Daily Archives: May 5, 2012

Review: The Avengers (2012) (no spoilers)

Yesterday (well, technically today) I posted that The Avengers was one of three movies that I would see even if I had to sell my mother to the Russians, with no guilt.

Having seen it now, I completely stand by that claim. In fact, I’d consider selling her now just to see it again.

What Joss Whedon assembled here is phenomenal. Amazing. Incredible. I’m not sure I know enough superlatives to adequately capture how good this film is.

I’ve seen some really good superhero films in the last 5-6 years, but none of them elicited the same level of excited, breathless response I felt when I first saw Spider-man and it’s first sequel. Even Iron Man, which was excellent, came close, but didn’t break the mark. The Avengers did it.

There were multiple times during this movie that I almost bounced out of my seat cheering. I wanted a rewind button so bad I could taste it, just to re-experience the awesomeness I had just seen. There were scenes that surprised me, that made me laugh, and blew my action-loving mind. I haven’t so fully enjoyed a movie this much in a long time.

Now, having said that, it’s not a perfect film. Nothing is. It’s superb, not perfect. There were scenes I would have shortened or altered a bit – though not as many as most films. I do think there are one or two spots where it got slightly bogged down. The biggest problem I have with the film, however, is not really with the film at all, but the trailers. I simply can not believe that they included a completely pivotal scene meant to have one of the biggest emotional impacts so prominently in the trailer. That was the definition of a spoiler – having seen it before-hand completely drained the scene of its intended impact, and it was a really good scene. My wife, who did not remember having seen it, had an audible reaction (unusual for her in an action movie), while I saw it coming from 2 miles away and just had to wait for it to play out. So that really bugged me.

But putting that aside, Joss Whedon was hired for this film because of his facility with character stories. It’s easy to let a movie like this glide through on spectacle and lose the characters. Whedon did not let that happen. He excels at ensemble pieces and this is a big one, with at least 9 main and secondary characters to juggle. All of them got their moments. I didn’t feel like anyone was cheated. That alone is an impressive feat.

Now, I said I would do this without spoilers, and I’ll stand by that. Just let me say this: Hulk vs. Loki. Pure. Unadulterated. Awesome. I have never been so shocked by a battle in my life.

There’s a lot I could talk about in this movie at the character, writing, action, and camera levels, but I would end up getting into spoilers there, so I’ll hold off.

In short, this is, possibly, the best superhero movie ever made. Go see it. Now.

(side note: I put this in a completely different category of movie than Nolan’s Batman trilogy – they don’t compete for the same best superhero prize. I might expand on that in the future, if anyone asks about it.)

7 movies my mother has to worry about (and a bunch more)

2012 has an impressive line-up of films. Time travel, mutation, gods, monsters, hobbits, technology, and sheer awesomeness all combine to create an almost inescapable desire to just set up an automatic withdrawal from my checking account to my local movie theater.


As usual, but even more so this year, money is tight. Hard choices have to be made. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to make them, but I have to try. Last year I think I came in at around 20 movies I wanted to see in the theater. I didn’t get to all of them (thankfully, in some cases), but that was the goal.

This year I need to be more realistic. But the studios aren’t making it easy. Every time I think I’ve nailed down my list, another trailer comes out, and the list expands.

So this year I’m taking a different approach. I’m going to organize my list by priority. Hopefully this helps when deciding what films must wait until DVD. Wish me luck.

Priority 1 – I will see these even if I have to sell my mother to the Russians.

The Avengers – in fact, I’m seeing it in less than 12 hours.

The Dark Knight Rises – the finale to the most impressive Batman trilogy ever committed to screen? Bring it on.

The Amazing Spider-Man – I was disappointed that they were doing a reboot so soon, and I do have some lingering doubts about this one, but it does look good and it is, after all, Spider-man. I really have no choice.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – To call this highly anticipated would be monumentally underselling it. I’ve been waiting for it since I was 10, and salivating for it since the second frame of Fellowship of the Ring.

Priority 1.25 – I will see these even if I have to sell my mother to the Russians, but I’ll feel bad about it.

Brave – Going strictly by the trailer, I really think Pixar is back in form for this one. I really hope this is a good movie for my girls.

Taken 2 – Holy Crap! I didn’t even know they were making this movie! If it looks anywhere near as good as the first one, I’m in. Otherwise, it drops to priority 2.

Unfortunately, no trailer yet.

Skyfall – Bond. Enough said.

Again, no trailer yet.

Priority 2 – Grudgingly waiting for DVD – if I can get into the theater, I will.

Snow White and the Huntsman – Looks really good.

Men In Black 3 – I really enjoyed the first two. To be honest, this doesn’t look like it will be quite as good, but it’s still promising. I’m still leaning toward seeing it in the theater if I can, but I think I can let it slip to DVD if necessary.

Prometheus – This looks at least as disturbingly awesome as Alien/Aliens. It hurts me to put this in this category, but something has to give.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation – Yeah, it looks bad, but yet awesome at the same time. Very conflicted about this one.

The Bourne Legacy – Bourne. Enough said.

(There was a problem with US trailer when I grabbed this)

Total Recall – Argh… how can I not get my ass to Mars? :) Seriously, this looks awesome.

Looper – Time-travelling Bruce Willis fights the mob by not letting a younger version of him kill himself in the past. And Joseph Gordon Levitt is the young Bruce Willis hunting himself down. Exactly my kind of flick.

Priority 3 – Not entirely decided, but probably DVD

Dredd – Judgement withheld.

No trailer available yet.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – If it wasn’t for Battleship, below, this would be the dumbest idea on this list, but somehow it looks good! (My secret wish for this movie is that at some point Lincoln looks at the camera and says “Be excellent to each other.” Or at least, “Party on!”)

Priority 4 – Happily waiting for DVD

Battleship – It’s just too crazy of an idea with too high of a budget not to watch.

The Expendables 2 – I still need to watch the first one.


So, there you have it. Seven movies my mother has to worry about this year. For her sake, I hope I win some free tickets somewhere.

Which movies will you sell your mother to see this year?