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Movie Review: The Avengers

Okay, so I don't really do comic books. By which I mean I really, really don't do comic books. (I do like Watchmen, but that's, like, totally different because it's a graphic novel and not a comic book, and stuff, which is different because of reasons.)



I walked into the theater with my sweetie zaiah, her husband, their daughter, a gigantic barrel of popcorn, and a prayer of hope that Joss Whedon wouldn't let me down. After all, he gave us Firefly, right? Man's got mad skills.

As it turns out, the Avengers movie is more an ode to the special effects technician's art than to the storyteller's art...but then again, it is based on a comic book. Or a bunch of comic books. Or comic book characters, or something, I'm really not quite sure.

The movie goes something like this:

The scene opens at a SECRET BASE. Lots of people are RUNNING AROUND in a PANIC.

Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: There are lots of people running around in a panic. What's up?
Distracted Scientist Dude: Sir, it's the plot device! Our instruments show that it's generating 38% more plot than it was before. If this keeps up, there may be no place in this movie to escape the plot!
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: Did you try turning it off?
Distracted Scientist Dude: Yes! It keeps turning itself back on!

The PLOT DEVICE emits a sudden surge of PLOT

Loki: Hi! I'm Loki.
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: Drop your staff.
Hawkeye: It's okay, sir. He's Loki. He's a mischievous trickster god who likes playing games but isn't usually actively evil. If we ignore him he will probably get bored and go away.
Loki: No, that's the other Loki. I'm the whiney, kind of annoying narcissist who wants to destroy the world and then take it over, or something.
Hawkeye: Oh, sorry, my mistake.
Loki: Hey, don't sweat it. Happens all the time.
Cut for spoilers...
Loki: Give me the plot device.
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: No.
Loki: Then I will mind-control the dude with the arrows and the scientist dude, kill everyone else, and take the plot device. Then I will lead an invasion force to conquer the earth.
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: Wait a minute. If you can mind-control people, why do you need an invasion force to conquer the earth? Can't you just, like, mind-control the president and the board of directors at Goldman Sachs and be done with it?
Loki: ...
Loki: My way is more fun.

He MIND CONTROLS the DUDE WITH THE ARROWS and the SCIENTIST DUDE and SHOOTS EVERYONE ELSE

Hawkeye: I will do my best to represent District 12 with courage and honor.



Loki: ...
Loki: Wrong movie, numbnuts.

They RUN OFF with the PLOT DEVICE

Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: Loki has stolen the plot device and run off! Plus, a surge of plot is about to destroy this secret base!

A SURGE OF PLOT destroys the SECRET BASE, for no reason that is readily APPARENT

Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: Well, Loki has stolen the plot device. I guess there's only one thing left to do.
Hot Chick Who Doesn't Know Anything About Security: Sir?
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: Get some characters.
Russian evil dude: So, now that I have you tied to a chair, you will tell me everything you know.
Scarlett Johansson: I don't know anything.
Russian evil dude: Well then, now that I have you in my power, I will tell you my secret plot!
The PHONE RINGS
Scarlett Johansson: Busy here. Working. Busy. I just convinced this guy that this is a James Bond movie, and now he's about to tell me everything.
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: I need you to save the world.
Scarlett Johansson: Can it wait?
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: ...
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: No, it can't motherfucking wait!
Scarlett Johansson: This movie is rated PG-13. Can you say things like that?
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: A space alien named Loki has mind-controlled that one dude with the arrows and another scientist dude and stolen the plot device. If he detonates the plot, the whole movie will be affected.
Scarlett Johansson: Oh. Right. On my way.

