I'm only here tonight because of you. You are the only reason I am. You are all my reasons.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

AVENGERS: Movie Review (for CFC)

I saw Avengers this weekend...

Wait, let me go back a bit further. 

Hide yo kids, hide yo wife... 'cause Nick Fury be all up in here!
In 2008, I saw Ironman in theaters.  It rocked. Then Nick Fury aka Samuel L. Jackson appeared after the credits and told Tony Stark about "The Avengers Initiative" - and comic book movies changed forever for me.  I no longer had a single movie to look forward to, but an entire series of them!  There weren't just crossed fingers in hopes of a sequel being greenlit - there were confirmed movies lined up for the next FOUR YEARS.

Plus two more!!

If you liked the Harry Potter movies, and were comforted by the fact that enough people loved the books to guarantee they'd make at least 7 films - you know a comfort many comic book fans never did.  I ADORED the X-Men (some comic books, but particularly the animated series) as a child.  I even gave myself Rogue-like highlights in my hair for 4 years of my adolescence.  When the X-Men movie was first announced, I was ecstatic!  And it turned out... pretty good.  I highly enjoyed it, despite silly one-liners from Halle Berry and unimpressive acting chops from Anna Paquin (she's a much better Sookie).  But those sequels were never a guarantee!

So many characters!

Until the Avengers.  Then we had at least one guaranteed introductory film for each major 
character - interspersed with hints and foreshadowing - all leading up to the Big Daddy film where they form their alliance and use all their badassery toward a common cause.  I waited four years and five movies for the Avengers.

And I saw Avengers this weekend.


And it was glorious.  I heard a lot of doubt whether the egos/plotlines/sheer beauty of all these larger-than-life actors AND their even larger characters could all share a screen and make a cohesive story and a believable team.  I mean Robert Downey Jr. could barely share the limelight with Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes... he acted over him, tore off his shirt to reveal a physique one wouldn't typically expect of an inspector in the late 1800s, and got the much hotter girl in the end.  How in the world could anyone expect RDJ - not to mention Tony Stark who is infinitely more egocentric than the man who plays him - to gracefully share the screen with Samuel L. Jackson (the man who is in every film ever made), Chris Hemsworth (the man so good-looking God had to take all the extra handsome that oozed out of him and make him a brother named Liam), Chris Evans (who has now played TWO superheroes in major motion pictures), Scarlett Johansen in skintight leather (she already had the curves going for her, but good God leather??), Mark Ruffalo (I know CFC is at least familiar with Mr. Sensitive), and Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner?  It seemed far-fetched, to say the least.
They're all battling... for your heart?

But by golly, not only did they make it work, but they made that exact discord a central plotline for movie.  Of course Tony Stark has issues with Thor - he's comparing himself to a demigod!  Of course straight-laced Captain America thinks Tony Stark is a douche spoiled brat!  And naturally Mark Ruffalo is going to get mad - it's frustrating when no one wants to be your friend, even if you are a ticking-time-bomb of green fury.  
Thor giving Tony the stinkeye
The central conflict really writes itself... and to be honest, it isn't a new concept.  The very first storyline in the Avengers comics was about the difficulty of forming a team between so many drastically different personalities and skill sets.  That's why so many superheroes prefer to go solo. 

Another aspect of the movie whose news got me giddy as an anime Japanese schoolgirl was the announcement of Joss Whedon directing it.  I've loved that man's work almost as long as I've loved comic book heroes: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is still one of my favorite shows of all time.  Joss is notorious for his extremely clever scripts and excellent pacing.  Avengers was no disappointment in either of these departments.  A 2.5 hour movie has the potential to feel very long... and drawn out... and unending... But no.  I never felt that eye-rolling moment of "Ok, we get it - nobody likes Loki.  Move on please."  

So. Shiny... and black.
So my overall recommendation is twofold: if you enjoy action movies - and in particular comic book hero stories - this is essentially the best one yet.  My co-worker Jeff described best: "They've made plenty of superhero movies before, but I think the Avengers was the first comic book movie ever made."  Comic books are difficult to translate to film.  The X-Men and Spiderman franchises really proved that.  Movie Studios want to appeal to the broadest audience possible, and so they compromise a lot of comic book lore in order to make the story/characters "more believable" or at the very least less cheesy.  So instead you get the slinky black leather suits in X-Men (with Wolverine quipping "What'd you expect, yellow spandex?" umm, YES WE DID) which really only serve to make the heroes look a bit like villains.  
Waaah, having superpowers is so HARD!
We also get Spiderman 2, where Peter Parker struggles to have a real social life while simultaneously being Spiderman.  Of course this makes Peter Parker relatable to moviegoers dealing with their own hectic lives, but that's not exactly the point of comic book heroes.  We want them to save us, to provide an escape from the cruelties of our own lives, giving hope that someone does have the power to save the world from evil.  We don't want to see him crying into his spaghetti-o's.  Avengers gives us these heroes - flaws and all - and still creates an escape for its viewers, reassuring us that in the event aliens do invade from another dimension,  someone's got our back.  And they wear colorful costumes dammit, and they don't look stupid.  In fact, there's even a nod in the film to the original purpose of loud, flamboyant superhero costumes: they're iconic for a reason.  People see it and feel hope.
Captain America.... in Germany.  Somehow still instilling hope in the People!
My second recommendation is for those of you like Lindsey who feel kind of ho-hum about the whole comic book/superhero genre.  I think you'll still really enjoy it!  It's a great story, well-written script, loads of action with plenty of humor sprinkled in, and all the attractive people you could ask for (ScarJo & Cobie Smuthers in skintight suits, plus more man candy than you'll find in a Babe Ruth factory)!  You might not be in full freak-out mode like I was all movie long, but you should walk out feeling like your $12 and 2.5 hours were well spent.

The only thing it was missing?  More of this action...
Thor asking Natalie to have his sweet demigod babies...
Can I get an Amen??  (Or whatever they say in Asgard...)


Post a Comment