double-cross the aliens? Will they double-cross him? What the heck is going on? You never really learn. And Loki is way too smug for my tastes, especially considering he can never be much of a credible threat to the heroes. Yeah, its fine to be smug when you can back it up. But when you can do nothing but annoy the heroes a lot, you come off like Seymour from "Final Fantasy X". I was just waiting for Hulk to smash the smile off this guy's face. I got my wish.
On more negatives, I felt "The Avengers" got a bit slow towards the middle. There was a bit too much talking on the flying aircraft carrier and not enough action. When we do reach the action climax, that's fine, but the movie seems to slow down mostly because the heroes can't help but yell at each other. If a less talented writer had taken this story, the audience might have turned away from the heroes for bickering too much, but there was a decent balance. I just wish instead of Captain America and Iron Man arguing, they could go fight a big thing instead. Then they actually do fight that big thing, so the movie comes together better. Also, as fine as Scarlett Johansson's ass was in this movie, the rest of her didn't seem to be doing so well. Half the time I was wondering if she was trying to be one of those weird emotionless anime girls, her acting was that wooden.
But my main problem was a complete waste of Samuel L. Jackson! I don't think I've had the privilege of reviewing an L. Jackson movie on Planet Blue, so I was excited for that, he's one of the greatest actors alive today. Unfortunately in this movie he never gets to be a superhero, he can only order other superheroes around. I was just waiting for Samuel L. Jackson to flip open his eyepatch and reveal his Ultimate Eye and go big crazy Black man on those alien motherfuckers. There are way too many scenes of Jackson arguing with some vague unexplained Evil Council and way too few scenes of him shooting at things.
On the other hand, there were little things I liked here and there. Just little touches that I enjoyed. Like, I love how everybody is a fanboy for Captain America, even people on the street seem amazed to see him. And I liked the ending montage of fans being fans. Its good to see a comic book movie simply love being a comic book movie. Yeah, comic books aren't perfect and they suck in a lot of ways, but at least "the Avengers" is proud of its heritage and loves its fans. This was a movie made by a fan, I can see that. It has the heart a movie should have.
Oh, and if you're wondering what "shawarma" is after seeing "Avengers", I know. Its a Middle Eastern dish, where they have a rotating vertical tower of metal on a spit, and then they slice off strips to be used in wraps and stuff. The meat is delicious... I can't say the same for everything else. Israel's variety is actually way too hot for me, I just eat it plain. Wrap and meat, that's it.
So anyway, that was "Avengers". I did my patriotic duty and helped the economy by wasting two bucks and seeing this movie in 3D. Obama should give me a medal for that, because the 3D was again utterly pointless. Remember folks, the only way to save America is to spend money you don't have on stuff you don't need. Like tickets to this movie. "Avengers" was a good movie, that's all I can say. Unfortunately, its not a movie I loved, its not a movie that's going on the Best Of list at the end of the year. "John Carter" was just a little better. But who cares? "Avengers" was just a warm-up anyway for the real superhero movie of 2012. And I can't wait for that. I really cannot.
July 20th, he rises!
* There has been only one plot to a Transformers movie, but somehow three movies. How does that work? Idiots keep buying tickets, that's how.