September 20, 2011
NC: Hello, I’m The Nostalgia Critic; I remember it so you don’t have to. Guess what? I was looking at the lineup, and it turns out the very next movie I’m gonna review is The Avengers!
(Promotional posters for the 2012 comic book movie adaptation of The Avengers are shown over dramatic music)
NC (voiceover): I know! Can you believe it, right? One of the most hyped up comic book movies of all time! I-I didn't even know it was finished yet! But apparently, we’re gonna take a look at it and see how it holds up.
NC: Are you ready? I know I sure am. Let’s take a sneak peek at what we’re in store for.
(Unfortunately for poor NC, the title card for the unrelated 1998 film of the same name comes up instead!)
NC: (shrieks while intercutting with clips from the 1998 movie) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (He inhales) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! (He inhales one more time) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! (He throws his arms around wildly before dropping his head to his desk and pausing before throwing up his arms) Go ahead.
NC (voiceover): (mutters under his breath) Cock-sucking little whore bag!! (He speaks normally) All right, a little background. The Avengers... (sighs) is not based on one of the best-selling comic books with some of the greatest superheroes of all time. It’s instead based on a British Fop-B.I. agent and his brothel of alternating hot crumpets. I guess it was sort of like a James Bond meets The Prisoner sort of thing. And before I get a million angry e-mails, no, I've never actually seen the show. But, hey, a movie should be good despite the fact if you've seen the show at all. And depending on what I've heard about this film…
NC: …we’re screwed. Let’s dive right into The Avengers.
(The movie begins)
NC (voiceover): We start off with secret agent John Steed, played by Ralph Fiennes, walking through an obstacle course training him in case anybody in the friggin' world goes fucking blood-hungry.
Technician: Well done, Steed.
John Steed: My pleasure. (Cut to him handing Technician a wrapped box) Macaroons…for Mother.
NC (voiceover): And who is Mother, you may ask? Well, it turns out that Mother in this movie is a man!
(A clip of Norman Bates from 1960’s Psycho raising his head to look at the camera with a creepy grin and the famous strings theme from the shower scene playing in the background is shown)
NC (voiceover): Well, not quite that bad. But he is the head of the Ministry of Elite Intelligence. He’s played by that British guy who always seems to be in everything but you never bother to take the time to figure out what his name is (Jim Broadbent). And if you’re really ballsy enough to actually say what his real name is in the comments below, fuck you, the rest of the world knows him as that British guy whose name we can’t remember. He sends out a message to another agent Emma Peel, played by Uma Thurman, who’s just moseying around the house in her every day ungodly expensive Chinese dress.
NC: Oh, come on, ladies, we all know you do that.
(Emma Peel opens a red box to read the message)
Emma Peel: “Please answer the telephone.” (A black phone standing near her on the table rings, and she picks it up to answer it)
Female Voice: Good morning, Doctor Peel. We've scheduled an appointment for you. John Steed. Boodle’s Gentlemen’s Club. One hour.
NC (voiceover): Did they really need to send her a package saying “Answer the phone”? Doesn't that kind of go without saying? If the phone rings, you answer it! You really needed to waste the postage to tell her this? What other basic commands do you think she has to be told?
(Cut to NC opening a small cardboard box with quirky music playing in the background)
NC: (reads a message on a piece of paper he pulls out of the box) “Answer the phone.”
(His phone rings, and he answers it)
Male Voice: Answer the door.
(NC’s doorbell rings; cut to him stopping in the entry hall after closing the front door to read a message inside a large envelope)
NC: “Turn off the stove.” (He hears a tea kettle go off in his kitchen)
(Cut to NC entering the kitchen to turn off the tea kettle before he sees a message near the stove and picks it up to read it)
NC: “Open the microwave.” (The microwave dings before he opens it to find yet another message, and he takes it to read off it) “Tell Sean Connery it’s too late for this film, but he can still back out of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. (He crumbles up the piece of paper before throwing it off-screen)
(Back to the movie)
NC (voiceover): So she (Emma) enters into the gentlemen’s club, which is (speaks as a snobby British person) most unorthodox!
