Take that, Avengers!

The film The Avengers is doing boffo box office, breaking all kinds of records. I have not seen it. I am not a fan of action films in general and did not grow up in Sri Lanka reading any of the superhero comics that were popular in the US, so the characters do not resonate with me.

I did, however, watch the TV series The Incredible Hulk when I came to the US for graduate school and found it to be campy fun. I was always puzzled that although David Banner’s clothes got ripped apart when he became angry and The Hulk, when he calmed down and became Banner again, he always seemed to be able to find a new set of clothes that fit him. They never explained that.

I had not planned to see The Avengers at all but it has received quite good reviews as a film, not just for its action, and so will likely see it when it comes out on DVD.

But there are other superheroes out there, doing equally amazing things. That Mitchell and Webb Look has episodes involving a lesser-known crime-fighting duo Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit. They explore the tensions inherent in superhero teams when the powers are unequal.


  1. stonyground says

    I’ve never been very keen on the whole superhero genre, I think that this is due to the limits on my ability to suspend disbelief. I like some sci-fi, I think that if there is an almost plausible sciency explanation for the far fetched stuff I can go with it.

    Mad magazine once had a cartoon strip about the Hulk. Banner returned to his normal size and then went and bought a suit that was ten times too big for him. The baffled expression on the face of the tailor was priceless. I think that the cartoonist was called Don Martin.

  2. Jared A says

    I heard sort of the opposite, that The Avengers is rather brainless but is fine if viewed as a real-life cartoon.

    There’s something about the incredible hulk that is just universally appealing. I’m not a huge fan of superhero movies, either, but on a recommendation I recently watched Ang Lee’s 2003 Hulk . Though it wasn’t well received at all on its released, viewed from the 2012 lens I think it as actually a very good film. Unlike most comic book movies, the action is actually novel and interesting. It is a little too long but I give it some credit for trying to use the extra time to do something interesting.

    Any fellow scientists will appreciate that the scientific laboratories in the movie look and function like real labs. Small details like that give the movie some heart.

  3. says

    The Avengers really is a great movie, and this is coming from someone who is normally not that into the whole superhero thing (though I do have a soft spot for Ironman). Honestly, the action is awesome and overall it has a well written plot. Scarlett Johansson’s character especially is one of the most well written, strong female characters I’ve seen in cinema for a loooong time (thank you Joss Whedon!). Most of the movie critics seem to have completey missed this, though, calling Black Widow things like ‘the token hot chick’, which is a pity, because she really was so much more.

  4. busterggi says

    As a member of the MMMS since 1966 as I required to see this film but Ant Man & the Wasp had better be in there somewhere.

  5. Anonymouse says

    Also not a fan of comic books or superhero movies…just don’t see the point of childish, uber-aggressive, mentally dysfunctional men and biologically freakishly unrealistic women. No real interest in seeing The Avengers, but didn’t find Ang Lee’s The Hulk horrible.

  6. Scott says

    I actually just watched that episode of Mitchell & Webb today on Netflix. What a great show!

    I never went for superheroes. I guess the fact that simple laws of physics were routinely violated was too much for me. Oddly, though, I have no problem with magic in fantasy novels and films.

  7. paul collier says

    You are not missing anything, Mano. Superhero mind-boggling, sensory overload FX and mayhem is a typically American mental retardation like creationism as far as I’m concerned.

  8. left0ver1under says

    In all this talkk of “superhero” movies, the one I liked the most is one of the least popular: “The Punisher” (the one with Thomas Jane, NOT the sequel and not the horrid Dolph Lundgren flick).

    Aside from the cartoonish nature of the violence and humour “Punisher” shares a trait with the three Jason Bourne movies: all the devices used in the movie exist, and the actions (violence, fighting) were physically possible, though unlikely.

    The implausibility of technology and ability of people in superhero movies puts me off them as much as it puts me off James Bond movies. I can only stand “Dr. No” and both “Casino Royale” films (David Niven and Daniel Craig).

  9. Mano Singham says

    It probably was Don Martin. I can just picture the sequence of panels now, goofy expression, floppy feet and all.

  10. tajparis says

    I find it far easier to suspend disbelief for superhero movies than the Bond/Bourne/Die Hard variety of action flick. Those are ostensibly supposed to take place in the “real world” and are thus far less believable to me than superhero flicks that take place in comic-book reality. So long as the internal rules of the world aren’t too egregiously broken I think they are good fun. And I think The Avengers is at the very top of that pile. It did all the right things that other action/special-effect-orgies like Transformers and GI Joe utterly failed at.

    So far as Dr. Banner’s wardrobe issues on returning to his less tinted version: there is small and humorous nod to that in the movie.

  11. tajparis says

    Yeah sure. Enjoying ridiculously bombastic fantasy as a recreational diversion is equivalent to believing, in a literal sense, that a supernatural daddy figure created everything in six days.

    And classifying a pop-culture medium as being “mentally retarded” is not smugly condescending at all.

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