May 4, 2012, - 1:29 pm

“The Avengers” is a Messy, Lackluster Bore

By Debbie Schlussel

I’m sure I’ll get a ton of hate-mail from fanboy slacker losers in “adult” bodies for saying this, as I always do when I knock down their flimsy sacred cows.  But I hated “The Avengers,” in theaters today.  I was really looking forward to the movie and wanted to like it.  But how could I?  It’s just long, dull, and boring.  The story is lame, and it ends up looking like a gazillion final scenes from every incarnation of “The Transformers” movies.  I walked out thinking, “Is that all there is?”  And I was thinking that all throughout the movie, waiting for it to take off and spark interest.

It’s a waste of what was almost 2.5 hours and seemed like seven.  The reason you go to movies like this is for the special effects, and even those weren’t so special.  I’ve seen it a gazillion times before.  And so have you.  On top of that, the 3-D was pointless, not coming even close to a movie that uses it well, such as “Hugo” (read my review).

No, there’s nothing objectionable about the movie (unless, like me, the vision of the anti-Israel, leftist spoiled hack, Gwyneth Paltrow, however brief, annoys the heck out of you).  No politics and or anything too dirty for kids.  In fact, the movie languishes in blandness.  Yes, there are some funny, snappy lines uttered by the different superheroes in the movie.  But it’s not supposed to be an occasional comedy of sarcastic lines.  It’s supposed to be a superhero movie.  And it’s just not super.  There’s no magic, no engaging story you, none of the charm you expect–and should expect–from superhero movies.

And it’s just not a tight, well-crafted script or plot.  Any superhero movie that can’t get its act together in two hours or less doesn’t cut it . . . or cut anything, including plenty of repeats of the same scenes and groanworthy gags.  Captain America, for instance, is the target of a running joke by the other superheroes because he fell asleep during World War II and woke up today.  They and he keep joking that he’s behind the times.  Um, I got it the first time.  Not funny.  Ditto for the non-stop goading by various parties to try to get Bruce Banner to turn into “The Hulk” or attempts to prevent him from getting angry so he doesn’t destroy the ship.  It gets old after like five times.  The writers and producers could do better.  A lot better.  But why would they?  They know that if they just slap the name, “The Avengers,” on a movie and include all the superheroes, it’ll be a blockbuster success, no matter what they do or what I say.  Again, just like the “Transformers” franchise.  All of the fanboys will brainlessly rush to pay their money to see the Midnight showing, without a second thought.  If terrorists really wanted to get us, they’d find a way to insert mind control or secret hypnosis and programming into these cinematic emperors with no clothing.

The actors, with the exception of Robert Downey, Jr.–who’s been pretty good as Tony Stark in the two “Iron Man” flicks–are mostly dull and, at best, adequate.  Mark Ruffalo–the most effeminate straight actor in Hollywood–as Bruce Banner and “The Hulk”?  Not buyin’ it.  He didn’t make the grade.  Scarlett Johansson was okay, too.  But it’s just that they had little to work with.  I like “The Hulk” and “Iron Man” movies, but not this milquetoast stew of all the superheroes and a crappy, unsuspenseful plot.

The story:  the superheroes are rounded up by a secret agent working for Samuel L. Jackson.  They all join forces on a submarine/spaceship to stop the Norse god, Loki, from destroying the earth with a power source he stole from the ship.  Thor, the Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, etc. all get together but spend most of their time quarreling over whose superpowers are superior and delivering sarcastic slapstick on the ship.  Like I said, it’s boring and repetitive.

When they finally have it out with Loki on the ship and in New York, the movie has been going for almost two hours already.  And then, it seems like it’s going to end about eight times before it finally does.  I was ready at punked ending #1.

Like I said, I’m sure I’ll get attacked by the mindless fanboy crowd, like I did when I knocked “The Watchmen” (read my review).  “Avengers” Derangement Syndrome now joins “Watchmen” Derangement Syndrome.  In their blind worship, they are almost as strictly orthodox and verbally abusive as Muslims (and jealous faux-“conservatives” like Michelle Fraudkin and her mind-addled cronies) in their jihad against me and any other who dares to criticize some of the obviously empty fictional idols of the Church of Comic Books and Graphic Novels (or at least the empty on-screen depictions of them).  They are so predictable and easily played by Hollywood and its marketers.  And I say this as a superhero and comic book fan–have been one since I was a kid and a my dad shared his vintage Captain Marvel and other comic books with me).

When I walked out of the “Avengers” screening a couple of weeks ago and said I didn’t like it, two liberal media critics–who are fanboys–verbally attacked me in the abusive manner you’d attack a violent criminal who just hit your child, while you watch police cuff him.

But that doesn’t faze me a bit or change the fact:  the movie was a long bore and a waste of time.

