As far as superheroes go, I'm not the most devoted fan. I've seen Captain America, Nolan's Batman films, most of Iron Man, along with bits and pieces of the Spider-Man trilogy. I watched superhero cartoons as a kids when they played on TV, but I never actively went out to find them. I've only glanced through a few comic books for the art styles, not the story. Why is this relevant? Because even as a relative superhero noob, Avengers has so many typical superhero tropes that nothing seemed new to me beyond the multitude of heroes. Cliché, cackling villain? Check. Formulaic plot that begins with the heroes being self-assured, doubting themselves at the middle, and regaining their confidence in time for the final battle? Check. Hero barely escaping certain doom at the last minute, nearly dying and waking up surrounded by friends? Check. Even Whedon's creative staple of the cast snarking on each other feels tired and protracted. The only thing missing was the epic reckoning of hero and villain, which Loki wasn't allowed the dignity of having. It's a shame, because the movie suffered for it. You had to wonder how a guy so easily defeated got ahead of the heroes in the first place. On the plus, Cap as the "man out of time" was intriguing, and Black Widow was awesomeness with a nice haircut. On the minus, Paltrow and Downey are on completely different wavelengths while acting, which makes their romance seem disjointed and forced. He's energetic and brimming with his character's animation, while she doesn't appear to be capable of speaking in a tone that isn't whiny, breathless, or both. It's hard not to feel apathetic toward the "final phone call" scene, which I can't decide if I love for being a homage to Captain America' or hate for being so obviously lifted that it feels cheap. If I could change one thing, I would give Loki and Thor more depth and and interaction, they're an interesting pair, and their relationship and its ramifications received so little focus. Overall, this is every superhero flick you've seen before, but with more superheroes.
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