Is The Avengers your ticket for a fun night at the movies? Writer Deborah Skolnik and her daughter Clara Enders, 11, attended the press screening to find out. Here’s their mother-daughter review.
From Mom Deborah Skolnik: With all that Scarsdale has to offer — from glittering jewelry stores to world-class schools — there’s still one thing this town is woefully short on, and that’s stuff to avenge. The customer in front of you at Martine’s bought the last raspberry macaron? Waaah. You ended up waiting extra-long at the traffic light at the Heathcote Five Corners? Aggravating, but hardly cause to don a cape and shoot thunderbolts from your wrists. What you need, my civilized suburban friend, is the thrill of vicarious vengeance. And luckily for us all, that’s exactly what The Avengers is serving up.
The trouble begins when Loki, the villainous younger brother of demigod Thor, steals a glowing cube called a tesseract from a government lab. Aliens want the tesseract badly — so much so that they’ve offered Loki control of Earth if he’ll hand it over. Of course, we earthlings would prefer he didn’t, but Loki’s tough to deter, since he’s impervious to bullets and able to change opponents into mindless slaves with a simple tap of his scepter. Can anything possibly stop him?
Enter the Avengers, a rag-tag assemblage of Marvel Comics superheroes gathered at the behest of fierce agency operative (Samuel Jackson, naturally, wearing an eye patch that’s never explained). He struggles to make a cohesive team out of Loki’s brother Thor; Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr., reprising his earlier role); Captain America, and The Hulk, green and rage-filled as ever. The team is ably assisted by two human tag-alongs — a soldier called Hawkeye, and a sultry spy nicknamed Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson. Her inclusion adds a much-needed shot of girl power to the lineup, making this a more modern Marvel. Plus, she’s hot in her black catsuit. Meow!
The special effects — mainly related to ground and airborne battles — are grip-your-armrests awesome. But an even bigger surprise is the whip-smart dialogue: These are no cardboard characters behind the steel masks. In their quieter moments, our heroes kibbitz about Pilates and needle each other in ways that would put any married couple to shame. And in a larger sense, they represent the clashing facets of our country itself. Thor tries clumsily to play Big Brother to not only Loki, but also the world; Captain America’s got patriotism but needs help channeling it; billionaire-playboy Iron Man’s a dead ringer for “the 1%”, and The Hulk, with his anger issues, is a prime candidate to occupy Wall Street…or anywhere else he’d prefer to be. Watching these disparate personalities pull together is, no doubt, the director’s message to us all about our agenda as Americans.
But if you don’t want to ponder deep messages, just sit back and enjoy the explosions. For us here in the metro area, there’s the added fascination of seeing familiar landmarks get blown to smithereens. Watching fireballs hurtle down Park Avenue — with my office building in plain sight — I guiltily found myself wondering, “If this really happened, would I get a day off from work?”
No matter: You’ll leave the theater feeling you’ve already had a great trip.
Note: Fun as it is, this movie has both violence and a running time of well over two hours, making it better suited to kids 10 and up.
Deborah Skolnik is a Scarsdale resident and a senior editor at Parenting magazine.
From 6th Grader Clara Enders: Before I saw this film, I only knew the Avengers as pictures in a Halloween catalog, but the movie brought the characters to life for me in fun and exciting ways. It is about a cube called a tesseract, an unlimited source of energy, which has gone missing. In the wrong hands, it could be very harmful to all of mankind. It turns out the thief is Loki, a villain from outer space who is looking to trade it for the chance to rule the earth. Who but the Avengers-Ironman, The Hulk, Thor, and Captain America-could somehow get the tesseract back in their possession?
It isn’t going to be easy, though, because the Avengers argue a lot and have different opinions. Half the fun is watching them fight and insult each other in humorous ways. The rest of the excitement comes from the action scenes and the jaw-dropping special effects. I still can’t manage to figure out how they made New York City be torn apart and yet I walked through it and hour later.
I thought it was an amazing movie. The Avengers would be appropriate for a fifth grader or a fourth grader with a long attention span (the movie is over 2 hours long). ComicCon fans and hipsters alike will all love The Avengers.