If you can ignore all the horrible butthurt fanboy rage comments sections, teeming with misogyny and antisemitism, and lord knows what else that will validate every bad image of comics readership, you will see a review that…
I dunno, exactly. I almost decided not to post this, but the question pokes at me…what exactly did the reviewer want this movie to be? Someone hired Joss Whedon and said, “Make a film that captures what’s good about the comics at their best — team of large personalities overcomes their personal issues to band together and save the day.” And he did, because he understands those books.
Could it have used a touch here and there? Sure. I have parts I’d tweak, and you have yours, and Stan Lee has his own. But here in the middle is a nice, invigorating, entertaining consensus of what an Avengers film should be.
I love heist films, but I don’t love them for the complex backstory or the stunning dramatic switchup. I love them because I know the guy’s going to steal the painting — what I want to see is HOW he does it and WHY he does it. Similarly con artist tales. Or in reverse, detective stories. Every premise contains its own answer. Can X happen if Y? The less likely answer is the resolution. If you’re going to make a crummy little Kate Hudson comedy asking whether a hard-working city girl with no time for love can change her life when she meets a charming young man who unfortunately belches every seven seconds…the answer isn’t going to be “Nope!” because that’s obvious. It’s “Yes,” because you wouldn’t think so.
I’m not saying you can’t flip it. I’m just saying it’s okay to have a superhero film—particularly an ensemble—particularly a DEBUT ensemble—where the mortal danger attending the heroes is at all times about to kill them yet never POISED to kill them.
I wrote a screenplay in college called “She’s Famous Now,” in response to lousy rom-coms. I thought I was being cool and better than Hollywood with a realistic ending. But it was a lousy screenplay primarily (among many other reasons) because you don’t drag somebody through 90 minutes of asking, “Is there a way for a regular schlub woo his high school crush now that she’s out of the entire world’s league?” and not have him do it.
But I re-tooled the structure and had the fella actually woo his dame in a shorter amount of time—and THEN I still got my ending, because that tighter arc ended the one premise while serving up another to carry the second half of the tale. Why? Because I wasn’t really trying to write a rom-com, I was trying to destroy rom-coms. If you’re trying to do a different kind of superteam film, terrific! But if you’re doing the first live-action, big-budget superteam feature film*…is it really a fault to make the mold?
*(Fantastic Four and The Incredibles were more about being a family than a team…and anyway, FF was twice miserable.)
So…yeah, you could have had Iron Man die to show he had some substance, and it would have been powerful, and it would have been unexpected after making the audience think the heroes would make it.
…but it wouldn’t have served the idea that the entire movie had been building towards: that even great people are flawed, but all people are capable of overcoming their inherent problems to achieve greatness.
That’s the movie I wanted. That’s the movie I got. That’s the movie we all knew was coming. While there’s nothing really inaccurate in the review, why did the Voice even review the film if they knew it wasn’t going to be their thing? You reviewed a summer blockbuster and it wasn’t an ugly, boring, frustrating pile of crap like so many are. Does it really need a detour into Black Widow’s personal demons? Alluding to them a’plenty did well by the character and moved the plot forward.
Honestly, reading that issue, well before I got to that review, I once again had the unwelcome thought that The Village Voice finds a select set of criteria interesting simply for existing regardless of quality. New York and America need a big voice willing to describe the dim corners beyond the mainstream, but would it kill that voice to not sound so bored by everything in the latter? Cripes, at this point it even sounds half-exhausted by the material that supposedly interests it.
Don’t be Stefon, VV. Be the awesome defender of the downtrodden and the antenna of art, wherever you find it.