Scarlett Johansson kicks the Russian dude's ASS and then ESCAPES

Little kid: I'll give you money to save my dad.
The Hulk: Okay.
Scarlett Johansson: It's a trap!
The Hulk: Does that mean I won't get paid?
Scarlett Johansson: A space alien has stolen a plot device. We need characters. Come with me.
The Hulk: Did you come alone?
Scarlett Johansson: Yes. It's just you and me. By which I mean, no, it's just you and me and a whole bunch of army dudes with guns.
The Hulk: Oh, right. What does that have to do with anything? I'm immune to bullets, right?
Scarlett Johansson: ...
Scarlett Johansson: If you come with me I'll take off my shirt in the airplane.



The Hulk: Okay.
Nebbish guy in a suit: We need you to help save the world.
Tony Stark: I'm a narcissist with a plethora of psychological problems and ADD, and I'm about to have sex with Gwyneth Paltrow.
Gwyneth Paltrow: No you're not.
Tony Stark: Really? Damn. Well, in that case, okay, I'll help you save the--oh, look, potato chips!

Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson and Captain America TALK for a bit. The dialog WEDGES.

Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: Ten bucks says I can show you something you've never seen before.
Captain America: Okay.
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: Loki may have the plot, but I have characters and dialog. It's two against one!

They all get TOGETHER on an AIRCRAFT CARRIER

The Hulk: I thought you were going to take off your shirt if I came with you.
Scarlett Johansson: This movie is rated PG-13.

The aircraft carrier LIFTS UP OFF THE WATER and FLIES THROUGH THE AIR and TURNS INVISIBLE



Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: Where's my ten dollars?
Captain America: Nope, you lose. I've seen this before in that one episode of Dr. Who.
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: ...
Audience: Really, Joss? You gave us something as brilliant as Serenity, and now we're down to flying aircraft carriers that turn invisible?
Joss Whedon: It's canon. My hands were tied. What could I do?
Captain America: Hey, where's Wonder Woman?
Scarlett Johansson: She is not part of the Avengers.
Captain America: Why not?
Scarlett Johansson: Have you seen what happens when you try to land an invisible jet on an invisible aircraft carrier? It took three days to clear the wreckage off the flight deck. Mostly because we couldn't see the wreckage. Or the flight deck.
Captain America: Oh, right.
Loki: I am going to crash a ritzy party in Stuttgart.
Hot Chick Who Doesn't Know Anything About Security: Loki is crashing a ritzy party in Stuttgart.

They fly to STUTTGART and capture LOKI

Loki: You have captured me.

Thor UNEXPECTEDLY SHOWS UP and snatches LOKI
Thor and Loki ARGUE FOR A BIT. The dialog WEDGES again.

Tony Stark: This dialog is terrible. Let's fight.

Tony Stark and Thor FIGHT

Captain America: Tony Stark, stop fighting with Thor. We should talk.

The dialogue WEDGES some more.

Captain America: This dialog is terrible. Let's fight.

Captain America and Thor FIGHT
Loki makes POPCORN

Tony Stark: We will take Loki to the flying aircraft carrier.
Thor: You have a flying aircraft carrier? Like the one in Dr. Who? Cool!
Tony Stark: Ours is invisible.
Thor: Wait, what? What good is an invisible aircraft carrier? How do you land a plane on it?
Tony Stark: ...

Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson puts Loki in an IMPREGNABLE PRISON CELL. The dialog WEDGES.

Tony Stark: I am hacking into Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson's computers to see what he's up to.
Captain America: What makes you think he's up to something?
Tony Stark: Even his secrets have secrets.
Captain America: ...
Captain America: What does that even mean?
Captain America: Besides, how can you hack into his computers? If he's using PGP, wouldn't it take all the supercomputers in the world, like, twenty thousand years to break or something?
Tony Stark: He's using WEP.
Captain America: Oh, right.
Tony Stark: I broke into your computers. You're making secret weapons.
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: Am not.
Tony Stark: Are too.
Captain America: I broke into your secured storage lockers. You're making secret weapons.
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: WTF? Why does this flying aircraft carrier have such crap security?
Hot Chick Who Doesn't Know Anything About Security: You didn't hire me for my security knowledge.



Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: Oh, right.
Scarlett Johansson: Will you let Hawkeye go?
Loki: No. But now that I know your weakness, I will explain my plot to you.
Scarlett Johansson: Surprise! This isn't a James Bond movie. Now we know your plan.
Loki: ...
Scarlett Johansson: Hey Hulk, promise you won't turn into a giant green indestructible monster and wreck things, 'kay? Because Loki wants you to turn into a giant green indestructible monster and wreck things.
The Hulk: I promise.

HAWKEYE and a bunch of RANDOM BAD GUYS fly up to the FLYING AIRCRAFT CARRIER and request permission to LAND. Since the FLYING AIRCRAFT CARRIER is not using IFF MODE 5, the air traffic controllers don't know it's a TRAP and grant APPROACH PERMISSION

Hawkeye: Suckers.

Hawkeye SHOOTS the FLYING AIRCRAFT CARRIER with an ARROW. The engine EXPLODES.

Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: WTF? Why is this flying aircraft carrier not using military IFF to screen aircraft entering its airspace?
Hot Chick Who Doesn't Know Anything About Security: You didn't hire me for my security knowledge, remember?
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: Oh, right.
Darth Vader: You see? You see what happens when you send a capital ship out on its own without a protective screen of escort vehicles? Some yahoo in some little ship just comes along and shoots you with an arrow and blows you all to Hell and gone, and...
Luke Skywalker: Hey Dad, are you STILL on about that?
Darth Vader: Shut up.

The Hulk turns into a GIANT GREEN INDESTRUCTIBLE MONSTER and starts to WRECK THINGS

Scarlett Johansson: I thought you promised not to turn into a giant green indestructible monster and wreck things.
The Hulk: I thought you promised to take off your shirt.
Scarlett Johansson: ...
Scarlett Johansson: I told you, this movie is rated PG-13.
Scarlett Johansson: So when you turn into a giant green indestructible monster, does your dingus...?
The Hulk: I'd show you, but this movie is rated PG-13.

The SPECIAL EFFECTS overrun the PLOT.
HAWKEYE infects the FLIGHT COMPUTERS with a VIRUS using an ARROW.

Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: I'm sick and tired of this motherfucking crap security on this motherfucking flying aircraft carrier!

Scarlett Johansson punches Hawkeye in the FACE
Loki PREGNATES the IMPREGNABLE PRISON CELL and ESCAPES
The nebbish guy in a suit DIES

Hawkeye: Hi! Didja miss me? I'm back!
Tony Stark: Loki is going to my place.
Scarlett Johansson How do you know?
Tony Stark: Because it has my name on it in big letters.
Scarlett Johansson Well, by that logic, how do you know he isn't going to Trump Towers?
Tony Stark: ...
Tony Stark: Two reasons. First, because Donald Trump wears a bad toupee. Second, because--oh, look, potato chips!

Loki opens a PORTAL TO ANOTHER DIMENSION on Tony Stark's PENTHOUSE ROOF
SPACE ALIENS fly out of the PORTAL and SHOOT THE PLACE UP

Captain America: There are civilians who need saving.
Tony Stark: Right. You go save the civilians, we'll go fight the space aliens.
Brett: I'll go get the cat!

A GIANT FLYING DRAGON FISH THING flies out of the PORTAL TO ANOTHER DIMENSION and starts SHOOTING THE PLACE UP

Tony Stark: I'm bringing the party to you. And by 'party' I mean 'giant flying dragon fish thing that's shooting the place up.'
Scarlett Johansson You are SO not hosting my nephew's bar mitzvah.
Tony Stark: Wait, you're Jewish?
Scarlett Johansson Huh?
Tony Stark: Never mind.

More GIANT FLYING DRAGON FISH THINGS fly out of the PORTAL TO ANOTHER DIMENSION and start SHOOTING THE PLACE UP

Sigorney Weaver: We need to take off and nuke the place from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson: That's a terrible idea.
Burke: That's what I said! She didn't listen to me either.

