Tom DotyTimes Columnist
September 26, 2012
The summer’s biggest hit teamed up with a straight-to-video flick this week to bring you all the superheroics you can stand.
“The Avengers” — Joss Whedon pulled off the impossible with this flick and united the stars of four film series for one colossal smackdown. The film finds Nick Fury (Agent of SHIELD) on a mission to stop the evil Norse god Loki, who has come into possession of a device that is evil incarnate. To get the job done, Fury puts Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk in a room and hopes to get them to work together. The whole enterprise devolves into a clash of egos until the heroes realize that their combined might could actually turn back a rampaging army of aliens. This is all delivered with tongue firmly in cheek, as Whedon allows each character a chance to shine while giving all of them a glib tongue. This is the guy who wrote “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” for television and made it a hit with his hip humor. Great stuff, but they better sign Whedon first if they expect the sequel to be half as good.
“Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” — Frank Miller reshaped Batman with his 1989 series and it finally arrives as an animated film. Peter Weller (“Robocop”) makes for a fine version of Bruce Wayne. He is now a physical wreck and retired, but when Gotham City falls under the spell of the Joker, he must stage a comeback. Dark and very moody, but the best take on the character since Bob Kane dreamed him up.
“American Horror Story” — A family in crisis moves into a new home, but their days are numbered, as this place houses the evil spirits of some angry ghosts. This is the best thing since “The Walking Dead” and each episode features several jump scares, as well as some lurid drama. The cast is superb but my vote goes to Jessica Lange as a deranged mother who drives everyone around her insane.
“Strippers vs. Werewolves” — You may ask how a film this awful got made, and the only thing I can tell you is that Robert Englund needs to eat, too.
Next week brings a new Tim Burton film that finds him reteaming with Johnny Depp to put a fresh perspective on the TV favorite, “Dark Shadows.”