Sunday, 13 May 2012
The Avengers Commentary
A friend of mine saw this on the first weekend and said it was nothing more than you expect it to be but more than you want it to be. I would change that to it being not everything you want it to be but about what you expect it to be. Over the past few years, we have been innundated with comic book movies; especially the lead ups to this one. So we've come to expect a certain formula of action, comedy and more action with fairly thin stories. That's pretty much what we get. We also get a lot of hype and (at least I do anyway) seem to want something that is going to come out of left field and absolutely blow our minds. Instead, we get decent effects and lots of things getting destroyed. And we're OK with that. The Avengers doesn't do anything that the others leading up to it didn't do. It just took all of them and made them into one movie. But it did it well. There's good and bad but the net result is positive.
Being an ensemble story from other movies, they have to spend way too much time getting them all together. As a result, the story takes too long to get going and I had to wait too long to see the destruction and smart assery from Robert Downey Jr that I used good Scene points on. There's too much time spent reintroducing characters. If you haven't seen the others, you should know better than to come into this one completely blind. But once it gets going, it moves well.
Second, the characters and acting is pretty much what you would expect. You get over the top dialogue from Thor, great, sardonic wit from Tony Stark and the Great American heroism from Captain America (even though they don't throw American values as global values at you which I appreciated). You also get a very good villain performance with Tom Hiddleston as Loki. The best decision though was casting Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. And it pains me to say that because I am an Ed Norton fan and thought the Incredible Hulk was the best of the lead ins. I was disappointed to hear he wouldn't be included in the Avengers. But the way they took the Bruce Banner character would not have been good for Norton. Ruffalo does a fantastic job as a more neurotic, mild mannered Banner than Norton did or could play. So I'm happy with that. I am not happy, though, with Scarlett Johannsen. Her character was completely useless right down to fighting the invaders with tiny handguns. Her performance was even worse. It was wooden, lifeless and all attempts at comic relief were downright terrible. That is outweighed by two absolutely fantastic comic moments from the Hulk that I will giggle about for a long time yet.
Finally, a couple of observations. First, am I the only one who sees a huge logic flaw with having a flying aircraft carrier as a headquarters? I mean, come on! The only added element was making it fly and, therefore adding one more way it could become a disaster. Second, the battle resolution is stolen straight from another action movie (I won't spoil it by saying which) and lacked any originality. But it was visually cool and it's a comic book movie so I can let that slide.
So, it lacked some originality and surprise. So what? We got to see stuff explode and laugh at Robert Downey Jr doing the only thing he can: be an a-hole. And that's really the only reason we go see these movies. So see it.