Saturday, May 26, 2012

Avengers Assemble!

When I go to the movies I want to be entertained.  The whole point of the theater-going experience is for the viewer to get lost in a story and forget that out in the real world there is war, pestilence, and Tea Partiers.  When I go into a theater I want to lapse under the spell of a film and for the twenty minutes of previews and the two plus hour of the movie, I want an experience.  I prefer epic films to the typical “art house” variety of movie when I go to the cinema.  Why?  I don’t need to see a fantastic story on a massive screen while paying $8 for the matinee.  Seriously Meryl Streep, you are a great actress, but how can I justify paying my hard earned money to watch a movie about Margaret Thatcher’s experience with Alzheimer's? 

“The movie business has worked very assiduously to discourage you and other intelligent, discerning people from the theater, from the movie theater.  They have worked hard to get rid of you, because you don't go then and buy toys and games.”

Ohhhhhhhhh that’s the reason why “intelligent” people don’t go to movies, Meryl?  Funny, let’s take a look again at why people don’t flood the theater and throw down the Benjamins for Iron Lady.

 image  A face that only Occupy Oakland can love.  Guess what sweetheart, people go to the movies for escapism on a grander scale than what we can get on a 42” television screen from Netflix.  We are looking for big movies with big characters and over-arching themes that allow us, the viewers, to put emotional weight behind them.  We want movies with purpose!

NO!  Not that kind of purpose!  We don’t need to be preached to for three hours after we spent $16 on the same 3D glasses I used to wear on the Michael Jackson ride at Disneyland. 

The purpose with the Avengers is to have comic book fun, and when the movie is done right there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  The Avengers is done right.  This is an enjoyable, adventurous comic book film that’s good as a two and a half hour popcorn flick.  It’s summertime boom-boom movie with a good cast, good writing, and a director (Josh Whedon) that realizes he’s making a comic book movie and therefore goes all out to make it comic book fun.  If you are looking for the dark, Batman style comic book films you will have to wait a few weeks.  But if you are looking for a fun film to let you escape for awhile, hit up Avengers.  In fact, hit up Avengers long before you hit up the dog that was The Hunger Games.

What works:

-Robert Downey Jr. clearly has fun with the role of Iron Man and he does a fantastic job with interjecting fun one-liners throughout the movie.  He brings the movie from “ok” to “pretty good” in a manner that makes him a necessity for the series’ success.  This film is also far, far better than Iron Man 2.

-The Hulk is done very well.  Finally.  Bruce Banner takes more screen time than the big, green monster and it does a nice job setting up what the Hulk is supposed to be; always on the verge of destroying everything.  In the end, the comic book version of the Hulk shines through and gives us “smash” and laughs.

-The Black Widow is not weak, boring, or otherwise damselish.  I don’t want to see comic book heroines as weak characters who are overly sensualized, I want to see them own the part of being a kick-ass heroine.  Scarlett Johansson nailed this.

-Did I mention that Whedon does a nice job with the film?  Did I mention that he does a very nice job with the dialogue parts of the movie between the characters?  Did I mention that I have never seen Firefly?

What didn’t work:

-The beginning is a bit bleh.  Loki is a good fit here and is the only thing that keeps you interested in the first ten minutes of the film.  Otherwise, meh.

-I like Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury, only I want to see more Jules Winfield than Mace Windu.  Just because he’s the leader of SHIELD doesn’t mean he needs to become a complete pansy that, even when he rebels against authority, doesn’t seem too convincing.  Allow Jackson some more swagger and it would help.

This movie represents summertime comic book enjoyment.  Raiders of the Lost Art it ain’t, but I had no problem slapping down $8 to watch this film on the big screen with a bucket of popcorn and a big, discerning, and intelligent grin on my face. 

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