10 Random Thoughts About “The Avengers”

18May12

I saw it and assembled (thank you) some feelings. We all have feelings, right?

1.) I liked it. But…

2.) I didn’t love it. Since leaving the theater, I’ve been mulling it over as to exactly why. I’ve been struggling to remember parts I liked, and then it hit me: that’s the problem. The events of this movie feel very disposable. It was a story designed to “assemble” the Avengers. That’s all. But we all knew that this was going to happen, so there’s no tension. So there’s no stakes. So nothing’s really going on. I thought parts were funny, some parts were cool/exciting, and other parts were way too talky. In fact…

3.) Speeches, by definition, are too long. I would have to see it again to be sure, but it felt like there were at least two instances where two characters (usually some good guy and Loki) had a long, calm conversation while utter destructive chaos happens around them. Or next door. Either way, they know it’s happening, so you’d think they would be more worked up about it. Nick Fury takes two conference calls during the most amazing battle in history, and doesn’t seem fazed by it. I guess they’ve been raring to say this stuff, so no amount of giant green monsters tearing up the hovercraft is going to stop them.

4.) Lame villain. Or at least lame villainy. I don’t know much about his character (which is another thought, by the way), but Loki seems to be of the standard smiling-villain variety. And standard is a kindness. For a guy with magical powers who seems to be a kind of trickster, Loki didn’t do much that wasn’t completely predictable. His plan didn’t seem to make sense (he wants to rule Earth because… he wants to rule something?) and what’s kind of worse is that he can’t make a convincing, charming argument for his own victory. I generally believe that the best villain plans are the ones that make 99% sense to the common man, but it’s that 1% that makes them evil (example: the Joker believes the world is unfair, and that a world of chaos would allow everything to fall into its natural fair order. OK, sure, I can see that in this world. Exceeeeeeeeeeeept for the mass murders. That’s where he loses you). Loki tries to convince the world that they want to be subservient, and it’s almost a good argument, but he uses words like “slave” and “kneel” too much. If he’d just focused on the parts about how much easier the world would be without free will, he might have won some arguments.

ALSO… he’s magical, but he needs to ride a jeep to get out of that base?

5.) Characters? My big thing in movies lately has been character introductions, and noticing how great movies introduce great characters in a great way. Think of how we meet Indiana Jones at the beginning of “Raiders.” He’s at MAXIMUM Indiana-Jones-ness. Search for artifacts, whip-crack, hat, steps out of the shadows. Bam. Big introduction. Now try to remember how we meet the “larger than life” characters in “The Avengers.” Captain America’s punching a punching bag, Iron Man’s… doing something under water. Bruce Banner is curing sick people. Thor’s riding the lightning. Hawkeye is sitting. Black Widdow is getting beaten up in a fake interrogation (I liked that part though). They’re not brought in at their maximum them-ness, so it slows the momentum. Sure, we have other movies to pull from, but you can’t completely rely on the movie before. When Tony Stark shows up on the S.H.E.I.L.D. headquarters and takes over the room, smarms it up and puts everyone in their place, I thought, “THIS is how he should’ve been introduced.” He was at his maximum Tony-Stark level, and it’s great. Tells you everything about him and why it’s going to be fun to be around him for 2.5 hours.

THE POINT is that if you don’t have a great intro to a character, and you’re just going to have them spit out fake-science mumbo jumbo for a while, it’s hard to get the audience to like that character. I don’t know why I’m supposed to like Hawkeye or why I’m supposed to be upset that he spent half the movie under Loki’s spell. I’m disengaged.

6.) Quibbles and Questions. When Thor got knocked out of the flying headquarters, did he just spend the afternoon staring at his hammer? Why couldn’t he pick it up? Why was he just hanging around down there?

Bruce Banner’s secret to controlling his Hulk side is that he’s always angry? How does that work exactly? It seems like it goes against everything we know about the Hulk, and it doesn’t quite explain why he’s a menace to everything on the hovercraft, but he’s capable of being ordered around when fighting the bad guy army.

Did Black Widdow trick Bruce Banner away from actual sick people and then just let those sick people die? I know, it’s only 2 people versus the entire world, but still…

7.) Robots, I Guess. Apparently, Loki’s nameless bad guy army strategists didn’t see “The Phantom Menace.” If they had, they would have known what a bad idea it is to have your robot army controlled by a single space ship. Oh, and apparently they’re robots.

8.) Funny, and Unintentionally Funny. There are lots of funny parts in this movie, but I’m going to focus on the weird ones:

a.) Nick Fury shoots one of his own jets down with a rocket launcher, but then another jet takes off. So Fury pulls a gun. You could argue that this is just reflex for the old military man, but it seems pretty stupid.

b.) Loki shows up through a magical doorway and the army points guns at him. That ought to work, right? Same thing with the Hulk. We were just told that bullets won’t stop him!

c.) Am I wrong, or was there a LOT of death on that hovercraft? But everyone only cares about Agent Phil.

d.) “Not the bistro!” is what I said during the attack on New York City.

e.) The way Hawkeye opens up his bow is so butch it’s super gay. Also super gay: the phrase “opens up his bow.”

f.) Pepper Potts’ jean shorts. She’s just like us!

9.) Layers. There were none to this movie, and it’s not that there has to be, but with all the talking going on, you’d think there would be more substance. I found myself wandering in parts, and I wasn’t surprised to hear a few of my friends actually fell asleep during it. Had there been more going on other than stalling techniques before the next special effects sequence, I would have been more engaged. Instead, Loki’s “plan” seems to be the same as the movie: just hold on for a while until something else happens.

10.) Better. I can think of ten superhero movies I liked better than “The Avengers.” Bring on your rebuttals, but there’s no freakin’ way you’re going to change my mind about #1.

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4 Responses to “10 Random Thoughts About “The Avengers””

  1. but…i fell asleep. 🙂

  2. 2 Jason Pardo

    You neglected to mention “deeply cynical reliance on 9-11 imagery and themes”. For many reasons I so wanted, and so was unable, to like this movie. One of the rare occasions (hello Transformers 2) I was mad in the theater.


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