Man: No women. Not in Boodle’s, not since 1762.
Emma Peel: Really?
NC (voiceover): (as stuffy British man) By jove! (as all the male club members who see Emma Peel walk past them, speaking simultaneously) *flustered gibberish*
NC (voiceover): (normal) She then meets up—at least it's probably up now—with John Steed.
John Steed: (is in a steam room wearing only a towel and reading the newspaper) Not a woman inside Boodle’s since—
Emma Peel: 1762.
John Steed: You’re not someone who plays by the rules, Doctor.
NC (voiceover): Oh, you mean like the direct rule she was given to meet up with you, even though women aren’t allowed in this place? How’s that breaking the rules? It’s not her fault you chose a location that makes no fucking sense.
Emma Peel: Now that we’ve settled the matter of titles, will you kindly explain why you wished to meet me?
John Steed: I didn't. Mother did.
Emma Peel: Mother?
John Steed: Mother.
NC (voiceover): So as they drive off to meet Mother, you may notice something very odd about the people of London in this movie: there's no people of London in this movie! What is this, 28 Days Later? I've never seen the place so abandoned! Maybe they heard they were filming this shithole and evacuated the city to save on therapy bills.
(Cut to the interior of the Ministry)
Emma Peel: Sugar, one lump.
NC (voiceover): So Peel talks about how she was working on a weather shield that was being built as a defense mechanism. The only problem is the research lab has been blown up by an all-too-familiar face.
(Security footage shows the face of Emma Peel)
Mother: You are our chief suspect.
Emma Peel: I’m innocent, of course. Why would I sabotage my own project?
Mother: You tell us. You will be allowed the privilege to prove your innocence. If you didn’t blow up Prospero, find out who did.
NC (voiceover): Really? You have...video evidence that she is the culprit, and you’re actually gonna let her solve the case? This seems…a tad…backwards.
John Steed: He’d like us to work as a team.
Emma Peel: Hmm. You mean I have to trust you?
NC (voiceover): “Trust you—”? It’s your face that got caught on the video camera, you dumb broad! HE SHOULD HAVE A HARD TIME TRUSTING YOU!
(John and Emma leave before Father [a woman!!!] enters in from up above, and Mother notices)
Mother: Do you think Mrs. Peel is dangerous, Father?
Father: All in my report, [Mother.]
NC: (interrupting) Wait, wait, w-w-w-w-wait. Father. The woman’s name is Father. (Beat) Let me see if I understand this ministry correctly. You have a woman…
NC (voiceover): …named Father, a man named Mother, a package instructing agents how to pick up a phone, a message telling a woman to meet in a place where no women are allowed, and most likely letting a criminal with hard evidence against her SOLVE HER OWN CRIME?! DOES ANYTHING IN THIS AGENCY MAKE SENSE?! EVERYTHING IS TOTALLY FRIGGIN' UPSIDE DOWN!
NC: Hell, while we’re at it, why don’t we throw in some more confusing names! (He starts speaking in a British accent) Ah, yes, after you have the information, drop it off to Agent Sister (an image of an old man is shown), who will then drop it off to Agent Brother (an image of a teenage girl is shown), right after handing it over to Agent Cat (an image of a Dalmatian is shown), who will relay the message to Mr. Dog (an image of a tabby cat is shown), and Mr. Dog will confirm it with Agent Black (an image of a Klansman is shown). I’m so glad things work so sensibly around here!
Father: My theory goes: Mrs. Peel may be ill.
Mother: Revenge is a possible motive.
Father: She certainly fits our profile.
(Fade in to a clip from Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)
Dr. Strangelove: It is not only possible…it is essential!
(Back to the movie)
NC (voiceover): So they (John and Emma) talk about what they’re going to do to solve the case while sword fighting. Why? Well, see if you can guess.
Emma Peel: Artificially creating new weather systems.
John Steed: You’re a lady of hidden talents, Mrs. Peel. (They continue sword fighting until they’re both in a blocking pose to keep each other from striking) A little more flexibility in the wrist?
