The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Oh my, that was fun!

with 46 comments

I grew up with comics. For years I had a subscription for Donald Duck and I read them over and over again until they fell into pieces. I read the Asterix and Tintin albums until I knew them by heart and I still catch myself ever so often quoting them in everyday conversations, taking for granted that everyone else knows exactly what I’m referring to.

I read all sorts of comics and I still do. Everything except for one kind: those about traditional superheroes. You know, those who have silly stretch pants and can fly. They were the territory of my seven years younger little brother. It happened that I threw a glance in his magazines. But they never stuck with me.

In an effort to give all sorts of movies a chance, I tried a couple of superhero movies last year, but they turned out to be disappointments and I as good as swore not to see any more superhero movies since they’re bound to suck.

I tell you this to let you understand the nature of my relationship with superheroes. With a few exceptions (read Dark Knight) it’s cold.

The Joss Whedon effect
Considering this I probably would have stayed away from The Avengers if it wasn’t for two things

1. It had been picked for the-movie-to-watch-together for our monthly meet-up with the Swedish film blogging network and I didn’t want to miss out the discussions.

2. It was written and directed by Joss Whedon, the man behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is one of my TV series. (And no, Buffy doesn’t count to the silly superhero category. She doesn’t fly and she hasn’t got stretch pants.)

So I went to the theatre with a fairly neutral mindset. I still remembered how bad I thought of Thor and I dreaded to see another movie in 3D after some bad experiences. But again: it was Joss Whedon. And my friends seemed to be hyped about it.

A long takeoff
So what did I make of it? Well, to begin with I didn’t know at all since the starting distance before I reached the takeoff point was huge, almost as long as the introduction of this post.

It’s not that there’s a long stretch of set-up and babble in the film; we’re thrown into action at once, but the movie just failed to bring me on board.

I think my problem was that the film is if not a direct sequel, at least connects to a whole bunch of other movies about the various superheroes that are in the center for it. And of all those movies, Thor was the only one I’d seen. I hadn’t seen The Iron Man, I hadn’t seen Captain America and I was only familiar with The Hulk through the TV series from my childhood, not from recent movies. While Avengers doesn’t require you to have seen all those movies, I think it helps if you have, since you’ll figure out who the characters are and connect to them more easily.

As it was now, it took almost an hour before I was completely into it. But on the other hand: once I was there, I didn’t want it to finish.

After the slow start, it got better and better, the more warmed up I got, and in the end I found myself digging The Avengers quite a bit, much more than I had expected.

Five reasons why I liked it
Those are my top five reasons for caring for it so much:

1. The humor. This is my number one reason and I think we have Joss Whedon to thank for it. I found myself laughing or giggling a lot, much more than in ordinary comedies. I’m generally sulky and hard to get to smile, but there was something in the tone, the self referring jokes, the glimpse in the eye, that worked for me, and I could sense the ties to Buffy. It’s fun, but in a loving way, never going as far as to being a travesty. I love it.

2. The special effects. If you make a superhero movie with a huge budget and an expected huge audience, you should have special effects to match it. Where Thor failed, showing the same little strip in the desert over and over again in fighting scenes that felt small and unimpressive, The Avengers goes all out and provides all the beauty and majesty and excitement you could expect, from cosmic worm holes to melting sky scrapers and a hulk that looks as believable as a hulk can be. It never feels cheap.

3. The cast. I’m not sure who I like best – Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye or Tom Hiddleston as Loki. But they’re all pretty wonderful.

4. The lack of cheese. With so many characters to handle, there’s very little time available to spend on the back stories for each one of them. Priorities need to be made. Sometimes this type of blockbuster movies can be dragged down into stereotyping and awkwardness by some cheesy mandatory romantic side story, but lo and behold, we don’t get much of this. The focus is rightly on the visually stunning fighting scenes and the fun dialogues. Thank you for that!

5.  The Hulk. There’s no shortage of superhero characters, but if you ask me to mention one, it will have to be The Hulk. I had a conversation over twitter with Steeve, whose middle-aged father also took a liking for him. My conclusion was that we easily can identify with him, having a lifetime of experience controlling our temperament. There’s a scene where we see him unlash his wrath at one of the opponents that especially stuck with me. I was close to standing up in my chair cheering and clapping. You’ll know when you get to it.

