The Avengers – Movie ReviewMay 7, 2012
The Avengers is every bit as awesome as you’d hoped it would be.
“The best Hulk movie yet.” That’s what a lot of people are saying about The Avengers, and while that is absolutely true, it’s much more than that. It’s an incredibly fun film, overflowing with action and yet still making time for real character development, and even some truly great comedy. I tip my metaphorical hat to Joss Whedon, who has pulled off one of the most exciting and engaging superhero movies I’ve ever seen.
Whedon is a certifiable geek genius, and his passion shines through in every frame of this film. Having helmed Buffy and Firefly, he’s become very adept at bringing a team together and giving them some heart. There’s no better example than in the fact that The Hulk was one of my favorite characters in this movie, when I’ve previously only seen him as boring and one-dimensional. I have to give credit to Mark Ruffalo as well, for making this character very watchable rather than groan-inducing.
If you’ve seen any Marvel film in the past few years, you know full well that Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury has been trying to wrangle together a super group of superheroes together for his Avengers Initiative. The film has a very basic premise- Thor’s Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has attacked the Earth with an alien army, and the only way to stop him is to get the band onstage – that would be The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
That’s a lot of characters to balance, and I went into The Avengers fully expecting the film to be cluttered, confusing and disjointed. It’s a small miracle that the film is not only easy to follow, but incredibly fun to watch. The dialogue between the team (especially when they first meet) is excellent and often hilarious, and never feels forced. Nobody feels shoehorned in, and there are so many epic action sequences that I almost felt worn out by the end of the film’s runtime. The theater I saw it in was packed to the brim (much like the film itself), and although I had to crane my neck the entire time, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. It almost feels like a lucid dream, speaking as a comic fan, because even though the film has been hyped for years, it’s difficult to comprehend the awesomeness of seeing all these great characters (and actors) on the same screen. It’s a bit cliche, but it is the closest thing I’ve yet seen to a comic book come to life, and it’s every bit as awesome as I hoped. It’s just an exceedingly fun movie, which is very rare these days.
Every character is at their best in this film. Captain America is as patriotic and no-nonsense as ever, and Iron Man’s vicious wit is always hilarious and never overbearing. Ruffalo manages to imbue Bruce Banner with a few new layers of heart, and lends him a distinct personality that was sorely lacking from Hulk’s previous film entries. We also learn what makes Black Widow tick, and she is genuinely interesting this time around, rather than just a ridiculously hot female in tight leather. Which I still would have been ok with, but at least women won’t have any reason to complain about her- and she kicks a lot of ass in this movie.
It’s not spoiling anything (it’s in every commercial) to tell you that there are a few battles among the heroes in this movie. I won’t give away who fights who, but rest assured that these battles are even cooler than they were in the comics, and executed very well. They’re also not just done for the sake of awesome fight scenes, as it realistically shows off the wildly differing personalities of the team, which definitely don’t quite gel together at first.
It’s not necessary to watch all of the heroes’ previous Marvel films to understand The Avengers, but it definitely gives the characters and their interactions more depth. I would say that Thor is the only must-see film before The Avengers, as the films’ villains are the same person, and his motivations, and the brother’s personalities become much clearer upon viewing that film. The members of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, notably Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Nick Fury (Sam Jackson), and Agent Coulson (Clarke Gregg) all get much less screen time than the main cast, which is to be expected, but they all are handled well, with Coulson and Fury feeling much more fleshed out after viewing this film.
Overall, The Avengers can be seen as nothing short of a huge accomplishment. Everyone in the cast gives their best performances thus far, and bounce off of each other perfectly. Joss Whedon infuses every scene with heart and excitement, and you’ll be on the edge of your seat for the entire film. I can only hope that The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man match my expectations as well as The Avengers has.