The Avengers

Posted: May 5, 2012 in Movie Reviews

In a last-ditch effort to save humanity, Earth’s Mightiest must unite to fight a common enemy.

Wow. Amazing. Epic. Mind-blowing. Incredible. Outstanding. These adjectives describe the movie’s final scene alone. Everything you’ve been hearing about this film is true: It is indeed Marvel’s most in-depth, most action-packed, most awe-inspiring project to date. It’s taken five years and five movies to arrive at this pivotal point in Marvel history, and let me tell you that this was well worth the wait.

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Summary:

Using the Tesseract (the blue cube formerly seen in Captain America), Thor’s brother Loki creates a portal through space to enter the SHIELD headquarters and makes off with the mystical power source, threatening the world’s safety. Now faced with an enormous dilemma, SHIELD (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division) director Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) must assemble a team powerful enough to find Loki and reclaim the cube.

The Tesseract—Good for unlimited clean energy, or taking over the universe. Take your pick.

In order to find a “group of remarkable people,” as he puts it, Fury reinitiates the Avengers Initiative and begins the task of assembling his team. He begins with the super-soldier from World War II, who is coping with living in modern times. Also on his list is gamma scientist Bruce Banner (“the Hulk”), the ever-witty Tony Stark and his Iron Man alias, and the Asgardian god Thor, as well as SHIELD agents Black Widow and Hawkeye.

However, things do not work out so well between them, and Fury struggles to keep the team intact. After Loki is captured and taken aboard the SHIELD helicarrier, the god of mischief immediately begins individually sowing seeds of discontent. Tempers flair and characters clash as each member must learn to cooperate with each other in order for the team to be effective.

But it’s not until Loki escapes, half-destroying the ship and forcing the group to work together to survive, that they eventually learn the value of being a team. Loki uses the Tesseract to create a portal in which his alien army swarms into New York City and threatens to destroy the human race. The Avengers, now truly an effective team, band together and fight for the survival of mankind.

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 Wow, where to begin. Let’s start with Joss Whedon, the movie’s director. Man, this guy is good! Only a director truly in tune with what he’s working on can successfully do what Whedon did. Question: how do you take five films and four super-heroes and successfully blend them all into one movie? Answer: Joss Whedon. With a less-than-impressive résumé (his most impressive work includes Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Toy Story), Whedon basically came from Smallville and created quite the name for himself in Hollywood.

Being a Marvel comic book fanatic, Whedon was the perfect man to put earth’s mightiest heroes into earth’s mightiest movie. The guy truly has a passion for what he’s doing, and that came through in Avengers. “Why is Avengers so great?” you may ask. Read on.

The God of Thunder and America’s finest team up to create an unstoppable force.

There are two significant names associated with this film’s success: Joss Whedon and Walt Disney. This was the first Marvel film to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, despite the Paramount opening titles. I don’t think it’s really any big surprise that a film distributed by the Walt Disney Company would have raving reviews. The name “Disney” comes with another word: “Quality.” The blending of Whedon and Disney was seamlessly perfect.

The natural tendency any movie director would have in approaching a film like this would be to fill up their two hours with plenty of action, special effects, and super-hero drama. However, out of two hours and twenty minutes of film, probably half of it is actual action. Now you could take this as either a positive or a negative element. I plead the former.

This wasn’t Transformers where you have 45 minutes straight of robots beating each other to a pulp and leveling a city the size of Chicago. Each action shot was well-placed, and there was no superfluous, overly-used, melodramatic action. This was an immensely well-crafted and fine-tuned film. In fact, when Whedon first came into the project, he scrapped the existing script and started over. This alone shows that he wasn’t interested in making just any regular popcorn-thriller (like a Michael Bay melodrama). This man wanted to create a Marvel film that scaled to entirely new heights.

Perhaps the best thing I loved about Avengers was the fact that these guys don’t get along. If they did, the film would have been two-dimensional and shallow. But Joss Whedon, being the man he is, wanted to create a scenario which you wouldn’t quite expect. There’s no “Alright, everybody in. . . one, two, three, Avengers!”, at least not at first. The chemistry and interaction between the characters works impressively well, and you can tell that these guys really don’t get along. They have absolutely no respect for each other.

Cap breaks up a raging fight between the two titans.

They don’t belong on the same planet together, much less the same ship, and when troubles come, troubles come. It’s the process of teamwork and “Okay, I honestly hate your guts, but I’m going to sacrifice of myself to help save humanity” that really makes this film unique and exceptionally believable. It’s the trials and tribulations these characters have to endure before they can learn to trust each other. And when the Avengers finally assemble, when they put their mega differences and super-egos aside and work as a team, they work so well that they evoke cheers from the crowd.

Also, the process of overcoming Loki is a challenge. It’s not “Hey, we’re superheroes; we’re unstoppable!” It’s “Man, how are we going to do this?” Seeing the amount of tension between earth’s mightiest heroes definitely does something to earth’s common simpletons. When they start sweating, we start sweating. Not only does this make us greatly anticipate what’s next to come, but it also makes us realize how human these guys really are.

As for the film’s baddie, Tom Hiddleston once again delivers a convincing character that has many characteristics of Chris Nolan’s Joker. Loki doesn’t just want glory and power—he wants to see the human riff-raff squashed like an ant under a boot. He can’t be reasoned with. It’s a “let’s watch the world burn” scenario. A villain like that creates so much more depth to a film, the same as it did in The Dark Knight. It only makes us cheer even louder when the heroes eventually do save the day.

Loki’s plan is simple: squash the human race like ants under a boot.

The Avengers is, by far, Marvel’s most humorous movie to date. My lord, this film is absolutely, downright laugh out loud! Most of the humor is so unexpected that you can’t help but crack up. And the actors pull it off so well! There was hardly one cheesy joke throughout the whole movie. Most of it was very witty and extremely well-done, even more so than Iron Man, I would say.

Another thing Whedon perfected was the amount of time each individual had. It would be very easy in a film containing eight main characters to focus on two or three people and forget about everyone else. But not one person was forgotten. Each character got screen time focusing on them and their individual viewpoints. No one was lost in the shuffle; it requires tremendous directing skills to make a movie like this epic, action-packed, hilarious, and still manage to make us feel intimate with each avenger.

The new and revised Hulk makes his smash entrance. Literally.

I hope this has somewhat piqued your interest if you have not already seen it. This is certainly well-worth your time and money. If you half enjoyed any of the previous Marvel films, you will be thrilled with this one. It has many characteristics of a great piece of work. It has the wit of Iron Man, the epic tone of Incredible Hulk, the passion and heart of Captain America, and Thor’s pomp. Without a doubt, a film Marvel can be proud of.

Be sure to stay for the post-credits scene which sets the groundwork for future Avengers installments.

 

 

9 stars

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