Film: The Avengers is Marvelous
May 11th, 2012
Omaha, NE – It shattered records in its opening weekend, but is this box office behemoth actually any good? From the Movieha podcast, Ryan Syrek and Matt Lockwood take a look at The Avengers.
Ryan: Historians may refer to the United States as “the grand experiment,” but in my opinion, the grandest experiment of them all just ended with a glorious visual extravaganza complete with a green man, a spandexed lady, multiple Norse demi-gods, a drunken lech in a suit of armor, a man out of time, and an eagle eyed assassin.
Matt: First of all, that sounds like a Lockwood family reunion. Second of all, really? The Avengers is what you consider the greatest experiment of all time? Not, I don’t know, the discovery of electricity or something.
Ryan: If Ben Franklin had seen this epic cinematic adventure, he would have invented a new proverb about it. Something like, “A penny saved is GO SEE THE AVENGERS.” Or “Early to bed, early to rise TO GO SEE THE AVENGERS.”
Matt: Directed by Joss Whedon, a revered comic fanboy, The Avengers is the result of an experiment or gamble, which saw Marvel Comics link stand-alone superhero movies together through shared characters, all promising this colossal team up. And colossal it is. When Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, shows up on earth threatening a full-scale alien invasion, Nick Fury played by Samuel L. Jackson, must unite Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr, The Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo, Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner, the Black Widow, played by Scarlet Johansson, Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, and Captain America, played by Chris Evans.
Ryan: And unite they do! The plot mostly stays out of our heroes way, allowing them to interact with clever banter, deliver wicked-awesome action, and mostly remind us how fun comic books can be. Hiddleston actually penned a brilliant rebuttal to a dismissal of comic book cinema in the Guardian of England last month. In it, he pondered how, in an increasingly secular age, these colorful heroes have come to represent a sort of globally shared fictional divinity upon which we can project and examine big issues, not unlike opera or classic Greek tragedies. He even explained how the pioneers of film, the Lumiere brothers, would revel in the special effects majesty.
Matt: You and your English degrees know how to suck the fun out of everything, don’t you?
Ryan: It’s all I’m trained for.
Matt: Look, The Avengers is unapologetic popcorn fun. It’s relentlessly entertaining from start to finish, never overstays its welcome, and never takes itself too seriously. It’s pound-for-pound one of the finest comic book movies ever made and one of the most critically well-received blockbusters in recent times. Sometimes, it’s okay to just have fun.
Ryan: And this doesn’t mean shutting your brain entirely off, as Whedon and company are clever with their playtime. But it does mean embracing The Avengers as sort of the anti-Batman.
Matt: You’d best watch yo-self.
Ryan: What I mean is, in an era where comic movies are increasingly darker, grittier, and “more realistic,” it’s nice to see one that embraces the very spirit with which they were created. In short, The Avengers is Marvelous.
Editorial Note: The Movieha podcast is produced in partnership with The Reader and is available at thereader.com.
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