2D or 3D
In case you’re in doubt whether to watch it in 3D or 2D, I’d recommend you to go for the 2D.  The 3D isn’t as bad as in John Carter, but it doesn’t add very much either. Especially if you watch it with subtitles, you may encounter issues with the text getting blurry from time to time. That happened at our screening. Clearly this wasn’t just an issue with my eyes; everyone in our company complained about it. I solved this by only listening to the speech, ignoring the text as if the film had been scratched, but if you’re depending on the subtitles I can imagine that it’s extremely annoying. I would go as far as to say that I would be prepared to pay MORE to watch it in 2D than in 3D and I think that was a bit against the whole idea?

All in all I enjoyed hanging around with the superheroes enough to give it a good rating. I’m pretty sure though that if you ask me about it in a year or even as little as a month, I won’t remember a thing. The blurring process has already started.

TLDR version: Oh my, that was fun!

The Avengers (Joss Whedon, US, 2012) My rating: 4/5

I watched this movie together with my fellow Swedish bloggers in the informal network Filmspanarna, which meets up every month to watch a movie and chat intensely about anything film or blogging. If you have a movie blog you can get in touch with any of us to get an invite to our next meeting.

Here’s what the others thought about it:

Fripps filmrevyer

Rörliga bilder och tryckta ord

Jojjenito

Fiffis filmtajm

Har du inte sett den?

Deny Everything

Written by Jessica

May 2, 2012 at 7:00 am

Posted in The Avengers

46 Responses

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  1. [...] Fiffis filmtajm Jojjenito Rörliga bilder och tryckta ord Fripps filmrevyer The Velvet Café [...]

  2. [...] se om mitt sällskap var lika svårflörtade som jag var. Se till att inte missa: Fiffis Filmtajm The Velvet Café Jojjenito Fripps Filmrevyer Har du inte sett [...]

  3. [...] nu vad mina filmspanarkompisar som jag såg filmen med tyckte: Fiffi, Sofia, Jessica och Henke. Och här är en bonusrecension från Har du inte sett den? som inte såg filmen [...]

  4. Wasn’t it so much fun? Best time I’ve had at the cinemas in a LONG time. I loved the humour and the lack of cheese, too. And the Hulk really is awesome – I can definitely see what you’re saying about him. He is definitely the most relateable of them all.

    Stevee

    May 2, 2012 at 7:26 am

    • It was really fun! I don’t think I’ll remember it as long as you will (you spoke about sharing it with your grandchildren, didn’t you? ;)) but I was really surprisingly entertained as long as it lasted.

      Jessica

      May 2, 2012 at 7:34 am

  5. I loved this film. There were many instances when I wanted to stand and clap.
    I can’t believe how much I loved Hulk. I never even liked him before this film, but he was definitely one of the best things about it.
    Also totally there with you on the no-cheese thing. That would’ve been totally unnecessary.

    Nikhat

    May 2, 2012 at 7:34 am

    • It took me a little by surprise how much I liked The Hulk. The green bodybuilder guy can really get a bit silly, but somehow it works here.

      Jessica

      May 2, 2012 at 7:36 am

  6. Oh my, Jessica. What a great time at the movies we had this time! :-)

    I was so nervous, so prepared to be totally disappointed. But, he delivered. How could I be so disbelieving? It’s Joss. What a great and fun ride. Love the cast! Robert Downey Jr and The Hulk are my favs.

    I will surely NOT forget it.

    Henke

    May 2, 2012 at 7:54 am

    • I think you and I were the biggest fans in our party. I agree with you, apart from on the memory thing. But then I suffer for a really bad memory for movies.

      Jessica

      May 2, 2012 at 8:31 am

  7. I think your review shows pretty good why the movie is a box-office-hit: even though you think you won’t like it you do!
    It’s just different grades of love for the colorfull world of the magnificent superheroes but there IS love and only love. I love it too but I had higher expectations than you – unfortunately..

    Fiffi

    May 2, 2012 at 9:44 am

    • High expectations generally just means trouble. I was glad that I could enter this with a blank mind, getting a happy surprise.

      Jessica

      May 2, 2012 at 9:49 am

  8. grrrrrrr grrrrrr grrrr cure you Family!

