Ever since the 2008 film Iron Man was a success, comic book studio Marvel has been trying to get people excited for a movie starring several of its most famous superheroes. Four years, and four movies, later Marvel has finally done it. Marvel has been cramming all their other movies with unnecessary Avengers bullshit, just for the sole reason of getting people interested in the upcoming Avengers movie. Did Thor need a huge Avengers sub-plot where agents of SHIELD took his hammer and he had to get it back? No. Did Iron Man 2 need a huge Avengers sub-plot with Samuel L. Jackson trying to recruit Tony Stark into SHIELD? No. In fact, that particular bullshit ruined the entire movie. And I won’t even get started on what a hokey piece of shit Captain America was. Every time Marvel shoe-horned in an Avengers sub-plot into one of their movies, all it did was serve as an annoying distraction from the rest of the film. It’s almost as if Marvel was telling the audience, “Don’t worry about all this origin story nonsense, we just want to get this out of the way so you can watch The Avengers later.”
I was certainly not excited for The Avengers. In my attempts to become a world-class blogger, I typically watch a film 6-12 months after theatrical release, just long enough for my review to be irrelevant. I figured I would try something new this time. And since I am such a big fan of Summer Shit Spectaculars, not to mention excruciatingly long lines, and headache-inducing 3D, I really had no choice but to see this movie opening weekend. And how did it turn out? Well, it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it was going to be. I didn’t feel like Marvel was taking a huge fart in my face. But that doesn’t mean the movie was particularly good either.
The key to making a movie like this is giving each of the superheroes their chance to shine. The Avengers does that. Equal amounts of screen time is given to each of the four superheroes: Iron Man, Thor, Captain American, and Hulk. We get to see them engaged in “clever” banter, and also see a few battles between them as they struggle to come to terms with working as a team. One of these scenes, the fight between Thor and Hulk, is probably the highlight of the entire film. The other key, and the more important one, is making sure things don’t get muddied with so many superheroes doing so many things at once. This comes about prominently in the third act when the superheroes fight against the generic evil alien/robot army. Fortunately, some skilled directing from The Great and Powerful Receding Hairline managed to keep everything flowing coherently. In fact, all of the battles are top-notch. The special effects are state of the art, and, most surprising of all, the 3D didn’t give me a headache.
And that, my friends, is where my compliments come to an end. Now let’s get to the reason you’re reading this in the first place: what I hated about The Avengers. And believe me, there’s a lot.
The movie starts out in a secret government lab/weapons facility. I’d be shocked if the government owned any other kind of facility. It seems like the only thing the government is interested in is making weapons in secret labs. Anyway, Samuel L. Jackson in an Eyepatch shows up and barks orders at people. It appears that SHIELD has been studying the mysteries of a very mysterious Macguffin. Suddenly, an alien/god named Loki beams in and kills a bunch of people. He steals the Macguffin, but not before using a mind control spell on a bunch of scientists and Jeremy Renner. Samuel L. Jackson in an Eyepatch is mad, but he never called anyone a “motherfucker.” I wish he would have dropped the f-bomb at least once. I think he’s getting soft in his old age. So, Samuel L. Jackson in an Eyepatch decides that he needs to get some superheroes to retrieve the Macguffin.
The first member of the team is Tits McGee, played by Scarlett Johansson. Apparently, she is a masterful Russian assassin and interrogator. You wouldn’t really know that because she goes through the entire movie like a robot. She has a dead look behind her eyes, and she delivers all her lines in the flattest way imaginable. Here’s a sample of some of her actual dialog from the movie:
Tits McGee: HEL-LO, HU-MAN. I AM A RUSS-I-AN SPY. I HAVE TO COME TO HAVE YOU JOIN THE A-VEN-GERS. BEEP-BOOP-BEEP.
Of course, the only time we get a hint of life from her is just after she “tricks” Loki into giving her some information. She tells him, “I’m Russian”, and of course this is the one place she tries out a human accent. Naturally, as a Russian her accent sounds like she’s from North Dakota (facepalm). Johansson gives one of the worst performances this side of January Jones in X-Men: First Class (and everything else she’s been in).
Tits McGee recruits Bruce Banner AKA Hulk into joining SHIELD. It isn’t clear why he agrees to go with her, other than the fact that she has his house surrounded by a hundred guys with machine guns. I suppose that’s motivation enough to go along, until he later reveals that HE CAN’T DIE. Yes, that’s right, Bruce Banner in both human and Hulk forms is indestructible. This immediately drains the movie of tons of potential suspense. Loki and Thor are immortal alien/gods, and Hulk can’t be hurt. Half the fucking characters are invincible. It’s not like I went into this movie expecting any of the superheroes to die at the end. Of course they won’t die. They are obviously going to save the day and be fine at the end. But have them be mortal, so the action scenes will be suspenseful. At least give me the illusion that they could die.
