Friday, May 4, 2012
Alright well I might as well just put this out there to start: Avengers is the best heavy CG action movie ever made. There is a 45 second single cut which blows absolutely every other scene out of the water and will probably continue to be the best CG action sequence for at least 5 years. However it is at its core still just an action movie; I won’t say it is a “dumb” action movie as it is at least smart enough to be genuinely humorous throughout in an unironic fashion.
However, when I say Terminator 2 is the best action movie of all time, it still completely destroys this movie (you see that helicopter flying under a bridge over a freeway, that is a helicopter flying under a bridge over a freeway) and on top of that has some pretty hefty philosophical issues inside of it. When I say The Dark Knight is the best superhero movie of all time, it has a genuinely terrifying villain, the vast majority of the action sequences are practical effects, and you don’t know for sure what’s going to happen in the end (unlike absolutely every other superhero movie to date).
And so we move on, I suppose an overview of the cast is probably the best way to approach an ensemble review like this. Loki is the villain here, returning from Thor, and generally competent. There was only one way to do Loki excellent and that was to make him continuously smug and mischievous as he is after all the god of Mischief. However he starts out pretty weak and they bring up those oh so terrible daddy issues from Thor briefly before he finally starts to gain some traction in the central sequence of the film. Loki should be fucking with people nonstop, he shouldn’t have a massive inferiority complex. The actor (Tom Hiddleston) is still extremely solid, it’s simply the plot that’s constructed around him that makes him less effective than any great cinematic villain. That said he’s still pretty good for a superhero movie.
Jeremy Renner shows up as Hawkeye and is magnificent, because Jeremy Renner is fucking awesome. Sam Jackson is extremely stoic and delivers a Star Wars prequel level performance, I’m sure if this movie was rated R he would have been amazing, but he’s kind of just there spouting exposition in this case. Mark Ruffalo is fantastic as Bruce Banner, though he doesn’t say much if he’s in CG form, he even lifts the level of weaker performers in his one on one scenes. That one dude from Shield is much better developed than he was before. The Patriots from Metal Gear Solid show up, don’t know why.
Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans, Thor and Captain America respectively, deserve special mention here. Both of these guys are fairly new actors opposing a fantastic cast and both perform superbly well. In addition they both do most of their own stunts so while an action scene with Scarlett Johansson has 5 cuts in the middle of it, one with Thor or Captain America has 1-2. This isn’t really something you notice as a novice movie goer but I have picked up on it more over time and can appreciate when an action sequence only has stuntmen when absolutely necessary.
Speaking of Scarlett, surprise she’s the worst character in the movie and could easily be labeled as fanservice (though it’s not as bad as Gwyneth Paltrow’s brief appearance). However I don’t think she is objectively terrible, she’s just mediocre in a movie with 6 or 7 superior actors. Now you might say “But she was good in Lost in Translation!” Right. Well that was almost 10 years ago, what has she done since except become a sexual object? She was in The Prestige, easily the worst part of that otherwise exceptional movie. Maybe Michael Bay turned her retarded somehow, stupidity is contagious.
And we’re left with our leading man Mr. Robert Downey Jr. He is of course fantastic and pretty much plays the exact role that he played in Iron Man (every other character is different from their previous appearance, some more than others), which is what everyone wanted. I don’t think there was any doubt about this though as even if the rest of the movie sucked Robert Downey Jr. would have made it somewhat watchable.
Well, I don’t really have to say this but you should definitely watch this movie if you have a pulse. It is one of the best popcorn movies in the past decade, and while you won’t have an epiphany or philosophical catharsis you will most certainly be entertained. There is a ton of humor, every character has at least some development, and of course the excellent action scenes.
The summer of cities being destroyed begins! I suppose Independence Day started this trend but lately it seems almost every movie has either a gigantic obsession with the US military or the need to destroy New York City or pseudo NYC. Battleship? Check. GI Joe? Check. Batman? Check. Can't we all just get along?