So That’s What It Does: A Review Of The Avengers (2012)

(Spoilers Ahead)

Due to peer pressure I caved and saw The Avengers this morning. How intense was this pressure? Well, according to every review I read and person I knew this movie was amazing. Like so amazing you would cry rainbows.

I thought, “Well, Robert Downey Jr. is in it,” and if anyone was going to make me cry rainbows it would probably be him. But overall The Avengers wasn’t big on my radar and like many others I was afraid it would be an overcrowded, gigantic mess.

However, at the 2010 Comic-Con I didn’t consider this, not for a second. It seemed to make perfect sense. All I knew was they had added some awesome actors to the Marvel Universe and were announcing them live (Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo) while getting drowned out by the loudest nerdgasm ever. And I was sure the movie’s trump card would be the long-suffering writer-director Joss Whedon, who is probably one of the sharpest writers for this kind of thing.

So in the end there they were, this promising ensemble standing in a line and looked pretty sharp.

I don’t think I understood the significance of this event.

But two years later things had changed. I wasn’t convinced I wanted to see it. I had other things holding me back as well. The friends I usually go to summer blockbusters with are 1700 miles away. So where was my fun? Who would I sit next to? Who would I talk to about it?

And more importantly, would I even like it?

Well, according to everyone I’ve spoken to over the last week, I kind of have to like this movie. I also promised to review it. So, without further ado here is what happened to my brain while I watched The Avengers. In bullet point form of course.

Man, this is becoming my favorite way to write reviews.

(Also, some forewarning: it really helps if you’ve seen the film yourself before reading this.)

– – –

1) (Dr. Erik Selvig shows up.) Stellan Skarsgård is in this movie? Oh my God, no one spoiled this for me and I’m so glad. It’s like my birthday. I’ll watch Skarsgård in anything. And I have.

2) Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Selvig keep referring to The Tesseract as a “she,” this energy source that’s being unruly. “You turn her off, she turns herself back on!” Selvig exclaims. Uh, that’s because she’s a woman and Joss Whedon is writing this. You don’t tell a woman what to do.

3) Hawkeye (Renner) shows up and says he sees things better “from a distance.” So apparently he’s far-sighted. I guess that works if you’re an archer.

4) Cobie Smulders is playing S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill. I think she should quit her day job. She looks totally at home here. In fact she looks like she was made for this kind of role.

5) Post-opening credits: the film opens with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in the middle of the most uncomfortable dental appointment ever. Then her stunt double does some amazing things. Kudos to Johansson’s stunt double. Sad thing is we’ve already seen this fight scene before, but it’s becoming a trend to rip off fight scenes in Clive Owen movies. Just watch Shoot ‘Em Up (2007) and Drive Angry (2011). You’ll know what I’m talking about.

6) Fury and Captain America (Chris Evans) are talking about how “he” took the Tesseract from the ocean and started this whole mess. For a split second I thought they were referring to James Cameron. I mean, come on. That guy is constantly deep sea diving, mining asteroids- basically sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. You know he would totally do something like that.

7) Who is this Tom Hiddleston guy, and why don’t I know more about him?

8) (Stark comes to the rescue in Germany out of nowhere.) I think it’s funny how everyone involved with this fight scene has to be subjected to Tony Stark’s (Downey Jr.) iPod. And of course it’s AC/DC. Duh.

9) (Captain America, Loki (Hiddleston), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Stark are fighting in the woods.)

Thor: “Brother, listen to me…”
(gets blown away by Iron Man)
Loki: “I’m listening.”

Thor: “Do not touch me again!”
Stark: “Then don’t touch my stuff.”

What a bunch of little boys.

10) As they lead Loki to his little glass cell all I can think is “Norman Bates Norman Bates Norman Bates Norman Bates.”

11) Fury: “Let me know if ‘Real Power’ wants a magazine or something.” Joss Whedon was born to write a line like that. Samuel L. Jackson was born to say it.

12) Stark refers to Thor as “Point Break.” Oh my God, that works on so many levels. Dude just skydived without a parachute and apparently never washes his hair.

13) That random cut to a S.H.I.E.L.D. employee resuming his game of Space Invaders made everyone crack up. I expect that to be come a meme in abou-

Oh, too late.

14) Wow, I can’t get a handle on Black Widow. She just sat down and had some kind of breakdown for seven minutes while the rest of the guys tried to save the ship. Also, can someone really be that bad at running? What just happened here?


16) Coulson (Clark Gregg): “So that’s what it does.” What a great sign-off. Still, I’m pissed. Coulson was one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe.

17) The last person I expected to cameo in this was Harry Dean Stanton. Maybe Sam Elliott?

18) Characters keep making references to Black Widow having “red in her/your/my ledger.” I keep expecting one of the guys to be like, “You mean she’s having her period?” That’s pretty close to how guys would react in real life.

19) Now we’re getting to the final showdown. Loki decides to completely destroy New York with aliens, explosions and other types of warfare. What an original idea. I’ve never seen that in a movie before.

20) Thor is all like, “THEE THY THOU THINE THUS KEN BRANAGH.” I love ye olde English. I also respect Captain America’s time confusion. (old-timey voice) “Of course everything is bettah in the 1940s….”

21) Hulk (Ruffalo): “So, this all seems horrible.” Yeah, and now we’re going to see Mark Ruffalo fix some things- basically being a CGI badass on crank. I always knew he had an inner-badass under that unassuming, soft-spoken exterior. That’s why my friends and I enjoy Mark Ruffalo/Dead Weather mashups.

22) Stark throws in another awesome reference when he nicknames Hawkeye “Legolas.” Kind of wish there was a movie where Hawkeye, Legolas and Katniss Everdeen were picking off people right now.


24) The Hulk just played body-bash with Loki. It’s this new game I’m into. Also, this just in: I cried rainbows.

25) Wow, did Iron Man just go Iron Giant on everyone? Does anyone get this reference? Was anyone watching animated features in 1999? In other news, RDJ is immortal. His survival rate has just surpassed what happened in Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (2011).

26) And all is peaceful in the world again. Chris Evans takes to a motorcycle very well. All I can think is “Jaaaaaaaaames Dean.”

27) Post-end credits: The Avengers have a silent meal of Shawarma.

T-shirts available here.

– – –

The Avengers had a huge potential for failure. Guess what, it didn’t. It managed to be smart, engaging and the action sequences didn’t make my brain shut off, which happens more often than not. What sells it are the characters more than anything else. Fortunately they have Joss Whedon supplying their lines and expanding their backstories. When that happens in this genre you win, hands down.

I am interested in seeing Hawkeye developed more, mostly because he was compromised for more than half of the movie. There are already rumors of what Marvel will do next, or as Pajiba’s Dustin Rowles puts it: “They now have a mystery film set for release, though that mystery can be narrowed down to a few possibilities, none of which — unfortunately — include the NC-17 rated Black Widow and Hawkeye Hate Fuck in a Windowless Van.”

I see. I guess I wasn’t the only one who sensed something going on with those two.

Overall I was pretty happy with this. I am still pretty pissed about Coulson, though.


3 thoughts on “So That’s What It Does: A Review Of The Avengers (2012)

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