Retro Review: Five For and Five Against "The Avengers"

The Avengers
Like many Americans, I had off today for Labor Day. Not so coincidentally, Disney and Marvel re-released The Avengers to the big screen for one week on Saturday. Because I missed it the first time around (I was a little busy), I decided to take advantage of the day off and see the movie all my friends seemed to love. Armed with the AMC gift card my sister wisely gave me for my birthday, I went to my favorite AMC for the 11:35 AM show (all movies before Noon at AMCs in my region are just $6.00 - Score!).

I am assuming most of my regular readers have already seen it, so I'll once again borrow from my buddy Sean and do a "Five For/Five Against" review.

FOR:

5. Joss Whedon. A true fan-boy, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; "Firefly;" "Dollhouse;" Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and Cabin in the Woods hit a double homer with a funny, exciting script and spot-on direction. Sure, there are a few plot holes. Just how did Loki escape the abyss? How exactly did Thor return to Earth? Where the heck did the Hulk land so he could make it back to NYC so quickly and just how did Banner and Thor know to go there, in the first place?

4. Chris Evans. I could watch that man read a phone book, as long as he did so with his shirt off. Woof!

3. Robert Downey, Jr. Those bedroom eyes are just the start. As in both of the previous Ironman movies, Downey is simply terrific as the wise-cracking super genius superhero with a super ego. He totally deserves the top billing he received.

2. They finally got The Hulk right. Mark Ruffalo was nothing less than wonderful as Bruce Banner and it was great to see the Hulk actually modeled after the actor playing Banner, complete with hairy torso. I do hope Ruffalo gets his own stand-alone Hulk movie (preferably with Whedon at the helm). He certainly deserves it.

1. The FX. I deliberately chose to see The Avengers in 2D and I think many of the effects would have been ruined in 3D. Not once did I think "Oh, that's great CGI." I just thought, "Oh, that was awesome!"

Easter Egg Bonus: At the very end of the credits, we're treated to a very funny (and practically silent) scene of the team eating at the Shawarma place Tony Stark talks about near the end of the movie. The perfect way to humanize super-humans.

AGAINST:

5. Jeremy Renner. I just don't get it. He's not particularly attractive (that nose!) or especially talented. I kept thinking that any thirty-something actor could have done as well or better as 'Hawkeye.' He does have nice arms, though - I'll give him that. And I don't know why early posters showed him wearing a mask, since he doesn't do so in the movie.

4. Manhattan Mayhem. Yes, it's been 11 years, but seeing  Manhattan skyscrapers collapsing still made me a bit uncomfortable.

3. SPOILER ALERT: The Death of Agent Phil Coulson. Really? The underrated Clark Gregg has been a favorite of mine since his turns as Michael Casper on "The West Wing" and Richard Campbell on "The New Adventures of Old Christine." I can't wait to see what he does with Leonato in Whedon's modern dress version of Much Ado About Nothing (a play very dear to my heart). I actually gasped when Loki literally stabbed him in the back.

2. Agent Maria Hill. I love Cobie Smulders on "How I Met Your Mother." Here, she was just meh. But I blame it on the role, rather than Smulders. Again, any attractive thirty-something actress could have played the part just as effectively.

1. Thanos. This little-loved Marvel villain is apparently behind Loki's attempt at conquering Earth, as seen in the first Easter egg after the main titles. I can't imagine how Whedon will work the death-loving monster into The Avengers II, though I'm certainly willing to give him the chance.

Regardless of its minor flaws, The Avengers is still an enormously entertaining movie and fans of the Superhero genre will not be disappointed. I certainly wasn't. ***1/2 (Three and a Half Out of Four Stars).



More, anon.
Prospero

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