vrijdag 8 juni 2012

Avengers assemble!

Two weeks ago I finally got to see The Avengers! And it was definitely worth the wait. The main reason I wanted to see it, was because it's Joss Whedons first blockbuster. A second reason is that there are a lot of familiar faces in this movie. And who doesn't like that? Even in the first minutes you see Cobie Smulders with Samuel L. Jackson. Cobie Smulders is probably most known for her role on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother - with Whedonalums Alyson Hannigan (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog). Smulders really played her part. I thought she might have a little part, but it turned out way bigger than I had imaged and she was awesome! Another familiar face is Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. While most people may know him from The Hurt Locker, he is actually a Whedonalum too, cos he played in one of my favorite episodes of Angel, called 'Somnambulist'. Then there's Chris Hemsworth. He played the role of Thor, but first played the role of Curt in The Cabin in the Woods which was written - and if I'm not mistaken - also produced by Joss. These roles were pretty much known, but we also got some suprises while watching the movie. A young cop was played by Enver Gjokaj - Victor in Dollhouse. Then there's Alexis Denisof (Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse) who played 'The Other' in this film. Unfortunately I didn't recognise him or I just didn't see him, because I was surprised to see his name in the end credits. And of course, what I couldn't get enough of was Joss' name on the big screen. I sqeeled on the inside everytime I saw it. There are also the big names, such as Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow and I can go on with this for a while. But I already knew they would be in there and I really enjoyed there performances, but seeing Whedonalum in a Whedon blockbuster, is just truly amazing. Now, I will try to avoid SPOILERS, but here's a review.

(from left to right: The Hulk, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Nick Fury, 
Black Widow, Captain America and Thor)
It was inescapable the last couple of years: Superheroes. Of course we had Superman and Batman and yes, The Hulk, but Iron Man, Captain America and Thor are relatively new. And these separate movies prepared the audience for what was coming next: The Avengers assembled. Promising? Hell yeah!

Ego's and morals

Superheroes are known for their morals, trying to save the world from whatever threat comes along. But these superheroes have something else: ego's. The movie Thor focused on his pride, Tony Stark (Iron Man) is a "Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist" (his words), Bruce Banner (The Hulk) well, he turns into a primal 'monster' who just likes to SMASH. The one with the least ego, would be Steve Rogers (Captain America). A leader and full of those 1940's morals and patriotism. Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) and Clint Barton (Hawkeye) made brief appearances in earlier movies, but here they get more credit. And then there's agents Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). In all those superheromovies from the past they showed up in the end.
This many people with their ego's, there's only one way they can work together: By not working together. They are not a team, they are individual heroes doing things in their own way. Which means Banner tries to hide, Rogers tries to grasp the fact that he's living in the future (for realz!), Thor is supposed to be on another planet and Stark, well he just does whatever he wants. But they are brought together by one common enemy: Loki - Thor's evil brother -, who came from a different planet because he wants to rule over Earth. The first part of the movie mainly focuses on their differences and them trying to fight it out, literally. They keep fighting and destroying what's around them. It might not be so exciting, because they are all so strong and none of them would be in danger. But it looks great and it's a lot of fun. They don't have to hold back, they just go all out. Whatching that on a big screen, not to mention in 3D, is totally worth it. It's seriously action packed.

Hammers and other attributes
Just like Batman a superhero has to have attributes. Captain America has his shield, Thor has his hammer, Hawkeye has his bow, Iron Man has his suit, Hulk has, well, his body and Black Widow... Ok, she has a gun, but her flexible body/thighs and her seductiveness is awesome. The attributes are a part of what makes heroes cool. Greek Gods had those emblems too, which they were pictured with. Like Zeus with his eagle and the lightning bolt. Dianne with a deer and a bow. Not to mention that Thor is a God, actually. So let's take them one step at a time.

Captains shield:
I'm not a comic book reader, so I don't know the entire story. The shield is made from some special metal and it's given to him by Howard Stark, if I remember correctly, during WWII. He can use it as a frisbee, throwing it to hit people with, after which it returns to him. It's strong enough not to be hurt by bullets or lightning... or Loki's staff. Which is actually really necessary, because if not, he wouldn't have a fighting change against this evil supervillain.

Thor's hammer:
Is there anything so thrilling as this? It's just a plain hammer, but no one but Thor can pick it up. How amazing is that. That's a personal weapon my friends. Used in the right way, he can even fly with it. It has tremendous powers and Thor is really strong (he's a God, hello!) so it will have a fierce impact. Then there's that nifty thing of lightning. Thor also uses the hammer to make it storm and get some lightning which he can give direction to and attack someone with. What a blast! (sorry, couldn't resist) And finally, not sure how this works exactly, but he can conjure it or make it come to him. I'm just gonna be honost with ya, it's my favorite by far.

