It’s probably not surprising to hear that your resident comic reviewer went to see The Avengers on its opening weekend. With my tickets pre-ordered and a big group of friends (including fenrir) I headed to the theater clad in my Captain America t-shirt with high hopes for this awesome film. Marvel’s invested a lot in this film and built up to it with movies like Captain America: The First Avenger over the last few years. There’s also been buzz right hear on Moarpowah with pluffei’s awesome artwork of some writers as the Avengers (including yours truly) and my look at Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men event. Obviously, this movie’s had people talking for awhile. Is it worth watching? Does it live up to all the hype established in the past several films?
The Avengers dives right in where Thor left off last year. S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists work tirelessly to discover the secrets and harness the energy of The Tesseract (aka the Cosmic Cube), a jewel that once belonged to Odin before coming into the Red Skull’s possession, and ultimately ended up in the government’s hands. Almost immediately, Loki arrives, steals the Tesseract, and “drafts” several agents and scientists for his retinue. Desperate to prevent utter annihilation, Nick Fury restarts the Avengers Initiative. Fury sends Agent Coulson and Black Widow to gather Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in order to assemble a team capable of containing Loki and thwarting his schemes. After some rough patches, the team comes together just in time to take on Loki’s extraterrestrial army of Chitauri. What results is an epic battle for Earth through the streets of New York.
Let me just say: wow. This movie is amazing. Marvel definitely gave fans what they wanted: the action is amazing, the plot is strong, the acting is great, and the enemies are interesting. In true superhero movie style there are also some truly hilarious jokes thrown in and the theater erupted in laughter quite often. I have to say that Joss Whedon did a great job directing this piece: I felt the movie had an almost perfect balance of dialogue and action; it never felt too speech-heavy nor did it feel like the fight scenes were just mindless brawls intended merely to amuse without purpose.
The acting in this film is stellar: I loved Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, and Clark Gregg in their previous films, and they delivered just as well if not better in The Avengers. Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson also played their roles quite well. I have to admit, however, that I wasn’t too fond of Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo as Hawkeye and the Hulk, respectively. The former came off as cool…but only through his actions; I felt his actual line delivery was only so-so and I couldn’t feel emotion from him at a level even close to that of the other actors. The latter delivered his lines in a manner that felt devoid of emotion: I understand he was probably trying to seem more relaxed and calm, but whenever he spoke it just came off as droning and I dreaded scenes where he’d talk for any extended period of time (as a result, I spent a long time begging for him to turn into the Hulk). Even so, the vast majority of actors lent a great deal of talent and heart into their roles.
As for characterization, this movie did quite well. Though they were seven heroes I felt that each received a balanced amount of screen time and everyone got a moment to shine in the various action scenes. My only complaint is that I felt Thor didn’t have as much presence as the other characters, which is a shame but not surprising since he had a movie of his own just last year. Thor’s power level in this film also seemed weird to me: in the movie Thor he could stand up to blasts of power from the Ice Giants, yet here he was floored by cannons on Iron Man’s suit. This just seemed a little unbelievable to me, but perhaps Marvel Studios felt he needed to be de-powered a bit. I also wished we could have learned more about Hawkeye: his character works as a silent badass, but I still would’ve liked a deeper look into who Clint Barton is. Perhaps, given his relative popularity, Hawkeye may get a movie of his own where we get to learn more about this version of his character, but it still would’ve been nice to know more aside from a few hints dropped by Black Widow. In contrast to these two characters, I felt the Hulk was portrayed in probably the best way possible: he had his share of interesting and funny moments. I’ve always found the Hulk to be a boring character, but in this movie I thought his was tolerable, while several of the people I watched with liked him best. Whedon did well to portray the interaction of the team as well: it took them awhile to trust one another and their squabbles felt real and understandable. Overall, the characters in this movie were great.
The pacing of this movie was good, though to be honest the beginning felt a bit slow for me. I feel, however, that this is the best the studio could do given that many people seeing this film neither watched the original films nor are they familiar with Marvel continuity. Ultimately, this did not take away from the movie, and once the second act hit I quickly forgot this problem.
Now, just a warning: I usually work hard to make sure my reviews don’t have too many spoilers. This next section, however, is going to discuss a big spoiler which some people may not want to see. If you are one of those people, please stop reading now and just skip to the paragraph after the next one.
THANOS! HECK YEAH! Hardcore fans (including me) clapped, screamed, and gasped at the after credits scene of Thanos revealing himself as the next main villain. Now, I’m not sure if he’ll be the villain Avengers 2 as I feel they may save him for Avengers 3, but either way I’m excited. Thanos is rooted in a lot of Marvel lore and fans are definitely excited about his return. The Infinity Gauntlet would be a cool plot line, though it may be hard to explain in just one movie without Thanos’s inevitable defeat feeling forced. Rumor has it that the Gauntlet itself was present in Thor for about two seconds in Odin’s Treasure Vault. Could a future plot involve Thanos and/or his agents breaking into Asgard to steal it? I think a battle of Asgardians versus aliens could be pretty darn sweet! Whatever Marvel decides to do, I’m confident in their creative choices since they haven’t really had a bad movie in quite a few years.
Ultimately, The Avengers is a great movie that’s worth seeing. The culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe lives up to the hype and brings together everything set up in the past few movies, then turns things up 11. Even if you haven’t seen any of the others films, this movies is fairly easy to follow and enjoy. It isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely enjoyable.
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. He almost turned into The Hulk when someone asked if the guy in the after credits scene of The Avengers was Hellboy.
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