Review: Marvel Finally Assembles 'The Avengers' to Awesome Results
by Jeremy Kirk
May 3, 2012
Chris Evans as Captain America. Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. And they're all under one roof. Since 2008, The Avengers has been on the minds of moviegoers everywhere. Thanks to deft screenwriting and a grandeur Joss Whedon brings to its execution, that film is here, and it delivers. It may not be the most accomplished of comic book movies or even the best Marvel Studios has to offer from recent years, but The Avengers blazes a trail like few others, satiating the appetites of superhero junkies the world over.
Padded though it is - Much of that comes from building the aforementioned characters as well as various others - the story is somewhat stripped of convoluted twists and overly expanded ideas. Loki, the God of Mischief played once again by Tom Hiddleston, has found his way to Earth. His alien benefactors wish to invade our planet, and the one item Loki needs to open a portal to their world is in the hands of S.H.I.E.L.D. Naturally, once comic book ink starts hitting the fan, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, brings his Avenger candidates together to try and thwart Loki's plan.
It's realized very early on in The Avengers that Whedon was a great choice to handle this material. The man who brought us Serenity and "Firefly" clearly knows how to construct a team-oriented narrative. He has a grasp for relationships, which characters get along with which, and which of these superheroes literally go hand-to-hand in steam-blowing combat. Each of them have their built-in qualities that obviously must be addressed. Steve Rogers/Captain America is still playing the "fish out of water" role while he adjusts from a 70-year nap in a block of ice. Bruce Banner/Hulk, after being pulled in by S.H.I.E.L.D. from hiding, is just trying to keep himself calm. The arrogance level between Tony Stark/Iron Man and Thor is enough that it's a sure sign these two will butt heads even though Stark's cynicism puts him in the driver's seat for comic relief.
The handling of the rest of the team, with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, is more than satisfactory, as well. Whedon and co-screenwriter Zak Penn find a way to keep all of these characters busy without making it look like they're just spinning their wheels, biding their time before the action kicks in. This is particularly true in the case of Hawkeye, a character who we've only seen for two minutes before now. Without knowing much about him, Whedon and Penn drop him straight into the thick of it from the get-go, the design of the character and Renner's performance making him as believable as a character we know through and through.
The intros for the other characters are spot-on, too, with one, glaring exception. The way Thor makes it back to Earth after the dramatic conclusion to his own film is rushed, explained away in a single line of dialogue, and forgotten about. Basically they didn't have a good enough reason for him to show back up, so they hide the lack of explanation as well as they can. It's a minor quibble that comes about early in the film, and you quickly forget about it with the action coming right around the corner.
That action is paced smoothly, smaller battles coming in here and there before major set pieces begin showing themselves at the mid-way point. However, soup to nuts, The Avengers looks and feels like an action movie. Much of the film involves two or more characters bickering and bantering, but unlike some of the pre-Avengers movies, the scope when things being to explode is undeniable here. When Loki's plan begins moving and the Avengers are forced to suit up and save the world, it feels precisely how it should feel. The world is at stake, this group of special individuals is the only thing that can save it, and some of them may be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice. Whedon knows emotional weight when it comes to group efforts. Serenity and the state of the crew when that film was over is a testament to this opinion. He brings that same level of attention to drama in Avengers, and more than a few moments will have you tearing up.
But it's the excitement you get, the chills brought on by wanton enthusiasm, that places The Avengers so high in comparison to most superhero movies. With this many, different characters to jump between, Whedon and, to some extent, Penn do a masterful job giving each their own wow moments, those points in the film where something awesome happens, and you're left mouth agape with only one desire, to see that moment again. The team behind The Avengers admires all of these characters, villains included, and no one's favorite is left out out in the cold.
Chief among these is the Hulk, who shines brightest among them. Aided by Ruffalo's nebbishy but brilliant portrayal as Banner, you discover early how great of a choice he was to replace Edward Norton, though the familiarity of the latter in the role would have added to the weight. It's an absence you forget about, especially when it comes time for the character to Hulk out. From there on, Whedon and Penn give the character so many grandiose flashes of destruction, you can't help but want to see more. If another Hulk movie gets underway, it'd be best left to this team to bring it to the screen.
Everyone else gives fine-to-extraordinary turns in their respective roles. What might shock is finding out Downey Jr.'s Stark, funny as he is attempting to be, has more misses than hits when it comes to the quips here. The actor doesn't seem tired of the role, yet, though, and it's worthwhile just to see him embodying this character once again. Hiddleston's Loki is also especially worth noting, as he gives the best performance of the film, holding his own against every one of the good guys, looking comfortable and compelling every second he's on screen.