Hawkeye's bow:
I had never even heard of Hawkeye. Sure he made a brief appearance in Thor - the first movie, but I didn't understand his superhero status. The way I understand it, is that he's a trained agent with a supercool bow. Though a bow is nothing special. Several heroes have bows. But Hawkeye's is very impressive. For one, he's very fast with it - more a speciality of his than that it has to do with the bow itself, but sure. He's extremely fast and has a massive shot. The bow itself can be fold out, in a manner of speaking and the arrows... well there's something you don't see every day. He has 'usual' arrows, with very sharp points, but he also has these munition-things he can click on. What's in them? Nothing short of a bom. So I feel I have to apologize to Hawkeye, I never knew he could be so interesting and explosive (again, couldn't resist).

Iron Man's suit:
It's a cool suit, I'll give him that. It has all the nice gadgets, but it's also kinda lame. It's a suit... a metal suit... I guess I'm just not that impressed by metal. It looks less human or something. But if you have to have a suit, this is the one you want. He can fly, he can fight, he has guns/amunition in the weirdest places and he can take it in the water... He has it all. And on the plus side, it also protects Stark very well. He gets smacked around, and it's safe to say that without the suit he wouldn't have survived.

Bruce's Hulk:
What a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing, right? On one hand you feel sorry about Bruce. It's an experiment gone wrong and he's the result. He doesn't know how to fix it or get rid of it. It's inside him and he has to live with it. Hulk is very helpful at times though. He's large and strong, pretty much indestructable actually. But on the other hand, he's a walking time bomb. And how can you communicate and rely on this monster that - when he transforms - says sentences like 'Hulk smash' and doesn't know for which side he's fighting. He just tears things apart. Sure, it's fun and 'destructorama' but not really a power that anyone would want, not even Bruce himself.

Black Widow's thighs: She's a seductive superspy with martial arts training. A real femme fatale, but without any real superpowers or a weapon. The interesting thing is that you never know how much she knows. But powerwise, I'd say anyone who can fight like this (watch the scene below) and get's attacked by (SPOILER!) Hulk falls in the superhero category. She may not have superpowers, but her fighting and seduction skills make her part of the group and she can certainly hold her own.

On the down side of props, it's the fact that they need props. Sure, they are strong, but Superman has superpowers. He is the weapon. You can't say that about Stark. Without the suit, he really isn't all that threatening. Bruce without Hulk, is just a scientist. Hawkeye without the bow... well, I think you get the drill. But at least two people stand out here: Thor. He has all his God given powers (meaning that he's super strong, whether he has the hammer in his hand or not) and Black Widow. She may not be all powerful, but she can definitely hold her own without superpowers or weapons. It's amazing to see her work, even for an agent. Because she's so much more than that.

(Black Widow - interrogation scene. Her first appearance in the movie)

(For the Buffy fans: Did anyone else think about the hammer from Olaf, used by Buffy to beat Glory up - while Spike couldn't even pick it up? Just like no one else could pick this hammer up. I also really needed to restrain myself from writing 'Captain Hammer' :P. Anyone?)

Movies kick ass
(And yes, for the Buffy - or SMG - fans, this is also a reference to SMG's and Jack Black's 'Movies Kick Ass' song during the MTV Movie Awards. So appropriate.)

Fighting scenes can be great. But they don't always work. So far, Whedon has always made it work. Take a look at his track record: Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse. In all of these shows there's some serious ass kicking. In this movie, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow stands out especially. Her fighting brings back memories of Buffy Summers and/or Faith Lehane working out their frustrations or simply doing their job. If fightscenes don't work, you get bored. This isn't the case in The Avengers. Which is a good thing, because this movie is ACTION PACKED!
For one, there are all the fight scenes between the superheroes themselves. Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor. When they turn against each other destruction happens. Then there's Black Widow, Hawkeye and Fury. All know how to kick some butts. One of the most suprising and exciting fights was the attack by (SPOILER) Hulk on Widow. A tiny young girl getting attacked by a massive monster, it's eye candy.
But of course these movies aren't just about heroes fighting each other. It's about them fighting together against a common enemy. That would be Loki with his army. A giant army with monsters and very huge serpent kinda monsters... Thousands of fights accure in the final battle an what makes this work is you get the see all of it. You have many heroes you can follow and you get to see them in action, all of them. Each of them have their own fighting skill and way and they all get to do their thing. I could go in depth about it, but by describing the weapons I think you pretty much get the picture.
Whedon has done an amazing job with this. Normally you would want to see everyone fighting and fighting side by side. Whedon filmed this in an interesting and very satistfying way. You won't be dissapointed. That's all to be said about it, if you want to remain spoiler free. But it's truly impressive. It happens really fast, but you get to see it all. And isn't that just what we keep asking for?

