Hypnotic reviews: The Avengers

Hypnotic reviews: The Avengers

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I'm not a movie reviewer. I'm not that into movies, and I've only dabbled in game reviewing, to varying success. However, since I had the privilege to see the movie before the US opening, I feel it's my duty to inform you all. Please leave a comment so that I can improve for future reviews. I'll keep it short and spoiler-free, I'll even stay clear of pictures, but if you don't want any info at all to spoil your impressions, just go and watch it. You don't need to have seen the lead up movies (The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 1&2, Thor and Captain America) but they do add a lot to the movie. And most of them are good, with the clear exception of The Incredible Hulk. I'll come back to that later. Also, and this should be obvious if you've seen any of the other movies, make sure to stay after the credits.
TL;DR: It's a lot of fun, I recommend it, go watch it.

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I had ridiculously high hopes of this movie. I'm a comic book fan and the concept of comic book continuity in big budget blockbusters was very intriguing to me. However, I was not truly sold until I heard that one of my favourite director/writers, Joss Whedon, would write the screenplay and direct. I did however have a lot of concerns going into this movie. First off Whedon hasn't directed any blockbusters before, and secondly, with so many heroes I was afraid the movie would lose focus. And of course, with me wanting so badly for it to be excellent so that Whedon would get more blockbuster deals and so that this kind of connecting project could be done again, it was doomed to fail.

The story is rather formulaic. Act 1: Gather team. Act 2: Character development. Act 3: Big fight. However, it's all done very well and while the 'Gather team' part is a bit slow, it's got some surprising moments and is over pretty quickly. It's a PG-13 movie and it shows. The action is interrupted by a lot of jokes and one-lines and there's not much blood. The thing is, even with this seemingly bland framework the movie succeeds in transcending it. The jokes and one-liners are for the most part genuinely funny and give welcome breaks from the action. Besides, gods and alien armies don't bleed. The movie is also not without its emotional moments, though rare. Not to mention that the final act has the best big scale comic book battle I've ever seen. This is where the big cast shows its strength. With much variety of abilities, each with their strengths and weaknesses, the battlefield is filled with constant and contrasting action, and Whedon does a good job directing that action. It's well paced, nicely framed and has interesting events. Whedon shows his directorial skills when compared to similar movies, you can clearly see what's going on every second of the action and you have a clear idea of the layout of the battlefield, and yet it's fast paced and without a dull moment. It's definitely something to be seen.

I was worried that the big and varied cast would be a problem, but the characters work well together in a way that's true to their personalities. Not all characters get to develop properly, but that's a sacrifice that needed to be made given the big cast. Also, as pretty much all of the establishing of the characters had been done in earlier movies, there wasn't much left to do. It's a bit of a disappointment, I would have liked to see more character development. My biggest worry, however, was the Hulk. I've always found him to be a remarkably boring character, and the 2008 movie didn't exactly help. The Hulk is a very complex character, but people seem to be lost with how to express that. It's boring to have him be completely content with his curse, and to dwell on it too much is just overly melodramatic and sappy. Somehow the 2008 movie fell into both of these traps. However, in The Avengers the Hulk is recast, and a miracle has occurred. Whedon has not only managed to strike the perfect balance to Hulk's character, he's discovered his potential to a point far beyond my imagination.

The actors didn't really get much of a chance to show their acting talents, but what's there is great. The recasting of Bruce Banner works well, Mark Ruffalo shows a remarkably varied set of skills. He's definitely the stand out of the movie, though that's in part due to the fact that I've grown to expect Robert Downey Jr. to be excellent as Iron Man. I've always disliked 3D, but The Avengers was only playing in 3D, so I didn't have much of a choice. I can say that while I still don't like 3D, it's done very well as far as I can discern. It's not that blurry, as is usually the case with 3D, and it's used sparingly. The sound- and picture quality is not my thing, but if it helps I have no concerns. I do have a few other concerns. Thor is incredibly bland, everything that made him remotely relatable in his own movie is lost here, which is a big deal when we're talking about a god from outer space. Though the most annoying thing is that the chance to really delve into his relationship with Loke is wasted. There is another wasted opportunity, but it's a massive spoiler.