“The Avengers” is an empty shell wrapped in a lot of capes and tights, a lot of sarcasm and mild attempts at comedy, some cool special effects you’ve already seen .  .  . and not much else.

I’ve seen more magic and charm in a Barack Obama press conference.  And a visit to the dentist.


Watch the trailer .  .  .

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88 Responses

I would never waste my time and money to see this trash. I no longer support any movie coming out of Hollywood. This is not the old Hollywood anymore that made great classics. I tell people to boycott movies.

Fred on May 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

My theory is that Robert Downey, Jr. who has signed a 6 picture deal with Paramount (3 down) has to say something stupid for every million he was paid for his contract. My fiance loved the movie, even in a crowded theater my sighs were audible and my watch was the most entertaining thing going on. Two and a half hours, Seriously. I really would have rather been at the dentist.

OpusArmstrong on May 7, 2012 at 10:58 am

I waited till Monday to post this, having seen it over the weekend, as I am a huge Joss Whedon fan and would pay to watch even a short film of him frying bacon.

First, my Bona Fides – I am a dedicated Schlussel fan. Review my posts for proof. Second, on movie advice we often do no more than a quick scan of what the Divine Miss D has to say. Third, I am a rancher, salt of the earth, cowpunching SERIOUS conservatve.


Rather a lot.

Yes, it dragged in places. Yes, I found the bickering between Heroes somewhat pointless and altogether too human. Yes, the Bad Guy seemed far too clever than anyone else … again.

But … I’m a fan of Joss’ style and that style overcame objections and I give AVENGERS an “A”. Not A+, but a solid A.

That is all.

Jack on May 7, 2012 at 11:17 am

Duhhh! It was a guys movie, & and in IMAX 3-D it was incredible. Other than the typical lull mid-movie this was an action packed exciting movie with great effects.

steve on May 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    i don’t think that it being a “guys’ movie” has anything to do with her opinion of it…there are plenty of my gal friends who absolutely loved this movie, and this reviewer just didn’t happen to.

    nikki on May 7, 2012 at 8:50 pm

I liked it. Never seen so many people listed in a film credits. The lull in the middle of the film seemed interminable (reminding us that actress Scarlett Johansen’s main talent is her lovely derriere, not an ability to convey drama through her acting: she had the entire audience yawning during the lull). Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk found a part where he didn’t have to be interesting because his character become so when the F/X transforms him. Samuel Jackson, as Nick Fury, is one overused actor. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) was surprisingly charismatic for a Lou Ferrigno type. Otherwise, I found the pacing smart; the special effects (from several F/X studios from all over the world) to be top-notch; and the scene of the super heroes at a deli noshing on sandwiches after the end credits to be droll.

AndrewSlater on May 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Fun movie. Not a Paltrow fan, but she’s certainly better looking than Schlussel (Schlussel’s should tip the air brush guy at Glamour Shots for her pic on this blog- it’s nothing like she really looks like- talk about disingenuous).

John on May 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Agree it was a waste of time. Im so disapointed. Disagreed with parts of your post….like Ironman. They already did the self obsesed bit..then have him come out a hero. Just wished he could of shut it…. The hulk…i liked the actor Mark Ruffalo and the hulk turning up finally at the end made me not want to walk out of the cinema. The two assiasins were pants…and the bad guys???? no suspence and i could have beat them my self with a slipper. Thanks for the article..i was beggining to believe the hype and that i was wrong to dislike it so much. Cheers bro. Heres hopeing they did this as an opener….and the second is a little darker with better story.

Bayman on May 8, 2012 at 3:37 am

I liked the movie. Of course I was raised on comics and enjoyed all the lead-up movies (some more than others), but if you are asking for back story and haven’t seen the lead-ups, then don’t blame this movie. Some people will say “you shouldn’t have to watch other movies to get the whole story (in a whining voice)” but that’s pretty much the premise of doing a movie franchise like this. I think the record-breaking opening weekend pretty much speaks for this. Also, I rarely agree with any of Debbie’s reviews so this is not an exception.

BigKahunaFSU on May 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

Debbie Schlussel chastising someone else for being verbally abusing? Imagine that.

raizumichin on May 9, 2012 at 5:52 am

It’s important to realize, whether one personally likes this film or not, that this film will be hugely influential in its conservative subtext and in that way it’s a positive event in what might be considered the current cultural war with liberals.

Compare this film to another film that went on to make a billion dollars–Alice in Wonderland– seemingly innocent in its fanciful charms, but really not so at all, that contained a virulent form of aggressive feminism along with a particularly obnoxious form of liberal-fascism. Or the recent Muppets movie that took strong aim at “evil oil companies” that were apparently destroying the American dream by repossessing the Muppets studio. Or the environmentally radical recent Lorax movie. Or the recent Cars film that attacked oil companies. “The Watchmen” that some posters here have praised I felt was malignantly fascist, offering as a solution to our current social problems the nuclear bombing of various cities so that “stupid,” free, flyover-types could learn an important social lesson–only a radical progressive like Alan Moore would so baldy and openly state what many liberals believe, that we need to break a whole lot of eggs to make this grand omelet they envision.

