We normally reserve 10 & 5 posts for big movies that are familiar to the masses, but once in a while it’s good to shine a light on a low profile indie film. This is not that time though, so instead we’re taking a look at the movie with the biggest opening weekend in history. Joss Whedon’s entertaining as hell blockbuster, The Avengers, has already earned a rare A- grade from us (read Cole Abaius’ review), but Robert Fure and Rob Hunter wanted to take a more detailed view complete with potential and actual spoilers.
Warning: There are major spoilers below. Major spoilers. You’ve now been warned about the major spoilers.
10 Things We Liked
1. Paced Like a Movie Half Its Length: At two hours and twenty minutes, The Avengers remains a fantastic blend of comedy, action and character moments that never drags or bores. Even a second act loaded with dialogue is never less than entertaining thanks to sharp, smart and funny writing that never feels extraneous or unnecessary. – Rob Hunter
2. Tony Stark, Zinger Man: Tony Stark, portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., is probably the greatest character in the Marvel Universe. His one liners and attitude are epic and witty. While calling Hawkeye “Legolas” isn’t groundbreaking, spanking Loki with “Reindeer Games” is Hall of Fame material. – Robert Fure
3. Avengers Assembled: Tony Stark/Iron Man is better than ever but even though he’s arguably the biggest name here his ego and personality are never allowed to take over the movie. Instead, solid character time is given to all four of the leads including Thor, the Hulk and Captain America, and even Black Widow gets some worthwhile screen time. Hawkeye gets shafted, but that’s only fitting. – Hunter
4. Americuh!: There was debate when Captain America premiered that his particular brand of patriotism and purity was a poor fit for the modern world, but Whedon’s script acknowledges that head on with an exchange between the Captain and Agent Coulson regarding his redesigned uniform. The Captain also gets to disclose his faith in the one true god with a line that gets a laugh while not being at the expense of his belief. – Hunter
5. They’ve Got Big Balls: If you take a lot of the elements of this movie, they’re absolutely ridiculous. Six super heroes. Alien invasions. Flying aircraft carriers. Gods. Monsters. Any one by itself can be a hard sell, but Avengers packs them all in there, goes for broke, and hits a home run. – Fure
6. Babes: Agent Hill, aka Cobie Smulders, is a minor player here, but that doesn’t stop her from looking pretty damn fine as she runs and rolls around in a tight black jumpsuit. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow may be the flashier star, but I’d be first in line for an Agent Hill stand-alone movie. And for those of you with more questionable taste in the ladies there’s also Gwyneth Paltrow in cutoff jean shorts. Sickos. – Hunter
7. Whedon Retains His Need to Kill Beloved Characters: The previous Marvel films have varied in quality and entertainment value, but very few of them have managed to find any real emotion. The end of Captain America, where he realizes he’s decades late for his date with Peggy and has lost out on the love of a lifetime, remains the most poignant moment in Marvel’s film universe, but The Avengers comes in a close second with the death of Agent Coulson. I like Coulson, and I love Clark Gregg’s portrayal of him throughout his brief appearances in the Marvel films. But while he’s far from integral he remains one of the film’s warmest characters meaning his death has a powerful impact on the audience as well as the Avengers. – Hunter
8. Hulk Bromances: The Hulk seems to have come out of The Avengers the real winner, as everyone is in love with him – and he’s in love with them! Hulk has a great relationship with Thor, their fight together is fun and amusing and later when Hulk sucker punches Thor, it’s great. But it doesn’t stop there, as Bruce Banner and Tony Stark also become fast friends. So much love! – Fure
9. Revenge Of the Browncoats: Knowing that Whedon is now the director behind Hollywood’s biggest opening weekend ever is a huge satisfaction for the dozens of us still wishing Firefly got more than an aborted single season. It’s anyone’s guess what he’ll do next, but hopefully it includes him squeezing in more original stuff before he settles in for The Avengers 2: The Avenging. – Hunter
10. Best Post-Credits Scene Is Also the Least Relevant: The Marvel films are known for adding an extra tag after the credits to further the story, advance the plot and/or lead into another film, but Whedon and friends trump them all with two extra tidbits. The first featured the appearance of Thanos and simultaneously triggered a loud shriek and a small sploosh from the comic-book fan beside me (whereas I had to go home and Google “Thanos”). For me though the crown for best post-credits scene belongs to the dialogue-free bit that bears absolutely zero relevance to anything of importance. It’s pretty damn funny and a fantastic way for Whedon to cap his Marvel film debut. – Hunter
7 Things We Didn’t Like
1. Mirror Mirror, Wherefore You Here: Mirrors have been used a million times in movies to show some sort of action. Hey, they were used in Iron Man 2 to help Tony Stark evade Whiplash on the race course. Maybe that’s what Joss Whedon was thinking about when he put in something like four extended mirror sequences. Serious shots too, not just glimpses, but long takes played out entirely in various mirrors. What’s the deal? – Fure
2. Stan Lee Deserves Better: Stan Lee cameos are something we all come to expect. Sometimes they’re short, sometimes they’re hilarious, but with The Avengers, with the exception of Captain America, Stan Lee not only created the team, but he created every character on the team. He deserved a better cameo. – Fure
3. Flying Machine Technology Blows: Why does every single flying vehicle get shot down? Avenger in a helicopter? Gets shot down. Avengers in a hover-jet thingamajig? Gets shot down. The most egregious example is the Avengers’ ginormous helicarrier that almost gets taken out by a single goddamn arrow. Sure it’s an exploding arrow, but still, why are there no defenses on this presumably expensive flying machine? Fine, Loki sent a virus (something only slightly more believable than Jeff Goldblum taking out alien defenses with a Mac virus), but it should have been a lot more difficult to disable and potentially destroy a flying fortress that size. – Hunter
4. Agent Coulson’s Death, if true, is Weak: A lot of people, Mr. Rob Hunter included, seem to respect this death. If a guy has to die, why not die motivating the Avengers to Avenge? I disliked this death for several reasons – first and foremost, we all know Joss Whedon kills off beloved characters. He says himself he doesn’t like this moniker, but come on, could he have earned any more? The death itself was also poorly executed – much like Wash in Firefly, we have something of a lull moment and suddenly a stabbing through the chest. If this is his blaze of glory, doesn’t he deserve more blaze? If he is dead, we also get no closure – Fury seems to think the wound is fixable (especially considering they’re on the world’s most advanced aircraft) but we don’t really see Coulson die, we just hear about it. Now, this could be just setting up a great reveal in Iron Man 3 or something, but as it stands, I thought this death was poorly handled. Also, The Avengers are assholes if killing one guy motivates them to get together, but Loki killing 90 people and plotting the end of the Earth does not. – Fure
5. Hulk Smash But He Fails to Learn: Once the portal opens and the alien jet-skiers pour through they’re quickly followed by a giant, armor-plated space slug. Dr. Banner makes an entertaining crack, transforms into the Hulk and then kills the beast with one well-placed punch to its head. It’s a great scene, but why does the team struggle with the others that show up afterwards? We’ve already established that Hulk, Thor and Iron Man are essentially evenly matched, so why aren’t they fisting the creatures’ skullcaps instead of standing on the alien monsters’ backs, bashing away and wasting their time? – Hunter
6. Product Placement: Everyone needs to make a buck (and Avengers is making several million) and while product placement is absolutely nothing new to the Marvel/Disney world, it feels pretty in your face at times. Walking out of the theater I wanted nothing more to do than drink a Dr. Pepper in my Acura while buying Farmer’s Insurance. – Fure
7. POWER UP or not: Hunter touched on this above with The Hulk – he can easily knock out one giant space slug, but later is just smashing stuff that doesn’t instantly turn into a mist of goo. Thor likewise probably could have easily dispatched hundreds of those aliens with ease, or accidentally knocked Iron Man’s head off in their scuffle. The power levels of these guys isn’t well executed, but in the comics it sometimes isn’t either, so minor gripe. – Fure
What did you like/dislike about The Avengers?