My Favorite Things – My Favorite Actors

Yesterday I turned 23 in the middle of making this and a few other of the My Favorite Things lists (more or less me moving them from the original blogspot), so let’s see how far we’ve come and how much I’ve changed!!!

Well, we all have those actors which we find so fascinating we have to see their work, watch their versatility and their style. Their emotions, their work, there’s always good reason to find a celebration of their accomplishments in cinema, when you are outright celebrating cinema.

After all, it’s hard to find a better window to the soul of a film than through the eyes of the lead actor, who carries the weight of the tale’s expression and elicitation of the audience’s reaction on his shoulder more so than any other person in the film set, save for probably the director. If one can’t find the best actor to communicate the story, then it falls flat as far the wider movie-going public considers.

Indeed, it is largely thank to the graces of a great actor that a movie can capture the audience’s own graces and reach a classic status.

For this reason, at least on my own terms, I find it a lot more easier to like the more modern actors, the ones who seem well-connected to the times I live through in the 90s, 00s and now the 10s. Still every once in a while, there comes an actor so timeless in his/her performance, so raw in his energy that he or she earns a legacy largely unparalleled that’ll never be reached again.

This is a celebration of both kinds of actors….

(in very rough order)

Robert De Niro
Master of the character study.
Favorite Performance: Travis Bickle – Taxi Driver (1976, dir. Martin Scorsese)

Humphrey Bogart
The guy I wanna wake up in the morning and see in the mirror.
Favorite Performance: Rick Blaine – Casablanca (1942, dir. Michael Curtiz)

Tony Leung
Probably one of the first cases of me fanning over an actor with a friend mutually.
Favorite Performance: Chow Mo-wan – In the Mood for Love (2000, dir. Wong Kar-wai)

Phillip Seymour Hoffman
When people try to praise a lot of actors for their versatility, I always get bugged that Hoffman doesn’t get that credit.
Favorite Performance: Lancaster Dodd – The Master (2012, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

Al Pacino
Well duh. Though strictly before Scent of a Woman. Because well duh.
Favorite Performance: Michael Corleone – The Godfather/The Godfather Part II (1972-74, dir. Francis Ford Coppola)

Mifune Toshiro
Again, a well duh moment. Kurosawa channeled much of his energy in the design of his pictures, leaving the very intense Mifune to rip the audience by their sleeves into the worlds.
Favorite Performance: Sanjuro Kuwabatake – Yojimbo (1961, dir. Kurosawa Akira)

Boris Karloff
The face of terror.
Favorite Performance: The Monster – Frankenstein (1931, dir. James Whale)

Claude Rains
The worst supporting actor because he almost always steals the show from the lead.
Favorite Performance: Capt. Louis Renault – Casablanca (1942, dir. Michael Curtiz)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

At the time that he was my favorite actor (late in high school), I thought him versatile and always fearlessly trying something new – not just for acting but film. Well, now I know better about versatile, but no fucking doubt about the fearlessness still.
Favorite Performance: Brendan Frye – Brick (2005, dir. Rian Johnson) (Or maybe once I ease up on whiplash disappointment with Hesher, I’ll find that performance my favorite again)

John Wayne
Every democracy needs a Duke.
Favorite Performance: Ethan Edwards – The Searchers (1956, dir. John Ford)

Idris Elba
Charisma is second nature to this guy.
Favorite Performance: Stringer Bell – The Wire (2002-2004, crea. David Simon)

Orson Welles
He doesn’t even need to act, he could just talk and reading his words is entertaining.
Favorite Performance: Harry Lime – The Third Man (1949, dir. Carol Reed)

Christopher Lee
Doesn’t get classier than him.
Favorite Performance: Lord Summerisle – The Wicker Man (1973, dir. Robin Hardy)

Buster Keaton
The clown with the stone face. I know I wouldn’t have one if I had to do the shit he did.
Favorite Performance: Johnny Gray – The General (1926, dir. Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman)

Bruce Campbell
Too groovy not to have him on this.
Favorite Performance: Ashley J. Williams – Evil Dead II (1987, dir. Sam Raimi)

Mads Mikkelsen
What is it with Euroart actors I love being used in dainty thrillers these days?
Favorite Performance: Le Chiffre – Casino Royale (2006, dir. Martin Campbell)

