Tuesday, May 8, 2012


(granted, this is a few days late, but who cares, I do what I want)

Captain America, why so tall?
If you haven't seen The Avengers yet, you're probably living under a rock.  Arguably the biggest superhero movie of all time (a title which may be lost come July 20th, but we'll see), how could you not want to see the movie that just racked in 207 million dollars on its first weekend starring a slew of very famous people playing the most badass superheroes you can think of?  Seriously, this movie targets everyone: if you're into women in tight uniforms kicking ass, you have Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow; if you're into men with bulging muscles, you've got literally everyone else in the cast; and if you have a fetish for big green monster men, you're in luck.

Clearly, I love superhero movies.  I've voiced my love for them before and I'll do it again; stemming from watching the Saturday morning cartoons of X-Men and Batman as a kid, I've always been fascinated with the idea of superpowers and, of course as a result, the battle of the good versus the evil.  The X-Men will always be my favourite, probably because whatever sort of superhuman power you can dream of, there's a mutant in that universe that can do it.  I guess that makes me lean more toward the flashy cartoon-like action that something like X-Men has: loud, extravagant, borderline ridiculous, what with those horrifyingly bright yellow and blue costumes they wore in the 90s cartoon or the fact that a bloody alien god possesses someone, for instance.  It doesn't hurt the movies have been left to very good hands, and I don't even need to get into how excited I am for the First Class sequel.  (worth mentioning: Batman's an obvious love of mine too, Batman is just too cool; Spider-Man is okay, and I hate Superman)

It might be crazy talk for me to say, but I was initially uninterested in The Avengers.  Of the individual hero movies serving as precursors to the kinda-sequel kinda-spinoff, I've only seen half: Thor, most recently, which I started off despising but loved by the end - really smart and funny; aside from that, only the two Iron Man movies, which, again, held none of my interest whatsoever until I was made to see the first in theaters and was blown away by how actually good it was.  And that's it.  I haven't seen any Hulk movies - not that it matters, though; I know the character, and given another change to the titular role, seeing the first two seemed of little importance to me - and I didn't bother to see Captain America because, really, he's never interested me at all.  Maybe it's because, I dunno, I'm Canadian, and I'm not really in the mood for American propaganda.  I've heard good things about it though, but again, being that I'm actually a nerd, I know everything about the character and was not lost for a second when seeing Cap join the Avengers Initiative.

I suppose my interest in The Avengers came from the fact that I couldn't actually get away from it.  Trailers were attached to every movie I've seen in theaters since the summer, and they did a good job with piquing my interest at the spectacle they presented.  Like I started off with saying, you must live under a rock if you haven't seen it or at least have no thoughts to see it, so I guess for me I just didn't want to be under that rock with you after seeing so many commercials and hearing so much of the buzz.

It didn't hurt that that 360 shot of the entire team is incredible.

Not that I didn't think I wouldn't enjoy it: I obviously did.  In fact, it was bloody fantastic.  For a movie packing so many characters and so many famous people into its (seemingly slim) two and a half hour running time, it did a good job with stopping itself from being overcrowded - a feat other superhero movies have failed to do completely.  (see: the horrible X-Men: First Class, or Spider-Man 3, because I guess by the second sequel the obvious route of action is "let's throw every single bloody character we haven't yet seen into this and hope for the best;" if there is a god, please don't like The Dark Knight Rises fall into that trap - I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, because from what I know, there's already two villains plus one character whose morality I don't yet know) Every character had their chance to shine, which was nice; various match-ups of showdowns between heroes and villains were at hand, even some between the team members themselves, which kept things interesting.  Never did any character step onto another - even in scenes where everyone was fighting for an opening to say something, Tony Stark's snark was as unmissable as Thor's and Captain America's fish-out-of-water shtick.  And even if the spotlight was on someone else, you'd never miss Scarlett Johannson.

(disclaimer: she was the weakest performance of the main six, not counting the villain.  Still don't know how she was an asset in the grand battle of the film's climax.  "Massive aliens!  Okay, I have my handgun")

Something The Avengers was able to do that most others didn't - yes, even Nolan's Batman trilogy - was make it seem like what was onscreen was literally a moving comic book.  (and I exclude Nolan's movies because they are the complete adverse: total realism, which is astounding in its own right) Plot withstanding, the sequences of action popped as if cartoons.  In a similar sense the stakes were real - New York gets literally obliterated as the final fight, a good half hour of the film, spans the entire city - and threat after threat seemed endless, culminating to one last element I'll leave out because of spoilers.  Finally do we see a formidable villain, Loki, whose danger factor seemed more hyped up than in Thor as, when I was watching, I didn't know how they'd actually be able to foil him.  Loki is just too good.  Thor sequel, hopefully.

What I wasn't expecting was the movie to be so funny.  I suppose I should have, considering Robert Downey Jr.'s Stark is a smart-ass (nice to see Gwenyth Paltrow, too - did I just type those words?) and what made me love Thor so much was the humour about a demi-god finding himself on Earth.  The audience I was in lapped up the jokes as much as I did, and, again, leaving this out because of spoilers, one 'fight' at the end garnered the biggest laugh and is easily the greatest part of the whole movie.

Unfortunately, my viewing experience was probably one of the worst I've had in a movie theater.  You might expect me to say it was a rude audience or something, but you're wrong - I could tell everyone in that audience was as much of a superhero fan as I was, and if it's any indication, the guy to my left was literally and not figuratively sitting on the edge of his seat leaned forward.  No, it was the heat.  I figured it was just because of the volume of people - they had three separate lines happening for three showings in the narrow hall, and it just ended up being a crowd rather than a line - but we were informed that the air conditioner had broken, so by the end of the movie I was literally dripping with sweat.  Massively uncomfortable, but everyone got complimentary movies from it, so I think I'll see Dark Shadows or something I wouldn't actually spend money on with my free pass.

In short, go see The Avengers, and take me with you, because I want to see it again.

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