POSTED May 5 2012

Six Characters in Search of a Tesseract

A Superhero Flash Mob?

The Avengers is a big bucket of buttered popcorn, a diverting if unexceptional movie about the synergy of putting six Marvel brands in the same scenario.

Its dream team of Captain America, The Hulk, Iron Man et al is the marketing equivalent of General Mills making a SuperCereal of Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Wheaties, Trix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch  and Count Chocula.  Admittedly, Wheaties isn’t quite as sexy as Chris Evans’ Captain America or Lucky Charms quite as sweet as Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow.

Joss Whedon is an entertaining writer who creates memorable byplay between Robert Downey’s Iron Man and Evans’ Captain America. And, after the disappointments of Eric Bana and Edward Norton, the third time is a charm with Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. At it best, the film is a fanboy version of Pirandello: Six Characters in Search of a Tesseract.

But this kind of movie is only as good as its villain, and that limp noodle of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki just might be the most laughable face of evil since Max von Sydow’s Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon.  Don’t get me started on Whedon’s visual signature of Big Tableaux with Bigger Explosions. To give him the benefit of the doubt, as a filmmaker he’s a work in progress.

Did you like The Avengers? Indifferent? Waiting to see the one with Emma Peel and John Steed? Consider this an open thread for all superhero thoughts. And, can someone please explain the Black Widow’s superpower?


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