tobacco Knights presents
Installment 6: The Avengers
2012 Directed by Joss Whedon
So that was it. That was the years-long anticipated magnum opus that has at long last unveiled itself for the world to ogle and scrutinize into perpetuity. A pretty good ride I suppose. The MCU series had gone just about as far as it could without getting the whole band together, and for the most part it lived up to the hype and was a lot of fun. We were all expecting something big, over the top, and probably record-breaking in terms of box office rake-in, and I think we got as much as we could realistically hope for. And it was probably the most viewer-friendly to those of us less familiar with the details of MCU lore.
Of course there was some Tesseract ambiguity to kick it off, spoken of in reverent tones by obscure cloaked creatures that evoke the usual whispers of awe by the loyalists in the audience who recognize them. But I’ve come to learn all you really have to know is everyone wants this cube of unlimited power, even beings from other worlds (as is the case here), and nothing will be stopped at to obtain it (a quest which usually in some roundabout way drives the plot). Never mind how these ugly-faced creeps with the guttural Bane-voices holding court in rocky ruins floating in space fit into the greater storyline, just know that they’re coming for the Tesseract, and therefore we have a movie.
I’m glad to see Loki. Tom Hiddleston’s mischievous “brother” of Thor always steals the scene, with his Alexander DeLarge smile that gets broader as his intentions get more devious. It’s easy to believe he can turn brown eyes to captive blue with the touch of his staff (whoa – that sounded weird). I thought it was kinda dumb he needed to be chauffeured around in a stolen jeep in order to start his quest for the Tesseract, but I guess it made for a cool opening car chase.
The round-up of the team was a lot of fun. Black Widow’s turning of the tables in her interrogation intro was great. I immediately liked Mark Ruffalo’s Banner a hundred times more than Edward Norton’s. Which is weird because I’m a huge Norton fan, and was kinda here nor there on Ruffalo, other than I hated his character is Eternal Sunshine (however he would later completely blow me away in Foxcatcher). Chris Evans continues to uphold the role of Captain Vanilla just as it should be. His acute goody-goody demeanor, while sometimes annoying, is actually a good contrast to EVERY SINGLE OTHER CHARACTER IN THE MCU that has some sort of edgy dark side. Think about it. They all do. Even Agent Coulson is hiding more than a Cap card collection. Somebody around here has to have a stable moral compass and skeleton-free closet. And I suppose we also need Iron Man…
So all aboard the flying aircraft carrier(!) with Long John Fury at the helm. This truly is what we’ve been waiting for! The team is assembled, they have a purpose (I think – I know it involves Loki and the Tesseract), they have a badass means of getting there, and Jesus H. Whedon is the one calling “action!” We’re finally here! Too bad Jeremy Renner and Stellan Skarsgard are batting for the other team. It would have been nice to have their normal acting abilities on display rather than that of hypnotic robots that spent too much time on Arrakis. But I guess it works for the plot, and we eventually get them back for the finale. But wait! We have a Hulk to contend with first. Who better than Thor (still my favorite) to hold him at bay. Long enough to chase a jet fighter off into the sky anyway. So Loki takes out Coulson, tricks Thor into getting jettisoned back down to Earth, and opens the portal for the inevitable evil army of flying things to swarm down and start wreaking havoc. If only we had a force to Avenge all these shenanigans…
The One Thing: To put it simply – Fun. (No, not the awful band of the same name and fucking punctuation.) This movie was a lot of fun, just as it was supposed to be. There was a good plot, the casting and acting were great, the action and effects were thrilling, and there was an overall storyline bridge between the previous MCU films and those upcoming. Yeah yeah yeah. All of that was crucial for true success, but most of all this was supposed to be a helluva lotta good-old fashioned goddamn fun. And it was.
Just Blowing Smoke: OK since this is for The Avengers, I’m going to go with a similarly anticipated and revered smoke that I heard talked about for years until I finally got around to finding and trying one: The Arturo Fuente Opus X. I have to admit it’s been a while since I’ve actually smoked one, but I do remember the experience pretty well.
So I was slated to go to the Big Smoke in Las Vegas a few years ago for a friend’s bachelor party, a weekend-long cigar event that I’d been wanting to go to for years. Fate, though, had other plans, and a couple days before the planned departure I herniated a disc in my back, and that was the end of that. But like the partner that gets shot in the leg in the bad B-movie, I told my friends “go on without me”. With one request: bring me an Opus X from the Fuente Store at Caesar’s Palace. And they did. A few of them. And like our aforementioned opus of a film, this one was worth the wait, it lived up to the hype, it cost a lot, and ultimately was a lot of fun.
To read The Nerdling’s review of The Avengers click here