I have never seen a superhero film. I think we ought to make that clear from the outset. I have never seen a superhero film. I have never read a superhero comic. I once got a spoon with the Incredible Hulk on out of a packet of Frosties, but that’s as far as it goes.
It was not even a very good spoon. It was green see-through plastic with a Hulk-y sort of handle, and I think it broke within about a week and I had to go back to eating with the nice silverware like everybody else.
It’s fair to say, then, that not only was my only association with the genre a long-held, spoon-related bitterness, but that if, say, you had been looking for me on Thursday at 10.20 AM, and you had wondered to yourself where might Ella be this morning, your first thought would perhaps have not have been <em>why, in the Xtreme* screen of a cinema in Islington</em>, and thus you would not perhaps have been able to find me ’til I returned to my more usual habitats. By which I mean the pub.
*We can talk about why they leave the “e” off “Xtreme”, but I don’t have any answers.**
**Oh, my god. I have just googled it and noticed that it is, in fact, the VueXtreme, and that the “e” from “Vue” is meant to do the job for both and now I am SO IRRATIONALLY ANGRY.
But that, in fact, was exactly (Xactly?) where I was. Watching The Avengers, and being, largely, baffled. My companion (henceforth known as Z) says it was brilliant. And I trust his opinion absolutely, and his five-star review is here. I am reading that review now, and I do, I DO remember all of those things happening. I remember the bit with the punch-bags and Captain America (hindered by the fact that I didn’t know he was Captain America). I remember the bit where Tony Stark/ Iron Man was in a tower with a lady in denim hot pants. I even remember bits that AREN’T IN HIS REVIEW, like that Russian chick (maybe Scarlett Johansson? maybe not?) beating people up with a chair in loud three dimensions.
“I have a dress almost EXACTLY like that, but with better sleeves,” I whispered to Z, as Russian Chick swung her chair over her head and into the eyes of someone unsuspecting. He looked at me. I looked at him. We both looked at the Russian Chick.
I like to think it was at that point that he began to see what he was in for. Which is to say, two and a half hours of “Who’s that one? What’s he doing now? Why is he in an ice-box? Why is he green? I like her haircut, do you think it would suit me? WHY ARE THEY DOING THAT? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? WHO AM I?”.
It’s to his total credit that he didn’t simply strangle me and have done with it. I would have done. Probably everyone else in the movies would have done.
So, the plot of the film as I understood it:
The one with black hair (Z’s review reliably informs me that he is Loki, and played by Tom Hiddleston) did a Bad Thing. I don’t know exactly what the Bad Thing was, because I missed the first two minutes. I think it was probably something to do with the little blue box (TESSERACT) that they (some people?) were (possibly?) going to use for Clean Energy (this film is TOPICAL, also). Let us assume that the Black Haired Dude was stealing the Tesseract, and assume that he was doing it for to take over the world. They usually are, these bad boys. Everyone else (ish?) was trying to stop him.
Everyone else being Thor (Chris Hemsworth, lots of gold, looks quite Scandinavian) and That Russian Chick (Scarlett Johansson, token female, tits) and Captain America (Big shiny star. Can’t remember who he was played by.) and The Incredible Hulk (I swallowed down my spoon-related sorrows to admit that actually, I quite liked him. I quite like Mark Ruffalo. Is that allowed? Anyway, he is the doctor one who turns green.) and some other people who I have forgotten and also maybe the really pretty one (the one who is Sherlock Holmes in the Dreadful Film of Sherlock Holmes? and he is quite Sherlocky in this?) and they are all under the command of Samuel L Jackson. Who is not called Samuel L Jackson in this and is instead called Nick Fury. I think. He has an eyepatch.
“Those ones are the Avengers,” Z said, one critical eye on the Important Explosions happening on-screen.
I looked at the Avengers.
“But what are they avenging?”
Z looked at me.
When I was about 14 I had a Physics teacher called Dr Carr who believed that I was the Devil incarnate, and who told my mum at Parents’ Evening that I should learn to accept the laws of the universe as a given*. And although Dr Carr was little and unpleasant (Z’s polar opposite, naturally), the way Z looked at me then was exactly the look of Dr Carr when I would derail an entire GCSE Physics class by asking but why is gravity?
* This is not a thing I am planning to do ever, by the way.
I apologised. Z went back to watching the film. I went back to being quietly baffled.
Anyway, yes. They were all very angry. There was lots of shouting, and hitting things. There were also Some Aliens, who turned up at a party thing and were all in gold and made everybody kneel. I missed the bit that happened after this because I fell asleep. In my defence, I had probably only slept about five hours out of the last 36. Hooray, international travel.
According to Z’s review there was also a subplot, which I missed entirely. Apparently, it was something to do with a man with a bow (?). I thought maybe it also had to do with some Captain America trading cards, which were (significantly) not in some other chap’s locker or his pocket or his locket or something, but this is almost certainly wrong, since when I mentioned this to Z he did the same deeply-baffled expression I imagine I had been making for the whole of the film. But it did happen. It totally happened. There were some cards or something that were important. Go and see the film and you will totally see that I am right.
Also in the subplot maybe: the chap (possibly the same one with the bow, possibly not) had TESSERACT blue eyes. Which I think (read: was told by Z, because all to any major plot points such as these totally eluded me) means that he was also being hypnotised by the Black Haired Dude and I don’t know if that is a spoiler. But you could guess that if you looked at his eyes because they were TESSERACT BLUE. TESSERACT BLUE is, pretty much, shiny shiny chipped-ice blue. Which on Boyce from Green Wing is super attractive, but I suspect on That Guy With The Bow is not meant to be. Or maybe it is. I forget. He is, after all, a Good Man Turned Bad*.
*Sneaky Smiths reference. I don’t think this film would have been better with the Smiths in. ALTHOUGH, That Black Haired Dude was definitely rocking the hair of somebody who might conceivably sometimes lock himself in his bedroom and play Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, over and over and over again until his mum told him to turn it down. AND, and That Black Haired Dude was adopted and he didn’t find out for ages and HE IS TROUBLED! THIS IS AN ACTUAL BIT OF FILM THAT HAPPENED (thanks Z for handy back story) and THEREFORE Loki (Black Haired Dude) definitely, definitely plays the Smiths when he is having a break from all the communing with the Gold Aliens.
“I’m going to write a review of Avengers Assemble,” I tell Z, later.
He gives me that look again.
“I know I don’t know what happened,” I say, superhurriedly, because I don’t want Z to think I am pretending that I didn’t sleep through most of the film. “but I think I have some Valid Points to make.”
In writing this review, mornings later, I have discovered that I have no Valid Points to make. I have only some lingering spoon-related bitterness (if I told you that I hadn’t actually thought about that Hulk spoon in ten years, would you believe me?)and a very weak grasp of the plot, the characters, and the laws of the superhero universe.
I did, however, have a very nice time, and the film had some very good explosions. And Scarlett Johansson has nice tits. And I quite fancy Mark Ruffalo and that chap from Sherlock. And I still don’t know what the aliens were doing.
This film, then.
Z says it’s a good’un. I say it’s baffling, but I still quite enjoyed it. I am now returning to my more usual habitat of the pub.
Postscript: “It’s quite a funny review,” says Z, begrudgingly. “Wouldn’t publish it in a million fucking years, mind. And you got that bit with the aliens completely wrong.”