May 8, 2012

"The Avengers"

From my movie review in Taki's Magazine:
It was a bad weekend for Nicolas “The American in Paris” Sarkozy but a great weekend at the global box office for what the French sniffily call American hyperpuissance
Marvel’s The Avengers, a comic-book movie featuring a half-dozen old-fashioned superheroes such as Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), start out sparring before joining forces. It obliterated the opening weekend box office record and has earned even more overseas. 
The Marvel Studios movies, going back to Downey’s triumphant performance in 2008’s Iron Man, have illuminated how America’s dominance of international pop culture is intertwined with its military might.

Read the whole thing there.

53 comments:

Whiskey said...

Steve, I think you're missing the point here. The Helicarrier, the Avengers themselves, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Loki, the Skrulls, all are heroes and villains and situations done about 40+ years before, in the mid 1960's.

Which is what Hollywood has come to: relying on English writers generating old-school nostalgia (for a vanished Britain replaced by a multicultural nightmare) or tween girl fantasies of hunks, or ... comic books written for boys wanting to be the hero.

Hollywood can't create things like that any more, it has to mine them from outside. Such has been the coin of PC and hereditary placement in Hollywood. No more Han Solo, or Indiana Jones, or John McClain. Because there are no more young, hungry, unconnected Speilbergs, Lucases, and Shane Blacks.

Also, government is not the bad guy (because in the Marvel universe it isn't) and because in the (Age of Obama it isn't) and because no one wants to be a loser like the Occupoopers, or some Ghetto thug like Ice-T in the sequel to the Vin Diesel Triple X movies. SEALs took out bin Laden. Of course they are the good guys not the bad guys.

Anonymous said...

ugh, such a guy thing

Whiskey said...

Let me add, the movie was VERY well written, IMHO better than most arty movies.

Early on, you see the set-up with Loki (and here Hiddleston did a fine job showing both vulnerability and evil) telling people to bow down, that submission is their natural state, they loathe freedom for the burden it puts upon them, he will rule them absolutely, as it is in their natures (a point he makes repeatedly) to be ruled. When one old man (he might or might not be Jewish) in the setting, Germany, refuses, Loki is about to kill him when ... Captain America shows up and uses his shield to protect the old guy and send the blast back to Loki. Audiences LOVED that.

Which set up the film's big superhero moment, when Loki screams abuse at the Hulk that "he will not be manhandled" and to bow down, etc, the Hulk beats the floor literally with Loki. THAT bit got applause and laughs at the theater I was in.

Even a very liberal guy like Whedon got it, people don't like to be ruled and have it lorded over them.

As for the villain Loki, well of course he's not just some urbane, suave killer out for money like Rickman's Hans Gruber. His motivation is to establish how much "better" he is than Thor, and get attention he never got in Thor's shadow, coupled with a view that people are like ants to be crushed at a whim. He's a super-powered being, so money is not his motivation, emotion is, and Hiddleston's Loki, choking back the rage just barely when provoked was a fine performance. Not the least of which is the character seems reasonable at first, and then Hiddleston pulls back the curtain to show how human beings are like ants.

Yes its silly little boy stuff. But its harder to do than Woody Allen stuff about basically, used car salesmen sleeping around, only in upper crust environments, because it has to be done "just right" for the audience to take it seriously.

Anonyias said...

I don't think the villain was forgettable. Other than some of the witty one-liners, Loki is the aspect of the movie that sticks out in the mind most later on. He was not that high on the evil/scary scale compared to some other superhero movie villains, but he was really entertaining nonetheless.

I wish they would just straight up make movies based on Norse mythology canon though. They've done it with Greek myths.

Anonymous said...

The best part was Robert Downey's Black Sabbath shirt, which he inexplicably wore the entire movie. Oh, and it was mostly white. Other than that: standard prolefeed.

apropos said...

