My friend Brazle has seen The Avengers nine times in the theater. NINE times. As of this writing, the movie has been in theaters ten days. Actually, maybe he’s seen it ten times. I know of nine confirmed viewings at least. He loves it. My friend Cary has seen it twice and is locked in for a third viewing with his wife. He, too, loves it. I’ve seen it twice. I didn’t love it, but I really liked it. On a scale of 1-10, I would give it a 7 – the battles were tedious, the dialogue was textbook Joss Whedon (for better or worse), and the acting was so-so, but it was the Avengers, and that’s all that counts, so it was good. Anyway, the point is, this movie is crazy. $600 million in its first week of release, easily on pace to be one of the biggest movie-money-makers of all time, and a legion of fans who will pay over and over to view it on the big screen, sometimes paying $15-20 just to see it in IMAX 3d (the movie was shot in neither IMAX nor 3d). That’s nuts.
In homage to the insanity of the movie, I’ve decided to make my review insanely original. That’s right – I’m deploying an old Bill Simmons trick and using my nine favorite quotes from the movie to get this overly-long, Nobel Peace Prize-worthy piece of literary gold finished. On to the review.
Loki: “I am Loki, of Asgard. And I am burdened with glorious purpose.” To The Avengers. If ever there was a movie burdened with glorious purpose it was this one. And it came through. Gloriously. Surely this quote can also already apply to The Avengers 2. Speaking of heavy burdens – when will Marvel remake the Fantastic Four?? The connection between the Tony Stark and Reed Richards (pretty solid and interesting in the comics) would be great to watch, and really, who isn’t looking for any excuse to have Robert Downey Jr play that character just once more? With the progress the studio has made recently, it feels like Marvel could give us an amazing re-imagining of that team and pave the way for a mega-ultra-uber blockbuster combo movie of Fantastic Four and the Avengers featuring Obadiah Stane’s son teaming up with the crazy intergalactic troublemakers that Loki unleashed!!!!!! That would certainly work and not flop!!!!!!
Tony Stark: “Dr. Banner, your work is unparalleled. And I’m a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.” To Alan Silvestri. The composer of the Back to the Future soundtrack comes through in spades in this film. In fact, if you are on the fence as to whether you should see this movie a third time or not, I say go see it and pay special attention to the soundtrack. Silvestri kills it!! For the last 2-3 years I’ve thought that John Williams was past his prime and that Michael Giacchino and Hans Zimmer (and maybe Danny Elfman and Howard Shore) were the only reliable film composers still working. Then this movie comes along and Silvestri pulls a Jack Nicklaus circa 1986 on us and reminds us he’s capable of great things. Really great soundtrack. And for the record, John Williams is definitely Jack Nicklaus’ entire career, and Michael Giacchino is definitely Tiger Woods pre-meltdown.
Captain America: “Hulk……Smash.” To Mark Ruffalo and the Hulk. After trying to make a good standalone Hulk film (the Ed Norton one is decent, but not great), Marvel nails the character and inadvertently, or perhaps advertently, unleashes the best big-screen version yet. Smash indeed!! I can’t wait for the inevitable Ruffalo Hulk remake. On Ruffalo: he struck me as, next to Downey Jr, the actor bringing the most to the movie. Like, he was James Harden to Downey Jr’s Kevin Durant, and Chris Evans’ appearance was Russell Westbrook. And yes, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is LeBron James. Speaking of basketball….
Thor: “He’s adopted.” To Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace. Lakers fan like him, but the relationship has to be something similar to the one between Thor and Loki, right? I mean, he’s nuts! I remember hearing a sports commentator remark that the physicality in sports can sometimes border on becoming actual physical assault (worthy of criminal charges); wouldn’t the Artest elbow count as one of those cases? Like, if a guy purposely elbowed someone in the head as hard as possible in ANY other setting than an organized sporting event, couldn’t that potentially lead to a police investigation? As the Lakers are getting set to take on the Thunder tonight in game 1 of the Western Conference semis, I can’t help but think that the only people feeling fondly toward Artest right about now are his family and fans. That guy is unbelievably unstable. Then again, maybe he’s a genius. I’ve played lots of pickup basketball, and now and then I come across someone who tends to lose his temper and physically lash out. I end up playing those guys with less toughness since I know they are prone to legitimately trying to hurt anyone who gets the better of them. Maybe Metta World Peace used violence to create a world where he is feared and therefore left alone and therefore able to shoot wide-open three-pointers!! Geez, I hope the Thunder beat the Lakers.
