Friday, December 28, 2012

Movie review: The Avengers


So I saw The Avengers this week, and I may as well give you a review.

Firstly, I'm not the type to go for superhero movies. I used to read comics back when I worked night shift at a convenience store, so I can't play the "superheroes are ghey" card; rather, I get annoyed at how so many of the movies are really retarded compared to the original comics.

For example, Daredevil was a really fantastic series, at least in the late 80s; the Inferno issues were especially stunning, the highlight to a story arc that I worried would jump the shark if it wasn't ended perfectly. But there's no way I'm watching a fucking movie where he's portrayed by Ben Affleck.

Similarly, a lot of the superhero movies were stupid filler: the Wolverine one was a fantastic example of a movie that didn't even have to be made.

So, why watch The Avengers? Especially considering I didn't like Iron Man, and never even saw Thor? (And apparently there was even a Hulk one too?)

Joss Whedon.

Yeah, I'm a Buffy nut. Also loved Firefly. Didn't really like Angel or Dollhouse, though. But Whedon can make something a hell of a lot of fun when he has the right material to work with, he's especially done well with superheroes (Buffy, essentially), and it would be neat to see him with a $200M budget and enough CGI to blow up the world convincingly.

And Whedon did a great job with this one.

So anyway, there's this bad guy Loki who's working with these evil aliens. So Nick Fury (who I don't remember being black, but Samuel L. Jackson does a mean and brooding enough job to play the part so what the hell) asks for help from Iron Man, Thor, Bruce Banner, Hawkeye, Captain America, and some chick. Then, there's lots of fight scenes and stuff gets blown up, and the good guys win.

Simple outline, easy enough to turn into a complete fucking waste of your time.

Instead, Whedon makes it fun.

The characters are fun, at least some of them. Thor and Captain America are basically a couple pretty boys good for nothing but muscle (basically Riley Finn with superpowers times two); that's the poor part of the character group. After that, Bruce Banner is the hyperintelligent supergenius who also often turns into a dangerous world-destroying force (basically Willow as a guy); Iron Man is sort of like a wise-cracking Buffy in a metal suit; Hawkeye is maybe Gunn, at least when he's not suffering the mind-control thing; Nick Fury is maybe Giles, but sort of evil and underhanded, maybe in an ultimately beneficent way, which Giles was at times anyway. And the chick is sort of Buffy too, at least insofar as all she can do is fire a couple handguns and do some close combat, while the guys around her are all various levels of indestructible. Kinda sucks to be her. Oh, she interrogates well too. Great.

Annoyed that I'm making this all about Buffy? Well, it gets worse: the transdimensional gate that gets opened up over Manhattan is like Buffy Episode 100, especially since it's opened up by an unbeatable god (Loki this time, Glorificus in Buffy). And the Avengers end up at each other's throats, due to the machinations of the bad guy, which was a recurring theme in the later seasons of Buffy (that season's bad guy tried to split the group up, but then they'd get back together before finally defeating the bad guy).

But still, those were the good things about Buffy, and if you haven't watched Buffy, you can watch the Avengers and experience all the fun bits of Buffy in 140 minutes. Buffy, Buffy, Buffy.

Seriously though....

It is a very witty movie, in a way that other superhero movies fail to be, and exactly the way you'd expect Whedon to be. Tony Stark gets loads of great lines, from the beginning of the movie to the end, and sometimes moves from one joke to the next so fast that he leaves you reeling on your feet. (Whedon doesn't treat audiences like idiots who have trouble following a conversation. Which is probably why he ultimately got driven out of TV.) But also, Barefoot Gwyneth Paltrow With The Nice Ass gets a few good lines in too, and the chick (I looked it up, it's Black Widow) also gets in some good lines. Samuel L. Jackson obviously gets a few good lines too, they're in his contract: "Well, let me know if 'Real Power' wants a magazine or something" was a good one.

There are even a couple surprising little directorial things that you just wouldn't expect in an action movie - little attentions to detail. Thor falls out of the sky and you actually get to see him skid through a field; nice touch, not action-movie-ish at all. I thought that was neat.

I'm kinda annoyed by the fact that several of the characters are pretty much indestructible: bullets bounce off Hulk, Hulk can punch Thor across the room, Thor's hammer can't be lifted by a mortal but Captain America's shield can stop it, Iron Man's suit can be put in a giant blender and not get damaged - oh and Loki, who's a god, ends up getting thrown around like a rag doll by Hulk (there's a spoiler for you).

It kinda defeats the whole point of superhero movies when they're just so darn super that they don't really have to use their heads to solve anything: when Buffy and the crew went toe-to-toe against Glorificus, they had to enlist the Buffybot, Olaf the Troll God's hammer, the Dagon Sphere, and a wrecking ball, and still she was only destroyed after reverting to human form. These Avenger guys can just punch gods to death.

But meanwhile, the chick Black Widow is basically Jason Bourne and Hawkeye is Legolas.

Annoying.

Anyway, all in all though, it was a great movie, worth seeing again, and I'd actually be happy to watch the sequel, as long as it's directed by Whedon too. 8/10, which for me is a good score.

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