I had the opportunity the other night to see a first run movie and I ran out the door so fast, I forgot my jacket. The movie was the smash hit The Avengers. Of the predicate movies that introduce the various characters, I’ve seen only the first Iron Man, so it took me about 3 minutes to figure out who and what the characters were. After that little cognitive exercise, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.
The Avengers is a supremely silly movie. I like that in a movie. It’s not pretentious but, instead, feels true to its comic book roots. The characters are pretty to look at, the explosions impressive, and the plot hung together, if only by a string. There were the predictable laughs from unexpected confrontations that have been present in every adventure movie since the first Indiana Jones. (Old Hollywood took its action movies much more seriously than new Hollywood does.)
My complaints? A few. The movie was way too loud, although that may have been because I saw it in a movie theater that had a special sound system installed at George Lucas’ behest for the first movie in the new Star Wars trilogy. (Ah, life in Marin!) I also didn’t like the fact that the action scenes were rendered so fast (and I use “rendered” in the sense of computer digitization) that one often had no idea what was going on. I prefer a more lovingly filmed fight. Finally, there were scenes at the end that were too reminiscent of 9/11 and they made me uncomfortable.
What I did like? I liked that Captain America (Chris Evans) was a good guy: he wore the stars and stripes, and he was the embodiment of honor and old-fashioned common sense. That’s so rare in a movie it was downright refreshing. As always, Robert Downey, Jr. was delightfully snarky. As you know, I’m a snark aficionado, periodically practicing the art myself. The actor playing Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was pretty, delighting the teenage girls. Mark Ruffalo — well, I’ve never understood why the guy is famous, so let’s leave it at that. Scarlett Johansson doesn’t work as a red head. That’s not just my feeling. A car full of teenage girls was loud and clear in its disdain for her color makeover.
If you feel like spending $14.00 for two hours of silly fun (plus 15-20 minutes of periodically amusing previews), this may be your movie.