Marvel the Avengers in 3D review

As good as I expected, but not a whole lot more than that.

The Avengers is not about surprising the audience with something truly exceptional or unexpected.  It does exactly what it sets out to do: deliver a fun, exciting comic book movie with all the elements fans are looking for.  The dialog is witty and funny, the action cool and exciting, the heroes all (for the most part) have their own motivation and angst, and the villain despicable yet sympathetic.  I will say it was a lot of fun and well worth your time to see in a theater.

Of course, it wouldn’t be one of my reviews if I didn’t find something to nit pick, and this film does have its issues.  The first one was the overuse of characters I don’t really give a damn about, specifically Hawkeye and Black Widow.  Had they had their own origin movie I might have cared more, but every minute spent on them was time taken away from Iron Man, Thor, Capt. American, or the Hulk.  It was like drinking a delicious milkshake from a straw that periodically switches over to unflavored yogurt.  Not necessarily bad, but just not really what you want to be drinking.  Kind of bland.  Also, they really felt lost and out of place without more back story.

Another issue I had was specifically with Black Widow.  If you read the post I did a few days ago about the problem of female heroes in comic movies you might have caught the point I made that either super heroines have to be so unstoppable that they never take a punch to the face, or the get beaten heavily, really disturbing most of the audience.  In this film the opted for the former, which would have made sense had she actually had some kind of super power.  However, she is just a human and the suspension of disbelief really gets strained when you see her killing super powered aliens with her bare hands.

I also had a problem with the super powered aliens invading the earth.  Never have I seen a less effective invasion.  At the beginning of the movie it was heavily implied that they would beat the combined armed forced of the planet in about a day, but once they arrived they more or less fell over if someone farted in their general direction.  I don’t see how aliens can hope to conquer the planet if a chick with a pistol and a guy with a bow and arrow can kill dozens of them.

All that being said, the movie was great and had a lot of really good points that made up for the negative issues.  Iron Man was great, as was Thor and Capt. America.  However, in the action scenes it was the Hulk who dominated and added the real excitement.  In addition to being amazingly strong and fast he had the added benefit of being really unpredictable, making his scenes that much more interesting.

I don’t want to get to much into the story as I expect every one of you readers to see this film.  I will say it falls back onto the traditional Marvel mashup premise: superheroes meet up, find an excuse to beat the hell out of each other, and then later find a reason to team up against the big bad.  I personally really appreciate this nod towards true comic book story telling and think it’s a wise move.  As for the story, Loki comes back with a device to summon an “unstoppable” alien army.  The Avengers are pulled in to stop him.  Mass chaos ensues.

The stars.  Really great action scenes.  Two stars.  Comic book movie.  One star.  The Hulk was freaking awesome.  Two stars.  Thor, Iron Man, and Capt. America were great too.  One star.  For the most part sticking to canon.  One star.  Loki was a really good villain.  One star.  While definitely riding the lame horse known as PG-13, they still managed to keep the action hot and at least talked about people being killed.  One star.  There were any number of really clever, laugh out loud lines and moments.  One star.  Camera work and CGI were flawless.  One star.  Pacing was great.  Even in the otherwise sluggish first 30 minutes I never felt bored or disengaged.  Exceptionally well done IMO.  One star.  The interaction between the differing personalities among the Avengers was really good and added a lot to the story.  One star.  Overall a great movie experience.  Two stars.  Total: fifteen stars.

The black holes.  Too much screen time burned on Black Widow and Hawkeye, both of whom felt kind of appendix-like.  One black hole.  The lack of a real back story on either character made me not care about them at all.  One black hole.  Worthless, worthless 3D.  How is it 3D is getting lamer, not better?  One black hole.  The alien invaders were kind of tissue paper.  One black hole.  The final battle scene was highly derivative of Transformers Dark of the Moon to the point even the aliens looked a lot like the Decepticons (grey technoblobs that blended in with the background and scenery).  One black hole.  SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT sorry but since this is a movie I expect you to see you might want to skip down the the next paragraph now.  The ending used the stupid, stupid “pulling the plug” tool first pioneered badly in Independence Day and the later used as a severe emetic in Star Wars the Phantom Menace when it came to defeating the alien army.  If you are borrowing plot tips from George Lucas you should know you are either being painfully lazy or just stupid.  Is it so bad to say “Well, we defeated the enemy but there are still several hundred alien soldiers running around we will have to hunt down over the next several months.”?  One black hole.  Total: six black holes.

A grand total nine stars.  An excellent score, and an excellent movie.  If you aren’t a bitter, shriveled soul such as myself the issues I had will be glossed over like a fresh coat of paint on graffiti, and you will enjoy the hell out of this movie.  Absolutely see it in a theater on the biggest screen you can find.  Well worth it.  The movie is interesting enough and the character interaction intriguing enough to even make this a decent date movie for the right girl.  Bathroom break?  I’d say about the time Black Widow starts talking one on one with Loki.  I know it was supposed to be a clever scene that added something to her character but at the end of it you kind of realize it was as worthless as the majority of the rest of her screen time.  Everything you learn from it she reiterates in the next scene.

Thanks for reading.  Sorry I kind of rushed this one and didn’t research the cast like I usually do but I am really slammed today (Warhammer weekend).  Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu or send me an email if you have specific questions or suggestions at david@nerdkungfu.com.  If you want to comment on this review feel free to do so here.  I don’t know if I will have a chance to see anything this weekend, but if I do I’ll try to write it up Sunday night.  Have a good one.

Dave


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