In conclusion, The Avengers doesn't do many things badly, and it's targeted at a very wide audience. There's not much artistic depth to it, but it's a lot of fun. If you want your movie going experience to leave you reflecting upon yourself and your place in the world, this is not for you. But if you're content with having unadulterated fun for over two hours, you'd be hard pressed to find something better. There were several times that I was grinning like an idiot during the movie, and me being the grumpy arsehole I am, that's as high praise as I could give it.

GeorgW:
Review Snip

*Before reading review* .. Oh god, I really hope this movie turns out alright. Already bad enough that a journalist marked this movie to be crap, so if GeorgW goes along those lines- this movie.. will ruin comic heroes in movies for me forever.

*After reading review* That went way better then I expected! Haaaa~

OT: That was a good review, actually I can even get the vibes from it if that makes sense. As in, I felt the impression of what you were getting at. When you specifically described elements and parts to this movie- it got me excited along with being upbeat about seeing the movie just to clarify your experience was right (or least if I can agree with your points). I am however sad to hear Thor will blow over as some boring character, but to see the Hulk getting a lot of development and pulling off a total miracle even after the 2008 Hulk Movie? This, I must see for myself.

Going to see it this Saturday with my friends who are all big fans of the comics if not the recent movies alone relating to these characters. Also I must admit- I am still nervous because I have high expectations for this movie, but since you've confirmed this is really worth it along with being a very fun movie.. that's what should matter overall. Thanks for the review GeorgW :} keep em up, i'd love to hear more from you on movies or games alike.

Caramel Frappe:

GeorgW:
Review Snip

*Before reading review* .. Oh god, I really hope this movie turns out alright. Already bad enough that a journalist marked this movie to be crap, so if GeorgW goes along those lines- this movie.. will ruin comic heroes in movies for me forever.

*After reading review* That went way better then I expected! Haaaa~

OT: That was a good review, actually I can even get the vibes from it if that makes sense. As in, I felt the impression of what you were getting at. When you specifically described elements and parts to this movie- it got me excited along with being upbeat about seeing the movie just to clarify your experience was right (or least if I can agree with your points). I am however sad to hear Thor will blow over as some boring character, but to see the Hulk getting a lot of development and pulling off a total miracle even after the 2008 Hulk Movie? This, I must see for myself.

Going to see it this Saturday with my friends who are all big fans of the comics if not the recent movies alone relating to these characters. Also I must admit- I am still nervous because I have high expectations for this movie, but since you've confirmed this is really worth it along with being a very fun movie.. that's what should matter overall. Thanks for the review GeorgW :} keep em up, i'd love to hear more from you on movies or games alike.

Thanks for the kind words! I was really nervous as well, and it turned out very well. Hopefully you'll feel the same way.

I'll be seeing the Avengers movie myself soon, though I must confess I'm a bit worried, particularly when it comes to Hawkeye suddenly getting thrown in. It's good to know that Hulk finally gets some character to him though besides HULK SMASH, which was basically the summary of the last two Hulk films.

And are the villains in this one any good? Loki was good in Thor, but that was balanced out by that awful robot that made screeching noises that hurt my ears. Red Skull was good in Captain America, but other than that the villains in these movies have frequently failed to live up to expectations.

scotth266:
I'll be seeing the Avengers movie myself soon, though I must confess I'm a bit worried, particularly when it comes to Hawkeye suddenly getting thrown in. It's good to know that Hulk finally gets some character to him though besides HULK SMASH, which was basically the summary of the last two Hulk films.

And are the villains in this one any good? Loki was good in Thor, but that was balanced out by that awful robot that made screeching noises that hurt my ears. Red Skull was good in Captain America, but other than that the villains in these movies have frequently failed to live up to expectations.

Loke's like a bad version of the Joker in Dark Knight, which does make sense. He's not really in the focus though. He works as something to motivate the movie, but not on his own as a villain. As for Hawkeye, it works because of his place in the team. He feels like an outsider, and therefore we're not forced to suddenly accept him. Black Widow is a harder sell, but she has more of a character arc, and grows on you.

