If It Was Punchable, The Hulk Punched It:
A Review of ‘The Avengers’

“Seriously, guys, tell me that flying boat ride wasn’t awesome. It even had a pirate with an eye patch! A black pirate, but that’s okay ’cause this is the future.”

So last summer, I decided to spice things up because, frankly, you used to be way freakier before we moved in together. This resulted in me writing horrible nerdy reviews of Thor, X-Men: First Class, Shit Lantern and Captain America: The First Avenger that would make Roger Ebert immediately spawn a new jaw just so that one could fall off in disbelief that someone actually pays me to write words on the Internet. More importantly, they gave Photo Boy and I an excuse to cut out early and eat burritos in the middle of the afternoon along with sharing our deep love of cinema blah blah blah did I say put beans on that? I did not say put beans on that. So this summer I’ll be tackling The Avengers, Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-man and The Dark Knight Rises which I can already tell you will be nothing but a picture of my erect penis with batwings taped to it finally earning me the Roger Ebert respect I so clearly deserve provided he didn’t read that jaw joke earlier. Anyway…

The Shit That Worked:
– This trailer before the movie:

Granted by the time the decision was made, Disney knew they’d basically just printed themselves money with The Avengers, I don’t know who the hell thought it’d be a good idea to let the new The Dark Knight Rises trailer run just before the movie started because let me tell you what I was thinking about the whole time and still to this very second: The new The Dark Knight Rises trailer. Let me tell you what I wasn’t thinking about without actively forcing myself to so I can make dick jokes about it: The Avengers. Sure, it’s going to make The Dark Knight money, but letting that trailer run just made sure you knew that a Christopher Nolan film and a Joss Whedon movie are two completely different experiences. One is a delicious craft beer served post-coitus in a chilled glass by the beautiful woman you just coited, the other is a serviceable experience of drinking a can of beer after masturbating to Internet porn.
Mark Ruffalo. Best Bruce Banner yet.
Tom Hiddleston’s evil grin. There was just something perfectly menacing about it and he was just fucking great again as Loki mostly because he had the whole movie to himself unlike Thor who literally gets left in a field at one point there’s so many characters crammed into this thing. I’m not even joking.

The Shit That Kinda Worked:
[Ed. Note: I had a hard time deciding whether to put this one here or in The Shit That Worked, but in the end the movie was too “safe” and by the numbers to lack the nudge to go into Fuck Yeah! territory above because, Good God, that Batman trailer.] The whole movie in general was an amazing exercise in setting low expectations than surprising the fuck out of everybody when everything seems to hum along pretty smoothly because, as early set photos showed, this thing had everything going for it to become an Iron Man 2-esque debacle. Scarlett Johansson wasn’t completely superfluous. (Although still horribly miscast as Black Widow. Seriously, all this part required was a tall, leggy, supermodel redhead with giant tits to say, “Tovarish Stark, are you vitting on me?” and then she shoots a bad guy in the dick. And if you want to say there’s more to the Black Widow character than that, she’s banging Bucky in the comics now. Bucky. Your argument’s dead now. I killed it.) Captain America’s new suit didn’t look that bad mostly because Joss Whedon made the wise decision to have him conveniently lose his mask a lot. The whole movie did enough tap dancing to get the final money battle at the end a.k.a. the part where The Hulk pummels the shit out of fucking everything while you wait for the plot to wrap up in a nice neat little bow because everyone needs to be back for the sequel.
– The dialogue. Like every thing else, completely serviceable – Save for Robert Downey Jr. who naturally ate every piece of scenery in his path, although didn’t quite feel as “on” as he did in the Iron Man flicks. You could tell he was just going through the motions, yet still owned everyone in the room. – and at some points pitch-perfect until the team bickering went way overboard right before Loki’s plan started. We get it, Joss Whedon, you like pithy quip fights.
Thor’s powers. I really tried not to think too much during this movie, but it’s hard to get a good frame of reference for Thor’s strength when one minute he’s wielding incredible lightning powers and being touted as a goddamn deity, then the next Iron Man can toss him around like a rag doll while Captain America’s shield can apparently deflect a mythical hammer that not even The Hulk can pick up. Same goes with Loki, also a god, but apparently you can just punch him in the face. (Fun Fact: You know who you can’t punch in the face? Steve Rogers’ Christian God. Mostly because he doesn’t dress like a fag.)
– Nick Fury. This is not the fault of Samuel L. Jackson, but they seriously are not writing this character badass enough for these movies. Not even close. Nick Fury should have deceptions on top of deceptions on top of you never know when he’ll turn around and spy-shoot you in the dick. This Nick Fury mainly acts tired/too old for this shit and dresses like he’s in The Matrix.
– The post-credit kickers. Personally I think they should’ve flipped the two around because seeing [PERSON ONLY DORKS WILL RECOGNIZE] – Although screw that dialogue unless advanced intergalactic species are really that big of pussies. – would’ve been a bigger nerd payoff than the comedy kicker which was, admittedly, kind of funny though I’m personally offended Thor didn’t say his sandwich lacked peppercorn. I WILL EAT YOUR CHILDREN, JOSS WHEDON.

The Shit That Shat:
– The space scenes with the Chitauri. Holy fuck, welcome to Power Rangers city. This movie had some really bad set pieces – The mountain scene with Thor and Loki being another. – and this one was borderline Schumacher-esque.
– After you see the movie, think about Loki’s plan while on the Triskelion. Now ask yourself, didn’t his team that was already in place do all the work anyway? And there’s your gaping plot hole.
– Almost every word out of Captain America’s mouth following the halfway mark. I understand he’s supposed to be “old-fashioned,” you’re beat over the head with that fact, but every big speech by him is just god-awfully delivered to the point that you really start to think Chris Evans was the wrong choice. Seriously, every time he starts an order, “Alright, everyone, listen up…” it’s like you’re watching a parody of a war movie. “Alright, everyone, listen up, we’re outnumbered. We’re outmatched. This guy thought a fucking bow and arrow would be a great idea – It’s called a gun, dickface. Carry one. – but we’re going to hold this line while Robot Man, Lightning Hammer and Shrek do all the work.”

Alright, enough nerd quibbling, here’s the bottom line: The Avengers was fun. Mindless, serviceable fun, but fun nonetheless. I’m seeing a lot of reviews and comments of people touting it as the “best superhero movie” ever, but is definitely, without a doubt, not that. It is surprisingly good and a pretty decent payoff if you’ve invested yourself in the Marvel movies leading up to it. Honestly, I still think X-Men: First Class was a better movie mostly because it was more of a compelling character study of Professor X and Magneto. This was, hey, we pulled off getting everyone together, now let’s have them punch the fuck out of shit and make snappy one-liners. Which there’s absolutely nothing wrong with and if you’re looking for just that, holy shit, this movie fucking has it in spades although via set pieces and camera angles that won’t compare to The Dark Knight Rises trailer that will sexify your eyeballs. So instead of giving it a score, here’s where I’d rate it on enjoyment level compared to the flicks leading up to it:

1. Thor (I wasn’t entirely over the moon on this one at first, but it’s surprisingly the one I have the most fun rewatching. I can’t explain it.)
2. The Avengers
3. Iron Man
4. Captain America
5. The Incredible Hulk
1,997. Iron Man 2

You may now go berserk that I just ranked Thor the top movie which I’m surprised with myself and may or may not have to do with how bad I feel about his portrayal in this movie. They left him in a field. And with nary a trace of peppercorn! Have you no soul?

Photos: Splash News