This is barely on-topic but I can't see any of these Avengers stories without reminiscing on the genius take of The Onion's "Kelly" the year after Disney acquired them--no Grim Reapers in this one alas; hopefully in b4 guy who posts the all-blue comments here like, "Steve Guttenberg: a star on the rise?" etc.

Anonymous said...

This brief review indirectly exposes the lameness of most movie criticism today: short enough to appear in an alt-weekly sidebar (really, anything crucial omitted?) and judging the final product against its premise/inherent limitations, not spinning bogus sociology out of it. After the idiotic fanboy tangential explications that came out of "The Hunger Games" I thought the AICN-era review had been definitively proved worthless. Anyway, thanks, now I have an inkling of whether to see it any time within the next 5 years.

Man from G.o.o.g.l.e. said...

"Because there are no more young, hungry, unconnected Speilbergs, Lucases, and Shane Blacks." - I did not recognize the last name but image search reveals some one who looks like a back-to-future iSteve (Chi-town office job did smell like a cover story). Were you irked about having the fewest lines in Predator? Of course, only about 50 in the film total, all good ones though

Kaz said...

@Whiskey

Well I'm thankful they're making good movies for them at least. Super hero movies were so damn awful before..

Also what are you talking about English writers?

Stan Lee & Jack Kirby are both Americans..

DYork said...

BGWNF.

Big Gigantic White Nerd Fantasy.

Not. Interested.

Londoner said...

Well it was nice to see a film with not one but two blond WASP males depicted not only as not evil scum, but actually as heroes. Apart from that, Downey's schtickiness as Stark is now getting excessive. He's still good to watch, but it is over the top - and a complete departure from the Stark character I remember from the old comics. Smulders is exceptionally hot and easily overshadowed Johansson IMO.

It's interesting to note the current prominence of English and Australian actors in mainstream Hollywood. Do they have certain qualities that the likes of, say, Labeouf don't?

Londoner said...

Oh, and Renner is like a superior version of Daniel Craig.

Anonymous said...

Off topic. Travolta suit would seem to confirm your theory on homosexual abuse being rife in Hollywood.

Travolta remarked that when he started out, “he wasn’t even gay and that the taste of ‘cum’ would make him gag.” But he was smart enough to “learn to enjoy it, and when he began to make millions of dollars, that it all became well worth it.”

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/john-travolta-massage-lawsuit-543687

Mr. Anon said...

Is there anything more childish, stupid, insipid, and American, than comic-books and the very notion of a "super-hero"?

I remember when movies were made for adults, not for 12 year old boys.

Anonymous said...

Very fun summer movie. And yes, well-written to make the dialogue not bore you to death ala Star Wars prequels, and to get all the personalities just right.

Paul Mendez said...

Today’s youth aren’t really into rebellion and outlawry. They fantasize about organization—the more awesome, the better.

Predicted by Strauss and Howe in their 1992 book, "Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069."

They also predicted that the US presidency would skip the "Silent Generation" and go directly from GI Generation to Baby Boomers before Clinton was elected.

bgc said...

I thought that Tom Hiddleston as Loki was rather special, indeed showed signs of *potential* greatness as an actor - exactly the kind of special quality that Alan Rickman has.

But Hiddleston is only 31 and - as a male actor - still not the finished article.

Rickman is now 66 and therefore considerably too old for Loki - but Rickman hadn't (apparently) made any movies at age 31.

Rickman first became known (in the UK only) for portraying the rabid evangelical Obadiah Slope in a BBC TV production of Trollope's Barchester Chronicles when he was already about 36.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to compare the success of the white Avengers movie (even with the ludicrous substitution of Samuel Jackson for the white Nick Fury of comic book lore) with the failure of the 'black' RED TAILS film.

pat said...

Let me help you out with Renner. You need to come up to speed on the mini-movement that revolves around the height of movie stars. The center of that universe is the web site Celebrity Heights

You being 6'4" may not feel the importance of this issue but it is a very serious consideration for many others - sort of like Kim Kardashian's breasts.

