DONT WORRY, THIS IS A “NO SPOILER” REVIEW. I just can’t do it to ya’ll.
It’s 4:30 in the morning, and I just came back from the 12 Midnight showing of THE AVENGERS. I just want to start this review by saying AWESOME! AWESOME, AWESOME AWESOME, AWESOME AWESOME! This was a perfect culmination to a story that started 4 years ago with IRONMAN in May of 2008. Undoubtedly the best Superhero movie to date. Hey I’m just state a fact here. If you are even remotely a fan of hero movies; heck, even if you are a “Love DC, Hate Marvel” fan, I would still tell you to see this film, if only to see how it is done right (not including the DARK KNIGHTS of course).
You have to remember, us older Geeks have been wanting to see this film get made for a very long time. Since I was a young teenager.
It starts out with the situation. No long plot setup. There wasn’t any waste of time explaining who the enemies were, or what they wanted. There was no need for origin story. All of that was taken care of in the last Five films – IRONMAN, INCREDIBLE HULK, IRONMAN 2, THOR and CAPTAIN AMERICA. I’m assuming you have watched them already. Shame on you if you didn’t.
We already know Loki is interested in the Shiny Square thing, from the ‘after credit’ scene in Thor. They call it the Tesseract in the movie. Let’s be for real people… It’s The Cosmic Cube! Anyway, Loki has an alliance with some funky inter-dimensional guys that make up an army. He plans to conquer the earth with said army, since he can’t take Asgard. Loki gets the cube from S.H.I.E.L.D. and runs. From there it’s a bit of cat and mouse until Nick Fury can assemble you know who! That’s all I’m going to tell you about the plot. No, no, that’s all you get.
The Avengers is to Superhero movies what The Godfather is to mafia films. Of course, not in a serious “waking up next to a horse head” sort of way. But in that the film left the fans with an impacting comic book experience. When I saw Spiderman 2 I thought to myself “This is a comic brought to life.” But with The Avengers it was more than any Avengers comic brought to life. It was almost more than I Imagined as I read the stories as a kid. But still, it didn’t take itself too seriously so that it lost the flavor of the comic mythology. Some of it was due to the Fanboy/Fangirl stuff that people wanted to see. Some of it was due to the great, fast paced visuals. And still some of it was because it was a fun, and not overly complicated story.
Yes, we have seen all the characters get established in their own previous movies, but Ironman, Thor and Captain America coming together for the first time gave the audience a fresh, ‘origin story’ feel to the gathering. The writers, Whedon and Penn, filled this movie with obstacle after obstacle to overcome. I even liked that Nick Fury had opposition with his so-called superiors. And even though they didn’t waste time with too many explanations, it didn’t seem rushed or unbelievable at all. Here was a grave situation, and everyone had to put themselves aside to get the job done. Whedon used a classic storytelling tool in the middle of the film to help tighten things up for the group, but I won’t spoil that for you either.
Joss Whedon loves these characters. You can see it. No one can knock his directing. I trusted him with the story, but he captured the tone of the avengers like a giant Whedon spider spinning a web for his unsuspecting audience.
All of the acting was as good, if not better than the origin movies. With the pacing and action as it was, there really wasn’t time for us to ponder any scenes that didn’t hit the right notes. As if there were any. Again, it’s a comic movie, not Shakespeare. But that’s nothing to take away from it.
Surprisingly, Scarlett Johansson carried a lot of emotional weight in the film, and still made it believable that she was a spy in this universe. That’s no surprise, being that Whedon loves women characters. The writer/producer of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse has tremendous respect for women on and off the camera. Black Widow was even more of the tough former soviet spy that we saw in Ironman two. And even though there was one ‘Shaken Woman’ moment (which she recovered from immediately), you totally understood why. You would be shaken too if you were being chased by… I’ll let you see it.
I liked how Tom Hiddleston as Loki directly or indirectly tries to convince each of the group that it’s his right to rule. He played it like a megalomaniac with a tinge of desperation. He wasn’t quite as poignant as he was in certain scenes of Thor, but there really wasn’t room for that already established subtext. Loki was a greedy, evil son-of-a-gun, that’s all we needed.