By the time they got around to getting Tony Stark AKA Iron Man to join, they just weren’t trying any more. Stark talks about how he hates SHIELD and Samuel L. Jackson in an Eyepatch. But he says, “fuck it” and shows up to battle anyway. The only logical reason for this was so Stark could get away from Gwenyth Paltrow. I suppose that reason is compelling enough. If I were Stark, I’d want to get as far away from that out-of-touch-with-reality bitch as possible. Her scenes are terrible too, filled with enough cheesy acting to give Kraft a run for their money. Thankfully, she doesn’t have a lot of screen time.
I suppose the only character’s motivations that made any sense were that of Captain America. He just got unfrozen, and finds himself rescued by his own government. As far as he’s concerned, he’s still a soldier, and he’s going to fight for his country. At least that part was logical.
There were a couple of boring, unnecessary side characters. One of those was Jeremy Renner who plays Bow and Arrow Guy. He’s got excellent skills with a bow and arrow. Believe me, if Earth was going to be invaded by a technologically superior force of alien/robots, the first person I’d want to protect the planet is a dude who is good at archery. That shit is definitely going to come in handy. The other unnecessary side character was Robin Scherbatsky, who inexplicably shows up to spout off some random nonsensical dialog and shoot a few bad guys with a sidearm. Agent Phil Coulson is also fairly useless, but he does have a couple of funny lines and his death becomes important for the characters. Well, at least for Captain America. Stark doesn’t seem to give a shit about him, Hulk is already gone, and Thor didn’t know him. So, you know what, fuck Coulson, who cares if he’s dead?
While the early parts with the superheroes bickering/battling each other, and the climactic battle were both entertaining, the middle portion of the film was a bloated mess. Nearly an hour of screen time was dedicated to them fucking around on a giant flying invisible aircraft carrier (big facepalm). For some reason that is never fully explained (good job, screenwriters!), Loki decides to infiltrate the flying aircraft carrier in order to turn Bruce Banner into Hulk. He is able to successfully infiltrate it because Jeremy Renner has a special arrow designed to fit into the aircraft carrier’s computer and can hack its computer system (huge facepalm). Eventually, a bunch of shit goes down, and the superhero team is separated. Nothing is gained by Loki. No plot points occur. The separation was pointless because they immediately got back together. This entire sequence exists solely to pad out the already lengthy running time.
The thing that irritated me the most was how Stark’s Iron Man suit got trashed, so he had to use his new prototype. The prototype has a circle on the chest plate. The old suit had a triangle. This is really fucking annoying, because half the plot of Iron Man 2 was dedicated to Stark changing that circle into a triangle to save his life. As we all know, triangles have inherent healing properties. But now that his newest suit has a circle, it negates that entire stupid fucking subplot. None of it was necessary! It’s like Marvel is giving us a huge middle finger and telling us to suck their collective dicks. Assholes.
While all the superheroes had their moments to shine alone, and together, it is clear that Tony Stark is really the main character of the movie. He has the most lines, the most interesting things to do, and sacrifices his life to save the planet. I was surprised to see Iron Man fall dead at the end. Although, this being a superhero movie, I knew he’d come back to life before the credits rolled. Earlier in the film, we saw Thor transfer a lightning bolt into Iron Man’s suit, and increase his power by “400%.” I figured Thor would do the same thing again, and he would recharge Stark’s arc reactor to bring him back to life. That would make sense, right? Well, The Great and Powerful Receding Hairline must have thought that was too logical, so instead of that, he decided to have Hulk scream in Stark’s face to bring his corpse back to life. Everyone then has a big ol’ laugh. The fucking end (mega facepalm).
Overall, The Avengers is a mixed bag. There are some genuinely good moments. The acting isn’t atrocious (except for Tits McGee), and the directing, especially in the frantic battle sequences, is surprisingly adept. But there is one thing that I hated in this movie above all else. It was the general vibe the film gave off. While watching it, you can almost see the Marvel executives congratulating each other for a job well done. This is the culmination of four years of work for them, and they are going to high-five each other into oblivion now that it’s finished. And since this movie is going to make a killing at the box-office, those high-fives are going to turn into a massive Hollywood circle jerk which will undoubtedly lead to all sorts of unholy crossover films. Batman & Superman, James Bond & Jason Bourne, and The Cast of Friends vs The Deadly Traps from Saw, although that last one sounds promising.
Here’s how I imagine all future Hollywood executive meetings going:
Executive 1: Cocaine and hookers, assemble!
Executive 2: Hand-jobs for everyone!
*they high five each other, cash undeservedly huge paychecks*