Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Double Bill Mini Musings: Assembly, Assemble!

The Avengers 3D:
What's it about?
After two Iron Mans, a Thor, and a Captain America, Nick Fury finally has all the pieces in place to assemble his Avengers Initiative in order to defend Earth against Thor's dark-hearted adopted brother Loki, in a spectacularly huge superhero team-up flick.
Who would I recognise in it?
Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Gweneth Paltrow, Stellan Skarsgard, Cobie Smulders ... pretty much everybody, really.
Joss Whedon directs (and co-writes with Zak Penn) this incredibly well-balanced superhero action extravaganza. It may be two-and-a-half-hours long, but it barrels along at speed. All the characters (most benefiting from their own individual movies prior to this outing) are given enough screen time at regular intervals so nobody is ever forgotten - even the action sequences manage to juggle numerous characters and points of interest deftly, thus keeping you fully informed at all times (Michael Bay, please take note, this is how you handle a multi-charactered action blockbuster). There is also a perfectly balanced vein of humour that runs throughout - going so far as to elicit real howls of laughter from the entire audience, that come along at the right points to break the tension when you're just about out of breath. The 3D also works surprisingly well (I didn't experience any of the redundancy or sheer darkness exhibited by the 3D on-show in last year's Thor), although the tech remains a gimmick that is almost entirely perfunctory. Speaking of tech, the use of CGI is constant, but never overwhelming or distracting - this is a big, ballsy, and brash action movie, but with an intelligent, well balanced script to back it up.

Also, having had zero interest in the two Hulk movies that were released in years past, I found myself really enjoying Ruffalo & Whedon's version of Bruce Banner/The Hulk. His first appearance is terrifyingly brutal, but he then becomes your favourite smash star who also commands the biggest laughs from the audience. The rest of the characters all have plenty to do and say too, so fans of the previous films will be well served here and, naturally, there will be plenty to look forward to in The Avengers 2. I knew I would enjoy this movie, but I didn't know I would enjoy it quite as much as I did - I had an absolute blast with it.

A note on the UK release - amazingly we got it a week before the Americans, but on the other hand the title was officially changed over here to "Marvel Avengers Assemble", which is the most clunky title they could have chosen. Plus, as if any Brits are dim-witted enough to confuse a movie featuring Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and Loki, with an abortive attempt to adapt the famous British TV show (The Avengers) starring Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes. Marvel: kindly revert the title to The Avengers for the UK home video release, please. In short though - great flick.

Continue reading after you click below for thoughts on Bad Teacher.

Bad Teacher:
What's it about?
A gold digging teacher gets dumped before her upcoming nuptials and is forced back to work, much to her frustration, but when a new substitute catches her eye she realises she has to do something special to get her claws into him - so she starts saving up for a boob job ... seriously ... that's the central motivation for the main character.
Who would I recognise in it?
Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel, and a whole bunch of "oh that one, from that thing" comedy stars.
The central conceit is just weird, Jason Segel is decidedly underused, the raunchy tone is unsure (at times a bit straightened, and strange whenever its filthy mind presents itself), and it's not really all that funny. It's not shite, just disappointingly alright ... you could even say it's all a bit meh.

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