Thursday, May 10, 2012


Marvel’s The Avengers is the best super-hero movie ever.  I saw the
movie with Eddie and Kelly - my kids - and that was the first thing
I said as we left the theater.  The second thing I said was that DC
should just release The Dark Knight Rises directly to DVD to spare
themselves the embarrassment of getting their corporate ass kicked
at the box office.  Yes, even when I’m aglow with the excitement of
an enjoyable movie experience, I’m able to multitask and make with
the snarky comments about DC.  It’s a gift.

Director/co-writer Joss Whedon - he wrote the screenplay and shared
story credit with Zak Penn - put the pieces together in superlative
fashion.  While I can’t speak about Hawkeye, based as he is on the
Ultimate Universe incarnation of the character, the other Avengers
ring true to their comic-book selves.  All of the heroes, including
Hawkeye, had big shiny moments.

The acting was never less than first-rate with some performances so
good three of them - Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Clark
Gregg - worthy of Oscar nomination. The storytelling was clear and
compelling.  The tension was strong and unforced.  The humor rose
from the characters without the self-deprecation we usually see in super-
hero movies.  Best super-hero movie ever.

Adding to my enjoyment was how many comics creators received screen
credit and thanks in the credits roll.  So many that fans and pros
alike are having a great time figuring out the specifics of those
credits.  I knew that Don Rico scripted the first appearance of the
Black Widow from a Stan Lee plot, but I was stumped on Sal Buscema
until I reached out to Marvel’s Tom Brevoort.  Our pal Sal drew the
issue of Marvel Two-In-One that introduced Project Pegasus.  Though
some feel such credits are insufficient, I applaud Marvel for what
I consider a good faith effort to honor creators whose comic-book
work contributes to the company’s movies.


If I have any quibble with this film, it’s with Loki making a quip
as he lies beaten (as in halfway through a cement floor) after the
Avengers have defeated him and his alien allies.  Loki slaughters
humans without a thought and, indeed, takes considerable glee
in doing so.  He didn’t deserve a clever exit line.

My version of the scene would have gone differently.  Loki’s glib
line would have been followed by Hawkeye kicking him in the face.
Captain America would tell Hawkeye that heroes don’t do that when
the foe is beaten.  Hawkeye would sheepishly defer to Cap because,
gee, he’s Captain America.  With Cap’s back turned away from her,
the Black Widow would then kick Loki in the nuts.

Because villains shouldn’t get the last word.  Thanos knew that. He
just smiled evilly in his mid-credits scene.


Among the pre-Avengers trailers were The Amazing Spider-Man and The
Dark Knight Rises
.  Based on the trailers, I’ll likely see Spider-
a few weeks into its run and wait to see The Dark Knight Rises
until I can get it for free from my local library.

Both the Spider-Man and Dark Knight trailers were filled with quick
cuts and psychedelic visuals.  There was some sense of a story to
the Spider-Man trailer and little more than doom and gloom to the
Dark Knight trailer.  While comments from others might well change
my decisions as to how and how soon I’ll see these films, I based
those decisions on these trailers. 

Spider-Man is one of my favorite characters and I’ve enjoyed many
different versions of our friendly web-slinging neighbor.  I’m not
put off at the mere prospect of yet another version.

The Batman used to be one of my favorite characters, but DC Comics
has turned him into an unpleasant and psychotic creep.  These days,
Batman is a tougher sell to me.  There are still current versions
of the character I enjoy, but those are in the minority.

Later that evening, I started thinking about the Avengers trailers
I had seen prior to seeing the movie.  Those trailers conveyed an
excellent sense of character and story.  There was substance to the
trailers, not just flash-and-dash.  Substance, characters and story
are far more attractive to me than splashy visuals. 

To sum up: Marvel’s The Avengers is the best super-hero movie ever.
You should go see it.

I’ll be back on Monday with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. Yeah, great review. Here's mine:

    Everything felt fluid, the characters, the story, everything. The most fun I've had seeing a film in awhile.

  2. Late Night FerengiMay 10, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    I just saw Avengers today. For the first time I have to say that Joss Whedon has made the ultimate Marvel film. This one is going to break all records. It's the first in my mind to actually live up to and surpass the hype! I loved the portrayal of the Hulk and all the characters. I'd see it again in a heart beat!

    I also got volumes one and four of the Avengers cartoon series and like the film, it's a true blend of all the mythology. I watched the cartoon and expected to be let down. It's a great companion to the movie. If Disney can keep the quality in tact it too will be a best seller.

    For $7.50 each at Wal-Mart I picked up two great Avengers T-shirts. One has all the characters with the logo above. The second one has the giant "A" symbol that represents the Avengers team.

  3. Dave sez,

    I'll probably see The Avengers this Sunday at a matinee with my wife and 10-year-old son for Mother's Day. I aims to please.

    I probably will NOT see The Dark Knight Rises until it hits DVD. I'm a Batman fan. But, I'm also a new dad. I still enjoy the '66 live action version, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. But, if I can't take my son to see the film - and I don't feel comfortable doing that - I won't see it without him. We'll go see Spider-Man instead. I think what's missing from Batman is the "spirit" behind Robin. Batman is just uncontrollably nuts. When Robin was introduced,it was a way for kids to identify with him, and it was a way to reign in his obsession. I think maybe the Bronze Age Batman that I read growing up was probably the best. The Detective and Escape Artist. From say the mid-'70's to 1985. Pre-Crisis and Pre-Dark Knight Returns.

    1. Everything you wrote could have come out of my keyboard. In other words: I could not agree more. (It's great to hear from another Batman: The Brave and the Bold fan as well. Sholly Fisch really understands how to write comics for young readers!)

  4. I saw it a second time and tested out my credits thesis. I waited until the first, mid-credits scene ended, left the theater to the men's room next to that theater, went in, did my business, and still walked back into the theater with time to see the end scene. Plenty stayed for the first scene but I was the only person there to see sandwich-time.

  5. Got to see it over the weekend. Dragged in spots, but the best parts were Hulk wiping the floor---literally---with Loki and Black Widow, handcuffed to a chair, snapping open a can of whoop-ass on her torturers, this scene being early in the movie.

    I will see Dark Knight Rises & Amazing Spider-Man in the theatres in July, as I've seen all the other films in the respective series, but I'm not too keen on Battleship (opening this week) or Prometheus.

    Tony, if you were asked to write a screenplay based on some of your comics work, what would be your preference?