The amus bouche of summer superhero spectaculars enters theaters this weekend. While it’s not The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers will certainly draw droves of fans. All in all, the story should be decent. I’m just hoping for minimal advertisements within the film for the return of Tony Stark, the blonde-headed viking, and the inevitable fourth incarnation of Bruce Banner. If you’re looking to skip the crowds, check out LOL or A Little Bit of Heaven. It’s a safe bet you’ll be able to sneak in after the previews and still find a prime place to sit — thought for those movies, the closer to the door, the better.
The Avengers: As I watched Captain America, Iron Man 2, and Thor, I was often reminded of the twofold purpose of those installments: to create sequels whose quality dwindles with progression and to advertise the subsequent release of The Avengers, an conglomerate of seemingly disparate superheroes. One has a cool exoskeleton, another is a god, there’s an arrow-shooting fellow, the lady in the group wears very tight black pants, and, one of them, you wouldn’t like when he’s angry. Initially, I was rather disinterested in this band of misfits cobbled together to create a rather confusing Venn diagram of superhero sequels and mashups. However, my interest was piqued when I learned that Joss Whedon was contracted as the writer. Admittedly, I was never a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it wasn’t because of the writing. If nothing else, Whedon can deconstruct a genre rather well. For evidence, please see the short-lived but fan-loved Firefly, or the recent The Cabin in the Woods. For this reason, I’m looking forward to the first installment in the inevitable Avengers franchise. Let’s just hope they keep Bret Ratner away from the sequels.
Death of a Superhero: Along with The Avengers, this film weaves a bit of superhero mythology with real life. An angry young, typical teenager, Donald battles writhing emotions in a turbulent world. When he’s diagnosed with a life-threatening illness (signified by his shaved head), he battles to find himself and uses his extraordinary artistic talent and vivid imagination to navigate through his various trials and tribulations. Certainly, there’s a love interest, one who’s equally as eager to move through adolescence. And, there’s Andy Serkis – as himself, or rather, not an ape or mythical creature.
LOL: Our addiction to ubiquitous social networks fascinating. Our “friends” are often more akin to points in a video game as we rack them up with terse requests to voyeur them with permission. Our language has become truncated, constricted to 140 characters. Our emotions are becoming indiscernible, lest they are accompanied by an animated yellow face, sometimes with white-gloved hands and googly eyes. Our self is often absent from the body as it flits about on various networks, bruising thumbs and creating the illusion of successful multitasking. So, the premise for this film works and could be interesting, but the inclusion of Miley Cyrus, whose opening narration tells us “we go with the flow,” makes me mourn the two minutes and twenty two seconds that were sucked out of my life via the trailer.
A Little Bit of Heaven: Kate Hudson is dying…in this movie that feels like a confused cesspool of previously released movies. Marley (Hudson, not the dog) is the “youngest Vice President in the history of” some firm. This makes her workaholic and self-interested. Then, she finds out she has cancer. This makes everyone around her scared. This means that she hides her insecurities. Then, a love affair blooms – or re-blooms – between her and her doctor. They hang glide. There are some little-people-having-sex-based jokes. Kate Hudson dies…in the movie.