There are a number of stars who are singled out for special attention on Celebrity Heights. Sylvester Stallone - a middleweight who rose to fame portraying the heavyweight Chuck Wepner. Arnold Schwarzenegger who was a big man in a sport of dominated by little men. Robert Downey - who wears very funny shoes in a vain effort to be as tall as Paltrow. The fans think she wears heels only to annoy him. Al Pacino - an aging dwarf.

But the most buzz surrounds Tom Cruise. He's has a tremendous natural screen presence and plausibly athletic, but he is just too short.

You can see this clearly in Cruise's last Mission Impossible film. The new humorous side kick - Simon Pegg - is perfect except for one trait. He's taller than Cruise. When they walk side by side we want to see John Wayne and Walter Brennen. Hell, Wayne wore lifts himself to maintain that iconic dual silhouette.

But Jeremy Remmer looks good next to Cruise. He's a runt too.

Albertosaurus

Aging Hag said...

Hate to be the grinch here, but isn't the brains behind the operation a Magic Negro? (Nick Fury, played by SL Jackson.)

I admire Renner's real estate acumen. He has sold several properties with his "partner", Kristoffer something or other. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Slightly OT, but this Travolta thing has the capacity to get very big. Not that he paid masseurs for sex, but that he said to one that he had to service rich older Jewish pedos for jobs early on, and that they control Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

"It's interesting to note the current prominence of English and Australian actors in mainstream Hollywood. Do they have certain qualities that the likes of, say, Labeouf don't?"

Unadultered WASPiness!

Anonymous said...

"Big Gigantic White Nerd Fantasy."

Hear! Hear!

Anonymous said...

I am sooo sick of Robert Downey Jr. Please--enough.

Anonymous said...

Being un-rebellious doesn't mean kids are 'conservative' or 'reactionary'. Being pro-military in the USSR surely wasn't the same as being pro-military under the Tsar.
Military, in and of itself, doesn't mean much. Even the counterculture generation accepted WWII as the 'good war' and enjoyed watching Patton beat Nazis. And they loved 007 movies too, as long as Bond was cool.
Military is muscle and takes its orders from those who give orders. So, whether a people are pro- or anti-military doesn't tell us much.
Even Jews who opposed the Vietnam War were livid with joy over the Six Day War.

Today, who controls the military, which now openly accepts gays? ROTC has been invited back to Harvard. Elena Kagan sits in SC thanks to our commander in chief Obama(friend of Bill Ayers), who's been bought and sold by liberal Zionists.

Using Sailer's loopy logic, Pat Buchanan must be progressive since he's opposed most American military ventures since the early 90s. Ron Paul must be a far lefty too. And military men who support Ron Paul must be peacenik pacifists. Chris Webb, who vociferously opposed the Iraq War, must be an anarchist.

US military is now overrun with PC and black officers.. and lots of women(and many white ones go with blacks). Military takes its order from the Zionist elites. Soldiers must sit through 'pro-gay' sessions. The values it fights for is 'gay marriage'; its arch enemy is arch-conservative Muslims who are evil cuz they aren't too nice to gays.
One Marine who posted something about Obama on facebook got dismissed. This is today's military, yet Sailer thinks today's youths are 'conservative' because they don't oppose this military.

Germans were pro-military under the Nazis, Soviets were pro-military under the commies, Israelis are pro-military under the Zionists, and Americans were pro-military under democracy. So, does that mean they are all of the same ideology and values?
Black South AFricans were anti-military during apartheid. Now, they are pro-military since blacks run it. I guess black South Africans are now 'conservative'.

I know cons have no stake in Hollywood, and so Sailer is desperately trying to make himself believe of conservative presence. But he's really missing the point. Hollywood is only using certain 'conservative' motifs to push what are the interests of international Zionism. Just like Jewish comic book writers created 'aryan-like' heroes to defeat White Evil(like Capt America fighting Nazis), Hollywood Jews are doing the same thing. It's a manipulation of conservatism than real conservatism. This is about as truly conservative as BLIND SIDE is.
These 'superheroes' are to Jewish creators what American goy politicians to their Jewish handlers.