James Cagney
Mad as hell and the rest of him ain’t so good either.
Favorite Performance: Arthur “Cody” Jarrett – White Heat (1949, dir. Raoul Walsh)

Vincent Cassel
So far, so good.
Favorite Performance: Vinz – La Haine (1995, dir. Mathieu Kassovitz)

Michael Fassbender
Yeah, I maybe have a crush on him.
Favorite Performance: Conor O’Reilly – Fish Tank (2009, dir. Andrea Arnold)

Oscar Isaac
When a guy can channel his inner Pacino like Isaac does, I’m down.
Favorite Performance: Llewyn Davis – Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, dir. the Coen brothers)

Ben Mendelsohn
He just has that mug you feel still needs to be smacked around for all that rattles in it.
Favorite Performance: Neville Love – Starred Up (2013, dir. David Mackenzie)

Daniel Day-Lewis
Kind of obligatory if I want this taken seriously, don’t you think?
Favorite Performance: Christy Brown – My Left Foot (1989, dir. Jim Sheridan)

Nicolas Cage

To piss off my friends and because how can I hate such manic energy.
Favorite Performance: Charlie & Donald Kaufman – Adaptation. (2002, dir. Spike Jonze)

Henry Fonda

When we need a face of nobili– oh fuck, that’s right, Once Upon a Time in the West.
Favorite Performance: Abraham Lincoln – Young Mr. Lincoln (1939, dir. John Ford)

Johnny Depp

Back in the day when he used to be as inspired as his frequent collaborator Burton used to be inspired.
Favorite Performance: Captain Jack Sparrow – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003, dir. Gore Verbinski)

Jackie Chan
Chan’s the man.
Favorite Performance: Wong Fei Hung – Drunken Master II (dir. Lau Kar-Leung & Jackie Chan, Hong Kong). The perfect blend of character acting, opera clown mugging, and of course, the stuntwork that you know Chan’s on this list for.

Shimura Takashi
Killjoy in all the best ways.
Favorite Performance: Dr. Yamane Kyohei – Godzilla (1954, dir. Honda Ishiro)

Lance Henriksen
How can a guy so sedate easily be the creepiest in the room?
Favorite Performance: Frank Black – Millennium (1996-99, crea. Chris Carter)

Gunnar Bjornstrand

The most down-to-earth thing in Bergman’s icy world.
Favorite performance: Jons – The Seventh Seal (1957, dir. Ingmar Bergman)

Bela Lugosi

Not much talent but certainly the legend.
Favorite Performance: Dracula – Dracula (1931, dir. Tod Browning)

Sid Haig
Ain’t ya ready for the Grindhouse?
Favorite Performance: Captain Spaulding – The Devil’s Rejects (2005, dir. Rob Zombie)

George C. Scott

His face is just too arch.
Favorite Performance: Gen. Buck Turgidson – Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, dir. Stanley Kubrick)

Charles Laughton
I saw The Night of the Hunter first, so I thought it’d be hard to shake him off as a director. Damn, he was the best of both worlds.
Favorite Performance: Henry VIII – The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933, dir. Alexander Korda)

Jimmy Stewart

Mr. Everyman
Favorite Performance: George Bailey – It’s Such a Wonderful Life (1946, dir. Frank Capra)

Joe Pesci
Mr. Nomanleavesherealive
Favorite Performance: Tommy DeVito – Goodfellas (1990, dir. Martin Scorsese)

Charles Chaplin
Our precious Tramp.
Favorite Performance: Monsieur Verdoux – Monsieur Verdoux (1947, dir. Charles Chaplin)

Jeff Bridges
Nothing is fucked here.
Favorite Performance: Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski – The Big Lebowski (1998, dir. the Coen brothers)

Rutger Hauer
Well, he was the best thing about the 80s back in the day.
Favorite Performance: Roy Batty – Blade Runner (1982, dir. Ridley Scott)

Lon Chaney
The man of a thousand faces.
Favorite Performance: Alonzo the Armless – The Unknown (1927, dir. Tod Browning)

Vincent Price
No mere mortal can resist…
Favorite Performance: Dr. Anton Phibes – The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971, dir. Robert Fuest)

The “Dwayne Johnson” Rock
Don’t fucking judge me.
Favorite Performance: All of Them – All of His Movies except San Andreas (All of Time, dir. The Rock directs himself except San Andreas. Seriously fuck San Andreas)

Hit Me With Your Best Shot – The Red Shoes – Episode Spoiler

I regret to state that this week I’ve had too much on my plate and so have been unable to make my new episode of “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” as of yet. It will probably not be done until the weekend. In the meantime, I still don’t want to miss the visual index on The Film Experience and so I will be right now submitting the shot I choose immediately, with limited commentary beforehand so that I can still have stuff to say about the film when I get to making the episode.

