Right now, Avengers Assemble is scoring 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. This means pretty much every movie critic who's seen it has liked it, which leads me to think that every movie critic alive has been reprogrammed by something insidious in the 3D glasses. That or their collective expectations have beaten down so hard by watching Michael Bay movies that they greet anything better as a starving man falls on a Whopper thinking that at least it isn't a Big Mac.
So. It has come to this.
Joss Whedon has managed to leave me feeling kind of bored and uninvolved with a movie. A movie with Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Renner and Samuel MF L Jackson in it. And Scarlett Johanssen. I think they come and take my man card off me if I fail to notice that Scarlett's in the movie, though to be honest I'm slightly more bothered that they snuck Jenny Agutter in and I didn't pick up on it till the credits.
Things I liked; I liked it that Stellan Skarsgard got to carry a big silver suitcase, in what I choose to believe was a deliberate shout out to a good simple movie, Ronin.
Eh, that's it. If you liked Chris Evans in Captain America (it was fine), watch it again. If you liked Robert Downey in the first Iron Man movie, watch that again. if you liked Thor; what is WRONG with you? If you like Jeremy Renner, watch The Town and Hurt Locker. There's too many people in this movie, and none of them have really got enough to do, but the real frustration comes from watching a bunch of actors who are individually capable of carrying a whole movie trying to share out a movie whose plot boils down to "What can we do to avoid getting to the end before everyone's had a chance to get in a character beat or two?".
No 3D movie is complete until I've ragged on the 3D, which as usual adds nothing of importance, but lowers the contrast on the screen so that nothing is as sharp as it should be. I'm keeping an open mind about the Hobbit, and Avatar actually made 3D work for a living, but for everything else it's like a robbery where they make the victim wear the mask.
It did leave me with time to ponder the conundrum of why it is that when the aliens invade, they always trash either LA or New York. I know it's because the movies are made in the US and they're pandering to the local audience, but I'm starting to wonder if the rest of us are putting up with it because secretly it's rather fun to think that the aliens are just going to focus on wrecking America while they ignore the rest of us.
I wanted to like this, I really did. It was heralded as a thinking man's comic hero movie. In reality, it's a big sprawling mess with two big set pieces and a story that only makes sense if you assume that the characters' agents had Joss Whedon's kids in a basement somewhere and wouldn't let them out till he wrote them all a big scene. So, if you only see one superhero movie this year; wait for something better than this.