NC (voiceover): If you haven’t figured it out yet, this whole entire movie is based on one friggin' joke: They’re polite. They perform incredibly dangerous stunts and react with a calm, friendly retort. That’s it! That’s where all the humor in this movie comes from.
John Steed: To what do you attribute to your overachievements?
Emma Peel: My father always wanted a boy.
John Steed: I fail to see the connection.
Emma Peel: So did he.
NC (voiceover): Now, let’s take out the fact that this is all based on one joke—and a particularly weak one at that—and ask one question: If nobody in this movie becomes passionate or excited about what they’re doing, why should we? Why should we care if they make it out of a situation when clearly they have as much energy and drive as Victorian senior citizen porn? (An image of a well-dressed senior couple is shown briefly with speech bubbles over them, saying respectively, “Do me,” and “I am.”) Do they ever become interested in anything? Nope! They just talk politely about it throughout the entire movie.
(Cut to John and Emma heading out to their car outside)
John Steed: Marvelous weather. Not the sort of day to be stuck in town. I think we ought to get away.
Emma Peel: “We”?
John Steed: Yes, just the two of us, a weekend in the country. How about it, Mrs. Peel?
Emma Peel: Depends what you have in mind.
John Steed: Well, I’m a nature lover, so whatever comes naturally.
(Cut to a clip from the Looney Tunes cartoon “Gopher Broke” with two gophers named Mac and Tosh talking about a fresh carrot while underground; this intercuts with footage from the movie)
Mac: I’d say they were just right for harvesting, wouldn't you?
Tosh: I would, indeed. Indeed, I would!
Emma Peel: Should we be making plans for tonight?
John Steed: We are. I thought we’d have time to pay a social visit.
Emma Peel: I thought as much.
Mac: Well, come on. Let’s go harvesting.
Tosh: After you.
Mac: Oh, no. You first.
Tosh: Thank you.
NC (voiceover): Well, let’s see if Sean Connery, one of the reigning kings of cool, can spice things up a bit. He plays an ex-agent named Doctor August De Wynter, and the Avengers—which I just realized are never called the Avengers in this movie…nor are they ever avenging anything—have a feeling his obsession with the weather might have something do with the case.
August De Wynter: (walks with Emma through a greenhouse while using a transparent umbrella) Oh, yes, the monsoons. Ooh, even as a boy, when Nana taught me the naming of the clouds…
Emma Peel: Cumulus.
August De Wynter: Yes.
Emma Peel: Stratocumulus.
August De Wynter: Oh, yes.
Emma Peel: Nimbus.
August De Wynter: Hmm. Oh, I discovered, then, nothing beats a good lashing. Mind your head.
NC (voiceover): GOOOODDDD! Even Sean Connery, in all his coolness, can’t save this snorefest! On top of that, he’s not even that smooth. He comes across as sort of an awkward horny old man.
August De Wynter: (various scenes) I have always admired a woman who is meteorologically inclined./Touch it, Dr. Peel./Allow me./Please, please touch it.
Emma Peel: Do you mind?
August De Wynter: One should never fear…being wet.
NC (voiceover): (as August De Wynter) Don’t worry. I have a dozen other Roger Moore pick-up lines. (normal) But Mr. Steed comes across an unusual sight: a sudden snowstorm, accompanied by Mrs. Peel and her Queen of Narnia cosplay.
(Fake Emma shoots John in the chest while he’s on the snowy ground)
NC (voiceover): He then wakes up finding Mrs. Peel attending to his wounds. Does this freak him out at all? NAHHHH!
John Steed: You tried to shoot me, didn't you?
Emma Peel: (goes over to a piano) I would never shoot you. Not without my reasons. (She starts playing)
John Steed: I remember it clearly. But luckily, my…Trubshaw waistcoat was bulletproof.
NC (voiceover): Boy, it'd be really cool if maybe they showed us this vest! Either being tested out or explained like any other good spy flick, but hell with that ass! We got more bantering to do!
Emma Peel: I’m the sort that doesn't take “no” for an answer.
John Steed: I think that would depend entirely on the question, Mrs. Peel.
Emma Peel: Nursing an invalid isn't my idea of fun, after all.
(A clip from The Great Muppet Caper of a British couple having dinner and having polite conversation intercuts with the movie)
NC (voiceover): So they go to a secret underground company called Wonderland Weather, where they—(Cut to a board meeting with each person dressed in multicolored teddy bear costumes) the FUCK?!
August De Wynter: (dressed in a black teddy bear costume) Welcome to Wonderland Weather, here in our London headquarters.
NC: The FUCK?!
NC (voiceover): When did this turn into The Grateful Dead’s Teddy Bear Picnic?! I’m sorry, movie! I’m sorry! You can’t do that! You can’t do that! You can’t have nothing but bland characters, bland dialogue and bland visuals throughout the entire film, and then…suddenly throw this shit at us!
August De Wynter: (has removed the headpiece of his costume to reveal his face) You all know who I am, and I know all of you. But you cannot know one another.
NC (voiceover): I guess the idea’s supposed to be that they’re all in disguise because they’re such big names, but…really? This was the best you could come up with? What happened to just a paper bag over the face or, hell, even a secure video conference? This just…doesn't…seem…like…the first…logical…conclusion…to come to!
August De Wynter: And in recognition of your work, a generous offer of $1 million awaits you.
NC (voiceover): (as August De Wynter) It’s occurred to me while saying these lines, that this might be a little ridiculous. (normal) And, of course, (sighs) it is my sad duty to have you, the viewer, decide which one of these jokes I should go with.
(A clip from The Country Bears moves below and past NC from camera right)
Reed Thimple (Christopher Walken): This is not over! BEARS!
NC: (as the fashion show announcer) Wonderful. And, of course, uh, we have the always wonderful Darkheart reading from Care Bears II: A New Generation.
(A clip from Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation moves below and past NC from camera right)
Darkheart: Time for a game of disappearing bears...
NC: (as the fashion show announcer) Fantastic. And, of course, from the movie Alaska, Charlton Heston’s reading of that famous line…
(A clip from Alaska moves below and past NC from camera right)
Colin Perry (Charlton Heston): I want that bear!
NC: (as the fashion show announcer) Very nice. So, which review meme would you like me to go with, ladies and gentlemen? (Beat, then a “Ding!” is heard) Ah, you have chosen the always classic… (growls on the next word) Bear! (An image of a cute polar bear cub appears below NC as a dramatic music chord plays and lightning strikes)
NC (voiceover): So the Avengers work their way behind the scenes, and—in keeping in character—aren't the least bit weirded out that there’s a bunch of fucking bears walking around!
(John Steed steps into an elevator and rides down; an elevator not far from him goes upward, and it’s August De Wynter [in full costume] riding it)
NC (voiceover): My God! I must alert Andy Panda and Winnie the Pooh immediately!
(Emma Peel approaches an elevator and presses a button, waiting for it to go up; an agent in a teddy bear costume jumps out from above and lands on her, attacking her)
Background Singers (from the Gummi Bears TV show): Gummi Bears! Bouncing here and there and everywhere.
(Emma punches the head off the bear costume to reveal the face of a female agent that is an exact clone of Emma!)
NC: Well, looks like somebody’s having a bad bear day! (He ducks for cover before bullets come flying at him)
(John Steed approaches the scene, and both Emma and the agent turn to look at him)
John Steed: Mrs. Peel?
(The agent clone gets up to run and jump off the building)
NC (voiceover): Movie, will you just…look at yourself? That was Uma Thurman in a bear suit jumping off a building. Please tell me somebody at one point finally said, “Hey! This might…MIGHT BE REALLY FUCKING STUPID!!”
John Steed: Time to pay Sir August another visit.
Emma Peel: Hmm.
NC (voiceover): So Steed now believes there are two Emma Peels, which makes the bad guys send out their real serious weapons now!
