Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


THE AVENGERS (aka Marvel's The Avengers/2012). Writer/Director: Joss Whedon.

The super-heroes featured in the movies Thor, Captain America, the First Avenger, Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk band together to form a team called the Avengers [which first appeared in comic books in the early 1960's] when evil Loki of Asgard comes to Earth and enlists the aid of extra-dimensional robotic warriors and giant metallic worm-dragons that threaten to tear apart Manhattan. There's no real story or fully dimensional characters in this so the movie offers some good special effects and a few exciting sequences that save the movie from the scrapheap. The whole thing is an overlong live-action cartoon and often resembles a high-class video game. It's hard to imagine what audience members who aren't familiar with the comic books will think of this, as it's even confusing to long-time readers. [These Avengers seem modeled more on the heroes of the "Ultimate" universe than the regular Marvel universe.] Alan Silvestri's music helps a bit, but Seamus McGarvey's cinematography is generally mediocre. Samuel L. Jackson scores as SHIELD director Nick Fury, and Tom Hiddleston pretty much walks off with the movie as Loki. The other actors offer the right amount of attitude. [In some comic book -- and Star Trek -- movies the actors often emote as if they think they're doing Shakespeare!] In the comic books Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is known as the Black Widow, and Clint Barton (Jeremey Renner) is known as Hawkeye, although I don't believe those names are used in this movie. NOTE: To read more about the early origins of all of these characters see The Silver Age of Comics

Verdict: Well ... it's somewhat better than Marvel's other summer movies with the exception of X-Men: First Class [which easily out-classes The Avengers] but it has its moments and is often entertaining. ***.

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