    • You’re time will come soon! But make sure to watch it in a theatre! It’s that kind of movie I say. I know you have wonderful equipment at home, but come on… You don’t want to miss out the cheering from the audience when the Hulk goes berserk!

      Jessica

      May 2, 2012 at 9:59 am

  9. Seems like we agree on pretty much everything here (though I felt Hawkeye was really bland, I’m not sure if Renner is the one to blame). The Avengers was just a highly entertaining actionfest with plenty of laughs and “ooooh” moments. Like you, I’m concerned about the film’s staying power as it’s not a particularly rich story, but it certainly worked in the moment to great effect.

    And yes, Hulk was indeed awesome, wasn’t he? It seems every single review is heaping praise on how they handled him, and it’s all well-earned. :)

    Emil

    May 2, 2012 at 10:04 am

    • I liked Hawkeye pretty much – especially in his brain washed appearance. But I am really a sucker for Renner since I watched The Hurt Locker. My love for the Hulk probably was what surprised me most. If any of the characters is a bit bland, I’d say it’s Thor. Still: here he works better, mixed up with others. As a stand alone character in Thor he really wasn’t particularly interesting.

      Jessica

      May 2, 2012 at 10:08 am

      • What I like about Thor – moreso in his own film – is the difference between him and the people of Earth. He has an overly boisterous and dramatic way of speaking, fitting for people once thought of as gods. So then you had the fish-out-of-water thing going in the Thor movie. In Asgard, he fits right in, but on Earth, he comes off like a nutcase. Though he may look like one, he’s not like humans at all. Even in The Avengers, where he’s surrounded by other extraordinary superheroes, there’s still something different and larger-than-life about him, in the way he talks and the way he carries himself.

        Emil

        May 2, 2012 at 11:41 am

  10. I totally hear you, although I don’t wholly agree (yes, one of those pestering “I respect your view even though I don’t accept it”-comments…).

    The humour was certainly not a travesty but also not very fresh to my mind.
    Special effects — awesome! Still, a few too many, especially with the capsizing flying machine.
    The Cast — no objections there.
    The lack of cheese — I concur.
    The Hulk — for some reason The Hulk has never struck a chord with me (now Fiffi probably won’t talk to me…)

    Sofia

    May 2, 2012 at 11:29 am

    • I can agree that not all jokes were entirely fresh and afterwards I recalled some of them, questioning myself: “how the hell could I laugh at THAT?”. But again: a laugh is a laugh, even if it’s for bad reasons. I was never a convinced Hulk fan – not until now. Now I’m a convert.

      Jessica

      May 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    • I usually dislike that kind of cheesy unfresh humour too. But i smiled like a dork to every single one liner this time.

      Johan

      May 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm

      • Yeah. I don’t know why that is, if it’s in the timing/deliverance or some Whedon magic powder sprinkled all over it. But it works.

        Jessica

        May 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm

  11. Ain’t opened here in the States yet fer some fluggernubbin’ reason, but me an’ the lads’ll be takin’ off work an’ goin’ ta see it Friday fer our annual Man Day. Lookin’ forwards ta it.

    Ratshag

    May 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    • An annual Man Day! That sounds awesome! I think this movie is a good choice for you. Though I want to point out that it’s just as much a movie for the ladies. While there isn’t an abundance of female superheroes around, at least Black Widow is forceful and tough and the focus is more on her contributions to the Avengers team efforts than to her body. Much appreciated.

      Jessica

      May 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      • Me daughter be wantin’ ta see it too, so that’s good ta hear.

        Ratshag

        May 2, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    • It is kinda weird to watch a film at the cinema here in England and not be able to read some of my favourite bloggers’ reviews because it’s not out in America yet :D

      Andy

      May 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      • You have no idea how much the European bloggers enjoy to once, just once, write about a movie BEFORE or at the same time as US and not four months after.

        Jessica

        May 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm

  12. If you thought Tony Stark was good in Avengers, you should definitely watch Iron Man, at least the first one (I wasn’t so keen on the second) – it’s good fun :-)

    Andy

    May 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    • The idea wouldn’t have corssed my mind before seeing this, but now I’ve become a little bit addicted to that cocky, annoying person and his tech stuff (even though he does look plain SILLY when he fuses the thrusters and takes off in the air). I might get to see it. Just might.

