Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dropping The Ball – Sick Day Thoughts On The Avengers

Since I started this blog back in October of last year, I've prided myself on updating everyday with current movie reviews and other bits of commentary and creative writing. Today, I am too sick to be verbose, so instead of my normal essay length post, a quick missive. See. I famously hated the crap out of The Avengers movie, a stance no doubt intensified by the universal praise heaped upon the film by comic book fans who wished to defend it so fervently, that my own fandom was called into question because I didn't like it. Anyway, since I was stuck in bed all day, I figured I'd give it another chance, since it was just sitting there on Netflix anyway. I still didn't like it, though admittedly in light of The Dark Knight Rises and Man Of Steel, my opinion has softened a bit. Here are some loose observations I had while re-watching, trying my best to avoid repeating myself from my earlier review:

Why this image? Because fuck you, that's why.

- The chick that works for S.H.I.E.L.D from How I Met Your Mother is really bad at her job. She meets up with the hypnotized agents, and doesn't bother asking who the weird long haired guy with the spear is until he's already in the bed of the truck. Also, Dukes Of Hazard style car chase still stupid.

- I like how the evil alien (which could have and should have been a character from the comics) just has an extra thumb on each hand. It's the only thing that makes him overtly “alien” aside from skin tone and wardrobe. What evolutionary advantage would this extra appendage serve? If anything, I think it would be a hindrance.

- If the Tesseract (fuck you, Cosmic Cube!) is a source of infinite energy, why does it need the Arc reactor to power it? I don't know enough about the physics of bullshit to say for certain, but pretty sure the energy to power a city for a year is less then the power of infinity.

- I completely forgot about the whole extended Coulson mourning, bloody card shit. This was so over the top, and half the people didn't even meet the dude.

- I really wish Edward Norton would have come back for this. Mark Ruffalo is just okay.

- Instead of needing Iridium to stabilize the Tesseract (fuck it again, Cosmic Cube), why not Vibranium? Not only is it more comic booky and rare, but they could have tied it in with Cap with Loki needing the shield instead of the whole Germany trip just being an excuse for an arbitrary set piece and plot contrivance.

- For that matter, why go out of your way to establish the Tesseract as having a Gamma signature, and establish the limitless potential of Gamma energy passed through a human body via The Hulk such that he can't even kill himself, and not have The Hulk factor more into the plot? I would have had the Tesseract be a red herring, and have it turn out that what Loki really needed was the Hulk's raw power to activate the device. Would have made Loki more of a schemer in retrospect and tied things together more smoothly.

- Why did S.H.I.E.L.D design the “Crash The Helicarrier” panel on the console to perfectly fit Hawkeye's ridiculous USB arrows? And why do they have a “Crash The Helicarrier” button on the console. It's like the “Release All Monsters” button in Whedon's much better Cabin In The Woods. Why even install that?

- I'm told that the glowy thing inside Loki's staff is supposed to be the Mind Gem from the Infinity Gauntlet, one of the most powerful artifacts in the Marvel universe. Now, granted, given how this movie treats artifacts from the Marvel universe, maybe it isn't so great and just opens up more wormholes or something, but you'd think something this important would be able to withstand a bonk to the head negating its effects.

- And for that matter, why does the MIND Gem need the HEART to alter a person? And why can it get through what I assume is Hawkeye's bulletproof Kevlar but not the flimsy piece of metal in Iron Man's chest?

- I forgot this line too, at one point Cap asks Hawkeye if he's got a suit, and then asks him to suit up. But he doesn't have a suit! Jeremy Renner actively refused to wear the costume because he thought the mask was goofy. Fine, whatever, but why point this out?

- It didn't really occur to me how vague the chain of command was in this cinematic universe and how lacking in accountability it is as a result. Not only do we have the shadowy council with authorization to nuke a major city, but even if you assume they were appointed by elected officials and have some sort of legitimate mandate despite their actions, they rely on a guy who has all the weapons, and feels free to just tell the only existing power structure above him to fuck off when he doesn't like what they say.

- The point I just made immediately above this one might not be so bad if we could at least trust Nick Fury's competence, but then in addition to causing all these problems in the first place by mucking about with things he didn't understand, he just pulled a handgun on a jet plane that had already taken off.

- In retrospect, could the Iron Man self-sacrifice thing have been any more telegraphed when Cap says “You're not the man to make the sacrifice play?” I know this is the kind of lack of subtlety we have to accept nowadays, but again, this is Joss Whedon, one of the greatest writers of our time. Higher standard needs to apply I think. And the in-fighting and bickering comes off as even more contrived than it did upon first viewing.

- Banner's “I'm always angry,” thing sounds like a really profound insight into the character and a clever twist on the underlying concept, but its really just fucking stupid if you think about it for five minutes. When Bruce Banner is angry, he becomes the Hulk. That's why you wouldn't like him when he's angry. If he was always angry, he'd always be the Hulk. That's just science.

- It seems unnecessarily inefficient to design an army that instantly dies whenever one ship is destroyed. Weren't they still finding Japanese dudes hiding in bushes with machetes years after WWII who didn't get the memo. And they didn't need fancy cybernetic shit.

- Okay, so Hawkeye is quick thinking enough to decide in a split second on the exact kind of trick arrow he needs, then aim and attack with them with perfect accuracy in any given situation no matter how stressful, but somehow looses count of his arrows and has to reach back to discover his quiver is empty?

- As I said at the time, the “To fight the humans is to court Death” line is a nice little nod to Thanos' literal love affair with the Reaper, but I just wonder how they could get something so obscure like that right, and not remember that its called the Cosmic Cube and does more than just create wormholes, or that Skrulls are only called Chitari in the imprint everyone hates, and they can shapeshift, or that Loki is the master of evil plans and would be able to come up with something more complicated than “find macguffin + make Hulk mad on a sky ship = profit,” or...

Okay, sorry, now I'm starting to repeat myself from my review. Anyway, hope you enjoyed this as much as I didn't enjoy re-watching the shitty movie I just re-watched in order to write it. Feel better me, and see you tomorrow.

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