‘The Avengers’: assorted reviews

I saw “The Avengers” at a well-attended Saturday morning matinee in D.C. Didn’t go to an IMAX viewing or a 3-D viewing or an “IMAX 3-D” viewing. Just a regular two-dimensional, flat screen, though everything is in HD these days.

It is the best superhero action film ever made.

Now, “The Dark Knight,” is the greatest dramatic superhero film ever, but Marvel’s “The Avengers” is, without a doubt, the most entertaining comic-book movie I have ever seen. There are six heroes: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. You’d think that with so many characters, one of them would have been shortchanged. They weren’t. Every hero leaves you with an “out-of-body/did you see that!” scene. The dialogue is great. There are some remarkable laugh out loud lines, and they don’t all come from Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man. And as bad as his previous movies were, the Hulk has the scenes where you want to jump up on your seat and give him a standing ovation.

So I looked at the newspaper movie reviews after I saw it, and, though generally good, I couldn’t believe how tepid they were, like this from the New York Times:

You may occasionally encounter (as I have, a few times in the past months) a walking relic of an earlier era of pop-cultural fandom who wonders if they have, at last, made another movie out of that fondly recalled British spy series from the 1960s. “They” have not, and those poor souls who cherish old daydreams of Diana Rigg in leather will have to console themselves with images of Scarlett Johansson in a black bodysuit.

So “The Avengers,” which has been foreshadowed by post-credits teasers in (deep breath), “Captain America,” “Thor,” “The Incredible Hulk” (the one with Edward Norton) and both “Iron Man” pictures, is not without its pleasures.

That’s just like the Times: Make some snobbish reference to what the reviewer perceives as a culturally superior British show from the 1960s to sniff condescendingly at something with the same name today. Obviously, the reviewer doesn’t remember the crappy review the Times gave that version of “The Avengers” when it was released in 1998:

Sometimes major movie studios should be afraid to screen expensive fiascos for the press, but they go ahead anyway. “The Avengers” is Warner Brothers’ would-be blockbuster that has actually had its light hidden beneath a bushel until opening day, and no wonder.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post had this to say about the superhero extravaganza:

Then again, breaking ground is precisely the last thing fans want from movies that at their best play like elaborate pop-up versions of their source material, with enough psychological complexity to keep things interesting. In this case, that extra interior layer has to do with reconciling with one’s own shadow material, even at its most frightening and destructive.

Yeah, I have no idea what this psychobabble is trying to say either.

Leave it to the guys at Spill.com to get it right:

These guys need to give up their day jobs and review movies full-time. Their stuff is priceless. (Listen to their audio review. It has a lot more, but it’s NSFW.)

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