Nathaniel R.’s latest choice in film was Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger’s 1948 ballet classic The Red Shoes, one of the most lovely pictures I’ve ever seen and I don’t think its a stretch to say a stand-out part of my personal canon. Telling the story of a ballet production of the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale, the film focuses on, among the aspects of the production’s creation, the tug-o-war for the will of star ballerina Vicky Page (Moira Shearer) between her love for the production’s composer Julian Craster (Marius Goring) and her passion for the art of ballet under the strict control of the legendary Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook).

At the center of the film is one of the most brilliant dance performances of all time and I swore to myself immediately that the shot I chose would be from this segment of film alone, as Vicky and co. debut The Red Shoes to the audience – both in-world and in the cinema. And part of what I adore about this scene, other than its remarkable choreography and design – with cloudy and shimmering color all around and canted bent houses and carnivals – is how absolutely candid it is about mixing the artifice of both ballet and film in order to provide something more operatic, expressionistic, and cheat its way into making the film audience feel the same way about the performance as the cheering ballet audience within the film. Not only that, but it gives us a bit of a peek into the mindset of Vicky, mixed into the pathos and drama of the Andersen tale so that we no longer look at the tale as parable, but instead as one story made out of intertwining passions and plotlines.

It’s essentially a more organic form of what Darren Aronofsky did in Black Swan, but nowhere near as bold or impressive as Powell and Pressburger did here.

Anyway, I wanted to have my cake and eat it too, but in the end I could only pick two of those elements of the central ballet that I mentioned to showcase – the cinematic artifice and especially the psychology.

That’s the cobbler character within the tale of “The Red Shoes”, seducing the young girl Vicky plays, while transforming into both Lermontov and Craster. Maybe it’s a bit of a cheat since there are hidden cuts within this one “shot” (though calling them hidden is a bit too much credit), but it’s all the same to see this twisted undecided world of passion Vicky has to face once the ballet is over leaking into the production right now (as far as she knows) and affecting her performance more than we’d expect to know. It’s super overt but why not? This is literally seconds before the stage turns into an endless color mixing abstraction where Vicky will simply dance as it is merely her and the air that lifts her. This is one of the only points in this dramatic movie where we get to have our drama heightened to the imagination of the designers and it so fucking worth it. So I’m all for the overtness.

Now I know I said “limited” and I know it seems like I said a lot, but I promise when I get the new episode up I WILL have more to say on both this scene and the movie as a whole. This ain’t my favorite scene in one of my favorite movies for nothing, I tell you hwat.

My TOO-NSFW “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” entry for Magic Mike

As my intro video explains, my submission for this week’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” film Magic Mike is goddamn not safe for work and probably not gonna slide with YouTube, so I’m not going to make it public on that site.

If you guys are willing to see the shot and chose to come to this post to see it, I behold it to you without further ado… the shot that made me laugh loudest:

BTW, I don’t know if anybody will bother asking on this post, given how much I love the movie, how I feel about the upcoming sequel Magic Mike XXL (though many of my friends asked me face-to-face). But I’ll address it anyway:

I’m not in a rush to see it. Soderbergh’s work (particularly on editing the film) and McConaughey’s performance made up 2/3 of why I loved Magic Mike and they’re both not returning for the sequel. Maybe I’ll get around to seeing it, maybe one of my friends that do fit the movie’s target audience will pull me in to see it with them – although I doubt it since most of my friends fitting that consensus had to be convinced by ME to see it, but I’m simply not making Magic Mike XXL a priority, even if Donald Glover is in it. (I also think it narratively makes little sense for this sequel to exist, but to explain that would involving spoiling the film and that’s probably best to keep for a day I actually review the film.)

OK, and that’s about it. Now I’m gonna run!

