Professional critics are generally opposed to the summer blockbuster. Action movies, like horror films and romcoms, do not normally get great reviews. Avengers did OK in the review gauntlet. Yay! But there were some detractors.
The biggest criticism is in damning with faint praise. “It was pretty good for a summer blockbuster/superhero movie.” This is a little annoying. I understand that critics have several roles to serve. It shouldn’t be their job to market the movie. Reviewing something critically means looking at it from all sides not just on pure entertainment value.
But they also need to tell people whether they will enjoy themselves. Is it a good summer blockbuster? Is it a good superhero movie? Is it worth seeing compared to other movies and/or similar movies in theatres. If someone goes in expecting a superhero movie will they leave satisfied?
Any review of Avengers that states “no” might be honest on the part of the reviewer, but based on the public response seems to be wrong.
More interesting to me was a review that pointed out that Avengers presents an outdated authoritarian, patriarchal model that is at odds with the director’s past work. Where did the authority of the Avengers come from? Does might make right?
Whedon often works with female leads (Serenity and Angel are exceptions). Generally iconoclasts or rebels. Not with a male centric team who are working with the government.
It is a funny comment in many ways and pretty silly. When aliens invade earth if you have the ability to intervene don’t you have the moral responsibility to do so?
But it is also an interesting one. A single superhero generally isn’t a power group, but a team of them is. Comics books have had many issues and entire series that dealt with where the authority comes from either directly or indirectly. The Avengers have alternately worked for the government and independently and even the UN many times in their history. Generally as a plot complication rather than directly addressing where their authority derives from.
Squadron Supreme, Stormwatch/The Authority and the Watchmen addressed the topic more directly.
Anyway, as a criticism it is odd. Avengers is an adaptation and action movie. Introducing such a theme would need to be the focus of such a movie. Not that the Avengers ignored it completly. An oblique comment on the issue can be heard in a short dialog segment between Coulson and Cap. Cap asks if there is still room for a stars and stripes clad hero (representing outdated concepts?) and Coulson responds that it might be exactly what is needed.
That was rambly and I’m not sure I made my point. Time to give up and go home.
As one of my coworkers would say, Take care, y’all.