Everything else is pretty much action scene after action scene (just watch the The Avengers trailer) diluted by a few banal speeches by Nick Fury (who even lies to the heroes to convince them to fight) and it’s hard to believe this was written and directed by Joss Whedon who created Buffy the Vampire Slayer and co-wrote/produced the genre-bending The Cabin in The Woods. I swear even the tepid Safe actioner with Jason Statham had more interesting direction, and I thought it would commit suicide next to The Avengers in theatres.
But then there is the humor. David Denby promised The Avengers would cause multiple orgasms among Comic-Con nerds, and judging from the giggles and claps in the Minsk theatre I went to, he is right. (There was even an impromptu standing ovation at the end, and I don’t know if that’s a sign of an impending end of the world or maybe I am just PMS-ing and overreacting.) The movie is genuinely funny in a stupid funny way – without that, I would have fallen asleep withing the next 30 minutes.
Nothing is real in The Avengers. The aliens are never presented in any way, except as metal clad killing machines.They don’t feel like a threat on a human level. They do blow a lot of things up and set Manhattan on fire but we never come face to face with any of them (as well as any of the humans in the crowd either). Essentially the viewer is made to marvel from the outside, but not participate in any way. It’s all happening on the screen, self-aware, fake and fantastical – maybe that’s just part of the whole superhero thing.
The best thing about this movie: Watching Scarlett Johansson (and her stunt double Heidi Moneymaker?). WARNING: may inspire you to actually get on the treadmill.
Verdict: Good for a laugh. A very empty laugh.