The greatest praise for Joss Whedon’s creation is that it is plays to both the comic community and the regular movie patron. There are levels of accessibility to the film; jokes and references target the core comic audience. While it will certainly helps to know the back story, or at least seen the preceding “build up” films to fully enjoy this, neither is a requirement. There is plenty of action and comedy to go around.
Marvel Studios presents Marvel’s The Avengers-the Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins. (Synopsis by Marvel)
Everything that Michael Bay screwed up in “Transformers,” this film gets right. The action is constant while maintaining a sense of actual storytelling. Even when the final fight sequence seems the opposite of the climax of “Dark of the Moon”—Whedon interjects humor and drama into the script, setting it apart from Bay’s drudgery. Also commendable is the careful crafting of each of the oversized personalities into relatable characters, despite them being crammed together in one film.
Samuel L. Jackson is at his best as Nick Fury, desperately fighting the covert war to save the planet. However, as soon as Robert Downey, Jr. steps on screen, he steals the show. He interjects the humor of one-liners into the spiraling doom, with the brash play of a man that is above it all—the ideal role for Downey. He is only upstaged by the CGI Hulk freaking out on the invading army.
Someone needs to send Ang Lee a copy of this film. This is the Hulk we want to see. Not some introspective contemplation on the meaning of life via a naked jolly green giant. Less talk, more smash. It’s a simple formula. Even as simplistic as the Hulk character is, he still has one of the funniest scenes in the movie when he confronts Loki at its climax.
That climax is the obvious highlight of the film. All the years of waiting pay off in an incredible 50 minute battle royale. If some of the early scenes seem to drag, it’s really only in anticipation of this moment. The old rule of thumb is that action is shot wide and drama is shot close. Bay jams flying debris into a tight shot until it becomes unwatchable, but Whedon utilizes wide frames to enhance the 3D and manage the action. When he crops it back down to the close shot to show the individual Avengers within the context of the larger battle, you have yourself an action sequence that never gets dull.
The ending sets up future Avengers films, but makes one wonder what the future of the superhero genre will actually be. Is it possible to go back to making a film about a single hero after seeing this spectacle? Only time will tell, but it is going to be difficult to dial back from this one.
Since it is the only new film released this week it is certainly going to make a huge splash. The only valid reason for not seeing this is that you couldn’t get a ticket due to a sell out. This is the best film to emerge from a terrible last month and a half at the movies. It is the best film to start off the summer season, especially if you can see it in IMAX 3D. It is worth the extra cost of admission.
“See It/ Rent It/ Skip It”: See it. Just make sure you aren’t sitting next to this guy.
FOUR STARS out of four.
Directed by Joss Whedon. Written by Joss Whedon and Zak Penn
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference.
Runtime: 2 hr. 22 min.