The hype behind Marvel’s The Avengers has been extraordinary. The past few months there has been nothing but talk about this film and how it’s going to be the granddaddy of all superhero films. A few weeks back, I was supposed to attend a very special screening of the film in Cherry Hill, NJ but sadly did not get to attend. After this screening as well as several others around the USA that same day, the reviews for this film almost seemed flawless. Everyone almost everywhere was labeling this film “the best superhero movie ever made” and with a title like that I really began to wonder if The Avengers could really live up to all this hype, which is why I was anxiously awaiting my press screening of the film on May 1, 2012 so I could finally see what all the hype is about.
The plot of The Avengers is fairly simple and easy to follow. I would strongly recommend that you watch all the films leading up to The Avengers to have a complete appreciation for the film, although the movie does hold up fine on its own. As for the plot, Loki (Tom Hiddleson) comes back to earth and steals a powerful cube known as the tesseract from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) at the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. This is when all hell breaks loose as the tesseract can be used to destroy the planet so Nick must work with Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) to get all the members of The Avengers to come together and save the world from Loki and his evil alien army.
I can’t believe I am going to say this, but The Avengers actually lives up the majority of the hype. If you are a superhero fan, who loves characters like Thor, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Captain America, this is without a doubt a wet dream come true. This film embraces everything that we as geeks love about superheroes from the cool action sequences to witty banter between the characters themselves. This is a movie that superhero fanatics everywhere will be talking about and phrasing for years to come.
The question on everyone’s mind should simply be what made this film work so well? Well, the answer in my humble opinion is Joss Whedon. The man loves this stuff and he loves the source material. When you have someone so passionate about a film and its characters you are going to get something that works as well as this film works. Whedon uses his creative writing techniques not on the plot of the film, but rather on how the characters interact with one another and their dialogue. The plot of “The Avengers” is the same as most superhero films, but is the interaction, dialogue, and action sequences that really make this film work as well as it does.
Whedon uses jokes in this film that had people in the theater applauding. The jokes in this film work and it’s interesting to watch this film because there are two types of jokes in this movie; inside jokes and regular jokes. The inside jokes are for those of us who absolutely adore comic book films and have really been in love with these characters for years now. We are sometimes also known as “geeks.” Whedon uses these types of jokes subtlety here and there knowing that not everyone will get them, but for the fanboys and fangirls these are solid gold. There are also a ton of regular jokes within the film as well so it’s like the best of both worlds for fans and those who are not avid comic book lovers.
Another thing that I really must point out about the movie is the use of screen time. The film is rather long clocking in at about 2hrs and 20mins, but the screen time feels almost perfect. While I feel that each superhero in the film gets an amble amount of time on screen, I do feel that the stars of this film are still Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans), and The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Those three get the most screen time out of the bunch. This is not saying that they steal the film from the other characters because I feel everyone really does get a good share of the time except for Hawkeye played by Jeremy Renner. His character actually lacks depth and just introduction in general. He needed either his own film or about 20 minutes more of screen time to develop him and shape his importance to the Avengers as a whole. It’s not a huge deal considering there are so many characters in this film at once, but it still bugged me enough to mention it.
The Incredible Hulk was probably the one character that had some controversy during the filming of the project. As most fans know, Edward Norton played the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk film that was part of the lead in film series of the Avengers. Norton for some reason turned down the role and didn’t want to explain why because he felt like it would “ruin the filmmaking magic.” This kind of concerned me because while I was not a huge fan of the Hulk character ever, I did feel Norton nailed the character on the head. Mark Ruffalo stepped in to fill his shoes and I was a little worried about this initially, but after seeing the film, I have to say the Hulk really shined in this film. I would even argue that he was about as great of a character as Iron Man and that is saying a lot considering Iron Man is my favorite character in the Avengers.
All in all, The Avengers is almost everything that fans of superheroes could ever want from a superhero film. While it’s simply amazing to just see all these great characters in one film together, Whedon’s direction and writing make it into one huge epic masterpiece. It’s rare for someone like me to praise a popcorn flick like this, but my geekiness can’t go unnoticed. This is a rare big budget spectacle that just worked for me and I just loved watching all these characters come together with sharp and witty dialogue to boot.
This film will not disappoint any fan of this franchise and even makes up for the weaker films leading up to this and yes, I am talking to you Iron Man 2. This is without a doubt one of the best superhero movies to come out in years and will probably be the only film this year that could be on par with Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. While you will never see me say this film deserves a best picture nomination, I can’t lie that this is a fun and action packed epic adventure that will have superhero fans everywhere including myself anxiously awaiting the sequel.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for The Avengers is a solid 9 out of 10. Avengers Assemble!