All in all a fair review I would say. If I was to add anything as criticism it would be that every review of Avengers needs to end with bold capitals stating STAY AFTER THE CREDITS. I know that should go without saying with Marvel films, but in this one it is essential; not only does it have the most awesome reveal in the short history of their films, but it also puts the bland, faceless antagonists into a more believable/acceptable light.

Also, as far as the characters not getting enough development, Joss Whedon said in an interview that one thing he was very careful of was not touching any story elements that would be integral to the sequels of the main characters solo films as that would be unfair to the writers of those projects.

scotth266:
And are the villains in this one any good? Loki was good in Thor, but that was balanced out by that awful robot that made screeching noises that hurt my ears. Red Skull was good in Captain America, but other than that the villains in these movies have frequently failed to live up to expectations.

Loki as main villain always irks me a bit, since i was a giant fan of the nordic legends as a kid and read the fuck out of them, thus i notice when his character is inaccurately depicted. Though Thor did a comparatively good job, even mentioning his frost giant origins.

CatmanStu:
All in all a fair review I would say. If I was to add anything as criticism it would be that every review of Avengers needs to end with bold capitals stating STAY AFTER THE CREDITS. I know that should go without saying with Marvel films, but in this one it is essential; not only does it have the most awesome reveal in the short history of their films, but it also puts the bland, faceless antagonists into a more believable/acceptable light.

Also, as far as the characters not getting enough development, Joss Whedon said in an interview that one thing he was very careful of was not touching any story elements that would be integral to the sequels of the main characters solo films as that would be unfair to the writers of those projects.

I added the after credits part, I figured everyone knew by now. That's a fair reason to not develop certain characters, but not really an excuse. I understand why some stuff was left out, primarily Iron Man's arc, but Thor and Loke really should have been more fleshed out. Also, the one character that got the least development, Hawkeye, is he even getting a movie?

lapan:

scotth266:
And are the villains in this one any good? Loki was good in Thor, but that was balanced out by that awful robot that made screeching noises that hurt my ears. Red Skull was good in Captain America, but other than that the villains in these movies have frequently failed to live up to expectations.

Loki as main villain always irks me a bit, since i was a giant fan of the nordic legends as a kid and read the fuck out of them, thus i notice when his character is inaccurately depicted. Though Thor did a comparatively good job, even mentioning his frost giant origins.

In what way is he inaccurately depicted? He is the god of chaos, after all, and he does cause some major chaos. Still, this is Marvel's version of the Norse mythology, and as a Swede, I can respect that they do things differently.

GeorgW:

lapan:

scotth266:
And are the villains in this one any good? Loki was good in Thor, but that was balanced out by that awful robot that made screeching noises that hurt my ears. Red Skull was good in Captain America, but other than that the villains in these movies have frequently failed to live up to expectations.

Loki as main villain always irks me a bit, since i was a giant fan of the nordic legends as a kid and read the fuck out of them, thus i notice when his character is inaccurately depicted. Though Thor did a comparatively good job, even mentioning his frost giant origins.

In what way is he inaccurately depicted? He is the god of chaos, after all, and he does cause some major chaos. Still, this is Marvel's version of the Norse mythology, and as a Swede, I can respect that they do things differently.

Didn't you read the part where i said he was pretty accurately depicted in Thor? ;)

lapan:

GeorgW:

lapan:

Loki as main villain always irks me a bit, since i was a giant fan of the nordic legends as a kid and read the fuck out of them, thus i notice when his character is inaccurately depicted. Though Thor did a comparatively good job, even mentioning his frost giant origins.

In what way is he inaccurately depicted? He is the god of chaos, after all, and he does cause some major chaos. Still, this is Marvel's version of the Norse mythology, and as a Swede, I can respect that they do things differently.

Didn't you read the part where i said he was pretty accurately depicted in Thor? ;)

But you said he irks you?

GeorgW:

lapan:

GeorgW:

In what way is he inaccurately depicted? He is the god of chaos, after all, and he does cause some major chaos. Still, this is Marvel's version of the Norse mythology, and as a Swede, I can respect that they do things differently.

Didn't you read the part where i said he was pretty accurately depicted in Thor? ;)

But you said he irks you?

