Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday Review #3: The Avengers

I'm a little tardy to the party on this review.  Given how much it made in the first week in the US (and a week before that overseas) I'm probably one of the last people who went to see "The Avengers."  You'd think given the subject matter of this blog I'd be first in line, but I really wasn't that excited.  Just from reading professional and non-professional reviews, I think I could have reviewed the movie without having bothering to see it.  Because as former Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green once said, "They are who we thought they were!"

I figured this would be a movie that's fun to watch and that's about it.  And I wasn't wrong.  It's a fun thrill ride but if you want any kind of message, about all I can figure is that it was a  2-hour-plus seminar on the importance of teamwork.  It would probably be a lot more fun for employees to watch than most of those seminars.
Actually the movie paid even less lip service than I thought it would to issues brought up in previous movies like:  how's Thor going to get back to Earth? how's Captain America coping with being frozen for about 70 years? what's going on with Tony Stark and Pepper Potts?  The latter is probably dealt with a bit more than the former two.

If you don't know, the plot involves Loki, the god of mischief from Norse mythology who is Thor's brother.  After being banished, he makes contacts with some aliens somewhere.  The aliens need this magic cube (whose name I forget) in order to open a wormhole so the aliens can invade.  Loki materializes at the headquarters of SHIELD (a Men in Black type agency) and makes off with the cube, a top scientist, and SHIELD agent Clint "Hawkeye" Barton.

With that threat, Earth's Mightiest Heroes are assembled, starting with Captain America and Iron Man.  Dr. Bruce Banner, aka the Incredible Hulk, is lured into joining as well.  Thor shows up later even though the Bifrost bridge was destroyed in his movie.  Apparently dark energy magic or something can bring him over, which seems odd with how concerned they were in "Thor" at the end about him not being able to see his girlfriend again.

Anyway, our heroes manage to capture Loki, squabble among themselves, let Loki escape, and end up fending off an invasion in New York City.  Through it all, I think the most emotionally-charged moment was when Agent Coulson dies.  If you don't remember he was the first SHIELD agent in "Iron Man" back in 2008 and had a cameo in all the Marvel superhero movies leading up to this.  I guess I found it hard to feel all that concerned for our heroes when I already know they're all budgeted for a sequel of their respective movies plus "The Avengers 2."  It's like Peter Griffin quipped in the "Family Guy" parody of "The Empire Strikes Back":  We have four of the five main characters on this ship so I think we'll be fine.

If it sounds like I didn't like the movie that's not true.  I got my $4.50 out of it.  I'd probably even buy it later (on sale or used) because it's the kind of mindless action movie I usually watch when I'm on vacation.  I just can't say it's great as a film because it's not.  It's less mindless than the "Transformers" franchise or the upcoming "Battleship" but that ain't saying a lot.

On a philosophical point, I don't really like the whole concept of superheroes battling an alien invasion.  I think superheroes work better on a smaller canvas.  Like Batman vs. the Joker or Spider-Man vs. the Green Goblin.  Wars between nations or worlds should really be fought by armies.  Or if there is going to be an army like in the Star Wars movies for instance, it helps if you have a focal point to bring it down to more of an individual level, like Luke vs. Vader.  In this case Loki didn't make for much of a focal point because as the Hulk said he's a "puny god."  Unfortunately they'd killed off all the other villains along the way so I guess he was the best they could do.

On another philosophical point, I think this was the best appearance yet for the Hulk.  Maybe his comic book has been going for 50 years almost but it seems on the big screen he works best in small doses.  I suppose it's because at least on the big screen his schtick has been pretty limited:  Hulk smash and...yeah that's it.

Overall I'd give it 2.5/4 stars.  It's fun and will tide you over until the next thrill ride.

That is all.

Monday is a guest post by bestselling author Melissa Foster...


  1. I really enjoyed it. Pure entertainment and enjoyable spectacle. I thought it did a great job of putting the Marvel universe on film, and was probably the most comic-booky comic book movie I have yet seen, if that makes sense. Plus there were several action beats and character moments I absolutely loved.

  2. Since you already read my review, I suppose I don't have much else to say.

  3. *Sputter.* *Gasp* *Whips off glasses in dismay* *remembers he doesn't wear glasses, wonders whose glasses he's stolen, forgets about that because he's got something on his mind* *can't remember what he was going to say*

    I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. Much like The Avengers themselves! (Dibs on Thor!).

    You read my review, too -- I loved it. It's top 10 all time in movies. I'm okay with there not being a message or theme; sometimes I want a novel, sometimes I want a roller-coaster. I think the movie set out to be a big furious superhero thrill ride and achieved that.

    As for the alien invasion, I thought it was underwhelmining, to tell you the truth. Those guys were pretty slow on getting through that Tesseract (That's the cube, and I believe the hole in space.) But I like Superheroes vs aliens. I got bored with Batman and his gang-fights.

    ON a related note: Have you ever read David Brin's "Captain America meets Thor?" It was a comic book and I think it's free/cheap on Kindle. It's an incredible story that I won't ruin. You'd probably like that. There's a message.

  4. I really liked it. Did you stay to see Thanos and the Shwarma scene at the very end?

    1. Nah, I figured I'd just watch those on DVD so I wouldn't have to sit through 10 minutes of CGI company credits.

  5. Hi PT,
    A very thorough report on "The Avengers". My son watched it over here in England and thought it was a terrific film. He has just informed me he would definitely purchase it on DVD. Nice review and take care.

  6. I liked it more than you did I think, but I can't easily separate the 10 year old version of me from the adult me when it comes to any Marvel movies. Hell, I thought Electra was awesome. I suppose the David Hasselhoff Punisher movie wasn't perfect, but it had it's moments.

    1. David Hasselhoff Punisher movie? What the heck?
      I liked Electra.

      Cat Woman sucked, though. Probably worse than Green Lantern. Not as bad as Superman Returns.

  7. I haven't seen Avengers, but it sounds like they were trying to come up with something big (alien invasion) because they needed a reason to use all of those super heros. But I agree with your thoughts about heros and villians fighting one on one. It sounds better. Overall, I was surprised that the Avengers got so many good reviews because I didn't think it could work that well with all those super heros together.



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