|"You gotta strut, pout, put it out/that's what you want from..."|
"Yes, I've met them."
"Yeah, takes us a while to get any traction, I'll give you that one. But let's do a head count here: your brother the demi-god; a super soldier, a living legend who kind of lives up to the legend; a man with breath-taking anger management issues; a couple of master assassins, and YOU, big fella, you've managed to piss off every single one of them."
1) I owe Joss Whedon an apology, as in this film he manages to prove he is able to do big-ass on-screen action and super-heroics...and manages to find new and engaging ways to do said big-ass on-screen action (although there is a moment which makes me wonder if he was aware of the criticism some people leveled at him, myself included, and decided to spoof it).
2) Mark Ruffalo's take on Bruce Banner is rather interesting. There's a strange sense of humor running under his take, a kind of bemused sarcasm that plays off of Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark really well. And while I still don't buy the reasoning Banner gives for controlling his Hulk-Outs in the third act, I can see how Ruffalo made those choices to bolster that contention.
3) At first, I really thought Clark Gregg's beloved Agent Coulson was acting out of character when he went all fanboy in the presence of Chris Evans' Captain America...but then I realized that what Whedon was doing was showing how Coulson's admiration for Cap is what spurred him on to become the super-cool secret agent we've grown to like in the previous four films, that Cap's selflessness became a template for Coulson's sense of duty and honor, and spurs on his actions later in the film.
4) One of the things I really, really appreciated was how we had our heroes actively using their powers to save people at time rather than just beating things up. Iron Man trying to jumpstart the helicarrier, Cap making the save in the bank....these moments gave us a sense of these characters being heroes and not just gaily-dressed guys beating up armored lizard guys.
|"Goodness...is that...our profits?"|
5) So first Scarlett Johanssen, now Cobie Smolders...is it the agenda of these movies to get every woman I think is hot squeezed into a formfitting SHIELD uniform? Can I look forward to Kristen Bell playing Daisy Johnson? Maybe McPhee as Victoria Head?
6) I was also appreciative that the only real member of the Joss Whedon Day Players was Alex Denisoff's Other (unless you count Chris Hemmworth, who got Thor thanks to Cabin In The Woods)--and he was buried under make-up. But then, this is perhaps the least Whedon-feeling of Whedon's productions, even though there are large elements that are Whedon-esque.
7) While Tom Hiddleston's Loki acts a great deal more like an actual super-villain, he's still excellent in the role. He successfully gives us a proper face to the Big Shouty Alien Bug Invasion, and both puts forth his agenda ('It's easier to give up freedom, isn't it?') with a degree of rational thought and revels in his mischief.
|"So you really think I'll be sticking around as Banner?"|
8) While I recognize that the 'meet-and-fight' sequence that pulls the curtain down on Act One is there to give us a legitimate action beat while also giving fanboys a bit of a thrill...I wonder if it was actually necessary. It's not like Fury wouldn't have briefed everyone on each other, or that they'd be aware of each other's abilities. Yeah, it's a satisfying dust-up, but it could easily, easily have been sidestepped with a few lines of dialogue...
No, wait...this isn't supposed to be a Brian Michael Bendis comic.
|Wow....that's....ummm, kinda tight, innit,|
9) I also recognize that someone had to get the short end of the stick, and I'm not surprised that it's mostly Those New Kids--Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye (who comes off as pretty much a cipher) and Smolder's Maria Hill. However, I am impressed that the script gives us a sense of both characters in the main action that we don't feel too left out. Hell, in the case of Hawkeye, what we learn made me actively interested in seeing this talked-about Hawkeye and Black Widow movie if said movie was a prequel that revealed the story they referenced a couple of time.
10) That last act could have been a massive mess of shaky-cam confusion...but I love how Whedon came up with lots of innovative action set pieces (the way Cap and Iron Man worked together utilizing the shield to focus and direct the repulsor blasts) and moments of genuine characterization that kept the film's momentum engaging. It's absolutely fitting that the last moment in the film includes a testimony from a seeming bystander making reference to Cap saving her during that last act.
Overall...about as great as a super-hero movie could be while still being unapologetically a super hero movie, this is the greatest movie little twelve year old Tom could have imagined when he was reading those old Shooter/Perez issues....and is a great two hours and change for adult Tom to experience. Here's hoping the next one is half as fun.