The Avengers had a lot to live up, four years of anticipation leading to this one film, and that's not even counting all the years fans of the comic have been waiting. With enough attention given to each character, the sharp performances that create these characters on screen, and the epic nature of the action therein, the experiment Marvel Studios has conducted finds its result. This one film has so much riding behind it that it's a wonder anything as grand and awesome as The Avengers movie we've gotten is possible at all. This isn't the end, though. Another post-credit sequence sets the stage for what is sure to be The Avengers 2. If that future film delivers similar entertainment value, by all means Marvel Studios should assemble away.
Jeremy's Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Saw it last week when it released in India. It's a great movie to kick things off this summer movie season and choc full of fan-service to keep theatre goers pumped. Sure to rake in $250-$300 million in the US alone.
Mithun Divakaran on May 3, 2012
Only one day left here in US, might go to the midnight showing for IMAX3D but that maybe a no-go if my pals aren't up to it.
Anony on May 3, 2012
just got my tix today for 810 tomorrow, cant wait
Adam Lubicz on May 3, 2012
It's a shallow movie that is written and perfomed very forced. But has some fun moments. It's not in any way the superhero movie to end all supermovies that most people seem to think.
Ryderup on May 3, 2012
I will agree that the film is shallow in the fact that it doesn't really have much of a plot but it was such a fun and entertaining movie. It was a blast. This is what Summer films are all about.
Last Son on May 4, 2012
It's indeed a GREAT film. I'll just say, **spoiler free**, that you find yourself enjoying it very much , and that joy builds up step by step towards the end. Besides the obvious hyper-action you expect to find here, it's a VERY funny film, and balanced as well: Everyone has a moment to be funny and/or heroic and each Avenger has some spotlight alone or as part of the team (well, honestly Hulk steals some scenes, but that is OK). Loki again is a wonderful shakespearean-villain and, for those who already saw it as I did, **not precisely a spolier** the funniest word in the whole movie: "adopted". My personal bet for the weekend: $180M!!
Leinergroove on May 3, 2012
I'm still partial to "Puny god..."!
Cody on May 3, 2012
Thanks, that's what I thought he said but some of the audience in the theater was clapping like monkeys so I couldn't hear.
Imthinking.Tyler on May 4, 2012
Just saw it 3 hours ago, definitely overrated as hell (8 for such film ? naah ) but its a very enjoyable blockbuster to tell the truth. Biggest surprise was the humor, they could have marketed it as an action comedy hehe. Lots of funny moments,so that's a plus ! As for the avengers, my fav is def Iron Man, he's such a douche 🙂 Mark Ruffalo was cool as well but i didn't exactly care for others, btw is Cap America supposed to be stupid or he just seemed that way ? Other cast was fine though, Hiddleston obviously, L jackson.. and Gwyneth Paltrow looked sexy. Action was alright but nothing special, too much cgi i guess, and story was pretty lame obviously and the aliens, bad design really especially those big-ass creatures/ships looked like they were from Transformers:dark moon.. That being said it's an alright movie and it kinda made me want to see iron man 3 asap.
Jajcek on May 3, 2012
OK .. we get it .. you like Iron Man and no one else and have a man/boy crush on Gwyneth and you would prefer to see "yucks" instead of a Marvel centered story line
John on May 3, 2012
OK.... we get it.... you're a Marvel fanboy and don't know that a man/boy crush is a crush one heterosexual male has on another male and you would prefer to swallow everything Marvel shovels down your throat without hesitation or question.
Awtan90 on May 3, 2012
Spot on. And when you say it - doesn't Cap America come off as sort of retarded in the film?
Ryderup on May 3, 2012
Captain America isn't retarded. He just insn't a super genius like Stark or Banner. Let's not forget he only recently awoke in a future time where much of the tech he is encountering wasn't even imagined in his time. It's like trying to teach your grandparents how to use a smartphone.
