By Delta_Ass 1 Comments
The Avengers is a fantastic comic book movie. Right off the bat, I will say that I don't think it's as good as The Dark Knight (what is?) but they're such different movies that it doesn't really matter. It's a logical extension of the sort of fluffy crowd-pleasing summer blockbusters that we got before from Marvel, mainly Iron Man and Thor. If you loved those movies, then you're going to love this one, because they keep that same tone but add in more characters, more action, and more spectacle. It's more of a good thing, and results in the best superhero ensemble piece to date. While I don't think most future superhero movies will be too affected by this, the guys over at Fox have got to be worried... those X-Men movies are really gonna need to step their game up, because they're the ones with the most direct comparison.
A lot of people in their reactions have been throwing around Bay's Transformers movies as a comparison, and I think that's completely apt. Both have huge third act action sequences in cities with tons of explosions and all manner of chaos. But the key difference here is that The Avengers is Bay's Transformers movies done right. Here, you actually care about the characters, the scenes are filmed in a more restrained and comprehensible manner, and you're able to see everything going on, not just piles of indistinguishable scrap metal banging against one another. Joss Whedon, a guy who's only foray into the cinema was a flop called Serenity, manages to top Bay at his own game.
Joss Whedon is also known as the guy who wrote one of the worst lines in comic book movies, that one in X-Men about toads and lightning. Whedon claimed that the line itself was good, but that Halle Berry just couldn't deliver it right. Well, I don't know about that... but let's just say that all the one-liners in The Avengers are delivered well. They all work and the humor throughout the movie is consistently entertaining. Again, this is as close to an ideal crowd-pleaser as you'll find in the summer. Is the story a bit basic and simplistic? Well, yeah. It's not a plot with a lot of depth or surprises. You're not sitting on the edge of your seat being constantly surprised and rattled like we all were when The Dark Knight came out. Here, it's more of a lazy, sit back and enjoy the ride kind of experience. It's a hell of a ride, but these aren't the seismic shocks of a truly innovative and transcendent story.
Black Widow got basically nothing in Iron Man 2 to do other then look hot and do a fight scene. You didn't learn anything about her character. Well here, Whedon addresses that problem by giving her a lot more attention and she finally becomes a real character instead of just eye candy. I still kinda wish we'd gotten a Russian accent with Scarlett, as it's how I've always envisioned the character, but maybe it's not worth the risk of her butchering it. Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner gives a very nerdy and effective portrayal which works well when bouncing off the sarcastic and charismatic Tony Stark. Tom Hiddleston as Loki continues to shine as a rising young star in cinema and does not dim in the heavy company of Downey Jr. and Sam Jackson. However, I do think the character of Loki is probably better in the Thor franchise, where we're able to connect with Thor and Loki's familial relationship and perhaps even root for the day when the brothers might reconcile. In The Avengers, this isn't as feasible as he has to play up the part of cackling supervillain.
The movie doesn't really have any noteworthy flaws, as it moves along like a well-oiled machine at all times, but here's a few observations and nitpicks, just because I'm a comic book guy and I notice stuff.
The Avengers may not be as ambitious as some of us would like, but it knows what it wants to be and executes on that perfectly.