If you haven't seen The Avengers yet, you must be completely immune to hype. Give yourself a pat on the shoulder.
But to be fair, it is entertaining and worth the watch, especially if you're interested in witnessing a curious film trend I've been noticing lately that's pretty much formula for The Avengers. The trend is this: the beginning is smart, suspenseful, and witty, with a somewhat interesting story. For the end, you can just turn your brain right off. And people love it.
We start out with characters who have interesting backstories to divulge, some weighty threats and the hilarious jokes you knew would be there the second you found out this would be directed and written by Joss Whedon. Tony Stark (Robert Downy Jr.) absolutely rapid-fires the hilarity, as expected, and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a comedic accomplice. Who quickly vanishes from the story. The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) hints at some dark secrets and it's not clear whether Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is a help or a big looming threat of letting loose and tearing everyone to pieces. Actually, if you've ever seen a movie before, it is pretty clear. Captain America (Chris Evans) had some potential because he's from WWII era, but was used mostly for jokes at the expense of his anachronisms; he was frozen for half of the past century so he doesn't really get modern cultural references, technology, etc. I can't stand Thor and I cannot believe what a joke his solo film looked like from the trailer, nor that Natalie Portman would get herself mixed up in that mess, but maybe that's just me. But the other Avengers are interesting and well-written. For the first half of the movie.
I was led to believe that half of the movie would be the Avengers fighting each other (and when you say fighting with relation to Super Heroes, you think actual, physical fighting). Nope, it was just one scene of some very reasonable banter.
They were right about the enemy not having a very good, strong, reasonable or deep motivation for taking over Earth. This is another reason why I think we were given leave to turn our brains off after half of the movie. At the beginning, it looks like Loki might be a worthy and complex opponent. He has some qualms with the American belief in freedom. Kinda seemed like he was going somewhere with that. But he didn't, which makes it seem like a gimicky attempt to make this bad guy stand out from Sauron or Darth Vader, which, while one-dimensional, were good villains because they stood for something metaphorical i.e. the dark side of humanity or the Germans in WWII. Loki's just evil for the sake of being evil. But you've already heard that.
The real problem in this movie is that after all that time spent writing up interesting characters and weighty plot points that delve into issues like a possible limitless energy source and the dangers of nuclear war, actually managing to cover new territory on that front, and making a formidable enemy that should require something brilliantly clever to defeat, we get a really long extended fight scene, fixes that aren't believable and border on plotholes, a complete undermining of the big bad guy's abilities, not to mention some predictability. Oh boy, where do I start?
The screenplay must have ended after The Avengers got to Manhattan. I'm gonna guess 2/3 into the screentime. From there on out, it's mostly one-liners. Yawn. I liked the flying things that made me cringe when they flew into the beautiful New York architecture that is now, in that fictional world, gone forever. I didn't like the all-brawns and no brains approach.
There will be spoilers from here on in.
There will be spoilers from here on in.
They also completely trivialized Loki in the end. Maybe he deserves it, because as stated, he was kind of a lame and pathetic villain, and he really should have taken Thor's offer and helped to stop the invasion, but really? His final defeat was a joke. Literally. We probably should have been given a better final boss, one that takes more than a few Hulk smashes followed by a Whedon one-liner to take down for the count.
It seems to me there is no reasonable explanation for his inconsistencies. It just wasn't well thought out. And I mean, saving Tony Stark. Don't they have anyone else who can fly up and save him? Eh, maybe not.