Have you seen the movie "Get Shorty"? If you haven't, go watch it now; it's an excellent comedy starring Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito and that guy from "The Sopranos". In it, Travolta plays Chili Palmer; a mob collector who somehow comes to Hollywood to collect a debt and gets entangled in the movie business.
One of my favourite scenes in the movie was when Chili Palmer, who is an avid movie fan, goes to see an old Orson Welles movie "Touch of Evil". He sits entranced and alone, quoting the dialogue by memory, and at the end of the movie he taps the person in front of him and says, "Incredible, huh?", with obvious awe in his voice.
That was probably the exact opposite of my latest movie experience.
So finally, I managed to go see "The Avengers". Granted, it's no cult classic (yet) but it was a big movie that was creating a lot of hype, and I was expecting to enjoy it very much. Unable to get tickets for the 3D Cinema, my friends and I booked balcony seats online for Savoy for the traditional 2D experience.
Before I get into the movie itself, let me just say that the whole show was pretty much a disaster from the get-go. First of all, the ushers had given our seats to some other people, leaving us fuming in the aisles while they tried to relocate them. Then it turns out some people had come in using the previous day's tickets, so now the ushers started checking all the tickets again. By the time we were seated, I had missed the first ten minutes.
A further ten minutes into the movie, I realised that I had managed to get seated in the worst possible place: right next to two rather easily amused girls and right in front of a row of some tragically unfunny funny-men, who proceeded to make a comment on every single aspect of the movie.
Yes, I was watching The Avengers with a laugh track and DVD commentary.
Lets start with the girls; clearly they had little or no idea of what was going on in the movie, because while the movie definitely had its funny moments, it didn't have this many! Captain America, precariously dangling off the edge of a building? Fits of laughter. Samuel L Jackson, looking into the camera after making a realisation? Laughter. Robert Downey Jr raising his eyebrows and ending a sentence with a slight inflection? Rolling on the floor.
As for the witty, wise-cracking wankers sitting behind me, I won't even torture you with some of the jokes that were coming my way. However, if you've seen the movie, allow me to give you an example. Remember how towards the second half of the movie, there's a very somber scene? You know, all serious and panning between the different Avenger's reactions? Here's what I hear from behind me: "Machan, awkward silence! Machan, machan! Awkward silence, get it? Haha awkward silence...!"
At this point, I couldn't take it any longer, so I turned around and got his attention.
Me: Hey, you; come here.
Me: You're jokes? They're not even remotely funny...
Dude: I wasn't telling for you okay??
Me: .. No, you don't understand. They're really not funny! If you want to make your comments, save it for when you're watching the DVD in your basement alone, okay? Thank you.
After that? Silence. Not the awkward type; just silence for the rest of the movie.
As for the movie itself, well I really liked it. Mark Ruffalo played an excellent Bruce Banner, and almost stole the show from Robert Downey Jr. The story line was well told (even if a bit nerdy) and somehow the movie managed to give equal screen time to the many characters involved, even giving them some sense of character depth despite sharing the screen with so many others. Scarlett Johanssen played a believable Black Widow, Robert Downey Jr. was excellent and witty as usual, and as I mentioned earlier, Mark Ruffalo was excellent as Bruce Banner.
Even if you're not a comic book nerd, you will enjoy the movie, given you've at least seen two of the three films leading up to this one ("Iron Man", 'Thor" and "Captain America"). If you are a comic book nerd, then you'll absolutely love it. So far I've only read positive reviews (except for one bizarre review questioning the geo-politics of it all - don't ask) and it's definitely a must-see summer blockbuster.
Just make sure you're not seated next to morons, like I was.