Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Avengers


This gets so, so tiresome. The reviews were through the roof, and several people I respect told me it was pretty good. So once more I violated my pledge to not see a comic book superhero movie, and the same damn thing happened: I was bored.

It was touted as having some witty dialogue, and some characters with a few traits that are recognizably human. Yes, there were a lot of wise-ass quips (mostly from “Iron Man” Tony Stark, who just irritates the hell out of me now), delivered in the middle of action where scores, hundreds, thousands of tiny people are being massacred. But characterization? I didn’t see any. These were off-the-shelf automatons from the Marvel sausage factory.

Is part of my problem that I just don’t know enough about the “Marvel Universe?” Maybe. I sure don’t know much about it. I’d never heard of Hawkeye, the man with the miraculous quiver that apparently grows arrows continuously, as he looses many more arrows than were in there to begin with. I never heard of Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff. I vaguely remember a character named Thor. Yeah, I’ve heard of the Hulk, Captain America, Nick Fury (but where are his “howling commandos?”). But frankly, my interest in all of them is near zero.

What these movies are is a series of set pieces, and they all very much resemble each other, and similar scenes from 10,000 other movies. At first we get the one-on-one fights, with fists and whatever else comes to hand. Is this exciting? One right after the other? How many times can you see a body hurled a hundred feet or dropped more than that, crashing through metal walls and anything else in their way … and still be interested? These scenes are exactly alike! There must have been ten of them here, before we even got to the mayhem-fest at the end.

(I take it back, but only a little. Near the beginning Black Widow takes on four or five guys and beats the crap out of them … while tied to a chair! That was different. And near the end Loki tells Hulk that he’s a god, and Hulk grabs him by the feet and literally uses him as a wrecking ball, whipping him back and forth so fast it was a blur, and pulverizing the floor. “Some god,” he mutters. That was funny. And that was all that was the least bit original in this movie!)

Some people like it that these heroes were bickering. This is surprising? With egos as huge as Thor’s massive thighs, it was “humanizing” that they were bickering?

I should leave it at that, but there is something in the movies that continues to bother me. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s probably futile to compare these movies to the “real world,” but they have become so ultra-realistic that I just can’t help myself.

When I was younger there were 100 movies showing the monster-of-the-week smashing his way through a cardboard Tokyo. The models were actually pretty good, for their time, but the guy in the Godzilla suit was nothing but funny. But the mayhem depicted in the last reels of The Avengers isn’t funny. (It isn’t exciting, either, because I’ve seen it 100 times, and I don’t even go to many of these movies.) It’s too real. When cars were being hurtled through the streets like Hot Wheels in a demented kindergarten class and superheroes were bouncing off buildings leaving mayhem in their wake, I kept looking at the extras. We never saw any blood and gore (the makers are too wise for that; this is supposed to be fun), but it was clear that what was going on—just the parts we could see, which was only 5% of Manhattan—was enough death and damage to dwarf 9/11. Buildings falling. People in those buildings, and below on the streets. Huge fires breaking out in lower floors. Streets peeling up like old wallpaper with people standing on them. You know the drill. I just wasn’t able any longer to see it as funny, or heart-pounding action. I was just disgusted.

And something else got me to thinking. After it was over we saw a montage of news reporters covering the story. One reporter or politician, I’m not sure which, was pissed off. Who’s going to pay for all this? It’s clear that the writer intended you to scoff at this lame-brain. What? Why, they were defending us from these space monsters and this alien psychopath! And you’re complaining? Over a lousy ten or twenty thousand people killed and another forty thousand in the hospital, and 500 billion dollars in damage? Hell, man, this is war! People get hurt! Could have been much worse. We could be enslaved!

But you know what? HE’S RIGHT!!!!! Who was it experimenting with the tesseract, intending to use the energy in it to make more powerful weapons? Who was it that opened the door for that lunatic and his army to come blazing through? Why, it was Nick Fucking Fury and his dipshit crew from S.H.I.E.L.D., that’s who. If they hadn’t opened that door, Loki would still be pouting out in the ass end of a cut-rate distant galaxy. You open it, buster, you have fucking bought it, in my opinion. You’re responsible for what comes out of it, and what happens then. So pay for it!