The Avengers (2012) – A Review
Well everyone is talking about Marvel’s The Avengers so why shouldn’t I? Finally I’ve gotten a chance to see it, which probably makes me the last person around to see this flick. Although I suspect some of the local senior citizens in town haven’t bothered with it. I haven’t seen any of them wearing Hulk shirts or anything like that, but maybe they don’t wear them outside with their heads held high like most of the hardcore comic book fans I know.
As for the film – I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a fun smorgasbord of superheroes getting into epic action, showcasing huge spectacles of battle scenes and having these characters interacting with one another while their unique personalities create personal conflicts, but then in the end they finally manage to work as a team.
That’s pretty much what I wanted going in and the film certainly delivered on it. Actually more so than I had expected. With such a large group of characters it seemed like each one would be fighting for screen time and some inevitably would be lost in the back ground, but that doesn’t happen.
You know the roster – Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), along with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) battling the evil Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who is gearing up take over the world. Whew!
There are a lot of characters for one film, but director Joss Whedon juggles all of them beautifully. Everyone gets their moment and it never feels like anyone is being upstaged. They’re all given plenty to do and what they all do is actually interesting and entertaining.
When a film gets overloaded with character I always fear the Batman and Robin-syndrome is going to happen. By the time that Bat-film rolled around they were just trying to cram as many superheroes and villains in as possible to make it more exciting for audiences. Unfortunately, including all those characters would just result in them being squandered and really it would appear the only reason most of them were included was to make a cool looking movie poster.
Thankfully that isn’t the case in The Avengers. The action is exciting and it’s not there just for spectacle like many big-budget rollercoaster films, but there is suspense and the characters never get lost in the middle of it all.
In fact, all the characters are treated equally in terms of what they can bring to the team and are each given a showcase to display it. Sure Hawkeye and Black Widow don’t have superpowers or metal suits, but they hold their own in the big battles with what they do.
Thor or Iron Man could easily take out the threats they face, but since they’re not there at the moment (they’re handling bigger things) it’s up to Hawkeye and Black Widow to use their skills to overcome their own obstacles. The film creates a nice balancing act with obstructions each hero faces.
Plus, the film is very funny. Whedon injects this All-Star film with a lively sense-awareness of fun. He knows this is kind of silly and is just a kick to see all these heroes together, so let’s not take things too seriously.
Downey’s Tony Stark does his patented machine-gun funny lines. Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff can switch from playing the damsel in distress to her sexy kickass powerhouse in a second. Evan’s Steve Rogers is just trying to adjust to this new century he awoke to. Even Hiddleston’s Loki is not only a heavyweight villain, but he yields his own chuckles.
And Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner provides some real amusement when he goes green. Not only is it a great teasing buildup to Bruce Banner’s alter ego, but when the Hulk shows up he steals the show. I’d have to agree with most fans and say he is the best cinematic version of the Hulk we’ve seen.
I was disappointed with the look of the invading aliens during the climax though. They just seemed way too generic looking. Kind of a cross between intergalactic bugs and Transformers. But I can live with that solely for the fact that the big CGI sequences weren’t edited in a cuisinart – which seems to be the norm nowadays – and I could actually keep track of what was happening. Thank you Joss!
So I really enjoyed The Avengers. It does warm my heart that it’s being rewarded from its quality and that it’s enjoying so much success at the box office. Obviously the majority of audiences and critics have liked it and that buzz is drawing even more people to see it who might not have gone otherwise.
It’s certainly not a film that has any illusions as to what it is. A big, fun superhero movie.