Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Marvel's The Avengers

The biggest opening in movie history belongs to a giant spinning top of a picture whose frenetic energy, constant motion, and all-out sensory assault mask a no-shades-of-gray storyline that, over the course of 2 ½ hours, goes past boring to downright stultifying. Two of the four Avengers, Thor and Captain America, add only extra runtime; their scenes really weigh the flick down. As you'd expect, Robert Downey, Jr. scores most of the laughs as Tony Stark; he's the only one who seems to get the ridiculousness of the enterprise, while the Chrises (Evans and Hemsworth) recite their SciFi-meets-Scientology technobabble with thudding earnestness. Mark Ruffalo turns in a nice performance as Bruce Banner, and in the end it's he who gives Loki (the villain of the piece) his comeuppance in a way so simple and amusing it makes a mockery of all that has come before. Scarlett Johansson provides the eye candy, but doesn't get to flex the comic muscles she's shown in her recent work with Woody Allen, while Samuel Jackson does what he does best: cash paychecks and bring nothing to the proceedings. The visuals are surprisingly unimpressive, almost retrograde, lots of flashes of electricity and slithering Asgardian serpents. There's not a scene you'll remember five minutes afterward. "Marvel's The Avengers" is a perfectly fine movie to put on the tube. In the background. While you're taking a shower

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