And the very Jewishy Tony Stark a 'reactionary'? Yeah, I suppose Obama-supporting Spielberg is one too because he's given us gungho movies like SPR. As it happens, most CIA and scientists working for the military have been liberal from the beginning. Openheimer and most of his gang were libs, even leftists.

"It’s funny, well-acted, and emotionally gripping"

A movie about a bunch of grown up men playing comic book heroes in a movie calculated to rake in as much dough as possible from dummies all over the world is 'emotionally gripping'? Oy vey.

Anonymous said...

"It's interesting to note the current prominence of English and Australian actors in mainstream Hollywood. Do they have certain qualities that the likes of, say, Labeouf don't?"

Good looks, appeal to women....

Anonymous said...

Red Tails... what a CONSERVATIVE movie since it shows military men as heroes!

Anonymous said...

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT by the liberal Friedkin.... What a CONSERVATIVE movie since it says heroic black soldiers show blow away all those subhuman muzzies, the women and children too.

Anonymous said...

Europeans hated America and Americans under Bush. Now, they love America and Americans under Obama. Europeans must now be 'conservative'.

Felix said...

Other than that: standard prolefeed.

What does that even mean? I bet you're one of those commenters who talks about "nihilism" all the time.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks Sailer is a closet neo-con. This review is absolutely mindless.

Anonymous said...

Also, government is not the bad guy (because in the Marvel universe it isn't) and because in the (Age of Obama it isn't) and because no one wants to be a loser like the Occupoopers, or some Ghetto thug like Ice-T in the sequel to the Vin Diesel Triple X movies. SEALs took out bin Laden. Of course they are the good guys not the bad guys.

Government is also not the bad guy because the neocons. The neocons love big, imperial government and military.

Londoner said...

Actually, I take back what I said earlier. Having given us a comic-book version of Norse mythology in "Thor", Hollywood may well broach the subject in earnest. If that film is anything to go by, we can probably expect the mythical landscape of primordial northern Europe to be populated by a diverse mix of blacks, Asians and wisecracking Scotch-Irish. In fact the more I think about it the more I think it's time for Hollywood to give this hideously sinister wellspring of white identity and spirituality "the treatment".

Aging Skeptical Hag said...

I see The Avengers as a huge garbage can of pop culture. That's all.

Anonymous, can you please make up a more distinctive nick and substantiate this: "Soldiers must sit through 'pro-gay' sessions"

Really? Prove it.

Anonymous said...

More one-dimensional nationalistic chest-thumping from Steve Sailer. What else is new?

And I am almost 100% sure that Jeremy Renner is gay.

jody said...

+1 for shane black reference.

are you telling me hawkins was killed by a F_ing lizard?!

Whiskey said...

Government was the bad guy in all three Bourne movies. Government was the bad guy in all those anti-War movies made during Bush's years. Government was the bad guy in the X-Files. Government was the bad guy Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Default, since the 1960's culture is to assume the US Government and White guys in it are the bad guys. Like anything else, going from avante garde to just garde, produces a revolt in style if nothing else.

Heck, Whedon's own Serenity/Firefly had the "Civil War in Space" Union government as the bad guys. Complete with villainous Black super-agent. That's Hollywood dogma.

As for all the non-Americans, the lock gay casting directors have on Hollywood prevents anything other than man-boys and thinly closeted types from emerging. Masculine style is out, too.

I thought compared to say, any Woody Allen movie the acting and writing was BETTER. Johansson was in both the Avengers (and the second Iron Man movie) and that Allen movie about adultery, only with really rich people that can afford bwhahahahaha! to marry their step-daughters (because there is no God bwahahahahaha! and they can do what they want bwahahahaha!).

