Sunday, July 29, 2012


Better late than never, I finally caught up with THE AVENGERS in glorious 3D.  I really liked it and agree with the reviews that suggested this was about as close to capturing a comic book on film as it gets.  But it's also one of those movies that leaves me with some (minor) head-scratching.  Yes, that's me, Mr. Nit-Picky-Never-Satisfied.  (Except I really WAS satisfied -- it's a good movie!)

Still, in this one, I could never quite figure out what exactly it would take to hurt our heroes.  Iron Man, I  have to assume, must have a lot of de-gravitational inertia-absorbing uber-padding in his suit, because the body slams he takes inside the armor should have turned poor Tony Stark into jelly.  Actually jelly would probably have more consistency than what would be left after some of these battles.  In case this doesn't make sense to you, try this handy experiment at home.  Put on a suit of armor, as heavy and thick as you like, and let a bus run you down.  Hell, let a Mini-Cooper hit you at 12 MPH.  Now explain the result to your medical insurance provider, or, more likely, let your puzzled and bereaved family explain what happened to a funeral director.  I smell YouTube video all over this one.

Thor and Loki I guess are protected by Asgardian magic, but a strong enough wallop can still cause momentary dazedness.  When Thor's sent plunging "30,000 feet" inside a specially designed containment unit, there is genuine concern that the impact will kill him.  But (SPOILER!) he busts out at the last second and makes it out okay.  However Loki seems especially tough.  Toward the end of the film the Hulk body-slams the poor guy like a rag-doll, whamming him into cement about a dozen times.  Post-slamming Loki is half-buried in the floor and issues a semi-comic wheeze, but the next time we see him he looks none the worse for wear, save for the obligatory cut lip.  Evidently the lip region doesn't get the same protective shield as the rest of the Loki carcass.  Perhaps there is some Asgardian chapstick that could alleviate this condition.

The Hulk is just... really friggin' tough.  I have to say, this is the first movie that has really got him right.  Of course I only saw the Ang Lee Hulk and not the the other one, so maybe he was right in that one too.  He was not right in the interesting but "what the fuck?!" Ang Lee movie.  But he's super-right in THE AVENGERS.  The Hulk can basically take just about any punishment, though concentrated blue-energy fire from a bunch of aliens appears to at least drop him to his knees. Still, I get the feeling that Earth could be a cinder and the Hulk would still be punchin'. Of course me like Hulk, so he gets the benefit of the doubt. 

Captain America is just really, really tough.  An alien energy bolt finally cuts his tummy (he makes an ow-ie gesture for about a minute), but otherwise he seems able to take an enormous licking and keep ticking. And that shield, wow.  Full bore alien bolts of blue lightning just fly off, with very little reciprocal bounce-back on the part of Cap.  Here's another experiment you can try when you're allowing buses and cars to hit you in your armor.  See how far you fly back upon impact.  There's a scientific law that explains this involving inertia and stuff, but I'm having a couple shots of Gray Goose orange vodka as I write this and can't really get up the energy to do the research.  But you can trust me on this science-ey stuff -- I worked on Battlestar Galactica!  Oh, and yes, you can brace yourself for the impact, but believe me, all that force has to go somewhere.  See reference to Tony Stark and "jelly" above.

Hawkeye and Black Widow are basically just dudes who are really strong and smart enough to not let Loki sneak behind them and spear them.  I'm just sayin', "Phil," you gotta keep your eyes peeled, buddy!  Well, actually (oh shit, SPOILER), not anymore.  Or maybe not.  This IS comics we're talking about!

I don't know what can hurt Thanos (the big blue-ish guy who appears for a moment after the credits), but man does that guy have nice teeth.  I suggest the Hulk go for the guy's choppers, clearly a source of vanity for the otherwise alien, blue-skinned, lizard-textured galaxy-smashing future villain.  Or maybe I'm misreading that scene... I can see it now.  "AVENGERS 2: THANOS BUILDS A PETTING ZOO."  Hey, admit it, nobody'd see THAT coming...


Blogger John Goins said...

So lemme get this straight. Iron Man's suit is questionable, but you DO accept the fact that Captain America was frozen in ice for 70 years and thawed out.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Mark Verheiden said...


7:37 PM  
Anonymous Paul Chadwick said...

I don't usually recommend drinking and blogging, but it worked out well this time. Entertaining!

Hey, Mr. Hemlock Grove...does this mean you'll be doing Dark Tower showrunning on weekends?

12:19 PM  
Blogger Muldfeld said...

This reminds me of that Seinfeld scene in which George and Jerry debate whether or not Iron Man wears underwear underneath his suit or not.
George: I still say he's naked under there
Jerry: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense!

I liked "Avengers" (which I saw months ago) and thought it did a much better job than the films "Iron Man" and especially "Captain America" and "Thor" in creating character depth for the title characters. However, I was disappointed that Whedon's film didn't push harder for some kind of more relevant political commentary -- some kind of skepticism of American imperial power; there was some hint of opposing fascism represented by Loki, but a Hitlerian association is not very subtle.

Speaking of Loki, Tom Huddleston played him beautifully, as always. Aside from him, though, the villains at the end were too silly looking to feel threatening, when they seemed positively creepy lurking in the shadows at the start of the film. Whedon also brought back his irritating fascination with a serpentine enemy -- as he did at the end of "Buffy" Season 3, which ruined a perfectly good season with such silliness. Cyborg enemies just flattened the drama and the action wasn't too exciting at that point.

Still, I agree that Mark Ruffalo played a fantastic Hulk; the CGI was great in preserving his features. I also agree that Ang Lee's interpretation was interesting but slightly boring. Edward Norton's film was quite good; he had worked on the script, but the idiot studio executives changed his ending into an obvious commercial approach -- which is what turned a very good film into nonsense. If Norton had his way, it would have been a great film.

I'm looking forward to Avengers 2, but I hope Whedon brings more of his political views and a grittier approach. I felt nothing when the human guy in the suit died, for example.

It wasn't as good as "The Dark Knight Rises" which I really enjoyed, despite Nolan's usual overly-rushed approach.

More than anything, I'm hoping Whedon's greater power will allow him to resurrect "Angel", whose Season 5 finale was the best after that of BSG.

1:45 PM  

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