Even superhero films that appear to be somewhat conservative like Spider-Man present adults as either evil defense contractors and greedy conservative populists or as impotent grandparents who can’t control their kids. There is no larger cultural moral context to these films, no decent adult world to aspire towards.

This new Avengers film, though, was conservative in many important ways. Here are three:

First, I’ll repeat from my comments above that presenting the most evil man of the twentieth century (Hitler) as a liberal-fascist who prevented “freedom” in Germany even as he slaughtered an entire race is a milestone. This just hasn’t been done before. Hitler is almost universally considered to be a psychotic conservative, and the way Whedon alters the narrative here shouldn’t be overlooked.

Second, the comment by Nick Fury that Captain America should wear stars and stripes on his uniform because we “need a little patriotism” can be compared to the G.I. Joe movie where the producers felt that being American was so embarrassing that the team wasn’t even even allowed to associate themselves with our country and they became an international team. What a contrast!

Finally, there is an element in the film which I liked personally which several commenters didn’t like and which I also consider “conservative,” and that was the manner in which people of completely different types, dispositions and values were all looked at positively and without judgement. Some thought the middle section was boring, and some didn’t like one or another of the characters, but, as a whole, I thought this was an important part of the film. Types varied from blond, angry power-guy, to preening genius narcissist, to introverted conflicted scientist, to another guy representing the 40s version of American integrity (haven’t seen that kind much lately) to strong-and-sort-of-scary woman. The middle section magnified their various differences and filled them out as almost opposite types in many ways. But none, I felt, were shown to be inferior to the others. That’s traditional humanism which is broadly tolerant of different often contrasting types as opposed to the current more faddy “humanism” where everyone is severely judged either as on board with the mission (to bring us heaven on earth through social justice and environmental extremism) or not on board and therefore either good or evil, in or out. This film showed different people as being of contrasting types but not necessarily superior or inferior to others. All these different types came together in the end, and that’s the ideal Americans used to have, that in spite of all the variations between us in type and background, we are still one nation capable of acting together when necessary.

Burke on May 9, 2012 at 11:22 am

That felt like the worst planetary invasion I’ve ever seen. Small ships carrying foot soldiers and soldiers on “speeder bikes” coming through the portal in ones and twos. Where were the carriers with the big guns?

If Hawkeye’s arrows could take out the foot soldiers, our soldiers with guns could do so much more. How long would it take for the 10th Mountain Div to mobilize from Fort Drum?

The only reason the Avengers had to rescue so many people is because the invasion happened in NYC, where almost no one is armed. I think things would have been a bit different had Loki picked a city in Texas.

Bryan on May 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm

It just seems you’re not a fan of the Superhero genre Debbie, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. I didn’t think it was spectacular, but I enjoyed it for what it was….A summer action superhero flick.

I personally loved the Watchmen, even the Ultimate Cut version of it which put it at four hours, and The Avengers was alright.

trewsdetroit on May 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I almost didn’t see the movie because I heard Debbies review on Mike Church, but id did anyway, and I was looking to be disappointed like captain america & green lantern.
Anyways and I couldn’t disagree more with her review, I thought Marc Ruffallo as hulk was the best out of the past actors, and I like how they took the hulk character in this take… I think this movie brought out the best in all the superheroes, even captain america, I think i may now be a fan of captain america….LOL yeah kinda cheesy jokes here and there, but they were funny because of the placement… Right out the gate it was just a fun feel good movie… this makes me wonder what type of movie she finds good…

nyguy on May 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Saw it this weekend with my mom and my son, was pleasantly surprised that we all liked it, my mom could not stop talking about the scene with Loki and the Hulk, where the Hulk “interupted” him. That moment had the audiences in stiches, laughing and cheering. My bum did get sore from sitting too long, but I was still entertained. Have to say it wasn’t Joss Whedon’s best though, still think Serenity is his best.

Dave on May 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Wow, this is the most worthless and cowardly review I’ve ever read. “Before I insult this movie I don’t understand, I’ll make sure to label everyone who disagrees with me as a ‘mindless fanboy’! Multiple times!”

Just because YOU don’t get this movie doesn’t make everyone who did “mindless fanboys”. Having a vagina doesn’t excuse you for being an inept reviewer.

Kyle on May 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm

My wife and I saw The Avengers prior to reading Debbie’s review. What a terrible mistake. We could not agree more with her review. The movie sucked. Yet some in the theater clapped when it mercifully concluded and finally ended our misery. How is it possible that some moviegoers actually loved this movie? We will never go to another movie without Debbie’s recommendation. She has never let us down.

paul duggan on May 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Wow. Seriously? Avengers did not suck. It had its flaws, but it holds the domestic box office record for a reason. Have fun arguing with the millions of people who actually enjoyed the movie.