My Favorite Things – Omissions and Explanations from My Television Series List

It’s close to my birthday coming up and I feel like the lists from the original blogger page were due to be moved to this WordPress page anyway. But in the 2 years that passed, already a lot has changed. So while I am reposting the original topics in piecemeal (There will be four separate articles for my 100 favorite films), a lot of changes are gonna happen just because I will go “icky” and think “nope, not that one.”

I don’t do that much television watching. Like barely any nowadays, save for a select couple. And even then I don’t have cable (or I don’t even think local tv, but I’ve never bothered checking), so I’d be hanging by a friend’s if I wanna catch Bob’s Burgers or Game of Thrones. Still, I’ve watched enough to have shows I considered for my top 20 list and then knocked off and so, before I present that list, the ones that almost made the cut and that some of my friends will be in shock by being removed:

Orange Is the New Black – I swear if I wasn’t lazy, it’d be a 21 count list, but I just don’t want to bother making 21 paragraphs and I feel like this show would be the paragraph that makes me sound most like an idiot (along the lines of “Yay! Captain Janeway! Yay! Boobs! Yay! Feminism! Yay! Regina Spektor! Yay! Lorraine Toussaint, Uzo Aduba, Pable Schreiber, and pretty much most of the cast! Yay!”). It’s not even that it would be at 21, Orange Is the New Black would undoubtedly be Top Ten, I just feel like I’d sound least eloquent talking about this one.

Strangers with Candy, Wonderfalls, My So-Called Life, Lupin III, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace – I just recently watched these. I love them with no small love, but let me ruminate. But I find them all witty and entertaining… goddammit, you see what I meant with lack of eloquence here.

The Office – It sure changed a lot of comic television foundations, but I got an even better revolutionary comedy show coming up. I have seen episodes of the American show, by the way, and laughed a lot. But it doesn’t come close for me.

Lost – I feel liked I’d be stoned to death for admitting I liked this show. ‘Cause, y’know, Lindelof is the Devil now. But man, was this show addictive.

Da Ali G Show – Ali G is the man and if you disagree, change your mind.

Fringe, Malcolm in the Middle, Farscape, Community – So these I have to admit – I have not seen every episode of. What I have seen has often been outside of chronological order. And I have no intention of doing so proper. I’m too lazy at this point in my life. But I love what I saw and rarely got something to gripe about from these shows.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Boondocks, Squidbillies, Rick and Morty, Metalocalypse – I was only going to allow ONE Adult Swim program on this, but I need to acknowledge how many hours of sleep I’ve wasted both staying up to (and waking up to – Gigantor has so many of my REM memories) these shows because I can’t stop laughing.

Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm – What can I say? Larry David is a damned comedy genius and Seinfeld shaped my perception of the world in an unhealthy manner. Like every time I’m in New York, I visit the Soup Nazi’s kitchen. When I watch The English Patient, everything Elaine had to say about the movie rings in my mind. I can’t see Wayne Knight without the word “Newman” popping in my head. Alongside how I relate way too much to Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm (and friends had told me he reminds them of me), I think I am a bit broken as a person and it’s his fault.

Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad – I feel like the amount of hype and love these shows receive without any restraint, being constantly called “the best shows I’ve ever seen on TV” by guys who probably started watching TV with those shows, got in the way of making those shows rank. But when excellence exists, it exists and both Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad’s serialized excellence deserves at least the acknowledgement of how finely crafted they are.

South Park, The Simpsons, Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – I feel like I’ve seen way too many episodes of these – classic and old – to pretend that I’m not a fan. I absolutely adore these shows. But I think as time went on by now, I discovered myself less and less eager to watch them like I was when I was younger.

Star Trek: The Next Generation – My very first exposure to Star Trek was also the one that stuck to my mind most often, between remembering all of Picard’s insights and how many times all the characters made a bigger deal out of the danger than there actually was to the point of the danger finally being let out the bag by the time the Borg showed up.

Over the Garden Wall, Fanny and Alexander, The Up Series, Civilisation, The Singing Detective, Scenes from a Marriage, Pennies from Heaven, The Civil War – I was only going to include ONE miniseries. Just one. Even in spite of how utterly brilliant these were. So which one is it? Wait to see.

Sesame Street – This is completely ludicrous and insane but I’m serious about loving Sesame Street. Fuck with me.

OK, here comes the rest.

