Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Avengers

The Avengers; fantasy action, USA, 2012; D: Joss Whedon, S: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders

Asgardian Loki shows up on Earth in order to use the power of the Tesseract to open up a portal that will allow the alien race Chitauri to arrive from the other side of the Universe and conquer the planet. Nick Fury, director of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agency thus recruits the top superheroes, the Avengers, to fight the danger: Tony Stark, aka Iron Man; Captain America, Dr. Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk; Thor; Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow and Hawkeye. Even though they are outnumbered by the alien army, the Avengers manage to stop the attack on Manhattan, close the portal and throw a nuclear bomb on Chitauri in space.

Even though it became the 3rd highest grossing movie of the decade and accumulated an incredible 92% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, "Marvel's The Avengers" is a film for kids, a too simplistic variation of the superhero genre equipped with the typical "cartoonish" action. The idea to assemble all of the popular superheroes into one film is good, but since they gathered them all, they should have at least given them an especially good script that would assemble all of the best ingredients of the superhero genre into one, as well. For a movie with six superheroes in one, it does not have a sixfold of quality, but only one sixth of the actual power of these figures (for instance, the first "Iron Man" was a better film than this, and, ironically, Tony Stark was the only superhero in that story). Despite their flaws, "The Dark Knight" and "Watchmen" at least had subversive and thought-provocative ingredients at times. There is none of that here.

This is especially disappointing considering that they gave the film to a talented director like Joss Whedon, who previously showed quite a witty, fun and inventive frequency in "Buffy" (for instance, the musical episode). The people who choreographed the fantastic action sequences in "Superman 2", "Terminator 2" and "Hard Boiled" can only chuckle at the ordinary action in here, which is as simplistic as the corny storyline. Tony Stark/Iron Man and Black Widow are the only two interesting characters (Widow has a great, delicious intro sequence at the start, where it turns out that, despite being tied to a chair, she is actually interrogating some thugs, and not vice-versa; Tony has a few cynical jokes) yet Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and the Hulk are bland and do not have their moments. Theoretically, they could have added Superman, Spiderman, Batman and 20 other superheroes as well, since the latter four do not do anything much besides being there. However, the finale has some fun ideas (Loki captures and intercepts a flying arrow with his hand, but just as we think he saved himself, the arrow explodes and gets him anyway), which shows that Whedon still had some crumbs of inspiration, which could have been developed far better if he was given a free hand to allow the storyline to get unconventional and surprising. Silly, but fun.


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