New Release Double Header: The Avengers

Jess' Review:
Since Rachel started posting her Movies with Mia segment I've started to be more aware of well-behaved children at the movies.  I used to only notice the terrible kids, but now I see the good ones too.  However, going to see The Avengers, even during a matinee, I was honestly really surprised to see a theater FULL of kids under 8.  Particularly for a PG-13 movie.  There were more than a dozen kids under 5.  I spoke to a grandfather who said his grandkids with him love superhero movies - and the little boys were 3 & 4!!!  So there was A LOT of talking during the film.  While the violence was particularly stylized and not particularly scary, there was much more action and violence and just loud noises that I don't think I'd want to show to my 3 year old.  You may think I'm just underestimating their ages - but there were pacifiers people.  These kids were young.

Now on to the movie. I love the other back stories to The Avengers.  In order, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk (Edward Norton), Iron Man 2, The Hulk (Eric Bana).  And other than the Bana Hulk, I've seen them all in theaters, gleefully.  So I was really looking forward to this - and throw in a little Joss Whedon, and I was all set to love it.  The story was pretty great - taking place after each of the origin films it draws pieces of each: there's an explanation of why Natalie Portman isn't there to greet Thor, we know why Bruce Banner has buried himself in India, Captain America has just been thawed, and Iron Man has a triangle on his suit instead of a circle (watch the origins to actually understand these references, I'm just proving they exist).  S.H.I.E.L.D. has been trying to perfect a power source, but our evildoer and Thor's half-brother Loki, has arrived to undo it all and steal the cube.  This brings our Avengers together as the group of human/demigods with the set of skills to defeat Loki (a much much better Tom Hiddleston than in Thor, in my opinion).  Of course Loki unleashes his hell in a creative and difficult to fight kind of way.

However, even with a great story, it was hard to tell if particularly wooden acting or over the top dialogue from a few characters just left me annoyed from time to time.  Some of the dialogue was terrifically funny - the Hulk fighting Loki was priceless and had me shrieking with laughter.  Most of Tony Stark's dialogue went WAY over the kids' heads and was really clever.  However, sometimes there was so much filler dialogue that I started disliking the movie - Nick Fury is asked "What do we do?", and he replies "We get ready".  These three to four word one-liners fell flat over and over.  I do think this was a problem of expectations - with Joss Whedon, I did expect better dialogue.  However, he brought a story worth watching and for a sequel of a sequel of a franchise, that's a seriously impressive feat.  The overall balance between characters was really good, with no one getting too much of the story and no one getting too little.  And thankfully, Black Widow (ScarJo) was MUCH more bad-ass than that scene from the trailers where she has an itty bitty gun implies.  Thankfully.

Rachel's Review:
Over the last four years my anticipation for The Avengers has taken an odd shift. After Iron Man, I was excited at the prospect of this massive superhero undertaking. The Incredible Hulk wasn't terribly impressive, but I mainly blame poor CGI. Then Iron Man 2 was just pathetic, and despite my early acceptance, a recent rewatch has shown me the light. And since that sequel was a big precursor to The Avengers, I started to get uncomfortable with the idea. And I became even more exhausted when I had to face a summer of Thor and Captain America, liking the former, but not as impressed with the latter. So by the end of 2011, when I made my "Most Anticipated for 2012" list, I put The Avengers at the #5 spot because I just wanted all the build up to be over. I was convinced there was very little chance that four superheroes, each from their own origin stories, written and directed by different people could never make one genuinely good film together. However that small chance came through.

I wasn't entirely convinced in the beginning that the film was headed in the right direction. The story felt very scattered, but I'm assuming it's to catch up anyone who didn't bother watching the first five films. But at one point specifically, when Iron Man and Captain America are capturing the villain Loki in Germany, I was entranced by their presence together on screen and I realized this might all just work splendidly. And as Thor, then the Hulk, joined the pack, I relaxed, knowing  it wasn't going to be a power struggle of who gets the most screen time or who really comes out on top as the hero of the conflict, as each one served a particular purpose within the Avengers Initiative, be it brains, strength, bravery or Loki's big brother coming to Earth to lay down the law.

