So, I decided over last weekend to not be timid and take myself right to the head of the line to see The Avengers because if I read one more word about it, I’d be surfeited. And might never see at all this phenomenon of box office $200 million plus historic opening of this movie.
Fortunately, I went to see it at a Connecticut mall where there was no big crowd and the only thing unusual were the avid young parents who had brought all their climbing, inattentive and noise-making 1-2- & 3-year-olds with them.
It didn’t matter. Events on the screen blew away any noise these rioting kids might be making as the movie boasts its own super noise, crash, bam, wow factor. Juggling my own far-distance glasses and the darkened 3D ones over them, was also disconcerting.
But – in the end, I just loved The Avengers. I had never before seen the Black Widow … or Captain America … or Thor … and I had only seen part of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. So I required a few updates from my younger companions. It was worth it! The Avengers is somewhat inexplicable if you haven’t been acutely following Marvels many superheroes.
There is a plot effort to control an energy source called Tesseract and the heroes of civilization are called together to battle the trickster Villain who is amused-at-his-own daring, Loki. (He is a god of Norse mythology) now opposed by all good men including his brother god Thor. In a movie gods are always good because they seem all too human!) Thor himself is a sexy thing who is the only one strong enough to lift his own hammer and he speaks with an Australian accent.
The rest of our heroes are mere mortals who have been made superhuman by one thing or another, usually a nuclear accident.
My favorite among the gang was, of course, the one I knew best – the incredible Hulk of TV, played to clothes-busting perfection by Mark Ruffalo. (It is dangerous to even have him on your side, but effective in the long run. Ruffalo makes his human self all too charming and interesting as he fights not to become the Hulk!)
HERDING them all together is superhero Fury, played with under-stated rage by the great Samuel L. Jackson as the boss of things. (You wouldn’t want him on the other side either! You can’t ever forget his casual murders in “Pulp Fiction.”) And the Iron Man of Hollywood these days is Robert Downey, Jr. who, even in a metal mask, exudes sex appeal and sarcasm and wit. (The real-life Downey is an inspiration to substance abusers the world over; if he can lick it and go to jail for it and become a catnip-to-females Iron Man, you can too.)
What else can I say? Scarlett Johansson and her stunt doubles here just about dominate this movie and she is not only lip-licking sexy but she can’t quell her very good actor underneath all that sizzle. Just great!
Gwyneth Paltrow half-heartedly reprises her leading lady of Iron Man but she seems to be an after-thought. (Maybe being too healthy and exercising all the time dents one’s sex appeal.)
Captain America’s 1940’s hero is played with fine-honed perfection by Chris Evans who knows how to be stuffy and World War II out-of-date. The shape-shifting villain of all this, Loki, is Tom Hiddleston and he is up to all these super humans as one wicked force.
The person I really welcomed is the all-too-human actor Clark Gregg who played the FBI agent in Iron Man. In The Avengers he has the last, big laugh of the picture and you won’t forget his immortal words.
I won’t tell you that line here as you are due your own fun at The Avengers and Disney welcomes your money and we shall all see what the near end of the earth might look like from our 3D seats.
I was particularly effected in the end because Loki, not realizing of course that I, of all people, live right here in midtown Manhattan’s Murray Hill, is the part of NYC that he sets ablaze and tears apart as he destroys everything from the old Pan Am building to 39th Street. The latter seems to be a boundary of the end of the world as we know it. I guess Loki didn’t realize I was living serenely here on 38th Street just over from Park Avenue and I’d get all the fall-out.
This column originally appeared on NYSocialDiary.com on 5/8/12