So, I got to the theater in good time. Took my seat. Watched ads, and then watched trailers, and then put on my 3D glasses for the 3D trailers. Saw a few reminders to turn off my cell phone, which I did. Saw a little ad about how much better it is to see movies in a theater as opposed to on a TV set. Then I watched the screen. For a while.
As we, the audience, are all sitting there, looking at the blank screen, I'll tell you about the trailers. Battleship looks moronic, in that way that a lot of movies look moronic these days. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter looks moronic in more unusual way. The Tom Cruise movie where he plays a rock star looks like a bad movie adaptation of a bad Broadway show about bad rock music. It looks like they've invented entirely new ways to be bad, ones that no movie has ever used before.
Total Recall might actually be good, or maybe it's that I generally like movies where Kate Beckinsale kills people.
So, meanwhile, I'm still sitting there. We're all sitting there. The lights go on, they stay on, theater employees come in and tell us various things. I wrote a few pages of the last part of Stevie One (today's lesson: always have paper on you).
They turn off the lights and try again. We see the Abraham Lincoln trailer a few more times (each time giving thanks that it's not the Tom Cruise one).
We see the thing about how much better theaters are than TV sets a few more times. We were, by this point, not a receptive audience for this message. In fact, some guy yelled, "My DVD player works better than this theater!" (Oh, yeah, that was me, and I got a laugh, too. It's all about knowing the crowd.)
Then they gave up and gave us passes. I could have seen the next showing of Prometheus, but the next showing was in 2D, and I've heard the 3D is good, so I decided to see The Avengers instead. There was about 45 minutes before it started, so I sat and wrote more of the last part of Stevie One.
The Avengers was good. The comparisons to Rio Bravo are pretty accurate. A villain is established, then captured, then there's a ton of fun byplay and arguing and so on between the heroes until things have to start getting "interesting" again. Basically, everything you will remember fondly about this movie is in the first two-thirds (though the fight between Thor and Iron Man is stupid). Then things get blown up for a while (and by the way, this movie definitely goes above and beyond my desire to see familiar parts of Manhattan get blown up – but maybe that's just me), and various characters who aren't possibly going to die seem like they're about to be killed.
The best parts? Robert Downey, Jr., of course. Mark Ruffalo is a great addition to the group. Chris Evans is fine as Captain America, but he was a lot more fun as the Human Torch. Samuel R. Jackson does his thing. And I have never been a big Gwyneth Paltrow fan, but I'm realizing that I do like her as Pepper Potts, and it is nice when she shows up. The bickering between Pepper and Tony was about the best part of the second Iron Man movie (or at least I guess it was, since it's the only part I can remember). The villains here are tedious and generic, but so were the villains in Rio Bravo. With certain types of movies that really doesn't matter.
And, of course, there is plenty of snappy Joss Whedon dialogue. But I will say this: if you want to see a really good Joss Whedon film, see Serenity. I just saw it, and it is quite excellent. Now I'm backtracking and watching the episodes of Firefly (the show that preceded Serenity). Whedon is a better writer when he can create his own characters and cast his own actors and have a story that goes where it should, not where it has to go to lead into four more upcoming movies.
But, that being said, there are a lot of pleasures in The Avengers. And then, after that, a lot of explosions.