Avengers (The Endoscopy)

by wjw on May 7, 2012

So I finally did see the Avengers movie.  And hey, there really was a Hulk v. Loki scene of which I could totally approve.  Not as awesome as mine, but still pretty good.

If you like superhero movies, you’ll like this one.  If you don’t like superhero movies, don’t see this, because it’s like all the superhero movies you didn’t like, only more so.

But the real reason to see this movie is . . . beefcake.  There is more testosterone-packed manflesh in this film than in an NFL shower scene.  (Not that I would know about that.)  And while beefcake doesn’t zing my personal strings, if The Avengers doesn’t make the average 13-year-old schoolgirl forget all about that mopy Edward Cullen guy, I’ll eat my jockstrap.

Not that Joss Whedon didn’t forget entirely about the dudes, because there is Scarlett Johansson in a black spandex catsuit, and Mr. Whedon put aside his feminist credentials just long enough to give us many lovingly-constructed shots of Ms. Johansson’s butt.  Much appreciated by yours truly.

The plot?  It makes no sense in the same way that all superhero plots make no sense.  So just go with it.

It was surprising how many character moments found their way into such an action-packed movie.   Each character had a scene or two that established his personality before they all met and started bouncing each other.  (Except for Thor, who just sort of shows up with no explanation for what he’s doing away from Asgard.  I thought the script rather shortchanged him.)  And the scenes of the Avengers interacting provided just enough contrast and conflict to keep the scenes from being dull or predictable.

Who was my favorite Avenger?  Agent Phil Coulson, as played by Clark Gregg.  Who has been in Thor and both Iron Man films and a bunch of other Marvel stuff just being the most reasonable, supportive, intelligent non-super human being amid all the insanity, bloodshed, and chaos.   And who also shows that he knows what to do with a BFG 9000 when he’s got an evil demigod in his sights.

The film had the usual issue of balance that you see in team superhero stories, where some people are just a lot more super than others.  Hawkeye and Black Widow are so outclassed by the other members of the team that the story strains to find important things for them to do, like “turning evil” and “running away from the Hulk.”  I don’t know why they couldn’t have been replaced by, say, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, who come prepackaged with an interesting backstory and have much more useful powers than, oh, shooting a bow or wearing black spandex.  (And though I have appreciated Scarlett Johansson’s talents in other films, I couldn’t help but think that she wasn’t very comfortable in the role of superheroine.  And the spandex catsuit only reminded me of how much she really isn’t Diana Rigg, and how much I wanted her to be.)

Unexpected moments?  Giant flying space whales.  Never saw that coming.   Nor did I expect Iron Man to give an endoscopy to a giant flying space whale.  But wow— better him than me.

And stealing the climactic scene from The Phantom MenaceTOTALLY UNEXPECTED.

The scenes of New York getting trashed by alien invaders?  They were just as good as the last movie you saw in which New York was trashed by alien invaders.

But to me, the most interesting thing about the movie is that Joss Whedon now has unimaginable power— more power than the Hulk, more power than Odin.  Anything he wants to do is going to get greenlighted, provided he agrees to make Avengers 2.

What will it be?  A small, personal film?  A Buffy spinoff?  Another big comic-book extravaganza?  A deeply creepy sexual fantasy crawling from out of the same disturbing midnight monster closet as Dollhouse?

Will it be the next Inception, or the next Heaven’s Gate?  It’s all in Mr. Whedon’s hands.

DensityDuck May 7, 2012 at 5:23 am

If you think that Scarlett Johanssen was underused here, then you should at all costs about Iron Man 2.


Of course there’s a shot of Scarlett Johansen’s shoeless feet. They even hang a lantern on it by having her pick up her shoes and carry them instead of putting them on.


It’s an interesting “things have come full circle” script, in that the lines are totally something you would expect from Joss Whedon; and yet they don’t feel out of place or too-glib, because he learned how to write by reading comic books and the Avengers are perhaps the platonic ideal of a comic-book property, so they talk the way you’d expect them to talk in this kind of story.

Not Todd May 7, 2012 at 6:01 am

Here’s hoping it’s another Firefly movie, or bringing Dr. Horrible to the big screen.

Dave Bishop May 7, 2012 at 8:00 am

I never did get the superhero thing: A person with limitless powers encounters a problem and because he/she has limitless powers he/she can solve it instantly … The End. Where’s the fun in that?

Lektu May 7, 2012 at 11:42 am

Dave: obviously, because they haven’t *limitless* powers. Not even Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan, which is as close as you can get to being an omnipotent god.

Ken Houghton May 7, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I’m betting Heaven’s Gate. The question is: which studio should he destroy? (I suspect he’s now owned by The Mouse–which owns Marvel–and that I should look at our Retirement Portfolio very carefully over the next several months…)

Mat E May 8, 2012 at 10:10 am

Thor’s little establishing exposition was just a couple lines after he first shows up about Odin getting wind of bad shit in the air and using the last of Asgard’s power to send Thor to Earth to reign in Loki. It’s was definitely a “blink and miss it” moment. As for the basis of his character, I think that the manhood challenge that he, Iron Man, & Cap have in the forrest does a pretty good job of conveying his demi-douchiness. I absolutely loved the Hulk vs. Loki scene.

Kathy May 8, 2012 at 10:52 am

Send Whedon A couple of the Wild Cards books and see what happens

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