As we’ve repeated numerous times in the last couple weeks, writing a negative review of “The Avengers” can be hazardous to a film critic’s mental health. For a critic who doesn’t like the movie, writing that review can feel a little like the walk down The Green Mile: you know whatever’s waiting you at the end of this journey ain’t gonna feel too good. For those of you in such a predicament, John Keefer offers a fun blog post called “How to Write a Review of Marvel’s ‘The Avengers.'” It may not offer that much in the way of practical advice, but it does at least provide an uplifting pep talk before the trip to the gallows. Keefer’s suggestions begin with this worthwhile nugget:
“1) Don’t start the review with a concession, e.g. “I’m not a comic book fan.” This will not help you in the slightest as the people who are reading the review most likely are. And while you may not be a fan of funny books you are a fan of replications of images of people pretending to be people they are not. There is no better or worse kind of nerd. There are just nerds.”
So true. And so often forgotten! Keefer also recommends not taking the film too seriously or “un-too seriously” which is another good thing to keep in mind: the idea of men in tights punching vampires who circle the moon and suck hot studs’ blood (I haven’t seen “Avengers” yet, so I’m just guessing) might sound silly to you, but it’s pretty important stuff to thousands upon thousands of people. “The Avengers” have endured in print for almost five decades — and they’re probably more popular now than they have ever been at any point in their history (Marvel currently publishes five monthly “Avengers” comics, plus assorted mini-series and crossovers).
There’s a reason why these characters have endured in the public’s imagination for so long; investigating that in a review could be a far more valuable use of column inches than a simple dismissal. For that matter, “The Avengers” is co-written and directed by Joss Whedon, who just dazzled this same audience with “The Cabin in the Woods.” What about his approach resonates with these viewers? It’s something to think about as well.
Keefer also suggests getting high before you see “The Avengers.” I’m not sure I’d go that far. You’re probably better off waiting to see how you like the film first. If you hate it, that may be the time to assemble your brain cells at a higher state of consciousness.