      Jessica

      May 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      • I’ll second a vote for watching the first “Iron Man” movie. I don’t like all of this genre, “Iron Man” is the best example of a great popcorn movie I’ve seen in the last decade.

        I’m overselling it aren’t I?

        Kierbuu

        May 3, 2012 at 2:02 am

        • No worries! You need to sell superhero movies pretty hard for me to give them a chance. My default setting is sceptical.

          Jessica

          May 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

  13. Great write up! I too enjoyed the movie, especially the humourous moments. 3D is quite useless in this one, though it’s not annoying.

    sati

    May 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    • Thanks! Yeah, the 3D doesn’t add any extra. It’s not bad as in John Carter though. It looks ok-ish, apart from the subtitle issues we had.

      Jessica

      May 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm

  14. Joss Whedon! I loved his Firefly series.

    There have been a few good cartoon movies these past few years. The X-Men series and Iron man series are rather good. 300 and the Dark Knight are excellent.

    carrandas

    May 2, 2012 at 7:53 pm

  15. Yes, I’m with you on the memory thing. The movie will soon be forgotten, not the actual “event” though since it was my first Filmspanarna meet-up.

    Regarding Thor. I think it has quite a lot of humor. I especially like when Thor comes to Earth thinking he is a God (or rather he thinks he has powers of a God), talking like out of a Shakespeare play, trying to get a horse in a pet store. But yes the movie has cheese, I’ll give you that. The Avengers didn’t and it has a lot more (good) humor.

    And pssst, Jojjenito is spelled with two j:s.

    Jojjenito

    May 2, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    • I’ll certainly not forget your appearance on stage! What a win!
      Thanks for pointing out the spelling error. I’m so sorry. I’ll fix it right away.

      Jessica

      May 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm

  16. Great review, Jessica. I wasn’t crazy about last year’s Thor either but, unlike you, I didn’t like Avengers as well. Loki was my favorite thing about it, by far, and my least favorite was the humor. I couldn’t stand it. Here’s my review if you wish to check it out: http://fernandorafael.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/the-avengers-2012/

    fernandorafael

    May 4, 2012 at 4:34 am

    • Thanks! I can live with a few disagreements here and there. I’m a little bit surprised too that the humor worked so well for me. Perhaps I’m not as sophisticated as I think. :)

      Jessica

      May 4, 2012 at 7:35 am

      • Haha, don’t be too hard on yourself! I think I’m just way too picky when it comes to humor.

        fernandorafael

        May 4, 2012 at 7:42 am

        • I’m usually super picky and very hard to get to laugh. Perhaps I just relaxed for once and went for it. :)

          Jessica

          May 4, 2012 at 7:45 am

  17. [...] Henke inte alls säkert jag hade gått och sett den på bio om det inte vart för dig), The Velvet Cafe and Har Du Inte Sett Den (Swedish [...]

  18. I agree with you sentiments about superheros in general, I actually wrote about it in my own review of the Avengers. Besides a couple of notable exceptions, I find superhero stories too silly and convoluted for my tastes.

    I’m also with you on the first act. Didn’t all make sense to me and I wasn’t fully on board the film until The Avengers were altogether, which is when the film starts moving.

    I think Hulk might also be the character I found the most interesting. I’d really like to see a Bruce Banner film of those five years inbetween The Incredible Hulk and this film. I think there would be something compelling and human about that story without having to get into the whole Hulk smash side of things. Of course, I doubt that will ever happen.

    James Blake Ewing

    May 7, 2012 at 12:15 am

    • I thought I’d been reading somewhere about signing for some Hulk stuff? But I might have been dreaming that up. There’s so much buzz about superheroes going on now that it’s all just a mess in my head.

      Jessica

      May 7, 2012 at 8:55 pm

  19. [...] av Filmspanarna skriver också om The Avengers idag: Rörliga bilder och trycka ord, The Velvet Café, Jojjenito, Fripps filmrevyer och Har du inte sett den? [...]

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  21. [...] The Avengers I could never have imagined I’d enjoy a superhero movie this much. I blame Joss Whedon. [...]


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