Friday, 27 April 2012
CINEMA: THE AVENGERS (3D)
Point of note.
I refuse to call this film by the British title Marvel Avengers Assemble which was used because the studio decided that British audiences are so stupid that they might confuse this highly publicised film with the acclaimed British TV series which was later turned into a rubbish film with Sean Connery.
My third visit to the cinema in ten days. I can't remember the last time I went that often in a year never mind a week and half. Still, Tuesday was The Hunger Games of which I'd read and loved the book (see previous post). The week before that was The Cabin In The Woods co-written, produced, second unit directed by Joss Whedon a cult hero who not entirely coincidentally wrote and directed The Avengers.
Avid admirers of Whedon are referred to as Whedonites, people who dote religiously on everything he does and says. He is their god. He is not mine. I have not and nor have I ever been a Whedonite. Whedonites should also not be confused with Deadites (referred to briefly in Cabin). I am not nor have I ever been a Deadite who are white-eyed sadistic demons. Equally, Deadites should not be confused with Deadheads. Deadheads worship at the shrine of Jerry Garcia and in front of the altar of legendary jam band The Grateful Dead. Deadheads await the 113th 4-CD live box set, this one of of the legendary (they are all leg-en-dary!) complete set at the Dopeheads Palace, Limabean, Cal., 11/31/78) and who will go into spasms of ecstasy if they hear two notes played completely differently from any other of the 34 versions of Sugaree they own. I am not nor.. Oh hell, I admit it, I'm in recovery. I'm also prone to bouts of Whedonitis which is less harmful than being a Whedonite.
There. Glad we got that straight.
I suppose you won't settle for: the best super-hero movie ever!
Incidentally, that is not synonymous with best ever movie based on a comic/graphic novel. Comics are a medium just like cinema and novels. Comics/graphic novels can contain all the range of any story-telling medium but in its own unique way. Just this morning I read a graphic novel which blended autobiography with the story of James Joyce's daughter Lucia. (Expect a review here soon.)
Unlike most directors for whom a super-hero movie is just another job of work, Whedon knows super-hero comics. He is a fan. He wrote the best ever limited series of X-men (see previous posts) so he can not only talk the talk, he can walk the walk. He knows what fans want to see and he knows how to deliver it but in a way that will also sucker in a general audience. And this is how he does it.
Open with a set-piece, segue into character bits, have another set piece, more character/plot development stuff before building to a massive climax. Anyone going to see this film will like as not be familiar with the Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor movies so their characters have been established but they've never met. Whedon gets things going by having IM wind up Thor and Cap. Then he gives the fanboys what they want -Iron Man versus Thor. There are several setpieces like this which I won't mention except to say the special effects really are special. This is real super-hero battles from the comics come to life. Whedon also answers the perennial fanboy question: who's stronger, Thor or Hulk? Whedon's version of Hulk is the best yet and the Hulk gets in two visual gags and one verbal which had the entire audience laughing loudly when I saw it. (Okay, there were only seven of us and it did start at 10.30 in the morning). He introduces new and relatively new characters of the Black Widow and Hawkeye, both ably played by Scarlet Johansen and Jeremy Renner. The actor who plays Bruce Banner is also good.
The time flies by as Whedon builds to an enormous climax when Loki and the alien Chitauri invade New York. This really is spectacular, breathtaking and every other cliche you can think of.
This is not just the best super-hero movie ever it's a perfect super-hero movie. Whedon does everything right by giving the audience what they'd find in a good mainstream super-hero comic and making it real. Except for romance. There isn't time for any of that but it would only get in the way.
Lastly: 3-D or not 3-D? I'm glad I saw it that way but it didn't add a great deal, something, yes, but not that the film wouldn't be just as good without it.
And Whedon, with The Avengers which is deservedly going to be a massive worldwide success, he's firmly in the big time where he belongs.