So, I think I may be over the summer blockbuster. Don’t get me wrong, I can see all the valuable positives to be had in a movie like The Avengers. Everyone seems to love it. With Joss Whedon in the director’s chair and computer generated ka-booms padding the $220-million dollar production budget -- The Avengers is almost blockbuster bulletproof to criticism. For me, it isn’t that the movie is bad by any means, it’s just so by the numbers that it’s familiar script comes off as, uninteresting.
So if you like Whedon’s quippy dialogue and tons of “business” on-screen, then -- by all means, see The Avengers. I’m sure you already have anyway.
In my, I’m sure isolated case, I’m done with this kind of movie. I was never one to cotton to the rise of nerd culture, but it is here and has made it’s mark -- ugh, on everything. I was hoping that with the rise of the comic book movie and the culture of offbeat, this would have lead to more forward-thinking projects.
Instead I witnessed a movie that is the most predictable and oddly enough, a gross display of pent-up testosterone. Again, a product of a repressed nerd culture come to fruition. At the film's best it’s as good as a heart-string tugging sports film. Think Remember The Titans with the comedy edge of a Mighty Ducks sequel. Each character, attractive -- both superficially and personality-wise. The script as formulaic as the character archetypes.
We love to see our sporting heroes fight and bicker, like the coven of alpha males they are. When a greater danger is presented, they come together and trounce the foreign evil. Art that has been imitating politics for centuries.
The Avengers is at it’s worst when impersonating the epic science fiction and fantasy-action tales the source material is built from. Whedon is hoping you don’t harp on the first 30-minutes of the film which plays like a bad episode of Dukes of Hazzard. He’s also hoping you don’t point out that a large two-thirds of the film is focused on not having a plane crash into the ground. Which would be okay if there were any character developments aside from the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Officer Hill (Cobie Smulders).
Ruffalo and Smulders are doing something no other actor in The Avengers can. They are exceeding expectations of their characters. It would have been cool to have seen the racist, homophobic, misogynist Captain America* -- rear his ugly head. Here’s hoping in the eight or nine sequels, which are sure to come, that’s a character development that bears fruit.
The big evil, Loki, isn’t. It is quite clear from the film’s opening that Loki is working with others. Pushing the plot along while simultaneously building to future films. Digging back into my memory of the previous three years of Marvel minutiae [Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America], it made me realize how little I care about the growth of this universe. Why would I care if some scorned adopted Asgardian god destroys it?
Oh, because Joss Whedon wrote it. Nerds everywhere have been waiting for that guy to get his due [and I’m glad he has]. Because I [we] have invested so much time into this build-up of characters we are, so rapidly, growing nostalgic for. We want to see ourselves get blown up in a post-9/11 world as we are want to do with movies about foreign entities attacking us on our own soil. Who better to do it than someone who hasn’t fallen completely out of finnicky nerd-favor than Buffy The Sing-a-Long Blog himself?
I don’t feel that The Avengers is a bad movie, I can see amazing qualities in it. It’s the superhero movies that preceded it, that have sterilized any absolute enjoyment I could have out of this film. Apart from watching static, non-sensical hand-to-hand combat scenes, or the plethora of perfectly framed ass shots of Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans -- The Avengers is a great movie, for everyone else.
Coming at a time when I’m reading the most comics and literature about media produced from the disenfranchised, I think the biggest compliment I could give this movie is that I totally would recommend it to everyone. Young and old. The film is so accessible it’s almost like the last-minute junk food purchase at our local food hut. It’s there when you need it and we don’t expect anything more than that. At this time, there isn’t anything more. The fact that the movie exists and isn’t a shambling mess seems to be enough.
The Avengers was exactly what I expected out of it. That saddens me.
I give The Avengers …
The “Aquaman On A Seahorse” Award
*I don’t regularly read Captain America, but when I do I prefer the Ultimates version. This also included a horny Hulk and spousal abuse between Ant Man and The Wasp.