The Straight Story – 7 – The Angriest Dog in the World

Odin help me when I finally get to Twin Peaks and find myself doing this on an episode-by-episode basis, but my next subject in my delving into the complete works of David Lynch is something that was again an episodic work. Something as a matter of fact, episodic enough that I had to actively search to find all nine years worth of work on it and then spend my time reading them all, but I’m glad I got to it. Kind of.

You see, the thing about The Angriest Dog in the World is that I once again have to admit an intellectual stop to me that came about halfway through reading the comic strip (which premiered in LA Reader in 1983 and ran weekly there until it ended in 1992 – the year of my birth). I didn’t get it.

No, wait, I got it just fine. I just couldn’t connect with it. It was like the two latter parts of Lars von Trier’s Depression trilogy where we could easily read what was in the auteur’s head but that didn’t mean that a vast majority of us were actually going to respond to it.

Which is the unfortunate truth about The Angriest Dog in the World. Reading 9 years’ worth of comic strips that repeated themselves in four simple blocks didn’t make me emotionally or intellectually connect with Lynch’s expression of several facets of anger – the inconsequence of anger (for the entirety of the run, there is always a conversation happening without any regard to the dog outside), the disability of anger (the dog is practically put in a state of “rigor mortis” from his rage), the fading linger of anger (Lynch based the comic strip on a memory of his therapy session 10 years before publishing it because he happened to be in an inexplicable state of anger).

The strip itself is very sparse and minimalist – possibly because Lynch wouldn’t be much of a cartoonist, though I’m not sure how that hypothesis would hold up towards an art student like Lynch was – and that means that every single strip will have these themes pack and carry this portrayal of anger as concisely and direct as possible. Just four panels, three of them the exact same frame of a dog growling tethered to a tree and the fourth him at night. The variable is the dialogue coming from inside the house next to him while is often either an insanely existential thought or some short humor that keeps the strip just a little bit lively and me moving on to the next strip.

So even if I don’t have much to say (and I really don’t and given the hour it is as I type this, I think I’m needing to doze off soon), it is clear that this ritual was perhaps just as therapeutic to Lynch as his transcendental meditation (and I’d almost like to say some of the dialogue he chose for this family was informed by the meditation). He’d certainly need it after having dealt with Dune, but with the next picture, it seemed like his hands were to be less tied and his mind to be less tethered as this poor raging dog.

Avenge Me!

Hell and a half, I took forever to get to this point in summing up the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s kind of an obvious absolute reason for that as well, besides the fact that I’m as consistent at writing my scheduled and expected reviews as the Hungry Hungry Hippos are consistent in writing their scheduled and expected reviews.

But enough self-deprecation, for I have to admit something that I’m surprised most reviewers of The Avengers haven’t admit when they found they had to say something about the movie. An intellectual stop, you see – It is not impossible, but immensely hard to have to talk about a movie like The Avengers without acknowledging it more as an event than as a movie. If you were even the most casual fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – as I was and am – you still were expecting and looking to what was to come from this picture’s production and release: the final rung in the first phase of Marvel Studios’ attempt to establish their franchise as an outright parallel universe of superhero output to rival their extensive comic book work.

Begun from Iron Man and built upon bit by bit (or in the case of outright commercials for the universe like Iron Man 2, entire fucking movie after entire fucking movie), the Marvel Cinematic Universe had finally built up enough hype where even if The Avengers bombed, the plans wouldn’t exactly fall apart for the next few movies yet. Fat chance of it bombing, though, it didn’t and we’re at the tail end of Phase 2 as we speak with the long delayed Ant-Man to come out next month to wrap it up (now my new goal to complete these reviews). And even after coming so far, The Avengers is still thought of as the absolute centerpiece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where practically elements of every previous film – whether a villain or a hero or a plot point or a MacGuffin or a setting or so on – came together to make this bombastic action setpiece of a picture.

What exactly makes such an acknowledgement of The Avengers as more event than motion picture a bitch to write about?