Oh, and did I mention the Helicarrier was pretty incredible. How can you show S.H.I.E.L.D. without the Helicarrier? Whedon and Penn and the other writers laid down some nice groundwork for more Nick Fury story I think… they didn’t leave S.H.I.E.L.D. out of the equation Just like in the comic, S.H.I.E.L.D. is not only an international organization, but a character with good and bad intentions as well.
Hawkeye got to show off his skills, and show that he didn’t just use a simple bow and arrow. The technology he used was just as advanced as any other shield weapon. And at the beginning of the film, they showed that Clint Barton, played by Jeremy Renner, was a thinking man, and not just an arrow-shooting sniper grunt. They seemed to give all these characters just enough to show they weren’t just flat cut outs.
There was a point where the heroes were all at odd with each other. It was a good reminder that these weren’t sparkling people. Even Captain America was still very troubled at being snapped out of the past while frozen in ice. And speaking of Cap, it didn’t take long to show him as leader and that his valor gets respect from even the most independent rich playboy thinkers. I don’t even See The Human Torch that Chris Evans played from The Fantastic Four anymore.
if you were wondering how Mark Ruffalo did as Bruce Banner, he did fine. He didn’t play the troubled soul that Edward Norton played, but it was more like “You guys really don’t want me here, do you?” kind of thing. The reason why they even had Bruce Banner with them was a believable one for the story. I was a little worried about the actual Hulk scenes before seeing this, but now I consider them even better than the original movie. I mean, they added up to a better Hulk movie than the Hulk movie.
Thor was probably the character they least had to invest actual story into. There were a couple of times when he and his brother got into it, but seeing Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, using his powers and ’interacting’ with the rest of the heroes, made for some of the most memorable moments of the film. No need to hear him talk about Asgard and all it’s glory.
The directing was great. If it wasn’t proven before, then Joss Whedon has proven now, that he can direct a great Pop-culture film. There really wasn’t a slow moment in the film. None that wasn’t pushing the story forward. He must have been amazing with all the actors to have them interact so well together. Like I said, this wasn’t a complicated story, but it was a well told story. And much of it was told in the previous films. You just don’t see this kind of movie making. The pacing was as fine tuned as it could have been. Action, rest, bigger action, rest, whole lot bigger action, then More action. I’ve always said that escalation is the key to these movies. Each battle has to be bigger than the last. It was done so many times, and handled just right each time. Also, the editing was great. Like when they showed how Hawkeye’s arrows loaded special tips, things like that were done well.
I can’t say that the music blew me away. It didn’t take anything away from the film, but it wasn’t something I noticed.
The dialog for the cast seemed natural for a superhero setting. Robert Downey Jr. wasn’t the only one that was delivering snappy lines as Tony Stark. I think all the actors did two jobs successfully – flesh out the character, and move the story forward. And every little question that might have come up from the previous movies was handled with some quick line or two. I don’t think there was any waste of dialog.
What else can I say about the film that won’t spoil it for you. I loved it. THE AVENGERS was very satisfying to me, an old geek that started collecting the comic at Avengers #162 (1977). There are a few people who might be disappointed with the film. I understand that. Most of them are probably not familiar with the comic characters. Some will be nay-sayers, like the NY Times Critic evidently was when he got twitter-slapped by Samuel L. Jackson himself. But those people have to remember something that they quite easily forget. IT’S A COMIC MOVIE. And as far as they go, THE AVENGERS was a success.
GEEK SOUL BROTHER gives THE AVENGERS 5 out of 5 COSMIC AFROS. Why so perfect? Nothing in that movie bothered me one bit. I’m judging this according to what fans are looking for. Not compared to say SHINDLER’S LIST. Let me know what you thought.
Oh, and if you geekers and geekesses haven’t learned to stay in the theater, while the credits are rolling, well keep your butts in the seats this time. There’s an Easter Egg at the end that you shouldn’t miss. Unfortunately, many of you out there won’t recognize the full weight of what you see. But that’s okay, just see it.