Johansson has three killer scenes, the first where she appears to be interrogated and facing torture, and only uses the appearance to get the old Soviet era holdovers to spill, the second in a face-off with Banner (the lurking danger of the monster not far), and the third where she gets the better of Loki, provoking him to rage and revealing his plans, again playing vulnerable.

Her character's motivation? To balance the killing she's done, with saving people. A big step up from wife-girlfriend-mother-victim that most actresses get. Yes the kick-ass is silly. But it allows for a greater depth of character than an "arty" film like Allen's, which is the real childish series.

Yes the settings are silly, so are operas from Verdi, Puccini, and Wagner. Dragons, Rhine Maidens, fat ladies singing? Tragic clowns? So too is Shakespeare: fairies and mistaken identities?

What was remarkable in the film was a bit of dialog early on from Thor to Loki that the essence of ruling was being a protector and servant of the people, not a tyrant and master. Coming from an elite of the elite, and a hereditary nobility himself, that's a remarkable bit of dialog saying responsibility must be taken by those with power.

I quite literally have not heard anything like it for ages in any film I've seen.

Anonymous said...

It could have been better, maybe they should have cast John Travolta as the Detumenescer, the super hero who sucks the power out of evil Jewish homosexual movie executives, to gain energy for his battle against armies of nefarious masseurs.

K(yle) said...

"Government was the bad guy in the X-Files."

More accurately the bad guys were a conspiracy of ex-government Rich Old White Men that still ruled despite no longer being formally in positions of power.

Any 'anti-government' sentiment in Hollywood in recent years has been about Rich Old White Men and not about the actual government or the role of government.

Your Firefly example is off-base as well since according to Whedon his Alliance government is a corpotocracy where literally half of the government is effectively owned by the 'Blue Sun' interplanetary megacorporation and that most of the Alliance forces are actually 'private security' mercenary armies.

It's 'anti-government' in the sense that it is opposed to the most OTT nightmare fuel imaginings of a corrupt USA. It's the horror of the best possible thing in the world(s), a unified government for all people, becoming a Banana Republic.

I don't view Whedon as being as completely loony left as a lot of Hollywood writers, but he's far from expressing some kind of generic yearning for minarchist/small government or federalist style civic nationalism.

It's like how people mistake Orwell for being some kind of 'libertarian' rather than the socialist he was because of Animal Farm and 1984.

The world Whedon constructed is done in the same fashion as the one Orwell did in 1984. It's a cautionary tale to his own side, on the kind of things that need to be guarded against so that the desired big government isn't corrupted by them (in this case State Capitalism). Of course the clarity of the message is much less in Whedon, the professional entertainer, than Orwell, the journalist, polemicist and critic.

K(yle) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DYork said...

Aging Hag said...

Hate to be the grinch here, but isn't the brains behind the operation a Magic Negro? (Nick Fury, played by SL Jackson.)


Samuel L. Jackson = the High Fructose Corn Syrup of the US film industry.

Slightly OT, but this Travolta thing has the capacity to get very big. Not that he paid masseurs for sex, but that he said to one that he had to service rich older Jewish pedos for jobs early on, and that they control Hollywood.

Here's a Rich Cronin interview talking about his boy band experiences and the old Jewish Pedo who ran the show.

Truth said...

"Which is what Hollywood has come to: relying on English writers generating old-school nostalgia"

Comic books were written by English writers? I thought they were the domain of your Scots-Irish kin?

"No more Han Solo, or Indiana Jones, or John McClain."

Well, it did create John McCain.

Truth said...

" Interesting to compare the success of the white Avengers movie (even with the ludicrous substitution of Samuel Jackson for the white Nick Fury of comic book lore) with the failure of the 'black' RED TAILS film."

Is it? Let's see; a comparison between a $40m WWII movie and a $200 fantasy picture...no, no not interesting at all.

Truth said...

"I remember when movies were made for adults, not for 12 year old boys."

Back when you were 12, Sport, they showed back-to-back movies, prefaced by a news serial, and a cartoon.

