The Avengers [2012]

2012 has its fair share of heavily anticipated movies. Seeing as Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises and Les Misérables haven’t come out yet and are not very likely to disappoint, and The Hunger Games certainly didn’t, I can say that The Avengers is my first big cinematic letdown of the year. I won’t go so far as to say it’s a terrible movie, because it’s not; how could it be with that team? It just doesn’t live up to the massive hype. This Joss Whedon-directed, huge-budget actioner, with its humongous marketing campaign and a couple very good movies as precedents, is generally silly, overly long and even…boring (cue gasp!)

Most fight sequences are riveting displays of excellent choreography and the main cast, with the notable exception of the wooden Chris Hemsworth, is once again great in the skin of their super-powered alter egos: Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America plays earnest without a tinge of irony, Robert Downey Jr. is his usual cool self as genius/billionaire/playboy/philanthropist Tony Stark aka Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo proves he was an inspired choice to play Bruce Banner/Hulk after incarnations by Ed Norton and Eric Bana, while Scarlett Johansson shines and kicks ass every time she’s on screen, especially that interrogation scene, one of two absolutely perfect sequences in the movie. As a fan of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother and one of its stars, Cobie Smulders, as well as of Jeremy Renner’s brooding, tough guy persona, it’s a little sad their talents were so heavily underused.

As is often the case, the villain steals the show. Tom Hiddleston is superb as Loki and, just as it happened a year ago with Thor, he deserved a better film to wreak havoc in. When he crashes a fancy party in Stuttgart and steals a man’s eye (seriously), that’s the best scene in the whole film. It needed more of those. The main issue with The Avengers, and what made it extremely hard for me to enjoy it, was its cheesy, misplaced humor, which it could’ve done very well without. Comic book adaptations and superhero movies are silly enough and hard to take seriously as it is for someone to add humor to the mix. The Avengers could have been groundbreaking, but underneath the spectacle, it’s the same old loud and dumb mess of summer.