Thursday, May 31, 2012
Robert Downey Jr. was a hoot! Gwyneth Paltrow turned in a lovely cameo (thus giving her plenty of time for her colon cleanses). Samuel L. Jackson traded his PULP FICTION afro for an eye patch but he was still "Jules." At any point I expected him to stop and say, “Now that’s a mighty fine burger.” Mark Ruffalo managed to fill Edward Norton’s big green shoes admirably as the Hulk. Jeremy Renner is good in every action movie he’s in… which is every action movie now being made. Chris Evans can throw and take a punch. Chris Hemsworth keeps that delicate balance of superhero and GAME OF THRONES character. Cobie Smulders was used perfectly -- she delivered an occasional line of bald exposition while in a body suit. And standout for me was Scarlett Johansson who is easily the hottest, baddest-ass half-Jewish girl in cinema today!
Like I said, I liked it a lot. And I had not seen all the individual prequels yet still found it easy to follow and care.
Two quibbles – but these apply to practically all comic book movies.
1) There’s always a major fight scene over Manhattan and pedestrians are watching. No! They’d be running for their fucking lives, not turning back until they reached South Dakota. They wouldn’t be looky-loos from floor-to-ceiling windows in skyscrapers while giant alien space ships are slicing these concrete towers in their wake. Okay, maybe Roger Sterling from MAD MEN but that’s just because he’s so drunk and bored.
2) Superheroes come together and save the world and instead of thanks, a ticker tape parade, and a guest spot on THE TALK, the government calls them a nuisance and wants to shut them down. Huh? What? Sarah Palin is a great American, but Iron Man needs to be held in check?
Still, I’d have to say THE AVENGERS is up there as one of my favorite comic book movies. But it’s not my favorite.
SUPERMAN II is.
The special effects, which were eye-popping when it was originally released in 1980, now look primitive. And the thought that Superman would give up his powers for Margot Kidder stretches credibility even in a comic book world. But Christopher Reeve was so damn great as the Man of Steel.
And… here’s why this movie wins for me… for all the heart-pounding action and dazzling destruction, Superman ultimately uses his brain to outsmart his super villain opponents.
I know there will be an AVENGERS II (hell, there was a MANNEQUIN II) and my only suggestion for it would be to incorporate some ingenuity into the world saving.
Next up for me is the new Batman. I’m sure it will leave me exhilarated, confused, and depressed. But isn’t that what a good popcorn movie is supposed to do?
By the way, if you haven’t seen THE AVENGERS yet (or you have but left during the closing credits), stay till the very end. You will be rewarded. Joss Whedon always has another little surprise up his sleeve.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM