Film Review: The Avengers (2012)
Cast: Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Chris Evans (Capt. America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Tom Hiddlestone (Loki)
Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Joss Whedon, Zak Penn
Despite the incredibly entertaining and talented cast at its disposal, The Avengers failed to create more than a bombastic spectacle for the senses, one that is as messy, loud, chaotic and corny as they come.
When I first began to think of the review for this film one word kept popping up in my head: unnecessary. From the battleship with “wings”, to the Hulk-proof cage, and the suicidal tendencies of Robert Downey’s Iron Man; The Avengers always opts for more, never for less. In its grandest moment the film depicts a mega battle that stretches the entire area of New York City where throngs of aliens “disembark” from another dimension with no other goal than to immediately attack and destroy the human race. The scale of the scene is so huge there’s no telling where one character is in relation to the other, throwing all concerns for accuracy and continuity out the window.
If these are the kind of films that are required to keep audiences focused nowadays my question is: where does it stop? How big and loud do films have to get from now on to keep us interested? When does the ever-larger approach to blockbusters end? According to Hollywood studios, the only formula to make a box-office splash is to “invest” an incredible amount of money into a production that provides pure entertainment, the same kind you might get playing a video game or riding a roller coaster (unless your film is Twilight and you don’t even need actors). When one compares The Avengers to, for example, The Tree of Life or 2001: Space Odyssey, one is baffled by how so much talent and money can accomplish so much less than the two I just mentioned.
What is ironic is that despite the huge production budget, The Avengers could not throw enough dough to secure the services of Edward Norton and Natalie Portman. The former was replaced by Mark Ruffalo, and the latter almost entirely ignored despite Chris Hemsworth‘s Thor outstanding presence. What bothers me is that while we were asked to buy into the third actor playing the Hulk in less than a decade, every other familiar hero did not suffer the same faith. What is it about The Hulk that it’s impossible for any actor to play twice? These are inconsistencies that are bothersome and that show how no obstacle on Earth could have put a stop to the release of The Avengers.
Then there is the overcomplexity of certain elements of the film. Why oh why do the group of superheroes need to gather in a huge battleship that also turns into the hugest aircraft ever put on film that wasn’t built by Aliens. Does this serve the story? Or is it just to satisfy the “coolness factor” that so many blockbusters seem to seek for? The answer may be found in that the ship proves to be a menace to the people it tried to protect, turning out to be a lot more susceptible (and pointless) in the air than on water. As I said before, Hollywood studios believe bigger, louder and unnecessary draws audiences.
This is not to say that The Avengers is an awful film, not at all. In fact, it has sufficient humor to make for a lighthearted movie experience that should be taken strictly for what it is: pure entertainment. What is worrisome is how The Avengers epitomizes an unsettling trend in Hollywood which indicates studios are more likely to throw in more money at ideas that have been tried many times, rather than explore new ones that might be as successful and less expensive to make. The better question is why do we keep buying into iteration upon iteration of the same tired superheroes when there are hundreds of beautiful films waiting on the desks of reluctant studio executives that cannot seem to spare a dime in anything that does not come attached with a Marvel/DC Comics stamp.
Rating: 3 / 5 (pure entertainment, nothing more, nothing less)
- If the battleship is supposed to be more secure and camouflaged, how does Hawkeye infiltrate so easily putting everyone on-board at risk?
- The design of the Aliens invading Earth left much to be desired. Weren’t they supposed to be an unbeatable army? Even “petty” humans kicked their asses.
- Can Robert Downey Jr. stop being sarcastic? Ever?
- Highlight of the film: whenever the Hulk took a scene by storm
Next in the Blog of Big Ideas: