Yep, along with the rest of the movie going world, we went to see Avengers this weekend—and I know everyone else went to see it too, because the dang thing has crossed 1.2 billion dollars worldwide in three weeks! Go Joss!
Well, no surprise, we LOVED it. And in case you’re new to the blog, we are huge Avenger’s fans around here, due mostly to Luc, 6, who adores the recent cartoon reboot (now in its second season) which he has watched, many, many, many, times (first season is streaming on Netflix, if you’re interested).
We started our Avengers journey back three years ago with Incredible Hulk, but didn’t hit true Avenger-team-up story lines until last summer when Luc broke his arm. He and I sat curled up on the couch that first week after his surgery, him groggy on pain medicine and me just freaked out beyond the beyond, the two of us watching Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes over and over for days. After I couldn’t take that anymore we started working our way through the live-action movies starting with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, watching them all multiple times, especially the little tag scenes at the end after the credits. Luc loves the little tag scenes.
Needless to say, after all of this prep, we have been STOKED to see the new movie, and finally, this weekend, we had all the family, plus the money, and we saddled up, woo hoo! And anyway, I’m a huge Whedon fan, so there was really no doubt we would go.
What a rocking FUN movie!!!
SPOILERS (Although since everyone in the world has already seen the movie, I reckon spoilers are moot.)
Luc sat on my lap for the whole thing, intensely whispering insider secrets into my ear. “The name of the hammer is Mjolnir.” “Why isn’t Hawkeye’s outfit purple?” “Black Widow is supposed to have long hair. She’s Russian.” “I don’t think he can be a skrull, they do have wrinkly chins, but they aren’t red.” “This music is bad-ass.” He could not sit still. When he got home he watched the whole of the cartoon season 1 again, and then jumped on Tux Paint to draw super-heroes for days. He is totally smitten with the whole thing.
For myself, I loved Black Widow, I thought her scene with Loki was FANTASTIC. That she knows how to play men into thinking she is a Weak Emotional Girl and then uses that to get them to spill all their secrets while they gloat and boast over her fake tears and her pretty face (even if the tears have a core of truth, and her face really is very pretty). I adore that this whip-smart, bad-ass woman was holding her own with a band of Super-hero Manly Men even though she has no super-powers. How cool is that?
And Tony Stark was fabulous, of course. Robert Downey plays that character so perfectly, pushing him (almost) farther in audacity than I can stand (like the bit where he can’t help but jab Bruce Banner to see if he’ll turn??? HAHAHA). Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist for the win! Best line: Loki-“I have an army.” Tony-“We have a Hulk.”
But the best for me, I think, was Mark Ruffalo’s wonderful Hulk. Let me say that I have probably seen every rendition of the Hulk that there is over the last three years, forty year old cartoons (terrible), the live action show with Lou Ferrigno, the cartoons from the nineties, the two live action movies of the last decade, etc etc etc. And something has always driven me nuts about them: how the fucking idiotic people chasing him, the Hulk Busters, the military, Betty’s dumb-ass Dad, all of them, how they always use escalating force to try to capture the Hulk. Force just makes him angrier, which makes him stronger and more violent! Why can’t they understand this? The Hulk is essentially a defensive creature, not an attacking one. But instead of sending him chamomile tea and yoga instructors, they chase him with bombs and tanks. DUMB. It’s like they can’t wrap their mind around the fact that the Hulk is also Bruce Banner who is a pretty decent guy. Banner doesn’t want to destroy stuff, and he’s super smart, probably the only person on the planet that could research what has happened to him. If he stays calm, no Hulk. They should be helping him. Duh. Why do the Hulk Busters never think of this?
But Joss has thought of this! And so, for the first time that I’ve seen, the forces around Banner (in this case, S.H.I.E.L.D.) pursue Banner for his scientific brilliance and help him (or try to) stay calm so he can use his brains to help them. Finally! I mean, yeah, they’ve got the cage (like that ever works) ready, just in case, but they’re working with him for once. What a relief! What a big green ginormous freaking relief!
Mark’s Bruce Banner seems older, too, grey hair, haggard, sad expression, but also a wry smile like he gets how absurd his situation is and he is just struggling to live through it. I liked that. The fact that he seems to have gained some control over “the other guy,” has learned that he can’t suppress his anger, but rather must work with it, this is a very cool evolution of the character. Again I had this feeling of FINALLY. Finally they are looking at this beyond “set up Banner to hulk out and watch the explosions.” Explosions aren’t what makes Hulk a compelling character. It’s that Banner is a good guy struggling with massive force inside him that can be terrifically destructive and he is terrified of it, but forced to deal with it, over and over. Plus the fun that he is a big Id crashing through the world and gets to beat the shit out of everybody. You need both.
Indeed, Banner/Hulk got many of the best moments of Avengers for me, from the simply terrific scene between Stark and Banner in the lab—so textured and interesting!—to the hilarious side-punch of Thor. And of course, the Loki smack-down. “Kneel before me–” Slap-wham-smash-flap! “Puny God.” HAHAHAHAHA!
I ran across this post by another Hulk, Film Crit Hulk, which said a lot of what I was thinking, only better. If you like Hulk stories, I highly recommend his break-down, and totally agree with his conclusions about why Joss and Mark’s Hulk is so good.
So many great character moments!
Best scene hands down: the post-credit tag.
Did you see it??? HILARIOUS. So PERFECT. I adore that 60 seconds of film more than 98.99999% of any other 60 seconds of film EVER. I could watch them eating shawarma all day and not get enough. They’re all so totally exhausted and out of it. Who wouldn’t be after the day they’ve had?! Totally worth sitting through ten minutes of credits.
The movie isn’t all perfect. For example, there were a couple of bits where I thought, “oh another flying bone turtle thing,” yawn. Which just goes to show you how fast you get numb to spectacle. Because holy shit FLYING BONE TURTLE THINGS! But still, the movie was at it’s best, for me, in the character moments, like naked Bruce Banner waking up after Hulking Out against his will, and the first thing he asks is, “Did I hurt anybody?” Or his admission of his suicide attempt, told with emotional complexity while being read almost matter-of-fact, so much packed into a few minutes in that scene!
So much packed into this one movie, and its still totally fun, funny, even endearing.
How does Joss do it?
I won’t tell you to go see this movie, because you probably already have. But I will say, I can’t WAIT for the dvd extras!!!!!
Deleted scenes! I want lots of deleted scenes!