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“… he’s adopted.”

Went to see Avengers Assemble. Can’t say I was too disappointed, really. Expected some superhero rompy-time fun, and that’s precisely what I got.

Just for giggles, let’s see if I can save myself the time of recapping and let a picture do the talking.

… just pretend that the Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow are there, and they’re all gonna beat up Loki because he’s doing bad stuff, right? It’s close enough.
(I could’ve had the Hulk and Loki, but you wouldn’t believe the resale prices on their minifigures, it’s bloody sacrilege!)

I will admit I was a little wary about the movie since the last Marvel superhero sequel I saw was Iron Man 2, and for all the hype, it was just okay. It was fun, I guess, but it didn’t have a patch on the first film – the first one had heart, had humour, and had drama, and the sequel had a few good laughs and a change of pace in terms of story and drama, but nothing to the same greatness.
Avengers actually comes across pretty well. Having to cram like four movies worth of characters and subplots into one movie is pretty damn daunting, but it balances all the aspects well: story, humour and character drama. There was mad hype about ALL THESE DUDES ON SCREEN IN THE SAME FILM!!, but the movie does make an effort to not pee its pants right then and there and tries to create a coherent, enveloping story. Admittedly there’s not much more to the story besides “Loki’s a manipulating dick” and “S.H.I.E.L.D. seem a bit untrustworthy,” but it does the job. It does take a while to get going, but once it’s going it’s a good, fun ride.

All the characters got balanced well, with a fair amount of story and action for each of the heroes. Even dorks like Black Widow and Hawkeye got a good bit of screen time, even though their powers are shit. When over half the cast are practically indestructible, one wonders how they’d get a chance to work a professional interrogator into the story, but Black Widow makes some vital contributions to the story, so good work! Captain America arguably suffers in comparison when it comes to story; there’s allusions and jokes made about how he doesn’t quite grasp the 21st century world, but nothing as in-depth as the other guys’ gripes. That said, director Joss Whedon at least announced before the movie’s release that he had to cut a big chunk of Cap’s story from the film, and it’ll be available as DVD extras, so it’s not like they actively tried to snub him. Gotta take that runtime into account, yo.

The story is played pretty seriously, what with the climax involving robo-aliens blowing the crap out of Manhattan and Loki manipulating everyone and oh man ALL THIS ANGST… but there’s a refreshing amount of humour. Heck, even Thor manages to get off a few one-liners! There’s a lot of fun scuffling between the crew, and the Hulk gets so many hilarious slapstick moments – punching Thor for no reason after the two beat up some aliens, slapping Loki on the ground like a rag doll… it’s a lot of fun. And I personally believe that’s what superheroes should be – fun! Whether it’s the whimsy of adventure or the excitement of superpowers or just the rock-em-sock-em romping of two invincible dudes busting each others’ nuts, this stuff should be fun. The Avengers captures that pretty darn well.

There were a fair few kids in the audience, though we did get the early afternoon showing, so it’s to be expected. Two of them were in costume, one as the Hulk and the other as Captain America. Totally adorable, but a lot of the kids couldn’t have been any older than 6, and the movie is rated 12A, so they were rather young to be seeing it. There was a fair bit of gabber behind us, and anything that wasn’t dudes in costume garnered complaint – nothing that made me want to slam Mjolnir into a few skulls, but a mite irritating, is all. It’s nice to see kids still taking interest in superhero rubbish, though I get the impression none of the movies nowadays aren’t terribly kid-accessible. What we need is a Batman & Robin sequel. Arnie’s no longer a governor, so I propose our tax dollars go towards making him act as Mr. Freeze for the next five years. I see nothing wrong with this plan. He never regrets a role, folks.

Continuing the cinema experience commentary: oh my god, it is so nice to finally see a film in 2D again! I was able to live with it in John Carter by wearing the 3D glasses on top of my regular ones, but really, you shouldn’t have to make ludicrous compromises to your comfort because the movie is so hard to watch. What benefit are you getting from shit moving on different cel layers? You get the privilege of going “huh, look at that” on a few occasions, and then the rest of the time you’re struggling to make out what’s happening. I’ve no idea how on earth I would’ve comprehended any of the action scenes were the film in 3D.
Honestly, give me a big clear screen, a good sound system, an enthusiastic audience, and that’s all you need to get a good cinema experience. 3D and all that bullshit can take a hike.

It should be no surprise when you’re reading the dumb blog of a guy who digs superhero junk, but Avengers Assemble is pretty fun, and really, you should probably know by now whether or not it’s your kind of film.