It was badly phrased "usualy irks me" would have been better. Many media just display him as a generic evil character when in the legends he has actual reasons to rebel against the gods. He has been forced to betray the ice giants multiple times, and his children have been either imprisoned/exiled (Fenrir, Jormungandr, Hel) or enslaved (Sleipnir) by the other gods. Thor was comparatively close to my ideal portrayal of Loki, though i haven't seen Avengers yet so i can't comment on that.

(Yep, Loki is my favorite nordic god)

lapan:

GeorgW:

lapan:

Didn't you read the part where i said he was pretty accurately depicted in Thor? ;)

But you said he irks you?

It was badly phrased "usualy irks me" would have been better. Many media just display him as a generic evil character when in the legends he has actual reasons to rebel against the gods. He has been forced to betray the ice giants multiple times, and his children have been either imprisoned/exiled (Fenrir, Jormungandr, Hel) or enslaved (Sleipnir) by the other gods. Thor was comparatively close to my ideal portrayal of Loki, though i haven't seen Avengers yet so i can't comment on that.

(Yep, Loki is my favorite nordic god)

In Avengers, he fits the role as a chaos God, but there's not much character there. I get the feeling they're saving all that for Thor 2.

Glad you enjoyed the movie, the review wasn't too bad either. ;)

I found myself grinning like an idiot in several places too, especially in the earlier-mid parts of the film. Thor beating Stark's ass? Awesometacular.

That said, ultimately, the film was not a storytelling achievement on almost any level. The fun snappy banter people attribute to Whedon I saw in there, but aside from that, not much else. Not really much to care for, some stupid plot points here and there, almost zero unpredictability... Eh. A fun blockbuster is what it is, and not much more.

And when will Hollywood filmmakers hire some people who speak Russian to train their actors a day or two before filming, for fuck's sake. To anyone who knows the language even barely, enduring their Russian scenes is a fucking nightmare.

Hammeroj:
Glad you enjoyed the movie, the review wasn't too bad either. ;)

I found myself grinning like an idiot in several places too, especially in the earlier-mid parts of the film. Thor beating Stark's ass? Awesometacular.

That said, ultimately, the film was not a storytelling achievement on almost any level. The fun snappy banter people attribute to Whedon I saw in there, but aside from that, not much else. Not really much to care for, some stupid plot points here and there, almost zero unpredictability... Eh. A fun blockbuster is what it is, and not much more.

And when will Hollywood filmmakers hire some people who speak Russian to train their actors a day or two before filming, for fuck's sake. To anyone who knows the language even barely, enduring their Russian scenes is a fucking nightmare.

I was grinning at different times throughout the movie. And yes, its story is as mentioned very formulaic, but it does what it does extremely well, and I look forward to a director's cut that may expand on that, as apparently it's over 3 hours long. As a Swede, I feel your pain. At least they use the real language for you (I assume).

GeorgW:
I look forward to a director's cut that may expand on that, as apparently it's over 3 hours long.

I had quite a few problems with stuff they did that wouldn't be fixed by a Director's Cut, as in stuff that was in there already. Thor's lightning charging up Iron Man's suit, Thor for some reason being threatened by getting thrown out of the sky in a box, Tony being able to withstand spinning at something like 600RPM in a huge propeller, stuff like that.

You may see them as little things, but even for a comic book movie, there's only so many liberties you can take with basic physics and gaps in common sense before the stupid starts poking one's eyes.

As a Swede, I feel your pain. At least they use the real language for you (I assume).

Not really catching on what you want to say here. First, what does the as a Swede part imply? That the portrayal of Swedes is generally widely inaccurate? I really can't relate, mainly because there is barely, if ever, any actual scenes being played in Swedish in a Hollywood movie, and I ain't much of a foreign film viewer. Russians are Americans' go to villains, and they suck so hard at portraying them, it's not even funny.

Don't know what the real language part means either. Russian is a real language, but if you mean native, it's not my native language. I know a little bit of it and have a passing understanding of the dialects, the way they try to speak the language is no better than a third grader's attempt at it. "Natasha" my ass, listening to Scarlet's Russian is the equivalent of listening to the annoying sound chalk makes when you brush it against the blackboard at the right angle. Ugh.

