Sunday, May 20, 2012


Super Caucasians! Well,except for that green guy....
If there is ever a time and place for empirical testing, it is obviously in the realm of amateur movie reviews.  So, in the spirit of SCIENCE!!, I saw THE AVENGERS twice - once in regular and once in 3D.  If you are one of the 17 people who haven't seen THE AVENGERS yet, take my advice: don't bother with 3D.   Oh, it's fine 3D as far as 3D goes but the only discernible impact that extra four dollars had on my experience was a 10% scarier Hulk.

Which, given the total mass of The Hulk, is plenty more scary.
Other than that the movie didn't really need the 3D at all so save your cash for an Iron Man helmet or something.

So, about this movie.  It's a Joss Whedon flick so I'm instantly a fan.  Whedon has proven that he can blend multiple characters and story lines together into a great movie before (See: SERENITY.)  I was happy to know he was in charge of a movie we have been waiting YEARS to see.  He did not let me down, bringing us an entertaining film full of special effects, story lines, character development, and the requisite death-of-a-beloved-character that is in Whedon's contract, the pound of flesh he requires as tribute for every good movie he makes.
RIP, Doug.  We'll miss you.

That said, this movie is a superhero movie, so there is plenty of silliness to be had.  The guys over at The Editing Room (watch out, they use swears!) have lampooned this movie so expertly that I don't have much to say on that count.  Howerver, there are still some stuff that bugs me so let's chat about that.

First, meet Hawkeye.
think of him as the "Larry the Cable Guy" of the Avengers team
I like Jeremy Renner, and his bow and arrow toys were cool.  The fact that he eschews semi-automatic weapons in favor of more primitive weapons is interesting, if a little impractical, but I'm willing to accept the idea of an assasin who obviously spends his nights making his own arrow shafts.  Cool.  What is odd is his his relationship with Black Widow.
Her clothing LITERALLY could not be tighter.
She is... a mess.  There is some sort of emotional connection between them but I have no idea what.  She says things like "there is red on my ledger" but I don't know of that's sociopathic debt awareness or some type of emotionally damaged code for "I lurve him, like, totally."  I saw the movie twice and while I just now figured out what those black bullet-looking bracelets of hers do (they are blue taser thingys) I still don't know what's going on with this allegedly-Russian ex-assassin.

"Let me get this straight.  You owe me a debt so you hit me on the head?"

However, she has to be there because GIRL.   For some reason, and I don't know why, The Hulk, (who begins to demonstrate some measure of self-control over the course of the story) gets angry at the Black Widow, "Hulks out", and begins chasing the smallest, weakest, poorly armed and  superpower-free member of the team.
Like you do.
There is no logical reason why he tries to kill her so I have been trying to make one up.  Charitably, he might chase her because it looks good on screen - tiny human against giant green rage monster.  The Hulk's freak-out starts when a part of the ship is bombed and the deck they are on crashes down a level.  Black Widow is trapped under beams, unlike Bruce, but her first action is to say to Bruce Banner "It's okay, nothing is going to happen, you are safe -- I promise."  At that point The Hulks next step is to freak out and try to kill the wounded human woman.

Yeah, that makes sense. Look at her. TOTALLY needs killing...

I can't help but wonder if this scene isn't just to "put her in her place."   There is an undenyable symbolism in seeing the giant representation of male rage seek to utterly destroy an attractive unobtainable woman who IS NOT AN AGGRESSOR.  Later, after Thor manages to distract The Hulk away from Black Widow, she spends the next ten minutes hiding behind a box while quietly freaking out.  The only thing which breaks her out of her terror is Nick Fury telling everyone that Hawkeye is on board.  That's right, the only reason she dares move again is for a man.

What is more interesting is that all mentions of this scene are ignored by most reviewers AND the Wikipedia page.  When it is mentioned, it is considered merely an excuse for Thor to fight The Hulk.   If that were true, the previous scene wouldn't have been so long and lavishly done in CGI.   If the fight between Thor and Hulk were the point, that fight would have been longer.

The fact that this is the only photo I can find of them fighting should tell you something.
So, THE AVENGERS has a prime example of the mysogyny which is so deeply ingrained into our society that it isn't even noticed.  Maybe it's a good thing that Wonder Woman movie didn't get made.

Also, it has this guy:

who, in that costume looks a lot like this guy:

whom you may remember as the baddie in Iron Man 2.  Perhaps that is why Tony Stark hates him for much of the film.

Saturday, May 05, 2012


I took a break from watching Bollywood spoofs and My Little Pony episodes on Netflix and decided to watch MISSION IMPOSSIBLE:GHOST PROTOCOL because Simon Pegg. (Is there a better reason?  Anyone?  No?  Right.  Moving on then...) 

I rented this movie from the Redbox rather than going to the theater.  I love Simon Pegg so perhaps my reluctance to support him tells you something about how much I anticipated hating Tom Cruise in this movie.  But, I watched it anyway and Tom Cruise was very Tom Cruise-y, which means he was climbing stuff in capri pants and pink lip gloss when he wasn't running.   If YOU are a fan of watching Tom Cruise run then this movie is right up your alley... aaand right down your street and right through your crowded Mumbai traffic and pretty much anywhere else Tom Cruise could think of to run. 

For 37 long seconds this man did not run... and then he sprinted OUT of a car.
Anyway, the movie was flashy and exotic and everything you expect a James-Bond-wannabe movie to be.  The problem with that is there were lots of good actors in this movie.  Even the Russian arms dealer you saw for exactly two minutes was an interesting character, one I personally would enjoy watching an entire film about.  Unfortunately the writing didn't give any of these lovely people enough time between shots of Tom "Running Man" Cruise to actually DO anything other than be something he bounced off of and then ran away from.  Simon Pegg did the standard bumbly-geek-British act, Paula Patton as "the Girl" was fierce and hot, and Jeremy Renner did the best he could with a totally contrived backstory.  He was lovely.  His lines were not.  Incidentally, if the Mission Impossible series ever were fronted by Jeremy Renner rather than Mr. Cruise, I might actually pay more than $1.50 to see it.  

Don't believe me?  Let's compare:

Which of the following two men looks like the Unabomber?

Man "A"  or

Man "B"

The one thing I did really enjoy about this movie was the ambiguity of their roles as heroes and how it reflected current American attitudes.   Our team did a lot of shady stuff and made some really bad decisions. They narrowly averted a disaster of their own making through sheer luck and because Simon Pegg shot someone in the back.  Powerful, fustrated, isolated, the Mission Impossible team never took the time to plan or prepare.  Instead there was just a lot of running from crisis to crisis (and by running I mean literal running, courtesy of Mr Cruise.)