(A swarm of large mechanical bees fly and hover over the car John and Emma are driving in)
NC (voiceover): Or they just battle this dumb shit.
(The mechanical bees start firing at the car to attack)
NC (voiceover): (sarcastically) Look out! They come directly from Dr. Wily's!
(The Mega Man 2 theme along with sound effects from the Mega Man video game series briefly plays over the chase sequence)
NC (voiceover): But luckily, another agent named Alice is there to help them out. Let me guess: her shtick is she's really polite.
Alice: (brings out a Tommy gun from the basket of her bicycle and holds it while John and Emma step out of the car) Would you be so kind as to hit the ground?
(John and Emma duck for cover on the ground before Alice fires her Tommy gun at some of Wynter’s agents while Protoman's whistle plays)
NC (voiceover): So they go back to Sean Connery’s house where he has a devious plan for them both. He fights off Mr. Steed, just so he can let him go and run away after capturing Emma Peel, just so he can let her go and run away. I’d say that none of this makes any goddamn sense, but then again, he was working for the Ministry where the parents aren’t even given the right gender, so I’m used to none of this adding up! This calls for more banter!
Emma Peel: A bachelor’s life.
John Steed: It’s worked quite well until now.
Emma Peel: Don’t tell me you never met the right girl.
John Steed: There’s always the exception.
Emma Peel: That proves the rule?
John Steed: Quite.
NC: Okay, I’m just gonna sum up how every conversation in this movie goes.
(A scene from the movie plays with NC voicing the characters)
Emma Peel: I’m gonna start saying something clever, while you…
John Steed: …finish your sentence.
Emma Peel: Witty retort…
John Steed; …topped by me.
Emma Peel: Winking smile.
John Steed: Returned.
(Back to the movie, Father walks in)
(Dramatically quick close-ups of both Emma and John and then Father and her group of agents are shown)
Dr. Strangelove (from Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb): Mein Fuhrer! I can walk!
Father: I want Mrs. Peel. Interrogation. Mrs. Peel is under arrest.
NC (voiceover): So they take Mrs. Peel away, when Steed realizes he needs help from another secret agent.
(At the Ministry, John opens the door to an office before we see that an invisible person is having tea and smoking a pipe)
Invisible Jones: Brenda told me to expect you, Steed.
NC (voiceover): Okay, even for a movie that had mechanical bees, grannies with guns and ninja teddy bears, this is pretty silly.
Invisible Jones: Don’t worry about me being invisible. Learnt the trick in camouflage, ‘til the accident made rather a mess of things. Now I’m stuck away in the basement. Lucky if I even get the tea trolley.
NC (voiceover): Yes, because Lord knows AN INVISIBLE MAN WOULDN’T BE USEFUL FOR ANY IN-DEPTH SPY WORK, WOULD HE? Throw him in the archives for a five-minute cameo!
NC: It’s cool! We put him next to Godzilla in accounting! (A Photoshopped image of Godzilla’s head superimposed over a business man’s head is shown) Clearly, we have no use for him!
NC (voiceover): So Connery makes his threat to the world leaders that he will destroy the world—(refers to the exterior shots of empty London) if anybody was in it—with his violent weather maker if they don’t give in to his demands
August De Wynter: Hundreds of millions will die. They’ll drown…burn…freeze. You…have no choice!
NC (voiceover): And what exactly are his demands? What was he doing this entire criminally insane scheme for? Money.
Samuel Gerard (from The Fugitive): What do you mean, “He did it for the money”? He’s a doctor. He’s already rich.
NC (voiceover): Right you are! He clearly has millions of dollars, a hedge maze, a ton of useless expensive collections, but apparently, that just isn’t enough for him! I guess he wants to save up for buying the planet Jupiter or something! Hey, we all need a hobby!
August De Wynter: The countdown…has already begun. (Cut to a close-up shot of the front of Wynter’s kilt before the camera focuses back to show Wynter in full again) This…is merely the beginning!
NC: Please never zoom in on any grey hair in that area again. I’m trying to eat my popcorn.
NC (voiceover): So they discover that Peel is a clone and Father is a traitor, as she throws Mother from the chair and takes both Peels with her to escape in a hot air balloon.
Father: It really isn’t Mother’s day.
NC: Oh, please, you were writing such a high note with that “one should never fear being wet” line.
(John runs in to find Mother lying on his back on the snowy ground)
Mother: The balloon, Steed! The balloon! Don’t mind me. (John runs off)
NC (voiceover): Yes, never mind the beaten man fallen over in a wheelchair freezing to death. You have to save the woman who they didn’t handcuff for some reason, allowing her to climb out and blow up the balloon. Still keeping the Ministry’s settings to “Total Fucking Retarded,” aren’t you?
John Steed: (finds Emma lying in the snow) Are you all right? (Emma nods) And the other Mrs. Peel?
Emma Peel: Dispatched, I think.
NC (voiceover): So after they—what a shock—banter some more, they get ready to plan their final attack. (Beat) Hamster style.
(John and Emma walk across a lake in transparent balls as August Wynter looks on through security monitors as music from American Gladiators plays in the background)
NC (voiceover): Now, here’s another no-brainer scene. They have to use the phone booth to get inside his lair by saying the secret password.
Emma Peel: (is heard speaking the password) How now, brown cow?
(John and Emma are brought down an elevator shaft and into the lair, revealing that they’re now in a steel cage surrounding them)
NC (voiceover): Okay, so now he’s got them. They’re totally trapped in the cage for him to do whatever—(One of the sides of the cage opens up, letting John and Emma out) what the assrape?! You opened the cage?! Are you a freaking moron?! I think the most intelligent thing in this movie is the fucking umbrella!
Emma Peel: Don’t wait for me.
John Steed: Perish the thought.
NC (voiceover): (as Emma Peel) Winking smile. (as John Steed) Returned. (normal) So they split up and try to destroy Connery’s evil machine. Mr. Steed fights him head on, while Mrs. Peel fights a henchman, played by then-unknown comedian Eddie Izzard.
(The henchman flips out a switchblade and approaches Emma)
Eddie Izzard: (audio, dubbed over the henchman) Cake or death!
(A wire snaps, making the henchman lose his balance, fall and swing to collide with a cylinder tower)
Eddie Izzard: (audio, dubbed over the henchman) We’re gonna run out of cake at this rate.
(The henchman falls to his death, screaming. Lightning bolts strike at the faces of the Westminster Clock Tower [where the famous Big Ben is held])
NC (voiceover): (speaks blandly) Oh, no, look out. They’re playing the stock footage from Mars Attacks!
(John and August continue to duel)
NC (voiceover): So, in a very bizarre way to go, Sean Connery gets stabbed by Mr. Steed and then…struck by lightning.
(Such a scene is presented before Wynter is taken up to the sky with the lightning bolts and disappears with the rest of the storm clouds)
NC (voiceover): (as August De Wynter) Finally! I’ve been raptured! Take me away, Jesus! I’ll never do another movie like this again! (normal) So London returns to its normal crappy weather, no one is still around to see it, and Ralph Fiennes is realizing playing a half snake, half sperm hybrid chasing a magical boy suddenly seems like a step up after this movie.
(A final exterior shot of London is shown before the movie ends)
NC: And that’s The Avengers. What a cup of dick!
(Clips from the movie play again as NC speaks)
NC (voiceover): The sets are dull, the dialogue is dull, the characters are dull, and it all hinges on a dull joke! Everything just seems to be on autopilot. There’s no passion or drive to anything that happens. You totally forget you saw it just a few minutes after the viewing. So, Avengers, if you really wanna avenge something, avenge this piece of shit movie for making us suffer so much!
NC: Let’s just say it’s pretty bad when the God of Thunder (Thor), a can opener (Iron Man) and the Jolly Green Giant (The Incredible Hulk) looks much more plausible than this! I’m The Nostalgia Critic! I remember it so you don’t have to! (He gets up to leave)
Channel Awesome Tagline—August De Wynter: One should never fear…being wet.