And if Russian were my native language, wouldn't that make my frustration with the film even bigger, seeing my native language butchered like that?

I'm ranting at this point, but man, Marvel is piss poor when it comes to this. Iron Man 2, X-Men: First Class, and now the Avengers... Shape up, guys. Hire me, for fuck's sake, I'll work for a sandwich and my name on the credits.

Hammeroj:

GeorgW:
I look forward to a director's cut that may expand on that, as apparently it's over 3 hours long.

I had quite a few problems with stuff they did that wouldn't be fixed by a Director's Cut, as in stuff that was in there already. Thor's lightning charging up Iron Man's suit, Thor for some reason being threatened by getting thrown out of the sky in a box, Tony being able to withstand spinning at something like 600RPM in a huge propeller, stuff like that.

You may see them as little things, but even for a comic book movie, there's only so many liberties you can take with basic physics and gaps in common sense before the stupid starts poking one's eyes.

As a Swede, I feel your pain. At least they use the real language for you (I assume).

Not really catching on what you want to say here. First, what does the as a Swede part imply? That the portrayal of Swedes is generally widely inaccurate? I really can't relate, mainly because there is barely, if ever, any actual scenes being played in Swedish in a Hollywood movie, and I ain't much of a foreign film viewer. Russians are Americans' go to villains, and they suck so hard at portraying them, it's not even funny.

Don't know what the real language part means either. Russian is a real language, but if you mean native, it's not my native language. I know a little bit of it and have a passing understanding of the dialects, the way they try to speak the language is no better than a third grader's attempt at it. "Natasha" my ass, listening to Scarlet's Russian is the equivalent of listening to the annoying sound chalk makes when you brush it against the blackboard at the right angle. Ugh.

And if Russian were my native language, wouldn't that make my frustration with the film even bigger, seeing my native language butchered like that?

I'm ranting at this point, but man, Marvel is piss poor when it comes to this. Iron Man 2, X-Men: First Class, and now the Avengers... Shape up, guys. Hire me, for fuck's sake, I'll work for a sandwich and my name on the credits.

What I meant with the language was that a lot of times when Swedish is used in TV and movies, it's often made up, especially if it's written. For examples, we don't even have or in our alphabet, and I can't even count how many times I've seen that when something's supposed to be Swedish.

As for the rest, let's put that in spoilers even though the movie is out by now and it's pretty minor stuff:

GeorgW:
What I meant with the language was that a lot of times when Swedish is used in TV and movies, it's often made up, especially if it's written. For examples, we don't even have or in our alphabet, and I can't even count how many times I've seen that when something's supposed to be Swedish.

Wow, that sucks. If they honestly don't even care about writing actual sentences and just string random words together (I can understand the written part in certain cases, like a newspaper. Because fuck trying to fill something that's going to be shown for a split second), well, lazy almost doesn't describe it.

As for the rest, let's put that in spoilers even though the movie is out by now and it's pretty minor stuff:

Hammeroj:

GeorgW:
What I meant with the language was that a lot of times when Swedish is used in TV and movies, it's often made up, especially if it's written. For examples, we don't even have or in our alphabet, and I can't even count how many times I've seen that when something's supposed to be Swedish.

Wow, that sucks. If they honestly don't even care about writing actual sentences and just string random words together (I can understand the written part in certain cases, like a newspaper. Because fuck trying to fill something that's going to be shown for a split second), well, lazy almost doesn't describe it.

As for the rest, let's put that in spoilers even though the movie is out by now and it's pretty minor stuff:

Hammeroj:

GeorgW:

BabySinclair:

Hammeroj:

I wanted to say in the beginning that I don't wanna turn this into a science-off, because I suck balls at it, but there. I won't reply to both of you in-depth, because this is really not something I'm breaking my balls about.

How about we leave my scientific frustrations alone as at least partially warranted, please? *smileyface*

Hammeroj:

GeorgW:

BabySinclair:

Hammeroj:

I wanted to say in the beginning that I don't wanna turn this into a science-off, because I suck balls at it, but there. I won't reply to both of you in-depth, because this is really not something I'm breaking my balls about.

How about we leave my scientific frustrations alone as at least partially warranted, please? *smileyface*

But science-offs are fun :)

 

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