What a marvel!

28 April 2012

11:00 AM

28 April 2012

11:00 AM

As last week I believe I provided the world’s first entirely interrogative film review, I thought that this week I would up the stakes and embroider this review on antimacassars, in mirror writing — this has also never been done before, as far as I know — but time, alas, proved my great enemy, so I’m afraid I have simply written it in verse instead. I hope you will forgive me.

Avengers Assemble, my lovelies, is ‘the superhero event of the year’,
And if this gets you all excited, you probably have nothing to fear.
But if big action so big it’s humongous just isn’t really your thing,
You may find, as I did, it drags, with its surfeit of CGI bling.
The fact is the earth is in peril, you won’t be surprised to learn,
As there’s a villain afoot called Loki, as played by Tom Hiddleston.
Loki purrs and taunts and is well camp, with a mullet plus helmet with horns,
But don’t be deceived, my lovelies, as he’s the most evil baddie ever born!

Loki has stolen ‘The Tesseract’, a glowing cube that can do cool stuff;
It can supply the world with unlimited energy but, as if that weren’t enough,
It can also open a portal, a portal to — gulp! — ‘outer space’,
And Loki plans to summon an alien army, one that’ll kill off the human race.
(Yes, my lovelies, you’ve spotted it: global domination is what has him in thrall,
Rather than, say, something a bit different, like free dentistry or aromatherapy for all.)
Now Loki must be defeated, but by who and how, where and when?
This is the question for General Fury, as played by Samuel L. Jackson.
And he knows the answer — yes, indeedy; knows exactly who’ll make it all fine,
And it’s a quintet of Marvel superheroes, coming together for the very first time.


So we have Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow who, in her leathers, is phwoar!
And Chris Evans as Captain America, plus another Chris (Hemsworth) as Thor.
Meanwhile Jeremy Renner is Hawkeye, Robert Downey Jr is Iron Man again,
And Mark Ruffalo is The Incredible Hulk who, when he gets cross, splits his pants and goes all green.
(I know, doesn’t rhyme. Give me a break here.)

Now, like I said up top — did you pay attention to what I wrote? —
This is an effects-driven movie, so you’ll like it if this floats your boat.
It’s a 3-D bonanza with battleships, iron dragons, explosions galore.
But frankly, my lovelies, I could have done with less action, and the back stories? Rather more.

The Hulk is the best character by a long shot, as he gets his own tragi-comic arc,
And Ruffalo’s lovely performance hits the ball right out the park.
Also, Captain America is quite funny, so uptight and nerdy and old-fashioned,
But as written and directed by Joss Whedon, I don’t think character is his passion.

Indeed, just when any banter gets going — which is what I liked most of all —
Another bloody battle would commence, as if battles can never ever pall.
Well, I can assure you they can — and so do — all this bish-bosh-splat!
And as the outcome is rather a given, where is the jeopardy in that?
(All I’m saying is if set-pieces
Are not to your liking,
You may get rather fed up
Of all the gratuitous fighting.)

This will be loved by genre fans, when all is said and done,
But at two hours forty, you may find it numbs your bum.
Seriously, more attention to character could have made it a lot more fun.
And now I have said all that, I believe my poem is done.

PS: You’ll never get this kind of thing from Lloyd Evans, or Delingpole, aka Jamie. Which is why I am paid four times as much and get to sit on Fraser’s knee. 

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Show comments
  • tomdaylight

    It’s actually two hours fifteen. And a sextet rather than a quintet.

    Also “I don’t think character is [Joss Whedon’s] passion” – the least bit of research would tell you that it actually IS his passion, and rather a lot of it ended up being cut out of the film:

    “And we took out 45 minutes about as painlessly as you can. There was a moment where I sort of went “Wait a minute, do I know what I’m doing? Am I even in this movie anymore?” But ultimately it’s not about me, it’s about the movie and the more you sort of remove yourself from it and in this case literally, the more you will end up servicing it.”

    Accurate review otherwise, I think.

  • Steve

    “I don’t think Character is his passion.”

    Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion of a film, but I’m afraid this particular statement is dead wrong. Joss is not an “action director.” He was hired because character development (especially with large casts) is his forte. Joss has always said that he would rather direct a scene with two people talking in a room than direct a giant battle scene. This movie is a climactic event for Marvel with a 220 million dollar budget, there was never a doubt that there would be lots of action regardless of who directed it. I just think you should google “Joss Whedon” for a few minutes and take a look at all the “character” stuff he’s done.

  • Barry Donovan

    Maybe just write a standard review next time?

  • David

    Well the incredibly ill informed remark about character not being Joss Whedon’s passion has already been addressed so I can skip over that one… Now “less action, and the back stories?” Are you sure you’re actually qualified to write movie reviews???

    If you want the character’s back stories you will find it in “Ironman”, “The Incredible Hulk”, “Ironman 2”, “Thor” and “Captain America – The First Avenger”, given that a reference was made to the approaching Avengers film in each and every one of these films I think we can safely assume the back story for the Avengers was covered. One word… Research.

  • Laurence

    As for less action, more back stories? That’s what the movies ‘Iron Man’/’Iron Man 2’, ‘Thor’, ‘Captain America; The First Avenger’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’ were for. The target audience for this film watched most if not all of those, they know the back stories. Seriously, find someone to do the reviews that’s familiar with the subject matter next time

  • Richard Warford

    I have to back up the other comments here that if you watch anything else by joss Whedon Character is absolutely his ‘thing’. More research please.

  • Vince

    Yeah…the original cut was reportedly 45 or so minutes longer, supposedly with a lot more talking and character stuff, but this is a huge action movie; it was inevitable that action and a fast pace had to be prioritized (and a three hour movie of mostly talking would have been a bit long for most people). I’m looking forward to seeing the deleted scenes on disc, but I think the movie flowed quite well and made complete sense as is, which is a sign that the talky scenes had good reason to be cut to leave only the essential stuff in. I’m sure I would have enjoyed a three hour movie full of Joss Whedon dialogue, but the general audience isn’t gonna sit around listening to characters babbling when they came for superhero action. Most reviews would then say “a bit too talky, not enough action to justify the 3-D”. As much as I would have loved to see the three hour cut in its entirety, editing serves an important function in making a movie efficient, and I see no point in complaining that there’s too much action, because there’s plenty of rising tension building up to it, and the pace and character balance of this movie is remarkable considering the number of high-profile superheroes it had to service equally. Less is more, kill all your darlings and all that. This movie wasn’t made for fans of Joss Whedon’s dialogue, and while I would have loved to see that movie, this movie is – and needed to be – made to bridge the gap between Marvel fans and the general movie going public. Wasting time on excessive talking, no matter how great the talking may be, would have alienated a lot of people who came to see a a big action event crossover movie rather than a drama.

  • balfour

    I always enjoy your reviews – take no notice of some of the other comments.

  • Bertie Wooster

    I have a suggestionette. Given that 90% of the Film Reviews written by this most estimable (and beautiful*, apparently) of Film Critics are pans of Hollywood rubbish, why not cut out going to see Hollywood stuff altogether, and just focus on trying to see good movies in London, of which there are plenty, even if you have to go to the Curzon and similar expensive, out of the way movie houses (sorry I forgot – the mag pays). Two birds would simultaneously expire : 1) the Film Critic would have a better life, and 2) we might be told by the Spectator about films that are worth our time and £20 of our money (that’s including the Coke and popcorn for 2). Rather than having to read the same kind of review every week or almost every week (sounds like some kind of hell. Must be a better way of earning a living. But perhaps not.) Note *I’m going by what she says about herself and would like corroboration.

  • doc_lomax

    You’re review is not in sync with most others.