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
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
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.