Well, for one, the plot seems like a secondary factor to the spectacle of the film. It’s not entirely absent and it’s something I could totally recall: Thor’s adoptive brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has surfaced on Earth to hijack the Tesseract – a highly powerful cosmic object then under S.H.I.E.L.D. custody – and use it to barter control of the Chitauri army for his personal conquest of Earth (I know a lot of love for Loki erupted most from his appearance in The Avengers rather than Thor, but I honestly think the former does a lot of damage to his previously well-written character). Col. Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) arranges to have a superhero team waiting for Loki’s plan – National legend Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), upstrung timebomb Dr. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, doing the best work with the character than any of his two predecessors), S.H.I.E.L.D. agent/former assassin Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johannsson), and genius playboy Robert Downey Jr./Iron Man (Tony Stark). Part of their mission includes rescuing fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent bow and arrow sharpshooter Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Norse God of Thunder Thor (Chris Hemsworth) tags along because “Goddammit, Loki, you’re a disappointment!”

In the meantime, they’re all a bunch of punks and Loki’s a flipping punk as well, that cohesiveness of their status as a team is threatened almost as quickly as it began.

Anyway, all that is great and all, but I sure as hell shouldn’t have needed to sum that up in such (still-modest) detail. I give the plot a lot more credits than it’s due. Let me sum it up appropriately:

Loki is starting shit, da ‘Vengers finnat fuck a muthafucka up.

That’s it. Of course, we do happen to have Joss Whedon on-board as director and writer (with Zak Penn giving Whedon a hand in story) and the exact type of person who was looking eagerly forward to The Avengers undoubtedly had Whedon as his/her favorite person in the world at the time (And either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Firefly as their favorite show ever. If it’s Firefly, that guys is cool by me. If it’s Buffy, ehhhhh, we gotta talk). And Whedon is of course as appropriately quippy as he needs to be with keeping his then-constant freshness and believable understanding of each character’s language and cadence (not like Avengers: Age of Ultron, with a script that sounds like leftover dialogue from The Avengers at times).

But it ain’t concerned with plot still. Not in the slightest. What we might consider plot for the film is unashamedly and blatantly just thoroughline for the film’s “THAT’S SO COOL” moments to connect together.

And you know what, there’s a hell of a lot of “THAT’S SO COOL” moments that, while I have not watched the movie completely again since I’ve seen it with my friends on opening weekend in 2012 (the closest I can think of when I half-watched it again was when some friends of mine – the kind who were avid Whedon/MCU fans – had it playing on Netflix, but I just about fell asleep on their couch) and still remember every single scene and most of the dialogue, frames, and cuts as though it was playing in front of me again.

Whedon and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey do something I don’t think is rare nowadays for summer blockbuster tentpoles, but still uncommon enough to surprise me (certainly when I watched it) and shot the film in 1.85:1… and not once – even when the film is being at its most bombastic like the sprawling NYC showdown or the Helicarrier attack – does the film feel like its action spills over out of frame nor constrained. They astoundingly did a well enough job to keep all that action on-screen in such a natural manner. I don’t think much of Whedon as a director still (he’s more of a writer to me that happens to get a camera at times), but moments like the NYC Climax and even the moment when the Avengers argue together next to the Tesseract suggest that there is a director hiding inside of Whedon, even if he doesn’t let said director out entirely.

Added to that, I saw the picture in 3-D at a time when I wasn’t as much a 3-D aficionado as I am now (though I still know when to stay away when I can help it – I have not seen either Mad Max: Fury Road or Avengers: Age of Ultron in 3-D due to all the bad rep those 3-D conversions had got) and found it still delightful and charming. No immediate effect comes to me that made the action outright pop out, but in an industry with extremely shitty post-production transfers, it’s impressive enough.

It’s not perfect. Alan Silvestri had, by this point, gotten to his phoning-it-in phase of his film composing career and there are points in the special effects that feel separated from the action (though, not many points, since we’re talking Disney money for that CGI). The biggest problem is always going to be the same problem that the majority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films have, which is that The Avengers is a product first and foremost and feels entirely like a product, even going out of its way with its final moments to establish that “Oh yeah, we’re making this movie another MCU commercial and a further stepping stone”, albeit the fact that Thanos wasn’t that well-known when The Avengers came out suggests that a lot of people at the time would have torn my throat out for having that claim against the movie.

Still, the point is that The Avengers doesn’t concern itself with much more than spectacle featuring characters we already know and that the movie takes no care of developing any further than they are at square one and it’s honestly fine and enjoyably by me. Not as enjoyable when they try to re-hash the same thing 3 years later, but for the two hours I sat in the theater watching it with fellow superhero fans and huge smiles on our face, damn worth it.