OK, so now that I’ve gotten past my gushing, I’m going to actually talk about The Avengers, as a film and what I thought of it.
Can I preface this review with the fact that there will be spoilers? OK, cool. Preface number two, I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, OK? I think he’s amazing. However, unlike a lot of Whedon fans, I don’t feel that the man can do no wrong.
In fact I spent a lot of time cursing the fact that I’ve watched most of his work while I was watching The Avengers. I bet a neophyte wouldn’t have even noticed this stuff. But a lot of my enjoyment was tempered by the fact that we had seen most of it before. We’d seen it on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and in the film Serenity. We’d seen it on Dollhouse. It was distracting. Luckily, because he wasn’t the boss of this world, we were saved from a heinously depressing Joss Whedon ending. But his fingerprints are all over this baby.
Let’s start with the beginning. The movie opens with Loki, talking to some other people, about how he is going to invade earth for them. Let’s make that clear. There is a larger villainous force at work than just Loki. Something that maybe could be callled a big bad. That’s Whedon cliche number 1.
Then while Nick Fury and film universe only characters Agent Coulson and Agent Maria Hill, and Hawkeye and Dr. Eric Selving talk about the Teseract. Then it lights up and Loki comes through and hipnotizes Hawkeye and Dr. Selving, after making some vague comments about how he’s going to free them from the illusion on freedom. Yes, mind control is a main function of the plot. As is a benevolent villain. That’s Whedon cliche numbers 2 & 3.
Loki steals the Tesseract and blows up S.H.E.I.L.D. base. This is awesome and involves many car chases.
The next thing we see is Black Widow tied to a chair being interrogated by Russians. She is being snarky despite her desperate situation. Agent Coulson is badass and calls one of her interrogators and asks to speak to her. After he calls her back to S.H.E.I.L.D . She then jumps up and beats the crap out of three men who are significantly larger than she is. She walks away with a smug look on her face and says something quippy. That’s Whedon cliche number 4.
Oh, also she wasn’t wearing her shoes. So, you know point for his foot fetish.
Anyway, the team gets together, and Ironman makes lots of quips and Gwyneth makes a cameo appearance (also barefoot!) and we learn that Pepper Pots and Agent Coulson are buddies! We also learn that Tony is not a fan of this. And Agent Coulson is named Phil. Which is weird. He also has a GIANT fanboy hard on for Captain America. Which is sort of adorable…when you think about it. Plus he gets all babbly, and he and Maria Hill work as our team member audience surrogates, that is, non powered/special people who are still a part of the team for some reason. In Whedon land, we call them Xanders or Wesleys or sometimes Inaras. That’s Whedon cliche number 5.
While capturing Loki, Thor diverts them. He and Loki have a chat where Thor tries to reach his humanity by using sentamentality. (Yellow Crayola Crayon!) This does not work. Then Thor, Captain America and Ironman fight and are awesome. That’s Whedon cliche number 6.
Later, there is a discovery that the massive institution that has them organized has been lying to our heroes the entire time. Because S.H.E.I.L.D. is trying to make weapons with the Tesseract energy! For some reason, they all think this is bad, because I guess, Captain America and Ironman are pacifists now? Whatever, it’s Whedon cliche number 7.
They scatter in the fight that comes, and they fix Hawkweye. Then Loki kills Phil Coulson and the team rallies around his memory, and Nick Fury makes an epic speech about why they have to do this. That’s Whedon cliche number 8.
Anyway, they rally and fight and then in a display of girl power, Black Widow figures out how to stop the portal that the weird Lizard people came through.Of course the shadowy organization that controls S.H.E.I.L.D. decides to nuke New York to contain the threat. That’s numbers 9 & 10.
Ironman decides to sacrifice himself to stop the apocalypse by flying the nuke into the portal, because sure. He is unable to connect with Pepper before he dies. This is Whedon cliche number 11.
Uh yeah, this is where we get glad that Whedon is not the boss of this world. Because here’s the thing IRONMAN CAN’T DIE BECAUSE THEN THE ENTIRE MARVEL FILM UNIVERSE WOULD FALL APART AND BE TERRIBLE. So, yeah, then the Hulk wakes him up from unconsciousness and we see news clips about the ambivalent response to world saving that has gone on. That’s Whedon cliche number 12.
Look, I”m not saying that it wasn’t a good movie. It was a really good movie. I’m just saying that as a fan of both Joss Whedon and The Marvel Film universe, I was really, really distracted.