The Avengers

  Joe Gillis: You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures.You used to be big.
Norma Desmond: I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.
Sunset Boulevard

Sorry, Norma. Not only do most people not remember who you are, but you’re wrong. Pictures don’t get much bigger than this. $441 million global opening weekend, ecstatic reviews from the majority of critics,
several extremely large dudes in tight outfits, and in the words of Ironman, “We have a Hulk.”

The arrival of The Avengers ushers in the beginning of big summer blockbuster season. I wonder how the second week will work out for box office, because frankly, it seems like there aren’t that many people left on the planet who haven’t seen it. And I would add, enjoyed the hell out of it.

The plot isn’t really important; it inevitably ends with lots of stuff blowing up and a major infrastructure rebuild needed in NYC. The core of the movie is the dysfunctional family vibe one gets from the group of superheroes. Combine massive egos, biting sarcasm, anger management, contempt for one another and family birth order issues and you’ve got one hell of party. The bickering and eventual bonding of the group is what separates this movie from something like Transformers. No one really cares if robots destroy each other; watching this group of disparate personalities trying to work together was like trying to navigate a team building ropes course in an intergalactic containment facility filled with space debris. Fun!

The big three are Ironman, Captain America and Thor. Each proved they could hold the screen in features of their own, so it’s not a surprise that they are so entertaining together in this film. The two non-super members are Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansen as The Black Widow, and they are a welcome addition to all the testosterone being thrown around. (Not saying Hawkeye isn’t manly enough, just that he prefers to use his explosive tipped arrows to make his point. And looks quite excellent in black leather, I might add. Welcome to the new Jason Bourne!) The big revelation to me was the Hulk. I’ve always disliked this character from the comics and never saw the previous films that utilized Eric Bana and Edward Norton as the somewhat temperamental green dude. Mark Ruffalo was wonderful as Dr. Bruce Banner, the scientist who knows he has a problem and refuses to be goaded into using his anger for other people’s purposes. Until he does, and then it’s awesome. The Hulk has some of the best moments in the film and becomes a poster boy for misunderstood enraged people who only want to be left alone.

The story revolves around the struggle for the tesseract, an energy source that everyone wants to get their hands on. According to an extremely reliable source (thanks Wikipedia!), “The Cosmic Cube (aka tesseract) is the name of a fictional object that appears in the Marvel Universe. The concept was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Tales of Suspense #79 (July 1966).” However, I would like to point out that millions of kids were introduced to it in a wonderful book called A Wrinkle in Time, written by Madeline L’Engle and published in 1962. (“Speaking of ways, pet,” Mrs. Whatsit said casually “by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”) Best. Book. Ever.

I got so involved in the film that I didn’t realize at first that my eyes were burning; I thought maybe I had gotten jalapeno juice from my nachos in them. Then I remembered the damn movie was in 3D and that I was going to have a headache afterward as well. I don’t think the 3D really added anything, except to apply it’s usual darkening magic across the whole movie. Interesting side note: one of the reasons the film had such a huge box office return was because they tack on an extra $4 for the glasses. And that is why I always carry my very own 3D specs with me at all times! (Save the glasses – you don’t have to recycle them!)

Jalapeno Rating: TWO PEPPERS   No stomach issues here; the studio has too much money invested in the 3D to let the shaky effect ruin it.

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