Movie Review – The Avengers
I’ve actually been sitting and delaying my writing a review for The Avengers for almost a day, having seen it in 3D at midnight on opening night. It’s because I was torn. So much of the movie I really enjoyed, then what I didn’t…. I really didn’t. And it took me a while to figure out why. I went to the show with someone who knows comics, but doesn’t know the ins and outs of the Avengers universe. She knows the characters, but not specific details, so being able to discuss it with her has been interesting and helped me figure out my issues with the film.
The movie is uneven to me. Some great action parts are followed with slow scenes that drag on. There’s awkward pauses and lines that sound like horrible B movie material. Special effects at times have the same result. The parts of the movie that work, work really well, and the rest, feel like a Joss Whedon television show. And there’s the rub and what my issue is… I’m not a Whedon fan. I didn’t enjoy Buffy, Angel, Firefly or Serenity. And his rather small scale of the past at times shows in a big budget film like this.
The first quarter of the movie, up until they’re all on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarier is rubbish. The acting is bad, the lines laughable, and pacing completely off. Scenes make no sense and things aren’t explained (we’ll get back to that). It’s not until Thor’s arrival the movie takes off and then everyone’s “A” game begins to show. It takes Loki (a brilliant scene chewing Tom Hiddleston) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to get everyone else to step up a bit.
But, I come back to the plot which have holes that giant mechanical space worms could fit through and questions that aren’t addressed at all. Here’s a few:
What happened to Loki at the end of Thor?
How did Thor arrive since the Bifrost bridge was destroyed?
Who the hell are Loki’s army and why do they give a shit about Earth?
What is the way too many numerous plans that Nick Fury references as if we’re supposed to know them?
Who is the Council and why do they have a say in anything? And why is a “world council” all white?
The highlights of the movie are Tom Hiddleston as Loki and the Hulk (not Ruffalo, but the CGI beast). Both steal the show. This is really the definition of a summer popcorn movie. Go in without notions, turn your brain off and watch things blow up and ignore the plot holes and lack of explanation of anything. But, even attempting to do that, I still wondered at times “What would Michael Bay do?” And the fact I did that got me to pause. Whedon is talented, but his lack of experience on this scale shows.
Direction: As explained above, this was the Joss Whedon show. There’s a pop culture zing at times and some great interaction, but it all seemed a bit too cutesy. This was The Avengers done Buffy. The tone was much more “comic booky” than the previous films. There were some great moments, even in the quieter times. Lines zinged along and punchy dialogue that’d make Kevin Smith’s head spin. Whedon though falls in the action part. The end battle uses shaky cam way too much, when a steadier shot would do. Special effects look like a Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie. This wasn’t the quality we’ve seen from those previously at the helm. Grade: 6
Acting: Hiddleston steals the show chewing every scene but not coming off as a goof. He’s excellent as Loki, much as he was in his previous appearance in the role. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man is at his arrogant best. Chris Evans does quite well as Steve Rogers/Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Thor continues the quality he showed off in his own movie. It was a CGI Hulk though that got the crowd going and I expect to see his own movie again in a few year’s time. The rest of the cast did their job not adding anything, but also not taking away from the enjoyment. Grade: 7
Plot: Holes the size of that giant thing at the end. So much not addressed, so many questions not answered. There’s just issues and issues here. Turn your brain off for this one. Grade: 5
Overall: The movie really sums up the issues many perceive of comics. It’s popcorn entertainment for kids that doesn’t challenge the mind. There’s also another issue that’s a problem for comics. This was one part of a multi-part story started in Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor. Much is left unanswered and not explained expecting you to have seen those movies. I get asked by my friends where to start to read comics, and often I’m left not sure of the answer. To me, this movie has a similar problem. Can you see it by itself? Sure. Is it coherent if you do? Not really. Marvel attempted to do something impressive with this movie by having a shared movie universe. But, in this execution, they fell a bit short. The movie is fun and enjoyable and definitely for the big screen where the giant explosions will get you to stop thinking for just a tiny bit. Overall Grade: 7