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'The Avengers' Directed By Joss Whedon

A movie Directed by Joss Whedon

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Movie Goers... ASSEMBLE!

  • May 4, 2012
Rating:
+4
The Avengers is pretty much a summer blockbuster through and through.  If there were a rule book for summer blockbusters, The Avengers would've written it.  Cheesy one liners?  Check.  Dumb plot?  Check.  Flat characters?  Sort of check (they're not that flat, but this is assuming you've seen their respective films).  Tons of stupid, mindless explosions?  Check.  Pointless strange deus ex machina that comes out of nowhere?  Check.  Fun action sequences?  Triple check.  Overtly obvious cliches that make just about everything you see predictable?  Check.  In any other movie this would make it really terrible.  For The Avengers?  This is all the stuff that makes it really GOOD.

There's not much point in talking abou the plot of The Avengers.  If you're honestly going to see it for that something is wrong with you.  And it's every bit as dumb and cheesy as you'd expect it to be.  Complete with one liners, cheesy jokes and dialog and just about anything else you'd expect.  It is a movie that pretty much goes by the book on all things Summer Blockbuster.  This is going to make the movie so enjoyable for some they will be having what is commonly referred to as a "nerdgasm" for quite a long time.  For others it's going to be akin to sitting through... well, Michael Bay's Transformers movies.  Luckily, it's not bad like those movies. And we'll talk about that.

So I'll start by saying I actually did like this movie a lot.  It's a cheesy action flick through and through.  Although within the first fifteen minutes or so you know what you're in for.  By the time I heard the main villain say, "An ant has no grievances with a boot," and Nick Fury respond with, "So are you going to stomp on us," (or something like that) I already crossed, "Cheesy one-liners," off the list.  And some of them are funny.  Others make it seem like the movie is trying too hard.  Jokes concerning Captain America and Thor being in a world unlike the ones they're used to also just get old really fast and annoying.  But the movie seems to know this as at some point it just stops doing it all together.  And that's kind of what I appreciate about The Avengers.  It knows when it's pushing the envelope and when it should just step on the gas pedal and keep going.

The first third or so of the movie is nothing special.  The Avengers is a movie that is often referred to as "Fan-Service."  We're not watching it for plot, story, character or anything like that.  You're watching it because you want to get a glimpse of your favorite character or because you want to be able to catch onto all those references and whatnot.  And the movie isn't afraid to throw them at you.  If you didn't see the respective movies the characters come from then you are going to be a little lost and confused at some of the jokes and references.  Likewise, many of the moments of dialog are quite forgettable.  The downtime between the action is nothing special.

But the action?  Holy hell it's definitely some of the best damn action you'll ever see in a movie.  Not just this year, but probably ever.  It's a film that takes place in the Marvel Universe itself.  It's over-the-top, it's very... comic book like.  And that's part of the reason there are some balance issues in my mind.  Because even other Marvel Movies have set the comic book genre up so high that some things are hard to get around.  The action is frantic and fierce.  Yet at the same time, so much else the movie does is pretty run of the mill.  The whole, "The team gets together and doesn't like each other... only to realize that they have to work together to destroy evil," is ALWAYS an annoying thing.  But once again... NOT in the Avengers.  It's really entertaining watching as Tony Stark and Captain America take shots at each other like dogs while Thor sits there and watches and laughs (because he's a God so why does he care which of them is stronger) whilst watching Bruce Banner try not to get pissed off.  It's actually some entertaining stuff.  It is hard NOT to laugh and be entertained by this.  It's just THAT good of a moment to watch.  And I'm glad the movie doesn't try too hard to get the audience invested.  It pretty much screams at you, "Yeah, we're not even going to try... so sit back and enjoy, okay?"  And enjoy we do.  Until we start getting into The Avengers bigger problems.

And about the only major problem The Avengers has that I really couldn't bring myself to get over is that the movie is just too long.  The final action sequence which lasts for way too long as it is, eventually devolves into absurdity and ridiculousness because it pads itself out.  The deus ex machina at the end (and I never forgive those, no matter how much my friends tell me I should in this instance) is far too much to handle.  By the time it happens I was only glad that finally the big overtly long action sequence was over... only for there to be more movie.  At least it's a quick resolution and leaves itself open for more.  And you'll probably be craving more.  The movie is long and at some point some of the action in that final sequence gets to be repetitive if only because you can only handle so many explosions in one movie.

It was actually hard to get invested in the movie until about the second act where we see a glorious action scene play out where the ship The Avengers have assembled on gets attacked.  And this is only because it's finally skipped over all the introductions.  It's a tense, very rollicking scene that is easily the best part of the movie.  It doesn't last too long.  And yeah, we know how EVERYTHING in The Avengers turns out, but at least most of this is entertaining stuff.  There's nothing in The Avengers that will throw you for a loop.  Again, a lot of it feels like the cheesy 60's and 70's superhero cartoons you probably watched as a child.  It's going to garner laughs, applause and smiles all around. 

Again, though, that doesn't mean some of it doesn't grate on my nerves.  As I said, a lot of it I could take because it's still very entertaining.  But some parts are too over-the-top, and convenient.  At least the movie doesn't come at you trying to be something more than that... but if this were any movie OTHER than The Avengers, it would've been something that would've been ripped to shreds by just about everyone.  And that's part of what bothers me.  Not that I liked it, but that if it had any other title I would most definitely have hated it.  But because I was seeing some fantastic characters and even some fantastic acting going on, it was hard not to like, cheesiness and all.  And yes, the movie is filled to the brim with plotholes that are generally answered with things like, "Well, you see... it's a comic book, that's why."  Again, if any other movie were like that... most of us sitting here would hate it.  We'd never accept an answer like that.  But for The Avengers you kind of have to accept that answer because... yeah it's a fucking comic book!  It's what makes it very difficult to decide whether or not I merely liked this movie or if I LOVED it.  But so far, I'm leaning a lot closer to, "I loved it."

It's implausible, ridiculous, absurd, over the top and (let's face it) stupid.  But it's a hard movie not to like because from the very outset it puts on the table what it is.  It's pretty much telling you, "If you expected anything other than this you're a moron."  The movie doesn't take itself too seriously.  It's not afraid to even have the heroes joke around with each other and themselves.  This movie tells you at every turn that this isn't something meant to be taken seriously.  And you know what?  You might as well believe it.  It's the only way you're going to love it and the only way you'll enjoy it.  A few moments are annoying but the action, the visuals, the acting, the charisma from the characters and (especially) the humor really help make the movie work and somehow sell it. 

Of course, the downside is that you can bet your ass so many people in the future will take that as a sign that ANY stupid movie will work.  What I think is hard is WHY this one actually does work.  The Avengers is, by no means, genius.  It's FAN SERVICE.  This is all the movie is.  And again, in the past this has been something that has annoyed the ever living hell out of me (see Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children).  But the things that help it along in this regard, really help it along.  The fact that it keeps the continuity in tact (meaning, seeing those other movies is REALLY important) means we don't have to spend so much time visiting with these characters and "getting to know them."  We already do.  The fact that the continuity, as well as the characters themselves, are consistent with this is better.  It's less like a whole new movie and more like the best crossover thing you've ever seen.  It's good.  It's VERY good.  The point as to WHY The Avengers works is actually simple: The movie is self aware of just how stupid it is.  And I know that many take "stupid" to be an insult, but here it's actually a compliment.  The movie isn't taking itself seriously and invites the audience to share in its absurdity. 

This is what separates The Avengers from something like say... the new Transformers.  Michael Bay's Transformers seems to think it's ABOUT something (or trying to be).  It's an absurd and stupid movie... but it tries to take itself seriously, even in moments when it shouldn't.  It tries to illicit feelings that it simply hasn't even tried to prepare the audience for.  In The Avengers?  We'll be right in the middle of the fight and Tony Stark is cracking jokes.  At one moment where Tony says, "I'm bringing the party to you," and leads the HUGE baddie to them, Black Widow simply utters, "That's not a party," and the fight continues.  There's no pause to let the audience know they're supposed to laugh, the action just presses on as though to say, "If you're not laughing you're pretty much missing the big picture here."  And sure enough, you probably are.

Which is more or less The Avengers's only other problem.  It ONLY seems to invite those who ARE in on the joke.  Who ARE in on the absurdity.  It is going to turn away just as many people as it invites in.  On the other hand, it's not quite as overbearing in it's fanservice as other movies are.  As long as you at least popped in Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk (all of which are readily available on DVD, Blu-Ray and some even on Netflix) then you're good to go.  It's all  you need to prepare yourself for The Avengers.  It's not "for the fans," the way Watchmen is (in the sense that ONLY fans of the graphic novel could really enjoy it) but it is "for the fans," in the sense that some people are going to walk away, scratching their heads unsure what all the fuss is about.  What separates this from say... Watchmen in the fan service department is that movie goers don't have to go beyond film.  There's no, "Well, if you read the comics," type stuff going on here.  That dosen't mean it doesn't stand to alienate people, but it does mean that you don't necessarily have to be Comicbook Guy from The Simpsons to be able to enjoy it.  I don't know about you, but that's actually a really hard thing to do with a movie such as this.  It works because it's more upfront about what it is, and those who see it don't have to go diving into a different medium they have little or no interest in jumping into.  It's hard balancing act but Joss Whedon manages it.  Though it might still turn away a few, it still has that, "Anyone can access it," feel.

As usual for Marvel studios, there are some things that will never change.  There's a little too much ragdoll stuff.  I've never really been impressed with Marvel doing this, but I can live with it.  Also, as is usual for Marvel studios... stick around after the credits.  Of all the "Easter Eggs," to follow the credits of any of their films this is BY FAR the best one.  It compliments the movie in the BEST way possible and is the one "After Credits Easter Egg," you SHOULD NOT MISS!

To sum it up... GO AND SEE THIS MOVIE!  It is crafted so carefully and knows EXACTLY what it is.  It's stupid, it's crazy and over the top... but this is WHY you should go and see it!  Grab a ticket, sit down and enjoy.  It's a little long, but it's worth the time.

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December 24, 2012
Thanks for sharing.
 
May 12, 2012
I love the way you have separated the fun with the substance. I also contend it is a popcorn fun movie, but some of the scriptwriting is favorable, but not perfect.
 
May 06, 2012
Whedon is one director that I have always liked. Sure, he isn't that special in writing yet (I read his X-Men comic books) but I do like the way he is able to get pass the cliches and aim the movie through the perfect timing through dialogue. I still wished that they fully adapted the "Ultimates" storyline with Loki and a look how the real world would apply to the Avengers.
 
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Sean A. Rhodes ()
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I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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The Avengers is the title planned for an American superhero film yet to be produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It was announced in April 2005 and is to be based upon the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. The film is intended to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which crosses over several Marvel superhero films including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo are under contract to star, with Joss Whedon attached to direct a script written by Zak Penn and himself. The Avengers has an announced release date of May 4, 2012 in 3-D
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Details

Director: Joss Whedon
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: May 4 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Joss Whedon
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios
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"Something to Marvel at"
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