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Friday, April 11, 2014

Movie Review:Marvel's The Avengers

This one is probably cheating because I went by the director's first name. Or maybe it's for justice or Samuel L. Jackson. Anyway, I really wanted to post this review before May, so here you go. I'll post more about this movie in a couple of weeks. It's going to be a little long.

Premise:Six superheroes must put their differences aside to stop an evil alien with a powerful artifact from conquering the planet.

Cast:Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Jeremy Renner as Clinton Barton/Hawkeye, Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, Stellan Skarsgå as Erik Selvig, Alexis Denisof as The Other, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Paul Bettany as Jarvis

Director:Joss Whedon

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference

Genres:Action, sci-fi/fantasy

Notes:Marvel's final Phase One film. Poster taken from IMP Awards and belong to Marvel.

Pros:Good action sequences. Great villain. More interaction between villain and other characters. Black Widow's portrayal is better this time.

Cons:Pointless fighting among the heroes. The plot isn't exactly original and doesn't always make sense. Hawkeye doesn't get a chance to live up to his potential. Harder to enjoy if you haven't seen the previous films.

If you knew there were aliens out there, ones with better weapons than ours, you might start to worry. You might try to harness a great power source to even the odds. But what if one of those aliens showed up on your doorstep? What if he planned to take the earth for his own, not caring who gets killed in the process? You might call the best people you can find to stop him.

This film feels sort of like the season finale of a TV show, which seems appropriate, considering it's a sequel to 5 other films (for those that need a reminder, they are Iron ManThe Incredible HulkIron Man 2Thor, and Captain America:The First Avenger). Because it assumes you're familiar with most of the characters already, I'd recommend watching at least three of the above movies before you see this. Most of the characters have already been established in previous films (except Hawkeye, who unfortunately doesn't get much worthwhile screen time here). On the positive side, Black Widow is better portrayed here than she was in Iron Man 2. There, she came off as cold; here, she's more human, more vulnerable.

I should warn you that this is a summer blockbuster (albeit a good one) at heart. It's not mindless like say, Transformers, but it is more about action than slow, reflective moments. Also, the plot will sound familiar to a lot of people (bickering heroes and an evil alien with plans of world domination and enslaving humanity fight over a source of great power). On said arguing, it makes you want to say, "Yes, you all have serious issues. But can you please take them out on each other when there isn't an evil dude threatening the planet?"

Speaking of that dude, remember that kid from Thor? The one you felt so sorry for? He's gone. What remains of him is a manipulative, sadistic monster that one can compare to the likes of the Joker. Maybe pretty familiar, but he's so good at being bad that I can overlook this. I also like that this time around, the villain got to interact with the other characters more. In previous films, they've mostly talked to the hero, a couple of other villains, and not many other people. Here, Loki gets up close and personal with all of the Avengers.

In spite of its problems, I enjoyed this movie and would recommend it when you need a good action film.

12/21/2016:If you've been reading through the archive, you can already guess what I'm doing.

Sex:Pepper Potts wears shorts and whispers something sexual (it's not audible) into Tony's ear. He of course makes a few suggestive comments elsewhere in the film. Black Widow wears a tight-fitting and low-cut dress (and is barefoot) as she's being interrogated. She and other women also wear catsuits. Hulk is shirtless, of course. And Bruce Banner ends up naked in a pile of debris after transforming. Pretty much everything except his butt and genitals are visible. A fan of Captain America says he watched him sleeping, "I mean I was there when you were unconscious."

Violence:Loki is reported to kill 80 people in 2 days. He likes to blast, whack, and stab them with his staff. He also tosses throwing stars, crashes a car, and flips a man onto an altar while jamming a device in his face that cuts out his eye. Whatever is going on isn't actually shown on camera, but it makes a squishing sound and causes the poor guy serious pain. Loki tells a woman he's going to use her brainwashed friend to kill her "slowly, intimately, in every fear," then plans to wake the man only long enough for him to see the carnage and have his skull split.
Characters fight with fists, guns, arrows, energy weapons, and more. Things go boom. The god of thunder swings his hammer down onto Cap's shield, which then sends the blast to destroy nearby trees. Several viewers have already noted that Thor had no way of knowing that Cap would survive. Hulk grabs a guy by the leg and slams him into the floor repeatedly. He also chases a woman, destroying things in his way.
Men interrogate someone, slapping her face, threatening to send her into a pit, and implying they'll remove her tongue. Nevertheless, she soon beats them up and leaves one dangling over the same pit. A man and a woman fight, which ends when she whacks his head against a metal beam.
A man nearly falls into the ocean at a high speed. Tony is thrown out a window. Bruce tried to shoot himself, but Hulk spit out the bullet. A man falls to his death. There's a car chase that flips one vehicle.
A facility implodes. Aliens demolish buildings, fight Avengers, and threaten civilians. Aircraft crash. And of course, things blow up, including a street full of cars. For a moment, it looks as though a character has died. There are flashes of battles from previous films.
Several characters get wounds and grime on their faces. Captain America pounds on a punching bad so hard, he destroys it. Blood appears on a murdered man's personal effects. Tony shocks Bruce.

Language & Insults:"Oh my g*d", "son of a b**ch", "a**", "h*ll", "d**n", "p*ss," and "bas**rds". Loki calls a woman "quim," which is a British word that means "c*nt". A quip is made about Loki being adopted.

Drugs/Alcohol:Tony shares champagne with Pepper and asks Bruce if he stays calm with the help of weed. He also pours himself a drink and offers one to an enemy, who initially declines.

Spiritual:Loki fancies himself a god, forcing a crowd to kneel in front of him and gives a speech about this (servitude) being their natural state of being. While humans are indeed designed to worship something, Loki's meaning here is that they should worship him. He throws a man onto an altar and "sacrifices" him. He calls a woman a child at prayer, pathetic. At one point, he starts to yell at Hulk that they are all beneath him and he is a god, an encounter that ends badly for Loki ("Puny god"). One of his brainwashed lackeys calls the Tesserect "more than knowledge, it's truth."
Thor and Loki are often described as gods or god-like, as well as immortal. When Black Widow uses such terms, Captain America replies, "There's only one God, ma'am, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that." A alien says the humans will burn. Thor remarks he thought humans were more evolved. Loki wonders how much black energy it took Odin to send Thor to earth. Someone asks if Bruce does yoga. Tony asks if JARVIS has ever heard the story of Jonah; JARVIS replies, "I wouldn't consider him a role model." Tony sarcastically calls Loki "Rock of Ages."

So what did you think?

If you'd like to speculate about it, go here.

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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