The Avengers Spoiler-Free Movie Review

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

I remember that at some point while watching the movie Thor I had to remind myself the only reason I should endure the shoddy, slow, and understandably bland film is so that I could at least somehow get the full background on the upcoming Avengers movie. It felt like having to go through looking for that final Transformer toy that I didn't really want save for the fact that it's necessary to build a bigger better toy.

For the case of The Avengers, I wasn't even sure the final combined product would be awesome. Still, it was worth a gamble. The Avengers has always been THE movie to watch out for. There are probably more people waiting for it than the second coming. Was it hyped? Hell yes. Did it live to the hype? Simple put, still a hell yes.

I'm not a big fanboy of Marvel characters. I never was. I played trading card games as a kid. I watch movies. I try to read comic books when I get my hands on them, but I don't go out of my way to read up on each and every character. I don't bitch when I see the movies deviate from the comic books. I'm one of those people who are just happy to see their characters come on screen in a level of quality that's better than the 70s era Captain America cartoons which might as well have been cut-outs from comic books.

The Avengers in its simplest sense is action porn made for people like me. There's the usual foreplay, the witty/campy one liners, and then there's the nonstop action that people never get tired of. The thing is, it actually works better that way. Remember the last time Ang Lee thought that maybe, just maybe, humanizing these childhood comic book superheroes would make for better movies? The result was The Incredible Hulk starring in his own soap opera set in the middle of the fucking desert where the worst damage he can do is punch a couple of sand dunes. Seriously man, fuck that movie.

But that was a long time ago.

The Avengers is a movie that pulls no stops in showing the craziest fight scenes any comic book writer could think of. At times, it felt like a high-definition version of somebody's fanfiction where instead of fictional characters from different storyworlds makeout homoerotically, they beat the living daylights out of each other. And to see that is actually one helluva treat. The characters and the plot areonly built up just enough so you know who the characters are and that there's some point to doing whatever they're doing and everything else is just carried on by a torrent of fast-paced one liner witticisms and well, as I haven't stressed enough, ass kicking.

I've heard of a lot of people complaining how some scenes just get ridiculous, like how the military or the conventional forces seemed so feeble and weak and even lacking in presence. That's just fine. Let's just not forget that these movies are coming out of COMIC BOOKS. We're not watching Saving Private Ryan. We're watching superheroes do their thing, and if it takes a ridiculously comical set of normal humans to make every scene with a superhero in it look great, so be it.

The balancing of aspects worked really well for The Avengers. I honestly think whoever wrote the story did exceptionally well in three main aspects.

1. The Avengers basically weaves the Ironman, Thor, Hulk, Captain America universes together. Not only do they have to mesh in a way that the movie doesn't  sound like an acid trip, it has to be entertaining. That's double digit crazy right there.

2. Let's face it. Hawkeye sucks. Nobody likes Hawkeye. But they have to somehow make him just as useful as say, the God of Goddamn Lightning, Thor. Powers and roles have to be balanced. And that's just what happened. By some miracle, Hawkeeye actually doesn't (completely) suck.

3. The Avengers is largely catering to the generations that grew up admiring these heroes. On the other hand, kids will be watching the movie as well. It's hard to figure out how you can make a movie with enough action to make the adults punchgasm while squirming in their seats and avoid wanton violence that would make the (non-fan)parents of children avoid the movie.

The true strength of The Avengers is that 5 or 6 movies later, Marvel already knows what people want and that's what they're packing this time around. It's a great balance of funny moments and action packed sequences that drive the adventure down your gut with the ferocity of Captain America's F'ck Yeah Punch. No more Ang Lee drama bullshit. Just action.

The bad part? It's that same strength. Deep down inside, when you think about it, The Avengers has a plot so straightforward, if you took it and replaced the characters that didn't have as much buildup as Marvel characters, everybody would probably dump it as a B-movie. But because there's just so much nostalgia, so much buy in, we're made to think that it's all good. Like if the Pope, Obama, and Lady Gaga went onstage at the same time, it wouldn't really matter why they are on the stage at the same time. It's that they're there, and you ARE going watch it even if they just stand there and wave at the audience for an hour.

But you know what? That's perfectly fine.

Avengers is like that great party at the end of a big race. The less you take it seriously the more awesome it gets.

And that's really the bottomline of comicbook storylines.

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