I saw the Avengers last week, and I don't know...I was underwhelmed. I enjoyed it, but the way it was hyped this summer, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would have.
It was a bit skimpy on character, with a convoluted don't-even-care-enough-to-summarize-it plot, and the whole super-hero team-up thing, well, it seemed like it would be cooler than it was. When it was over, I was glad I had rented it and not bought it.
That same day I watched the first half of War Horse and was moved to tears by a short, nearly wordless sequence. A character played by Tom Huddleston (the same actor who played Loki in The Avengers) is riding Joey, the War Horse of the title, into battle as an English cavalryman.
They charge a German camp and catch the enemy with their pants down. There's a slaughter, and the survivors run off into the forest. At first, it seems like a total rout, an unquestionable English victory, but back in the forest, the Germans have set-up machine gun positions and they hold.
RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT. They start firing into the charging cavalry. The camera focuses on the guns, not the carnage, the bam-bam-bam-bam. You think, there's no way anyone could survive that.
Cut to Tom Huddleston charging the tree line in formation. He gets this look on his face...
Cut back to the machine gun nests. There's a beat...then dozens of horses come charging through the lines at speed, terrified and missing their riders.
And I know what you're thinking: How could the horses still be alive if the men were shot off? But by the time you think that, you're already thinking, holy Mary, the men were shot off.
And by then, it's too late, you're emotionally invested in the story.
Not sure there was anything like that in The Avengers. No, I'm pretty sure it was all about getting the guys in the same room, having them blow shit up, and then putting your money in the bank.
Enjoy that buck fifty, Marvel. That's all I can say.