An AIRPLANE takes off from the FLYING AIRCRAFT CARRIER with a NUKE

Tony Stark: That's a terrible idea. I have a better idea.

TONY STARK grabs the NUKE and throws it through the PORTAL TO ANOTHER DIMENSION.
The SPACE ALIENS all fall over DEAD.
The dialog WEDGES.
Thor takes the PLOT DEVICE and LOKI and transports them to ANOTHER PLANE OF BEING.


Tony Stark: So whaddya think? You think a Russian spy and a guy like me...
Luke Skywalker: No.
They all go out to DINNER


Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
boozymatic
May. 13th, 2012 10:03 am (UTC)
OMG - that was epic! Can't stop laughing!
Now I want to actually go out and see the darn movie.
roguebaby
May. 13th, 2012 03:08 pm (UTC)
Brilliant!
Still gonna wait for Netflix...
icedrake
May. 13th, 2012 03:11 pm (UTC)
What, pray tell, is an aircraft character? :)
ab3nd
May. 13th, 2012 03:15 pm (UTC)
You know, from Transformers.
tacit
May. 13th, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
Oops! It's fixed now, is what it is.
fx4
May. 13th, 2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
I have to call bullshit on your opinion of the dialog. Agreed on the helicarrier though...

I don't think at any point did the dialog wedge, you need to see it again and pay more attention. I'll go see it again with you. The FX do tend to overshadow the dialog in places. We saw it with someone on their second round and he said there was a lot of verbal and non-verbal that he missed the first time, what with being distracted by the potato chips. (did you catch the Legolas comment?)

See also: ( http://cathshaffer.livejournal.com/203930.html )

And to you people planning on waiting for Netflix, this movie deserves the big screen ( though so few do). But for the sake of all that is holy, avoid 3D!!!!
tacit
May. 13th, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC)
I did catch the Legolas comment! I actually, literally laughed out loud, in fact.

So the dialog was generally good and in some places brilliant...and then we had scenes like Loki and Thor arguing over their daddy, where the dialog was so awful I cringed and facepalmed right there in the theater. Maybe it was good on paper and was just poorly delivered, but seriously, that scene had me wanting to gnaw off my own leg to escape.

The Legolas bit was good, though.
fx4
May. 13th, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
Actually, I thought the bit with Loki and Thor fit right in, since I saw Thor (the movie, not the god). Kind of a rerun actually. It went with the "are you ever not going to fall for that" quip (Thor grabbing at an illusionarly Loki was a running gag in Thor, he's kinda gullible)
labelleizzy
May. 14th, 2012 01:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, Thor's a meathead, but he's an adorable and tasty meathead.

Le sigh!

Good review, tacit! highly entertaining!
rekre8
May. 13th, 2012 05:35 pm (UTC)
1). I disagree with you, the movie was fantastic. (note: i learned to read on Xmen comics.. I am the target demographic other than being female and over 30). Brilliant even.

2) if one hasn't watched the other 'Origins" movies, a lot of the prior character development and motivations are simply missing or summed in a tiny chunk of exposition

3) Recommended reading for real problems with the movie, in particular, Black Widow's MO. I don't agree completely, but the movie certainly doesn't pass bectel test: http://cathshaffer.livejournal.com/203930.html. <- lots of spoilers

4) Dialog had me in stitches. I need to go see it again so I catch what I missed when I was laughing.

5) Your reviews are always riveting and funny, regardless of if I agree with you. Keep it up. Infact, please rent & review my all time fav "buckaroo bonzii", or come borrow my copy. I can't wait for your summary of the action!

rekre8
May. 13th, 2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, and the Hot Chick Who Doesn't Know Security was the XO, not the security chief. Learn your ranks!
tacit
May. 13th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
Well, sure, the XO isn't supposed to be in charge of the nitty-gritty of security, but the XO certainly is supposed to be in charge of the folks who ARE. As XO, it was her job to force-choke the holy hell out of the first person who made a colossal security blunder, as a warning to the others to bring their A game. Did that happen? Not even once.

