Boom – pow – whack. Ah those old Batman shows. When Batman went all post-modern with Tim Burton, it left a big hole. Fans loved that old campy-ness, but it was of an era and times move on. Batman needed relevance and was reborn. But the love of spandex remained. With the Marvel attack on cinema we have the perfect replacement, with the Avengers being the cherry on the cake.
So is it any good. Well, there are enough boom-pow-whacks to provide a visual feast that will have people reaching for the Mylanta. But the stories which hold the most promise are sadly short. We want to know about the Hulk and the Black Widow. There are the emotional red herrings which end nowhere, which are labeled as ‘twists’ but end up being unsatisfactory. When the real hero death comes, there has been little engagement with said character and the demise seems overblown for their roll in the movie. But toward the end there is a big sigh of relief as Paul Bettany turns up and adds some depth. It’s a great roll and he turns in a good performance. Alas for Black Widow, along with Hulk we need more. They are deep characters, yet the story is so slowly evolving, we’re going to need ten of these before we really get to know them.
The concept of the Avengers is about teamwork so the obvious storyline is about how the team doesn’t work together. To beat the evil boss they must learn to work together (again). This is a trope that has been hammered to death recently. But there are two movies which I think do it better: Big Hero Six and Monsters vs Aliens. However, with both these films there is deeper subtext, about growing up, about who are the real villains.
And then there is the cheese and the sentimentality both turned up to 11, which unfortunately pushes it into cliché. Ultimately, it is great fun but about spectacle rather than imagination.