Sinasazi on May 6, 2012
I think you score is too low: This might be the best Marvel film ever made. I'll have to give it some thought, cuz at the moment, I can't think of one that is better. 8.5 is almost an insult. I'm saying this as someone who didnt expect it to be more than a fun summer movie. But this is just your opinion Jeremy and this is mine. Maybe the rest of firstshowing.net might share what score they would bestow The Avengers, and maybe you will change your mind after a second viewing ? And: I don't think the credits scene was hinting to the next The Avengers movie, that story is too big, I think it hints to the "largest, most epic" Marvel film yet to come, and might be impossible to make, as EVERYONE is in the story. I predict it will be a two parter, with the name of the original mini-series 🙂 More tomorrow, don't wanna spoil it, go other places if you want to know all before seeing it, lol 🙂
David Banner on May 3, 2012
Yea, the post credit scene hints at a BIG story, but that doesn't mean MARVEL has to include everyone. You can still use this particular villian and not have to include everyone outside of this Avengers movie. I can see Marvel including some subtleties in the other solo sequels that hint at the next Avengers movie. But at the same time, I think it actually would have to be a two part movie. BUT...Marvel can narrow down Thanos' whole origin and just get specific and not make it too broad.
alex on May 3, 2012
Something to concider is that Spider-Man is being rebooted. That means there is no black suit yet and it needs to be added at some point, they do want to make that Venom movie. See how that ties in with the hint in the credits scene? 🙂 And if I recall correctly, our beloved mutants have a say aswell. Maybe Moira MacTaggert will contact the Shi'ar and get Xavier restored? Nothing wrong in hoping? 🙂
David Banner on May 4, 2012
I thought it was a standard Hollywood Action flick that "borrowed" from Transformers, didn't really care to create new villains and ultimately failed to do something even remotely new or interesting. 6.5 out of 10 from me because I still liked some of the actors involved in this (NOT talking about Iron Man guy).
Davide Coppola on May 3, 2012
Ryderup on May 3, 2012
Something has to be new and improved for you to enjoy it? You are going to be in for a lot of disappointment in life
JT380 on May 4, 2012
I have seen the Avengers twice now and I am at a loss as to why some comments on here are negative? It is a solid movie that doesn't let up on the humour and action. The acting wasn't anywhere near forced. It seems no matter what haters will exist for everything. Anyway to al of you in the US who have yet to see it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and hope you have a great weekend.
Jon Chamberlain on May 3, 2012
So.. you're a hater... because you disagree about a film?
Ryderup on May 3, 2012
I've been waiting for this movie since i was a kid reading Avengers #177 where they're all defeated by Michael/Korvac, and thinking, "hang on, they're not supposed to be ALL defeated!" I was hooked on these guys since then. 1978 i think.Anyway, i was more than worried about this film because it was to be very much MY film! I'd invested a lot of myself in these characters. I wouldn't be at all pleased if it didn't live up how awesome i know these characters have been written over the years. The battles, scars and losses they've had to endure. I thought it was going to be a kid flick! Pure and simple. That it wouldn't round the character's personalities enough, and the script would be too simple. Plus Joss Whedon WAS under my radar as a director. I hadn't gotten into Buffy or Firefly and anyway, let's just say i wasn't overly keen on the director. Nothing personal, or derivative of his craft and skills, but this was a boyhood dream taking form. People i spoke with about it all rated him though. So, as per usual i tried to keep away from as many clips, interviews, rumours etc as possible. I like to go into the show knowing as little as possible. I only watched trailers. Anyway, i went to see it in 2D on Wednesday 25th with a friend. Full of expectation and dread, heheh. All i can say is, Whedon has made an Avengers movie we fans can be so proud of. The Dark Knight for me is a monumental film, and easily was the best supe movie project ever executed. Until now that is. THE best supe team is now all together in a live action film. And they have been drawn together beautifully by Whedon's script. The mind boggles as to who else they will bring into this universe. Respect is due to the research, and his interpretation of how these characters work together. He nailed it. I'm not sure anyone else would have. Maybe not even Nolan himself! Whedon's view of them was almost exactly how i have interpreted their relationships over the years. I've seen The Avengers twice now already, and will probably go again before the Bluray release. That will be an occasion too, i'm sure. I've got to give the score a mention too. It's on repeat in my headphones at the moment, because its bloody great! You hardly notice it during the film because of the awesome visuals and dialogue, but i recommend having a listen to it alone. Alan Silvestri is a master of action cinema. He did Predator for god's sake! He delivers royally here. Check it out. I couldn't be happier about The Avengers. When Iron Man came out Downey-Junior was perfectly cast, and to top it all, a great movie was made, i thought maybe it could be the time when a really cool Avengers movie would be made. And so it has transpired. A huge BRAVO to all involved! AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!
djchrise247 on May 3, 2012
Please don't ever put Joss Whedon and Christopher Nolan in the same sentence. One guy has The Dark Knight, Inception and Memento on his resume and the other has Buffy and Angel. nuff said
Savinon0706 on May 3, 2012
Even Nolan's first film was pretty damn good.
