The Avengers is the climax of years of super hero movies that achieves nothing but guaranteeing even more super hero movies. Slap-stick at times and walking a very thin line between comedy and world ending catastrophe, I found the Avengers a difficult film to enjoy because there is too much back story, too much catering for everyone, and too little movie magic.
Loki (Tom Hiddleston of War Horse) leaps through a portal into this world and seizes from Prof Fury (Samuel L Jackson) a powerful cube that has the potential to end our world by unleashing a throwaway army of generic robots upon us. Luckily, Iron man (Robert Downey Jnr) and his cinematic cash cows are willing to save us all by in-fighting and squabbling for hours about who has the largest super hero mojo and then crushing the robot forces with ease.
The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and Iron man have each had their own film about them released over the last several years and apparently it has all led up to this point. I felt that the films were stronger on their own and that bringing them all together made it confusing for those who had not seen some of the individual films as the pot shots they take at each other make no sense unless you are well versed in comic books and the rivalries between the super heroes.
The superheroes are not explained well with Scarlet Johansson’s character seeming to have no super power, and Hawkeyes’ super power seeming to be that you miss his name the first time it is mentioned and then have no way of identifying him apart from him being “the guy with the bow and arrow” for the rest of the film.
Oh Apparently (Black Widow) or Scarlet Johansson as she is better known, has a super power to kick people’s asses, which I only found out afterwards after thinking that there was a serious case of domestic abuse between her and “Hawkeye”. In fact there is some long winded back-story between them explained in some 1st edition comic from the 1970’s that will one day go on auction for millions of dollars, but because I haven’t read it I am not privy to that part of the plot and am only alerted to a missed joke or revelation by the whooping and cheering by pale lank smelly types in the rows in front.
The film is structured and balanced in many ways but dry and meaningless in others. I have seen the film twice and the second time around found myself waiting for the later action scenes and deploring the slow start. The film tries to be meaningful in parts; for example when Loki rounds up some humans and subjects them to a speech on subjugation. An old man stands up in the crowd and defies Loki’s oppression and imposed dictatorship! One’s brain switches on long enough to make the connection between the scene depicted and totalitarianism and the free world etc. before Iron man comes screaming in with AC DC playing within the diegetic and rocket launchers popping out of his shoulders.
In the final stages of the film the Avengers face the “Chitauri”. I actually just had to look that up as their name is of such little importance and their sole purpose is to make cinema goes think that the Avengers could actually lose. Sure, the robot army appears daunting and advanced, but after a few minutes they are being pounded into dust by every cast member and it is actually us as a human race who nearly wipe ourselves out through the launching of a panic nuke. When an army of terminators is defeated by Scarlet Johansson and her white belt kung fu and low calibre side arms, you know that there was nothing to really worry about.
Each Super hero has a go pounding robots the size of buildings into burning debris, and then feigning worry or exhaustion as if to suspend belief just long enough to force cinema goers to visit the foyer for another rip-off packet of Maltesers and prop up the bloated and arrogant film industry long enough for them to defecate another sequel onto us a public. I read that Robert Downey Junior is to earn $50 million for his role in the Avengers and that Avengers 2 is already in production.
The Avengers has been met with acclaim but ultimately the film was not good and it was the marketing of the film that was very, very good. It is the state of movies and how they are sold to the public today that is on show here, as I had not been to see a film at the cinema (wink) in a while and felt cheated when I did. All the elements to tick the boxes for mums, dads, kids, and nerds are there, but the film itself it is not bound together by a great story and ends up lukewarm. 5/10