I saw this without seeing the first Captain America movie; I haven’t committed to the whole Marvel films canon, just pick and choose those that interest me. I might go back and watch that one now that I’ve seen this, because this is probably my favorite of the Marvel franchise films alongside The Avengers and the first Iron Man. That’s actually kind of faint praise, though, because I haven’t truly loved any of them; that puts this one at around a solid “B.”
Dir. Joss Whedon
(2012, PG-13, 143 min)
The challenge of any superhero movie is suspending disbelief. That’s usually a fair bargain, but The Avengers requires multiple suspensions of multiple disbeliefs, and the collision of a handful of superhero worlds – each with its own system of techno-mystical logic – can draw undue attention to their absurdity. A man (Mark Ruffalo) who turns into a giant green monster because of exposure to gamma radiation is all well and good, but when he sits around chatting with the Norse god of thunder and a World War II-era super-soldier freeze-dried since the 1940s, well, don’t they all start to look a little silly?
Dir. Edgar Wright
(2010, PG-13, 112 min)
★ ★ ½
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World would be brilliant were it not for the Attention Deficit Disorder. It’s built on a clever and frequently touching metaphor of young love as a video game, filtering the anxiety of romance through the eyes of the post-Xbox generation. Love literally is a battlefield; instead of baggage, these characters have boss battles. But the film can’t keep still. It’s a funny, sweet, dizzying, over-caffeinated whirligig of disjointed gags bumping into each other at light speed. A lot of it works. It’s intelligent about romantic growing pains. But it needs a chill pill.