Though it sports some genuinely funny moments and much better than expected cast chemistry, The Avengers isn't perfect. It takes a little while getting started and there is perhaps a little too much "movie science" dialogue than necessary, but the massive climactic battle with the aliens on the streets of Manhattan ends the film on a wonderful note of badassery that kicks off the 2012 summer movie season with a bang. And it dares the other films due in the following months to provide this much fun.


  1. Glad you both liked it! I had a lot of fun at the cinemas watching it. And I saw the film with a four (?) year old sitting next to me. The cinema was filled up with quite a few young ones. That surprised me, but I can tell you that the crowd was better than the one we had for The Hunger Games. Teenage fangirls don't mix well with movies in NZ :/

    1. I saw The Avengers at an 8:45 pm show and there were far too many children under the age of 10 (down to infants) who should have been home in bed. My kid is 3, and she is in bed at 8:00 p.m. even on weekends, unless her grandmother is babysitting. The really sad part is that it wasn't these little ones that were all that disturbing. There were maybe two outbursts the entire time that were swiftly dealth with by their parents. No, it was the 35+ year old woman and her teenage daughter sitting next to me that talked more than anybody. She was one of those that talked to the screen. It's sad when a tired fussy toddler has better manners than an adult.

      And that's too bad about The Hunger Games. I went to two screenings in one day opening weekend and both were fantastic. No obnoxious fangirls. A few shocked parents who clearly hadn't read the books, but nobody was distracting.

  2. I was lucky enough to see an advance screening of the movie 3 weeks ago, and took my 8 year old son; the experience was one that I'll never forget. There were people dressed up (some who really shouldn't have been), the interactions between fanboys and fangirls was entertaining and pleasant, it was a top notch audience from head to toe.

    I went into the movie was very high expectations and was completely blown away by it. I look forward to seeing exactly how far Marvel/Disney are able to go in creating their universe.

    As someone who doesn't go by the ratings system when choosing what to take my kids to see, my son and I have seen close to 100 a movies together; his first film was Curious George a few months after his 2nd birthday. I feel that I know him well enough to know how he's going to act, as well as his maturity level in what he can and can't see on screen (my daughter, who's 6, is a completely different story). I think parents need to do a better job of knowing their kids and not just what their kids are telling them they want to see. Parents also need to stop with the "I paid my money just like everyone else" attitude and be more respectful of the other people in attendance. Usually kids become disruptive when they either don't want to be there or just aren't interested in the movie.

    As an aside, I just started catching up on the podcasts and really enjoy how well the two of you work together. Keep up the great work!


    1. I totally agree. My mom took me to loads of films that the MPAA thought were inappropriate for my age, and I behaved fine, understood most of what was going on and didn't end up scarred for life because I saw Se7en when I was only in 8th grade.

      My problem is with parents who are too cheap or impatient to get a sitter for their kids. So the kids in my theater were only there because their parents wanted to see the film that late on a Saturday night. If they really wanted the kids to enjoy it, they would've taken them in the afternoon. By the time we left at almost midnight, most of those kids were fast asleep being carried out.

      And glad you're enjoying the show. Thanks for listening!

  3. I agree with Rachel that the film takes a while to get started. As someone who skipped Captain America and Thor, the section of the film that was supposed to catch me up, or at least I'm guessing that is what the point was, it did a miserable job.

    But once The Avengers were all together, the film took off. The smart dialogue, the dynamics of the characters and the great comedic timing showed me why Joss Whedon is one of those guys I always go out of my way to check out. Heck, I wouldn't see this movie if he hadn't wrote it.

    Yes, if I'm nitpicky, Jess does bring up there's some filler dialogue here and there that the film doesn't need. But they're a minor exception overall.

    Also, I wasn't a fan of the action. It worked, but it didn't impress me, especially after watching Ghost Protocol and Tintin from last year.

    1. Oh, I loved the action. That last hour was most impressive and saved the movie overall for me. But the best moments are the Avengers together and the unexpected humor. I just wish we'd gotten more of it earlier in the film. Maybe in the eventual sequel.

  4. So I let you watch inappropriate movies & I let my granddaughter stay up too late. Now all your readers will think I'm a lousy mother AND a lousy grandmother. Why don't you just tell them you didn't have a curfew, I let you get a tattoo when you were 17, & I'm the reason your daughter ended up in the emergency room on a family vacation. Happy Mother's Day to me!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.