Truth said...

"Hate to be the grinch here, but isn't the brains behind the operation a Magic Negro?"

I hate to kill the tooth fairy here, chief, but the reincarnated Norse Gods with magical hammers and 9' tall 600 green guys with 1% body fat were a signal that you weren't watching a documentary.

Anonymous said...

Jackson wasn't a Magic Negro in this movie. He was hard-nosed, practical, and didn't offer any cheap redemption or fuzzy moral insight to anyone.

Whedon stories always have an element of meta in them; he can't stop himself from commenting on the genere he's writing in. "Cabin in the Woods" was a critique of horror movie audience manipulation ethics using a horror movie as the vehicle. In Avengers we had Agent Colson asking Cap to sign his trading cards.

Anonymous said...

Renner just look ghey, something obvious from the minute you see the guy.

Mr. Anon said...

"Truth said...

""I remember when movies were made for adults, not for 12 year old boys.""

Back when you were 12, Sport, they showed back-to-back movies, prefaced by a news serial, and a cartoon."

Sorry, Nitwit (my term for "Sport"), but newsreels and cartoons avant-film were way before my time.

You might note, I would have been entirely civil towards you in my reply had you refrained from using a pet-name. I don't like them - they are demeaning, and a cheap squalid little way of attempting to, in some small way, own the person so addressed - the power to name, you know. JFK was reputedly a big employer of them. So was G.W. Bush. It's a very common patrician tactic, and a loathsome one.

through the looking-glass said...

"More one-dimensional nationalistic chest-thumping from Steve Sailer. What else is new?"

Not only was the link itself succinct and humorous, these are some the best comments I've seen on any "politics" blog. After failing to deliver a 39-point geeky repudiation of the deep, deep imperialistic ontology of a preposterous superhero movie, iSteve's latent neocon perfidy is at last uncovered. What did we do before the web...

Truth said...

"JFK was reputedly a big employer of them. So was G.W. Bush"

Well it worked out pretty well for them. And I'm a No_Limit Patrician fo life!

Svigor said...

I did not recognize the last name but image search reveals some one who looks like a back-to-future iSteve (Chi-town office job did smell like a cover story). Were you irked about having the fewest lines in Predator? Of course, only about 50 in the film total, all good ones though

The funny thing about Shane Black is that he wanted to get into acting. He wrote his first script in the mean time, and his gig in Predator was a favor in return for that hit script (can't remember which one it was, but you've heard of it).

Svigor said...

Heck, Whedon's own Serenity/Firefly had the "Civil War in Space" Union government as the bad guys. Complete with villainous Black super-agent. That's Hollywood dogma.

If you really think Firefly's "Union bad, Confederacy good" thing was standard Hollywood dogma, you've totally lost the plot. Firefly was an inversion of the usual, and decidedly apolitical at that. It was about the losing side/underdogs being the "good" guys ("protagonists" is a much more accurate term here, given the moral shading of Firefly), and that was the extent of it. And the black villain was another reversal, with Whedon being very much the exception in allowing him to shine, rather than hide under a bushel for PC's sake, which is what the rest of Hollywood does.

Aging Hag said...

"Jackson wasn't a Magic Negro in this movie. He was hard-nosed, practical, and didn't offer any cheap redemption or fuzzy moral insight to anyone. "

Which IMO is a definition of a Magic Negro. How many of those do you meet in real life?

Now, in reel life, they are all over the place.

Anonymous said...

Out of power, Trotksy was a vehement enemy of the Russian military. He and his ilk even went so far as to undermine Russian military effort in WWI and aid Germans win the war in the Eastern front.
But once the Bolsheviks came to power, Trotsky played a significant role in the creation of the Red Army that defeated the whites. I don't think it means he turned 'right'.
When Jews didn't control elite institutions--held by Wasps--, they were combative. But once Jews began to gain huge power in government beginning with FDR, they became less and less and anti-government. Now they control the government. But are they conservative?