I mean, really, it sucked far beyond where the RT score and previous Marvel movies had led me to believe.
Pacing was awful, resulting in an end battle that was utterly exhausting and filled with only the vaguest of plot coherence. Tons of weird little turns of whatever that you’d think might go somewhere (Thor gets stabbed with a pointy key fob?) never really pan out.
Cinematography was boring at best. The directing actually got in the way as awful at key points, like every time Whedon decided that a dutch angle might be best to beat the viewer over the head, or when he decided to stage one shot in the reflection of a rear-view mirror for no real reason. Also in the age of CGI, long-shots have kind of lost ther magic as every director can do them for the most trivial of reasons.
So much of the movie showed the seams, like when one character made an incongruous line of dialogue that was just designed to set up a quippy quip 30 seconds later. Or as a friend pointed out, the scene where some filmmaker must have been “You know it would be really cool if Scarlett Johannsen jumped on one of the alien jet skis and flew it around! OR WAIT, IF SHE DIDN’T FLY IT DIRECTLY BUT FLEW THEY GUY FLYING THE JET SKI! BRILLIANT PRINT IT.”
The pacing and seams—and the fanservice dripping over evey part of the film—made me wonder if “best” these days has come more to mean “most”. Example: “The Avengers was the most comic-book movie so far.” See, that statement works. I can sit back and go “yeah there was lots of fighting and contrived ways for even the heroes to fight each other for silly reasons so I can see that!”
But best comic-book movie? Even if you exempt Nolan’s attempts, I’d still place IM1 above, IM2just barely above and Thor in this weird position where half of the movie was way better and the other half way worse. I guess basic narrative coherence and fan-service and five full-length advertisements beforehand is all it takes to get a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes?
And I’m just evaluating it here as a popcorn movie; there’s a lot of troubling (and hilarious in turn) undercurrents to the film that should give us pause too. Blasting through the same sort of surveillence scheme that almost leads a major character to quit in The Dark Knight? Check. Nuclear weaponry (and analogous guns) that’s bad until it’s good? Check. A villain who wants to cause the greatest, most public amount of destruction possible, placing their motives perilously close to that of the filmmakers themselves? Lol check. The Avengers is an entire film that uses quippy intertextual reference as a pancea for actual self-consciousness, all to avoid becoming horrified.
Also really disappointed they deleted the scene where Captain America calls Nick Fury “boy.”