Movie review: “The Avengers”


On Sunday, Partner and I finally joined the ten trillion people who have already seen the new “Avengers” movie. (We didn’t go on opening weekend because 1) we don’t like being trampled, and 2) we don’t like excited children screaming along with the movie.)



We both liked the movie very much.  Well, naturally I liked it: it contains a very large number of my imaginary Hollywood boyfriends. We get Robert Downey Jr. doing his wise-guy genius Tony Stark (although he lost a few points in my book for mooning over the gooey Gwyneth Paltrow); we get the mountainous Chris Hemsworth as Thor, everybody’s favorite thunder god; we get Chris Evans, with his huge shoulders and chest and arms and his hurt/childlike eyes, as Captain America; we get the rumpled cuddly Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner, who occasionally transforms into a very large angry green CGI creature called the Hulk; and we get Jeremy Renner, all muscled-up and deadly-looking, as Hawkeye.



This is not meant to demean the rest of the cast, who are just as good (if not quite as attractive as the above). Scarlett Johansson is the gymastically adept Black Widow, clever and funny and just as deadly as Jeremy Renner; Samuel L. Jackson is the steely Nick Fury; Clark Gregg is the shy-yet-forthright Agent Coulson, who’s been with us through all or most of the Marvel movies which have brought us to this point; Tom Hiddleston is the aristocratically evil Loki, Thor’s (adopted) brother and the cause of all our sorrows; Stellan Skarsgard (whom I loved in “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Mamma Mia”) is a scientist and old pal of Thor. Stan Lee (he’s 90 years old this year!) makes his traditional cameo, of course, and what would a Marvel movie be without that? (And even Natalie Portman, Thor’s girlfriend in one of the previous movies, makes an appearance via photograph.)



The movie has a bouncy plot full of government agents and alien invaders and renegade demigods. Never for a moment did I feel confused about the plotline: even when the fighting is going faster than the eye can follow, you can still pretty much tell what’s going on. It defies belief every few minutes: can you really hit the ground like that and not get hurt?  If a jet figher splits in half, would the pilot really have enough time to eject? If you’re flying a huge invisible gunboat/battlecruiser, don’t you think knocking out one of the engines would make you crash? But none of these matter. It’s fun. Just go with it.



Much of the credit goes to Joss Whedon (of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly” and “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”). In this movie, he’s created a world where impossible people live and impossible things happen, but it all seems very calm and tranquil. A big chunk of Manhattan gets pretty brutalized in the movie, but – you know what? – Manhattan looks like that most days anyway, especially after a good parade, or after they have one of those big street fairs on the Avenue of the Americas.



(Apollonia and I were talking about the movie last week. She wanted to see it, mostly because of Jeremy Renner, who is one of her spiritual boyfriends too, evidently. Then she found out that Gwyneth Paltrow is in it, and this soured her a bit. But her big question was: “How much do I need to know before I see this one? I didn’t see ‘Thor,’ or ‘Iron Man,’ or ‘Captain America.’ Will I be completely confused?”



(I didn’t know the answer last week, but I do now. You don’t need to know a damned thing. This movie is self-propelled. All you need to know is that there all of these crazy-ass superheroes, and they’re all over the place, and they don’t get along so well, but in a pinch they do pretty well.)



I’d tell you to go see it, but judging by the box-office receipts, you already have.



So go see it again.



I just might see it again myself.




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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