Captain America: “Aren’t the Stars and Stripes a little old-fashioned?” Agent Coulson: “Everything that’s happening, the things that are about to come to light, people might just need a little old fashioned.” To practical effects. One of the best previews attached to this film is Prometheus. The other best preview is The Dark Knight Rises. Together, these represent the production polar opposites of The Avengers. Both promise to feature practical effects over CGI, and honestly, I can’t wait. I don’t mean that CGI is bad. I love being able to watch Ironman fly around like the Rocketeer on Super Soldier Serum, the dinos in Jurassic Park and tons of other moments only CGI can give us, but by the end of this movie, I felt like the CGI ruined the film for me. Like, I didn’t think the creatures from the other side of the galaxy looked even CLOSE to right, and that spoiled my entire experience. JUST KIDDING!!! Complaining about CGI in a movie featuring Thor the lightning demi-god and his evil brother?? Really?? I love CGI megafests just as much as practical effect throwbacks – I just wanted an excuse to bring up Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises. Those two movies are certainly eagerly anticipated by myself.
Nick Fury: “Ant. Boot.” This quintessential Whedon line goes to Joss Whedon himself. Actually, this whole movie is kind of like one big Whedon-ism (evil mega-power trying to surpress everyone, “awkward white guy” dialogue, huge clashes between unstoppable forces a la Reavers/Alliance). While that isn’t terrible, it can get tiring, especially if you’ve watched something else he’s written/directed/created recently. In my case, I made the mistake of watching Serenity a couple weeks before, so when I watched Avengers, it was like watching different actors deliver lines that could’ve easily belonged to any member of the Firefly crew. I’m adding that to my list of lessons learned – don’t watch Joss Whedon productions within six months of any upcoming Whedon joints, as his style doesn’t vary too much and can grate on nerves and sensibilities if taken in excess. I’m convinced I would’ve rated this movie higher if I hadn’t so recently watched Serenity.
Tony Stark: “The Avengers. It’s what we call ourselves, sort of like a team. ‘Earth’s Mighiest Heroes’ type thing.” My favorite line of the movie goes to my favorite actor, Robert Downey Jr. This line is my favorite part of the movie, and I’m pretty sure no one would’ve delivered it as well as Downey did. That guy is great. Has anyone ever owned a role as wholly and consistently as he has? Making Tony Stark likable and believable is not easy, and he’s been pulling it off for going on four years now. I mean, Christian Bale has been working his Batman mojo for going on six years, but the world of Batman is what carries those movies more than anything. Without Downey, it feels like The Avengers would’ve been in immortally mortal danger of becoming just another Fantastic Four. He’s great.
Captain America: “Ma’am, there’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.” To Joss Whedon the atheist. For a guy who doesn’t believe in a god, Joss Whedon sure seems to be fascinated by the idea of one existing. His movies and shows are littered with characters who either strongly oppose the idea of God or strongly promote it, and The Avengers is no different. Perhaps he is simply smart enough to know that a large portion of the US believes in God and therefore uses theological ideas and references as a way to increase ticket sales, but then again maybe he is curious and wishes there was a God and purposely plays out his inner faith battles in his characters. Only Joss and God know the answer.
Thor: “You people are so petty… and tiny.” To every other movie out right now. Marvel really know what its doing. Money isn’t the only measure of success, but $600 million + on opening week and surely upwards of $2 billion waiting to happen…..every other movie just seems so petty and tiny. So you know, I grew up a huge fan of DC Comics and really don’t know much about the Marvel world beyond what I’ve seen in the movies. I don’t hate Marvel or anything – I just really like Batman and Superman and the Flash and the rest of the Superfriends I grew up with. After witnessing what Marvel has done with its stable of characters, I can’t help wishing for an amazing counter from DC Comics. Who knows if it will ever happen? At least I can say one thing with assured and glorious purpose – Avengers 2. Thank you for reading, good night, and SMASH.
Grant Stevens is a freelance writer covering such subjects as movies and sports. He is sure that his sheer and unbelievably unmatched skill and predilection for writing will one day lead to him receiving what is rightfully his: complete and total submission from everyone in the world! Ahahaha!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!! HAHAHA-*Cough* …… Ahem. Sorry. Grant is also an advocate for the correct usage of the word ironic.