Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye … and Me.

On Monday night, April 31, Anne and I sat in the middle of a crowd of comic book superhero fans and film critics. And we had a fantastic time, as the crowd cheered and laughed and celebrated throughout The Avengers‘ 142-minute running time.

But then, what you feel while you’re watching a movie can be very different from what you think about after the movie.

I’ve written a review that includes all of the exclamation points that were exploding in my head while I watched the movie… and yet it also includes many of the misgivings I felt after the movie was over.

Visit Filmwell to read the whole review.

Here’s just a piece of it. (But the best parts are over at Filmwell.)

… believe it or not, it is not my intention to condemn the affair. I enjoy a good superhero movie the way I enjoy a bowl of ice cream, and this is a six-scoop sundae covered in toppings. I’m just here to point out that it’s not a particularly healthy form of entertainment, it is calculated to give us what we want rather than what we need; and it’s full of artificial ingredients. To put it another way: It’s basically history’s most expensive Itchy and Scratchy cartoon. And it so focused on fulfilling adolescent fanboy fantasies that it makes X-Men: First Class seem like Shakespeare in the Park.

Still, while I may be 41, I’m also 14. I’ve always enjoyed ice cream sundaes just as I’ve always been thrilled by blockbuster Fourth of July fireworks shows.

And as fireworks displays go, The Avengers delivers the awesome.

So, let’s abandon the essay. It seems more appropriate to respond to explosions with explosions. That’s what I’ll do.

Since the movie isn’t so much a work of storytelling as it’s a marathon of wish-fulfillment moments for comic book enthusiasts — punches peppered with punchlines — here it comes: A movie review made of comic-book style exclamations from my inner 14-year-old, which should easily fit into dialogue balloons. I’ve even put quotation marks around a bunch of outbursts for your convenience. And I’ve included exclamation points, since no movie has ever made them so necessary.

What can we say about writer and director Joss Whedon?

  • “Bringing the brilliant banter that made Firefly a cult classic series, Joss Whedon turns in an Avengersadventure that may be impossible to top!!”
  • “Hey, FOX: You do realize that you took this filmmaker’s best material and canceled it, right? What a proud moment for you!”
  • “Sure, the action scenes are phenomenal! But it’s the electrical storm of Whedon-brand dialogue that may make The Avengers the biggest crowdpleaser in the history of superhero movies!”
  • “I’ve never been a part of a moviegoing audience that roared with more laughter and applauded in more slack-jawed amazement!”
  • “Supeheroes haven’t been this much fun since The Incredibles!
  • “It’ll make you weep for what X-Men 3 could have been, if it had been given to Joss Whedon instead of Brett Ratner!”“Like a world-class maestro, Whedon conducts these dueling divas in thrilling cycles of dissonance and harmony until the audience is exhausted by the crescendos!”

Continued at Filmwell.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.


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