JL on May 3, 2012
Here's a sentence: Whedon makes kid's films and Nolan makes films for adults.
Scammo on May 3, 2012
I'm a fan of Nolan, but please stop it with these comparisons. Avengers here, TDKR there, Nolan that, Whedon this... It's all oranges and apples, guys. 😛
Razor on May 3, 2012
I'm a Nolan fan, I'm an adult, But by Christ do you Nolan fan-boys get on my nerves. 'He makes Movies for adults'. Wow, your all so mature, you understand the deep complexities of Nolan's mysterious writings, BITCH PLEASE. get off your high horses. Avengers kicked ass, it was a VERY difficult project to pull off, it had VERY high expectations, and it succeeded in more ways imaginable. YES - it was a popcorn flick, YES - it was an all out action adventure, but hey, that's what these comics are. Sure Batman can be twisted around and made into a suspense detective thriller (which JUST so happens to be Nolan's style anyway) but The Avengers never was supposed to be like that, it would be literally CRAP, if they tried to make it like that. Could YOU make the incredible HULK into a discreet mystery solving infiltrator of the night? no, you couldn't, because he's giant and green and reckless. And that's why this film, needed to be Giant, and reckless, which in a sense, making it that way, yet still making it entertaining and gripping to an adult audience, is a high art in it's self, and for those reasons I bequeath just as much respect to Joss Whedon and the task he has completed as I do to Christopher Nolan, if not more so.
Rhythm Master on May 4, 2012
Aww Nolan isn't THAT bad! Over-rated, sure, but he's definitely worthy to be in the same sentence as Whedon.
Quod17us on May 6, 2012
You might have a nice day today if you read this: The Blu-Ray will have over 30mins of deleted scenes. Not sure if they will be added into the film, but we can always hope 🙂
David Banner on May 4, 2012
I'd like to see the movie but most cinemas near me are showing the 3D version. No way I'm forking out more money for IMAX 3D when the movie wasn't even made for either format.
Razor on May 3, 2012
I love all the usual run-of-the-mill nay-sayers. You all say the same shit over and over, and it's down right hilarious. It's like you all came out of the same circle-jerk with the same canned responses like some Indian tech support bank believing you're advice or opinion is worth a shit. Just stop going to movies or bitch about them on 4chan where apparently childish and uninformed opinions matter.
Stavi on May 3, 2012
And why are you here again?*cough*troll*cough*
Wylles on May 3, 2012
It was nerd-gasmic bliss.
Deadpool-003 on May 3, 2012
Wait. What? It's not been released in US yet? How come Australia got it early? That makes no sense. Can anyone explain?
Mlsyong91 on May 4, 2012
JT380 on May 4, 2012
No, it was released in Europe last week aswell. So when you go to the movies today, it has grossed well over $200,000,000 allready 🙂
David Banner on May 4, 2012
David Banner on May 4, 2012
Saw this movie last night it was AMAZING and I loved every second of it.
Blkstar325 on May 4, 2012
I saw "The Avengers" yesterday and loved it. I'm 47 and have been waiting for an Avengers movie for a long time. I think Whedon and company nailed it with the balance of humor and gravity in the movie as a whole, as well as the relationships between the characters. I think that it's a great summer movie and even with the little holes in the script, it's the best of the Marvel super hero movies, so far.
Tim on May 5, 2012
Couldn't agree more. I was amazed at how well the cast interacted with one another. Having all these big and already established characters star in one movie without any of them trying to steal the spotlight is remarkable. Not to mention we finally get to see a worthy Hulk. I'm not saying that the movies starring Eric Bana and Edward Norton are that bad...But this is way better!
Yvan Bister on May 27, 2012
The Avengers, all under one roof, made such a beautifully awesome movie! I watched it in IMAX 3D and I’m so glad that I did because it made the film even more in my face. I honestly haven’t watched Thor, Iron Man or any of the Hulks, but at the suggestion of one of my co-workers from Dish, I did watch The Avengers cartoons. They’re all on Dishonline and I was so surprised that I had never heard of them. They’re great for kids and adults, and I wish I had found out about these before, because I would have become a fan long ago.
SunKatt on May 8, 2012
Note: The screenplay was 100% Joss Whedon. Penn is credited (with Joss) only for the story.
Nanette Snider on Jun 5, 2012
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