My personal take on THE AVENGERS (2012)

I finally managed to see THE AVENGERS this past weekend. Yeah, I know, I should probably be forced to forfeit my Nerd Badge because I didn’t catch the movie during its $207.4 million adjusted gross opening weekend, but hey, I had stuff to do! Damn that Real Life for getting in the way again.

At my viewing of the film on Sunday afternoon I was one of only three people from the initially packed theater who actually stayed for the first extra scene buried in the credits, much less the final extra scene after the end credits (and I wouldn’t have known to do that if I hadn’t already read every review already out there). It’s obvious that I live in a terribly nerd-deficient town, isn’t it? I can’t say that Joss Whedon’s special little not-so-very-secret, tacked-on bonus ending added anything much to the film, but I don’t suppose that the director of the third highest-grossing film of all time worldwide would care what I think. He can well afford to be quirky if he so chooses.

Do YOU do Shawarma?

Ah well, let’s move on to my superfluous review. Since everybody and his brother and his brother’s cousin’s dogwalker has already seen this film, I don’t really need to go into the plot details much. But basically it’s this: a big ol’ power cube thingy called the Tesseract has been stolen by the Asgardian Loki (Tom Hiddleston, who steals absolutely every scene he is in with gleeful aplomb). Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D.(Samuel L. Jackson), eventually assembles all of the Avengers (Iron Man/Robert Downey, Jr., Captain America/Chris Evans, The Hulk/Mark Ruffalo, Thor/Chris Hemsworth, Black Widow/Scarlett Johansson, and Hawkeye/Jeremy Renner) to get it back. They do.

That’s pretty much it, except for the SFX and VFX and the big-bash-bam fight scenes. Which are all super-amazing and look like they cost bazillions of dollars. In fact, the last hour of the film is just one big moneyball pinging back and forth across the screen. I’m quite glad that this movie made lots and lots of money, if only so they can use it to pay the brilliant FX wizards who dream up this magic stuff. What with all of the superheroes walking/flying/stomping around, there’s so much going on at once in this film that the storyline has to be pretty basic or else you’d lose track of what little plot there is.

Can you say, “Cooperation”? Let’s all say it together!

None of the characters gets any backstory whatsoever; it is assumed that if you bought a ticket to THE AVENGERS you have seen all of the previous films in the series (Iron Man 1&2, Thor, and Captain America). This omission might leave some less than rabid fans scratching their heads a bit. But when it comes down to it, it doesn’t really matter whether everything makes perfect sense or not, because the film is just so darned amazing to look at. The sets are massively over-the-top and the CGI is beautifully detailed. Every superhero gets at least one fantastic heart-pounding action sequence and plenty of brooding closeups. Some of them even get amusing things to say. And everyone looks just marvelous in spandex. (And those that don’t thankfully aren’t forced to wear it.) What else do you need in a super-big superhero movie? With THE AVENGERS it’s best to suspend all potential disbelief and just enjoy the rollercoaster FX ride. But just in case you are looking for the point of the movie, here is a link to a Classic Sesame Street video that explains it all.

Best bits IMHO: anytime Hiddleston as Loki is onscreen, the many shots of Chris Evans’ butt in blue spandex(!); Scarlett Johansson’s emphasis on intelligence instead of eye-candy Black Widow, Powers Boothe and Jenny Agutter appearing as members of the World Security Council; Harry Dean Stanton as the blasé security guard, and the welcome scaling back on Robert Downey, Jr.’s massive ego.

Worst bits IMHO: Chris Hemsworth’s horrible line delivery (compare to Hiddleston’s fluid line readings) – CH definitely needs a better dialogue coach; the many plotholes (here’s a really fun list!); and the CGI for The Hulk still isn’t quite realistic enough (hey, I’m an artist IRL, those things bother the heck out of me).

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