Matt on June 17, 2012 at 10:36 am

“Mark Ruffalo–the most effeminate straight actor in Hollywood–as Bruce Banner and “The Hulk”? Not buyin’ it.”

…I thought the POINT was that Bruce Banner and the Hulk weren’t very similar. He’s not supposed to be Hulk-like normally, only when he actually IS the Hulk.

You mewling quim! on June 24, 2012 at 10:26 pm

The Avengers was alright but there were alot of slow moments in the movie, and some the action scenes were just too goofy like I was watching a cartoon probaly due to the Disney and Marvel company merger. The scenes with Black Widow fighting and jumping around and doing flips were annoying and weird..and I still cant believe Captain America smacked a grenade with his bare hands out of the way while Iron-Man was spinning around in those turbines this movie was just DULL, the only thing I liked about this movie was the dialogue between bruce banner and Tony Stark, and even Thor…. but like always the Fanboys will love it regardless

Cameron on June 29, 2012 at 12:18 am

Really good review of the movie. It was a fun time, but ultimately nothing more.

dobrev on July 1, 2012 at 11:52 am

“Like I said, I’m sure I’ll get attacked by the mindless fanboy crowd, like I did when I knocked “The Watchmen” (read my review). “Avengers” Derangement Syndrome now joins “Watchmen” Derangement Syndrome. In their blind worship, they are almost as strictly orthodox and verbally abusive as Muslims (and jealous faux-”conservatives” like Michelle Fraudkin and her mind-addled cronies) in their jihad against me and any other who dares to criticize some of the obviously empty fictional idols of the Church of Comic Books and Graphic Novels (or at least the empty on-screen depictions of them). They are so predictable and easily played by Hollywood and its marketers. And I say this as a superhero and comic book fan–have been one since I was a kid and a my dad shared his vintage Captain Marvel and other comic books with me)”

Is there any need to dedicate an entire paragraph to baiting? Cheapens the review a lot and seems like you care more about getting hits and causing controversy than you do movies?

Joe J on July 23, 2012 at 3:33 am

at least i am not the only one who hated it

sed on August 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I was with you until you said that racist thing about muslims. You do know that there are billions of us out there don’t you? Lumping us in one group is really racist and what Hitler would do if he was alive.

Sasha on October 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm


Hi, just discovered yourr blog/site! i read your movie reviews late. totally agree and more about The Avengers (various superhero clips joined together to make a movie, with joke villain), Watchmen (all style no substance) and ST2: into the darkness (aka how freakin college assholes run a starship). so far 3 out of 3! gonna go check others but i already like your taste in movies.

debbie, i don’t think hollywood makes movies for people like us anymore. So many of the movies of the 80s were fantastic with nice story, pacing with emotional tension & suspense, good ‘weighty’ action, etc. now many people just buy into the hype of the movie. or producers just throw in lots of CGI action, fast pacing, some comedy and…. it’s a HIT! society is so full of simpletons, some just mindless victims of this consumer matrix, and the throw hate at you for choosing your own road of good taste. maybe subconsciously, they know they are prisoners of a system, and they hate the spirit of a free person.

debbie, i eagerly await your next ‘superhero’/comicbookmovie review. see ya!

p/s – one of the things (other than boring script, lousy pacing, crap action, stoopid villain etc ) that took me out of the avengers was capn america. fella looked like court jester who bought his costume from a shop in taiwan. and Loki, a Prince of Asgard, sitting at the back of the 4by4 like a redneck shooting rabbits at night wtf. And joss whedon, jj abrams are supposed to be among the ‘best’ LOL

ccdev on June 18, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I agree with what you wrote, but left a more mean review on IMBD, a list review of hates. When I read what you wrote I had to scroll up again to make sure I was reading what only seemed like a very intelligent mentally healthy male would right, like me! I thought stupid girls were hot, but damn, you smashed intelligence through the roof, that’s… I don’t need to repeat it right? But, about the effeminate Bruce, I actually thought Phil was supposed to be an implied gay in the movie, and I don’t mean gay as in an insult to gays.

If you’re not married, maybe I can take you out?

Daniel Knight on November 28, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Just read your about page, why are you a conservative and not libertarian? Maybe answer in a new blog post if you already have a good answer. As a Christian, I see conservatism is a philosophy not compatible with Christ, if it were, it would probably just be called fundamentalist Christianity.

Daniel Knight on November 28, 2013 at 6:10 pm

I too am a comic fan and I too am disapointed with the cardboard characters, forced, gratuitous linear storyline this horrible super hero movie offered.

Dude on January 9, 2015 at 12:21 am

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