The Decline and Fall of Variety
April 21st, 2015

I’ve mentioned before that Variety increasingly feels like it’s being run by Gawker rejects, rather than no-nonsense industry nerds like the great Todd McCarthy. Here, then, is their review of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which contains the following passage meant, I think, to praise the film:

Having apparently resolved that one failed Earthly invasion is enough for one millennium, Loki is nowhere to be found in “Age of Ultron,” but even minus his caustic wit, the new movie is a sleeker, faster, funnier piece of work — the sort of sequel (like “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “Superman II” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” before it) that shrugs off the self-seriousness of its predecessor and fully embraces its inner Saturday-morning serial.

It’s difficult to catalogue all of the wrongheadedness in that single ungainly sentence.

* Neither Wrath of Khan nor Superman II are “funnier” or less “self-serious” than their predecessors. But both are superior movies to them.

Temple of Doom is much less serious than Raiders, but nowhere near as funny.

* Calling Raiders “self-serious” is ridiculous.

Temple of Doom is vastly inferior to Raiders. I defy you to find one movie critic–or even ten people, anywhere on the internet–who say it’s a better movie.

Then there’s a juvenile and nonsensical shot at Israel–comparing Ultron to the Iron Dome system.

And finally it hints that the Whedon Clint Barton might be gay. Sigh. If true, I’ll dutifully chase this stick off the porch. But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

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