Sunday, May 13, 2012

Review of The Avengers

The Avengers is rule-breaking for me in two ways:  For one, I saw it in the theater.  Regular readers to my blog know that I tend to stay away from theaters because I don't want to reward Hollywood for putting out overdone, over-hyped, and ultimately shoddy films.  However, the reactions I was hearing from varying and different sources were so in the positive that I decided to forgo this rule and see it in the theater.

It was also rule-breaking for me in that I saw it in 3D.  Normally I don't see movies in 3D because I feel that it's Hollywood's way to squeezing out even more of our money for a movie that didn't really need it.  In fact, I think most movies in 3D nowadays don't need it.  Toy Story 3 was an example of this.  I got talked into seeing it in 3D, and I was upset with myself afterwards for having wasted my money!  LOL  Anyway, The Avengers is worth seeing in 3D. 

Okay, now for the obligatory:

******WARNING! Spoiler alert!******
The rest of this blog entry contains spoilers from the movie The Avengers!  If you haven't seen the movie yet and don't want what's in it spoiled for you - especially the ending! - then

STOP READING NOW!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Notice all the exclamation points!  I'm totally serious about this! 

First, let me say that I was most impressed with the characterization of all the people in the movie.  Every one of them had their own personality that wasn't forced, contrived, or gratuitous.  Most excellent!  The story flowed like water, and made for a fun, fun ride!

Gosh, where to begin?  Let me start out by saying that the actor who played Loki did an excellent job, which he had to do, because he was carrying this movie as the reason that this group of borderline antisocial oddballs had to join together to stop him.  He was even better than in the movie Thor.  In Thor, you could partially understand why he turned out the way he did, but what Loki most suffered was a personality flaw - plain and simply, he was jealous of Thor, and that's what showed here.

And I still can't get over how fun it is for Robert Downey Jr. to play Tony Stark!  He was made for the role - especially given that he and the character he plays both suffered bouts with substance abuse - so maybe that's why RD Jr works so well as Tony Stark.  He's a odd and very entertaining combination of smug and yet self-depreciating with a dash of a perfect sense of timing when delivering his lines. 

Then there's the Hulk!  O! M! G!  That was the Best. Hulk. EVER!  That scene in which he first Hulked out and was chasing the Black Widow was by far one of the most scariest and most exciting scenes I've seen in a long, long time!  Damn, it was terrifying and yet fun!  That scene, by the way, reminded me of the very first Indiana Jones movie, in which Indy is being chased by that huge boulder.  But a rampaging Hulk in pursuit is far scarier!  More of this Hulk, please!  He totally made you forget the other Hulk movies! 

And Black Widow's reaction afterwards was so perfect!  Here she was played as a tough-ass hard-as-nails woman who could stare down Dr Doom, and immediately after this chase, she was curled up almost in a fetal position and shaking, trying to compose herself!  It was when she was called for assistance when she finally got her wits together and went back into the fight.  But still, who wouldn't have this reaction after being chased down by the gosh-durned friggin' HULK!

Speaking of Black Widow, I worried that she was just going to be the token hot chick for the movie, but she had that one excellent scene in which she used Loki's arrogant and condescending personality against him to reveal his true plans!   I loved it! 

It was really great to see Captain America in action, being the athletic super soldier that he was made to be.  The one thing that I wished they explored is his adjustment to being almost 70 years into his future.  He seemed very well adapted to modern life after being out of circulation since 1945.  Imagine suddenly waking up in the year 2082 and see how well you adjust to the changes!  Still, this movie wasn't about exploring Cap's adjustment to 2012 as it was about a group of extraordinary individuals banding together to stop the takeover of the world. 

Cap, however, was in one of my favorite scenes.  In one scene, he was barking orders to everyone, and when he got to the Hulk, he pointed to the Hulk and said: "Hulk!  Smash!", to which the Hulk simply grinned an evil grin, and the kind of grin that would make even an Asgardian god shit his pants! 

Well, I could go on about the individual characterizations, but I should go ahead and hit upon the story itself.  One line that I must bring up here was when Loki demanded that a group of people kneel to him.  One older gentleman said, "Not to a man like you!"  Loki sneered, "There are no men like me!", to which the older gentleman replied "No, there are always men like you!" 

How many of us would have that kind of courage in our day and age, especially since so many of us have been lulled into basically a compliant stupor because of the many abundances that we enjoy?  What would happen to us as a society if it was all taken away?  I think a great many of us would die at the onset with a great many more dying immediately afterwards in the chaos that would ensue after some great cataclysmic event.  Anyway, kudos to Joss Whedon for putting that line in there, because I think there's too many of our society forgetting that there was a Holocaust, or at least forgetting the lessons that came from it.

Joss really kept us on the seat of our pants, and it made you forget that the movie was 2 hours long.  The lesson here, though, is that in the face of the kinds of menaces that can inflict our world, we all need to put our various and personal agendas aside and unite to fight a common foe.  While this movie was about people with extraordinary abilities, such a responsibility for the defense and protection of our world belongs to us all - whether or not we can throw semis half a mile or shoot lasers from our eyes. 

It's a message, in other words, that we should heed today.  In our day and age, we are getting increasingly tribal; clustering into our individual interest groups and creating all these little worlds in which we get more and more isolated from each other; which is ironic, given that technology has given us all a greater means of getting in touch with each other.  I see lots of people getting together for lunch, but they spend just as much time texting and tweeting on their cellphones as they do talking face to face with each other.  Do we need a Loki in our lives to shake us from our comfortable little worlds and back into reality?  Let's hope that it won't take that before we wake up from our self-induced stupors, because when you think about it, if the attack on 9/11 didn't shake us to our senses, then I dread to know what will. 

On a scale of 1 to 10 in which 1 is a bomb and 10 is THE bomb, I give The Avengers a 9.5.  Friends, it's that good.  And you can bet your Spiderman Underoos that I'm gonna buy the DVD when it comes out!  Whoohoo!

No comments: