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May 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Even many of the critics who had long ago grown weary of the typical superhero movie appear delighted by The Avengers. Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times says that the difference between this superhero movie and the ones that came before is that it “gives us much, much more of the same.” He concludes that it is done “with style and energy” and that “it provides its fans with exactly what they desire.” That’s the conclusion of nearly all the critics. “The Avengers does what we expect it to do,” comments Amy Biancolli in the San Francisco Chronicle. It is, she writes, “the most inspired yet of Marvel movies.” But Claudia Puig in USA Today argues that what the movie is really contrived to do is make a lot of money. It “offers maximum bang for moviegoing buck,” she writes. “It’s essentially six movies in one.” But it’s not any of the actors-in-tights who are responsible for the film’s success, many critics note. That credit should be bestowed on screenwriter Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). “Whedon is the key reason why this $220-million behemoth of a movie is smartly thought out and executed with verve and precision,” writes Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. Michael Phillips in the Chicago Sun-Times writes that Whedon “cleverly … combines and recombines” the rivalries of the superheroes, producing a film that “is more solid and satisfying than terrific.” And Wesley Morris in the Boston Globe remarks that “Whedon is making movies for people like him. He’s a kid in a comic-book store. I might not remember any of the sequences in The Avengers, but I’ll remember the rush. I don’t need anything else.” But then there is that review by A.O. Scott in the New York Times that was publicly damned on Twitter by costar Samuel L. Jackson. “While The Avengers is hardly worth raging about, its failures are significant and dispiriting,” Scott writes. “The light, amusing bits cannot overcome the grinding, hectic emptiness, the bloated cynicism that is less a shortcoming of this particular film than a feature of the genre. Mr. Whedon’s playful, democratic pop sensibility is no match for the glowering authoritarianism that now defines Hollywood’s comic-book universe.”