'The Avengers': A Perfect Example Of What A Superhero Movie Should Be
Four years after Iron Man’s end credits, the tone after a talk between Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) struck a match! The mindset of what was to come sent chills up my spine, to the top of my head, back down, then off the side of my rear. I couldn’t wait to see who they tapped to work an "Avengers" movie and how they planned on tackling it. The tease was there. As time went on the hero flicks and additional hints followed, and - finally – Marvel’s The Avengers has landed after some intense adrenaline-rush assembling!
Marvel Studios has put together an unbelievable tale of good versus evil, merging the word ‘Awesome,’ while displaying what I think is one of the best comic-book films under their belt to date.
To start, they nailed it when it came to obtaining talent. Nailing casting goes far and beyond with a piece like The Avengers. All of the leads - Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), and Chris Evans (Captain America) – displayed some serious, charismatic magic with their respective characters. They all approached their role with wisdom, will, commitment and a real sense of comprehending why their characters are who they are, serving individual purposes.
Teaming them up could have been a cinematic catastrophe. A cluttering mess of actors, “ego” and characters pushing for heavyweight status, a matter of one star blanketing the rest… But Marvel made a phenomenal decision when seeking someone to tame the beats - they secured comic-book wiz, Joss Whedon. Joss was tapped to not only write but also direct the behemoth. And with good reason, as Whedon has a sharp understanding of dynamics among a team, thus balancing the major players so that all have a moment and so that each moment provides a powerful and important meaning.
Perfection doesn’t exist, however, it's close enough. After leaving this screening, there was so much playing in my head, I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. Feeling so satisfied, the first thing I did was text a friend of mine the following: “The Avengers is a thrill-ride of intensity. It kicks ass and rules all other Marvel movies.”
The Avengers is the perfect example of what a superhero movie should be. With the exception of Christopher Nolan – whose taken the genre under his wing and made it his own with the Batman franchise – anyone tackling a superhero movie has to look at The Avengers, take notes, and allow Whedon’s piece to teach what it is that’s needed when mixing formulas and creating one of the best quality-based imaginative works of cinematic art.
I’m not going to lie, the beginning of the movie tuned me off just a wee bit. I spent the first half hour kind of shaking my head, and feeling like they had blown it. I was a little shocked, but accepting enough to let it keep going and view with an open mind. It entailed a mish-mash of basic plot layout, a set up involving Loki, followed by what seemed like a pretty basic reintroduction of all major players. However, once they begin linking each other, like magic, everything worked itself out to a high level of success.
Indulging in watching these actors/characters bounce off one another was fun times 100! The energy in this movie is provided not based on special affects – though it’s flawless – but the chemistry and acting. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers locking horns, then growing to learn to work together is as thrilling as any action piece in the film’s enormous final act. Everyone gets a chance to shine and every character is important – including Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who have intense energy, it almost feels like THEY deserve their own movie!
From what I picked up, it’s clear Whedon has a special “thing” or “bias” for Steve Rogers. I thought Captain America: The First Avenger was the best individualized Marvel hero movie of the bunch. Not because those prior to it had “nothing” – they were awesome as well – but mainly because it truly understood the character. Whedon ups it here, as Evans truly shines with new company he keeps. He stands toe to toe with the rest of the heavy-hitters – especially with Jackson, as I thought he brought out the best in him.
With strengths among Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Thor and Nick Fury – my personal favorite had to be The Hulk. The return of the Hulk - Mark Ruffalo being the third actor in modern times to try his hand at the troubled green giant – takes it to a level of “This is what it should have looked like!” When the beast within does emerge, he's pure, unadulterated Hulk: handy when fighting an alien army. When inside S.H.I.E.L.D.'s rather nifty underwater, invisible flying machine, the Hulk - or, rather, his tortured human version, Bruce Banner - is awkward, withdrawn and largely silent, donning ill-fitting clothes with a quiet sense of existence. Ruffalo's take on this is one of the film's unexpected delights. After Eric Bana's and Ed Norton's ill-fated outings on screen, we finally have a new Hulk that's just the right shade of green. Even creator Stan Lee, in his customary cameo, seems to be nodding his approval. (I hope after such good reaction to Ruffalo it sparks interest in possibly making another Hulk movie.)
Another stand-out performance for me came from Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Although coming off a bit “peripheralesque,” (Just made that up) the intensity that’s generated due to his malicious presence is, in fact, the reason why Earth’s mightiest heroes united. Therefore, like always, the bad guy and/or antagonist serves as the film’s backbone – let's give some respect to the villains! I found myself drawn to his scenes and would have enjoyed a bit more from him in terms of morbidness. However, I wasn’t disappointed. Loki causes so much chaos and it’s beyond comprehension what happens to mid-town Manhattan when unleashing fury – and I’m not talking about Nick!
One of the best moments in this film also comes from what all comic-book readers are accustomed to, and often question – what would happen if so-and-so, fought so-and-so? It’s no secret that during an all-out brawl, the results are either even or someone jumps in to stop the ordeal, focusing on the idea of being heroes and not enemies. Ladies and gentleman, Joss blesses us with that as well. The boys find themselves in situations where manhood measuring erupts and it’s on! The fights are harsh, loud, a bit visceral and full of nail-biting intensity – especially in a scene involving The Hulk and Black Widow. (I also include the battles that include Loki’s army!)
Coming from any angle you can imagine, Marvel’s The Avengers is a film I believe keeps fan boys happy and informative enough for those who aren’t familiar with the storyline. There’s definitely more based on the comics I’d love to see – especially when it comes to other characters (i.e., Black Panther), but I cannot complain. This was a jaw-dropping, thrill ride of intensity, blended with laughs and ambiguity when tapping into some backstory and a pretty obvious, yet questionable added scene during the credits. This one has two, so make sure you stay through both. It’s beyond what I ever expected to see. This was most definitely a Marvel(ous) masterpiece of art!
Grade: A / Genre: Adaptation, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure / Rated: PG-13 / Run Time: 2 Hrs. 22 Min.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey, Jr., Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston
Director: Joss Whedon
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