Monday, May 14, 2012

Earth's Mightiest Movie - The Review!


It's been over a week since Marvel's latest and arguably greatest movie hit the theaters. The Avengers is getting raves all around, from fans and from civilians alike. It's great to read that about a superhero movie without the inevitable sound effects nonsense which has infused so many of them over the decades. These films have become so common that those cliches, long tiresome to us fanboys, have at long last become tiresome to the regular folks too. So hopefully we can put a fork in that at least.

Now to the movie. I'll break it down into the good, the bad, and the ugly. Spoilers are in operation at this moment, so tread carefully.


The GOOD:

All of the Avengers are well realized on screen, with all getting good screen time and plenty of moments to show their mettle. Iron Man is the big cheese in this movie, but Cap gets lots of great stuff to do and Thor swinging his hammer is a treat I never expected to see on the big screen. Seeing the Big Three together was the big thrill of the movie.

Iron Man is a great movie character, with Robert Downey Jr. making the most of a fantastic part. He's smarmy and charming all at once, the perfect expression of the "billionaire playboy". I like how Stark's intellect is his real superpower.

Thor was better than I expected. His solo movie was the weakest of the lot so far despite awesome Destroyer action, but as part of an ensemble here Chris Hemsworth looks good and seems more mature as a character than in the first movie. But then given the events of that story that makes sense.

Cap looks a tad cheesy, but his costume is impossible to film. The buccaneer boots will never work. Chris Evans seemed a bit restrained in this movie, the stiff personality of Steve Rogers maybe getting lost a smidge among all the goofballs on the team. There is not real chance for Cap to grow here. He is fully realized as a hero. But his action scenes are fantastic.

Black Widow was a real surprise, offering up good action and the deepest emotional investment of the movie. Scarlett Johansson was really good in a part I expected to amount to nothing. If not for the Hulk, I suspect folks might be talking about how she stole this movie.

Hawkeye was a surprise since he's a "villain" half way through it. That works given his reformed nature in the comic. Jeremy Renner does a solid job with a part that doesn't really dig very deep. Hawkeye is the least developed of the lot, and that's the script not the acting.

Hulk steals the show. That's what many say and I have to agree. He gets most of the big laughs with is sucker punch on Thor and his whipping Loki around like a wet sock. The Hulk is fun, but I didn't find the acting of Mark Ruffalo as impressive as some. I'll reserved judgment on that for now.

Loki is danged good, offering up excellent villain talk throughout and taking his lumps with aplomb. I was startled by the bloodletting in this movie, given the way it's been marketed to kids. But that's not Hiddletson's problem. His plan seemed a bit obvious to me, even if it was doomed to failure.

Nick Fury is excellent and it's nice after all the tease scenes to have Sam Jackson chewing up the scenery in his typical manner for extended periods. He's the perfect actor this kind of stuff, and his profile added to the cache of these projects early on.

Clark Gregg is good too, and his demise is a surprise to me. I knew someone was dying in this movie, but I had Hawkeye pegged for the role, or maybe the Widow. I did not see this coming and it was one real genuine surprise. A heart tug too as Agent Coulson has been built up neatly over the course of these flicks.

Thanos! Very good indeed.


The BAD:

Not a lot of bad. But I did find a few things.

The story is not well explained, especially the Cosmic Cube/Tessarect maguffin. The story is properly dire but the means by which the aliens are dispatched is too easy given how dangerous they seem to be. It's a common problem with these sorts of things, an enemy is established as dangerously overwhelming but in the end the hero must prevail.

I'm confused about what the plan was exactly if the powers-that-be hadn't sent a nuke into the war zone which the heroes liberated for their own uses. Filling the Boom Tube/portal with alien wreckage wasn't working all that well.

Deus ex machina is a tried and true solution, but it always leaves a bit of an unsatisfying taste. I'll pay more attention when I see this movie again, though that points to a deficiency right away.


The UGLY:

The Aliens are a disappointment to me. They are plenty monstery and stuff, but lack distinction. All of them look alike (hive-like I guess) and they are dispatched with little sense on the audience's part about what they might think, feel, or such. Perhaps it's asking too much, but they seemed like what they clearly were, a device to pit the assembled heroes against. More detail here would've paid big dividends on the ending, as I doubt money was the issue.

The Alien whale battleships are a neat device, but I got a little tired of them by the end of the battle. They were formidable right up until they didn't need to be anymore. Again, a classic problem with world-beating plots.


I give movie a full-blooded recommendation. I was swept away, and I enjoyed it mightily. But it was not the best superhero movie by any means. I might even go so far to say that last summer's Captain America hit more of my fanboy buttons in that regard, and none of the Marvel flicks has yet to hold a candle to Christopher Reeve and his Man of Steel. That's the gold standard still.

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