Weekend of Nerd!

Howdy!  Its Sunday, May 6, 2012, I'm getting my geek on, no surprise, and this is The Side.  Got a bunch of reasons to be nerding out this weekend.  Yesterday was free Comic Book Day and I took the girls up to Kings.  We got up there pretty late so most of the free releases were already gone.  Heard they went fast too.  Still, there were some boxes of old comics out and you could grab 10 each.  The girls loaded up, quite pleased with their hauls.  I didn't grab anything, because I think Free Comic Book Day should be about getting new readers, not guys like me who already have a pretty regular reading list.  Sure, if there were some of the releases out that looked interesting I'd have grabbed one to check it out and maybe add something new to my reading list, but first come, first serve, and I certainly wasn't early.

Other big reason for nerding out.  SHERLOCK season two is coming on PBS!

If you haven't seen season one yet, shame upon you.  Netflix instant streaming is your friend, however, and you can watch them on there.  Brilliant series, and I can't wait to sit and enjoy this new season.

So that's more nerding out.  Wasn't there something else?  Some movie coming out this weekend?


Which I'm glad they clarified in the title because I might have gone in expecting more adventures with Peel and Steed.  But no, this is indeed Marvel's big guns gathered together for the movie fans have been waiting for.  Now, at this current time, we are at a point in which we have multiple comic book based movies coming out in theaters every year.  This was absolutely not the case for me growing up, so unlike in my youth I'm not as forgiving of them.  I used to feel a definite need to defend comic book movies even if they weren't very good, because I feared they'd become fewer and further between.  Now, they're a hot property, and they don't seem to be slowing down, so I have no qualms about calling out a movie's flaws, even if the majority of comic book fans loved the films.  Its refreshing to be able to be completely honest about a movie and reviewing it based on its merits, and those alone.

So I can be completely honest in my opinion of this movie.  Let's face it: this is an unprecedented move by a any studio.  They've released separate films introducing these characters to movie going audiences.  They made these movies with big budgets, and very talented actors, writers, and directors, not sparing anything in terms of quality if they could help it.  Multiple individual franchises have been launched, and the intent has been there since they really started rolling with this to eventually make the movie that was released here in the States this weekend.  Expectations from fans were through the roof.  Joss Whedon was signed on as writer/director.  Expectations rose higher.  It was to the point that there did not seem to be any way that the fans' expectations could be met.  I had to make a conscious effort to go into this movie and try to leave my personal expectations for what I'd want this movie to be in the lobby and try to form an honest opinion of the work.

So, with that out there I can say completely honestly, and checking my nerded up expectations at the door: this was one damn fine piece of work.

Let's start this out with the writing and directing from Whedon.  What he did that was really amazing here is take these characters from their separate franchises and place them in one film and still had them ring completely true to how they were depicted in their separate films.  This didn't feel like Whedon's take on these characters.  It felt like the separate writers all had gotten together to handle their particular characters.  At the same time, Whedon managed to have these character playing of of each other beautifully.  It was as if he had had a hand in everything from the beginning of Marvel's big movie push.

This is a long movie at two and a half hours long.  It didn't feel like it because of the excellent pacing.  Its kinetic, without being rushed.  The quiet moments are still packed with juicy, fun conversations that really give you a good feel for these individuals.  Certainly you have to have suspension of disbelief when in this genre, but that's not taken for granted here, as Whedon keeps the story on track.  Its fairly straight forward. Loki is back and he's ticked over what happened in the THOR movie and he's got a plan for some big time revenge and looking to take Earth in the bargain.  There's not a lot of twists, but that's fine because the speed this roller coaster moves at, any hairpin turn in things could easily send it right off the rails.

On to the performances, and here's where this movie shines.  Everyone brought their "A" game to this.  There's been a lot of buzz about Mark Ruffalo coming into to playing Bruce Banner.  Initially there was some dismay from fans who were miffed about having a different actor for the role when every other role was being reprised by the actors from the separate movies.  This has shifted to glowing praise of Ruffalo in his work in this role, and that praise is completely justified.  He was remarkable, especially in his scenes with Robert Downey Junior.  Downey delivered the Tony Stark that the fans love with style, wit, and panache.  Chris Evans was a really fun Captain America.  Chris Hemsworth gave us the Thor we know and love, albeit with a bit less humor than in his movie.  That's easily forgiven considering the circumstances of the story.  I didn't get quite enough Jeremy Renner.  It seemed like Hawkeye got the short end of the arrow this go around, although he did have some really cool moments.  Scarlett Johansson was amazing in this.  Whedon shines at writing strong women, and his Black Widow is no exception.  Some fans have sort of rolled their eyes at her inclusion in this with a "What's she gonna do?  Flash her boobs at the bad guys?" attitude.  To say she holds her own in this is an understatement.  Samuel Jackson's portrayal of Nick Fury is slick and stylish with enough gravity to it to really anchor the film.  We can't forget Tom Hiddleston as Loki.  He's gotten a lot of praise for his performance, and its well earned.  This is a very nuanced character, and and it shows down to every little facial expression.

Big props to Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson.  He's been around since the first Ironman movie, and is really great here.  He may not have had the flashiest moments in the marvel movies, but he's always kept things very grounded, and I've found myself really liking the character even though he's been a bit antagonistic in previous films.  He had all these great little moments in this, and it was really made things fun.

Overall, this movie gave me everything I could have asked for.  It got me engaged in the story.  There were parts that totally cracked me up.  There were parts that made me grin like a child that has been thoroughly indulged.  The movie had a definite purpose and didn't fall into the trap of having unneeded and distracting sub-plots.   The action was incredibly over the top and was still easily followed.  You could see and appreciate every impossibly blow in these battles.  The fast clip editing that is completely annoying in many fight scenes is used very sparingly, and when it comes to the big hits, the camera hides nothing.

I'd pay full price to see it again.

Also, make sure you stay through the credits for some fun little Easter eggs, and a hint as to where a possible and probably sequel will be heading.


Yeah, I'm sticking with my theme today.

I think that'll do it for me today.  Time for some coffee.  See y'all Wednesday.

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