Thursday, May 10, 2012

A short, spoiler-free Avengers movie review

If you are one of the apparently six people who has not yet seen the Avengers movie, do yourself a favor, buy a ticket, and watch this film.

Let's get my position on this.  I went to the midnight showing hopeful, but not expectant.  I'd watched all of the tie-in movies and had mixed feelings about them as a whole: the first Iron Man was a great movie.  The sequel was pretty dull and predictable.  Both Captain American and Thor, I thought, were good, but not great or groundbreaking in any way (and can we even count Edward Norton's Incredible Hulk in this grouping?).  I'm also a gigantic fan of several Joss Whedon properties, notably Firefly/Serentiy.  Dollhouse, on the other hand, was bad enough for me to stop watching during the first season even though I wanted to support Whedon.  What I'm getting at here is this: a lot of people were convinced that this was going to be a fantastic movie before seeing the first trailer, but I had my doubts that a movie with such huge ensemble cast and some fairly goofy cinematic concepts (Thor?  Really?) could pull together to create movie magic.

After watching the movie, I'm not entirely convinced that it did, but it came really close.  Really, really close.

As I mentioned, I went to the midnight showing for this movie.  I went to the Waterfront in Homestead, a suburb of Pittsburgh.  Before the show, I went to Dave & Buster's with your friend and mine, Larry.  We played the new Pac Man Challenge game.

I now have Pac Man fever, even though it was a fairly simplistic game that ended quickly.

From what I heard, there were five sold-out theaters for Avengers this night, and the place was packed. I tried to take a couple pictures of the crowd, but none of them really did any justice to the amount of people who were actually there.  There were a number of people dressed up as various Avengers.  I wonder if dressing up for movies has always been popular or if it's just because of the recent Harry Potter phenomenon.  I certainly don't remember seeing it as much outside of the last ten years.  Here's a picture of Larry looking...great...

The crowd was enthusiastic, to say the least.  I've heard that it's an American occurrence to clap and cheer before, during and after movies.  If this is true, I'm just not sure as to the why of it.  Are we appealing to the movie gods?  Are we trying to prove that we are just as big of fans as the guy sitting next to us, or four rows down?  It's a curious circumstance.  I don't look at movies being so interactive, per se, and prefer an empty theater to a boisterous, crowded one.  Those are the perils of showing up at midnight, I suppose...though it was odd to hear the reaction that even the previews were getting.

Speaking of previews, there were a few noteworthy ones to be seen this night.  The first was the newest (and supposedly final) trailer for The Dark Knight Rises.  It was just fantastic.  Take a look!

I see you in there, Hines Ward.  Woo!

There was also a new Amazing Spider-Man trailer.  I don't know what to think about this movie.  When the teaser came out, I thought it was going to be awful.  The first full trailer, though, was pretty good, I thought, and it made me think twice about skipping the movie when it comes out.  The newest one, though...I'm not as excited about that one.  Who knows what the movie will be like, but I'll probably eventually see it - just maybe not in a theater.

I was dumbfounded when the trailer for Prometheus, the Alien prequel, came on screen.  Mostly because the ship in this movie is almost identical to the Serenity ship from Firefly.  My heart jumped when I saw it, and for a moment I thought that there was a new Serenity movie coming out that I had somehow just missed up until this point.  I'll probably write an incensed (incensed, I tell you!) blog about this a little bit later on.

If you went to see the IMAX 3-D version of the movie, you got a mini poster to, I don't know, commemorate(?) the event.  Since I saw the regular-ol' 2-D version, I missed out on my chance to snag least until after the movies let out.  I popped into the IMAX theater and found a few that others had left in the aisles.  Is this the theater equivalent of dumpster diving?  Oh well.  I also found this comic:

It's a promotional Avengers comic put out, apparently, by Marvel and Wyndham.  There's a short story inside and a handful of pinups.  In the story, the Avengers fight Ultron and...stay at various Wyndham hotels.  It's a goofy story, but I guess that's to be expected.  Here's a clip from one of the pages!

Oy.  Anyway.

Overall, the Avengers movie deserves much of the praise it's getting.  There's action galore, humor, and great character moments that I've come to expect from most Joss Whedon productions.  Now that the movie is breaking records and bringing in all kinds of money, it's inevitable that we'll see another spike in comic book movies.  X-Men, which launched twelve years ago(!!), ushered in a new era of movies, one that is still going strong.  Twelve years - that's astonishing.  What other specific genres can boast a record like that?

That's not to suggest that Avengers was perfect.  There are plenty of action cliches, and the henchmen-style villains are not my favorite choice (but perhaps they are necessary in a movie like this).  But it does what it set out to do - tell an engaging, fun, over-the-top superhero action movie.  In this regard, it succeeds in almost every area.

My greatest hope to come out of this movie is that movie studios will finally see that Joss Whedon can helm a movie or series of movies that can be successful when you just let him see his vision through to the end.  Hey, Fox!  Bring back Firefly!  Make another Serenity movie!!  Whedon has proven that it can be done, and it can make lots of money.  Seriously, do it.  It's right there for the taking.


Larry Franks said...

My hoodie looks so much better than that guys snuggie.

Jeff said...

Oh, goodness yes. A THOUSAND TIMES YES.