The heart of Joss
Joss Whedon is also known for his 'Whedonspeak'. His way of talking, his humor and jokes, the dialogue, all of these are just another reason to go see his work. With characters such as these superheroes, you could go all out. So be prepared to take home some new one liners when you leave the cinema after this movie. Snotty and sarcastic remarks are always fun (What, you wouldn't have guessed that, me being a Gilmore Girls, Buffy and Veronica Mars fan?). When there's a movie about superheroes with big ego's, there's gotta be some of those. Especially because no one would feel they would have to hold back. 
Simple lines can say a lot and there's always a remark. It's said in a sarcastic or stoic way and it's funny. Like Thor saying "Loki is beyond reason, but he's of Asgard and he's my brother." Black Widow responds: "He killed eighty people in two days." Thor's come back? "He's adopted." We all have our own sense of humor, but it would be a surprise if you would watch this movie and didn't laugh once. Because of the multitude of characters there are different kinds of humor. It can be remarks like these, but it can also be references. Something that gets used more and more often. It plays on the intelligence of the viewers and it's something Whedon is also known for. One example is Stark telling Hawkeye "Clench up, Legolas." But there are a lot more, especially concerning Captain America, since he skipped a couple of decades. The humor is not just in the dialogue. It's can also be physical. I mean, how can you argue with this: Loki "I am a God! You can not defeat me!" After which Hulk simply smashes him. Just remembering this moment makes me chuckle. And it's good because jokes are a tricky thing. They could be lame or simply 'over used'. This movie doesn't have a problem with that. The jokes are genuinly funny, smart, witty and suit the characters perfectly.

Just a couple more one-liners, because I like them but I don't want to give away too much:

Banner: "We're not a team. We're a time-bomb"
Thor: "You people are so petty... and tiny."
Rogers: "I got that reference!"
Fury: "I recognize the council has made a decision, but given that it's a stupid ass decision, I've elected to ignore it."
Stark: "It's beautiful. It's like Christmas. But with more...me."
Romanoff: [tied up in a chair, being interrogated by Russians, while getting a call] I'm working."
Barton: [to Romanoff] "You and I remember Budapest very differently."

In the heart of Joss is also the music. The music could have been better though. If you are familiar with the works of Joss Whedon, you may know the great scores he uses. It can be subtle, but also empowering and bombastic. The music in this movie could have been more bombastic. Music really shouldn't draw all the attention away from the movie. I'm a big fan of it being subtle and supportive. But this is a movie about a tower of superheroes and it should be bombastic. Not that you get really annoyed by it or that it's downplayed or something. It's more that a lot is happening, the city gets ruined and it feels like something is missing now. If there was one thing that might have improved a great movie, it could have been this.

The evil brother: Loki - SPOILERS
Before going to the movie, a lot of tweets appeared on my screen how in love everybody is with Loki. In Thor I could have gotten it, but here... not so much. There are (super)villains that you can love because they are so evil. And there's something about the way they are evil that makes it very enjoyable. Their viciousness, their complete lack for humanity or the pleasure they take in being evil. For example: Darla and/or Angelus from Buffy/Angel. Two great villians that you cannot help but love (maybe a better one would have been Heath Ledger as the Joker... Sniff). 
In the beginning of the movie Loki gives you that feeling. You get his enjoyment, his drive and you know that he's planning something. You just don't know what it is. He keeps you at the edge of your seat. But it lessens during the rest of the movie. Loki is played by Tom Hiddleston and he does a great job. Thumbs up! All the switching, powers, manipulations, turning people against each other and the hologram-thing. It's entertaining, interesting and exciting. Maybe I'm spoiled, or maybe it's that I expected too much after all the messages I read on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else on the internet. I just feel like I have seen worse/better villains. 
A moment where he could have gotten more sympathy was while the earth is being attacked. He started it and his brother Thor gives him a chance to be redeemed by doing the right thing. But the brotherly resentment feelings are too great for him to put aside. He has been hurt and can't wait to have a planet to rule. On the one hand it makes him look like a spoiled child, wanting to rule over the 'lesser' humans. On the other, it stays true to his character - the evilness that is Loki. It could be the lack of back story in The Avengers, but it works better in Thor. Here it seems a little odd at times and doesn't really work. Near the end of the movie, it just wasn't as convincing anymore.

Must see, for real!
Everything mentioned above should be a reason to go see it. If you like superheromovies, it's a no brainer. If you like action movies, likewise. It's seriously action packed, as I have mentioned before. It doesn't matter if you're a guy or a girl. There's enough entertainment to go around. It's funny, it's good writing, you have great characters and it's only the second movie that I thought was meant to be in 3D. If you've already seen it, than let me leave you with this:

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten