Movie Review by Jack Silbert
The Avengers smashed the all-time box office record for its opening weekend—more than $200 million—so there’s a good chance your kids have already seen this movie. In fact, you probably saw it as well. Hey, sorry for the delay; I was busy last weekend. Just in case you haven’t gone yet, or want to know what your kids are going to see six more times, here are my thoughts.
Right off the bat, I have to admit I wasn’t totally up to speed on The Avengers. Yes, I read comic books in my youth, but I was more of a Spider-Man guy. And I did see the two Iron Man movies, but I skipped Thor and Captain America. Apparently the 2003 Eric Bana-as-the-Hulk movie I saw doesn’t count; I needed to see the 2008 Edward-Norton-as-the-Hulk version. Oh well. I’m not even a follower of writer/director Joss Whedon, having not watched the Buffy series, Angel, or whatever Firefly was. Truth be told, until yesterday afternoon, I thought his first name was “Josh.”
|Ironman and Captain America|
I’m happy to report that, having not seen all the prequels, I was not hopelessly lost. They’ve worked in a few dumb-guy or out-of-touch-in-Calcutta or recently-unfrozen characters who need everything explained to them. Captain America begs the tech-spewing Iron Man to “speak English!” and we all thank him.
|Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk|
Jeremy Renner shoots arrows and Stellan Skarsgard talks pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo. Tom Hiddleston, who was really nice-guy Captain Nicholls in War Horse, is really bad-guy Loki here. He delivers a sinister Julian-Sands-as-Warlock-type performance and it works. Robert Downey Jr. has definitely grown on me as wise-cracking zillionaire Tony Stark. Samuel L. Jackson hangs up on Siri and puts on an eye patch. (Was hoping he’d scream “I have had it with this mother-bleeping Hulk on this mother-bleeping plane!” but, no dice.) Scarlett Johansson still can’t act a lick and no one seems to mind.
|Hawkeye and the Hulk|
There are laughs as well. Most of them work, if not all of them. I think the filmmakers were nervous about giving ancient Thor too much screen time, so he’s saddled with some clunky "zingers." (“You want me to ‘put the hammer down’?” Thor says. Later, he begs mercy for evil Loki—“he is my brother.” After being told that Loki has just killed 80 civilians, the zany God of Thunder deadpans, “He’s adopted.”)
And there are positive messages woven in for the young folk. Clean sustainable energy is good. Teamwork is better than self-interest. Don’t trust people in suits who appear on poorly-lit video monitors.
It all adds up to a very good time at the movies, appropriate for most ages. Even if the 12-year-old boys will giggle every time someone says “Asgard.”