And seriously, who sends a capital ship out unescorted anywhere? (Besides the Empire, I mean, and even the Emperor didn't do that the second time 'round.)
fx4
May. 13th, 2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
Our navy, those capital ships that rely on stealth, boomers, a.k.a. Strategic Nuculer Missile Submarines. Stealth and escorts do not mix, your chances of detection go up exponentially with each additional ship, it's like storing valuable data on a r.a.i.d. 0 array. (doens't apply to the empire, there is nothing stealthy about a death star, imagine the radar cross section...)

Now the internal security is another matter, that was pure plotonium.
tacit
May. 14th, 2012 01:33 am (UTC)
Well, if you REALLY want to get down to it:

Aircraft carriers don't benefit from stealth, because their function is to project power in a wide range. (IA very wide range; it's common for an aircraft carrier just steaming out of port in the US to have some of its fighters already in the airspace over Iraq.) It does little good to have an aircraft carrier be stealthy, given that if it is doing its job, it is always launching and retrieving planes; even if all its planes were stealthy--which they aren't--just the sheer volume of launches and retrievals would reveal it to a hostile force.

An aircraft carrier often carries stealthy ships and aircraft as part of its escort; a US carrier battle group, for instance, typically includes a couple of attack subs, But it protects itself by having a screen of fighters and attack aircraft always in the air and by being constantly aware of its environment far beyond the horizon.

There's an interesting documentary on the Discovery Channel where a camera crew accompanied the aircraft carrier George Washington on one of its missions. From the moment it leaves port to the moment it arrives back, it spends six hours launching planes, then six hours retrieving planes, then six hours launching planes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The captain spoke to the documentary crew, and said "If we aren't flying planes we aren't doing our job." The flying aircraft carrier in the movie wasn't doing its job.

Now, had they made it more like a Marine assault ship, which keeps a small contingent of aircraft for assault and defense missions, it'd make more sense. But I guess comic book writers typically seem to know about as much about the military as they do about female anatomy, and comic book readers are more likely to say "Ooh, cool!" to a flying aircraft carrier than a flying assault ship, so...*shrug*.
fx4
May. 14th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
All good points, but...

I don't recall seeing any air ops (just one f-35, and a handful of transport aircraft coming and going, right up until the nuke launch) But I do recall seeing stealthy behavior (active camo, emcon, the baddies using Loki's staff as a homing beacon), I think you are confusing form-factor for function. I do agree the whole concept is silly, but it doesn't interfere with my suspension of disbelief, and I am notoriously picky about such things. (the F-5s in X-men first class, that were several years ahead of their time, that the animators didn't bother to check, for example)
sylphon
May. 13th, 2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
That was great!
ellindsey
May. 14th, 2012 12:50 am (UTC)
Despite knowing that the movie was absurd and made no sense from beginning to end, I still loved every moment of it.
mckitterick
May. 14th, 2012 03:20 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! Despite loving the movie (and the dialogue - which means a lot more if you watched the precursor movies), this was a fantastic send-up!
james_the_evil1
May. 15th, 2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
I literally choked on my coffee over the Darth Vader bit.

Before the movie came out, I shot an extensive bondage cosplay set with a model dressed as the hot chick who's bad at security. Here's a bit of humor we came up with: http://slephoto.deviantart.com/art/Maria-Hill-vs-The-Basement-Dweller-290084254

Maybe that'll teach her!
skittenwench
May. 17th, 2012 02:46 am (UTC)
haa! you crack me up!
giggles!
I'm not as comic book fan either but at the very least can you asdmit thta iron man is a fuin portrayal? ;)
Can *I* have plot device? I could use it to get my roof destroyed & then my garage destroyed & potentially even removed from my backyard. whaddaya think? will it work??
that last line only works ifyou are one og those that stays until the credits are all done though *lol*
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )