Holy Hulk Smash (to steal a priceless reaction from a good friend, @streetg33kgirl on twitter, follow her!) this movie was phenomenal! The Avengers comes storming into theaters with the full force of the summer blockbuster that everyone knew it would be; what everyone doubted though was how well Joss Whedon would be able to deliver a big budget action adventure on this scale (sadly me included), needless to say I’ve never been happier to be wrong! What no-one considered is that any idiot like McG can make explosions look pretty with enough computers and money, it’s the story and characters that should be perfected and only then fill in with action to supplement. Instead of just an action popcorn movie with some drama and some comedy, the Avengers delivers action in its drama, comedy in its action, and yes at times drama in its comedy. We get a completely satisfying movie whose sum is indeed greater than the parts of it’s whole.
Cinematically, what constitutes the lead in to the Avengers? We’ve got 2 Ironmans (Men?), a Captain America, a Thor, and if you really want to pull back a bit the Edward Norton 2008 Hulk that was the only passable Hulk rendition in recent years. Some movies were much better (Capt, Ironman 2) than others (Thor…mostly just Thor on the low end), but the end result was a nicely woven tapestry placing a dozen important characters firmly in a 70+ year multi-generational timeline and being able to go into the world’s biggest, and most successful (200 mil opening weekend) action franchise movie with just about every main characters’ back/origin story already told and known to the audience. Meanwhile over at DC they’re still arguing over whether Wonder Woman should wear pants or not (bless ya DC, lord knows i gave you plenty of money over the years in comic revenue, but beyond batman you just cant get your shit together cinematically: wonder woman tv show canceled in pre-production, green lantern a flop to be followed up with an even bigger GL2 flop, green arrow…as a tv series…on the CW *smacks head*).
Whedon gathers these superb individual pieces, fits them together with a universal bad guy, and lets them loose. The fact that they all posses their own individual strengths and weaknesses, and then have to adapt these varying personalities into a group setting allow for the only origin story that The Avengers has to tell is that of its own members into a cohesive fighting unit. I think it’s why the second movie of any comic franchise is usually the best, the first has to sacrifice half the plot on an origin story/montage (prove me wrong internet: Dark Knight, Spiderman 2, Ironman 2, ’nuff said). Within this cohesion Wheton manages to capture perfectly (for the fanboys) the argumentative side of Capt/Tony Stark and Thor/Hulk as well as setup the Hawkeye/Black Widow backstory from the comics (which I would LOVE to see as it’s own movie!
#HawkeyeBlackWidowPrequel on twitter, lets make this happen!). Also as a slight tip of the cap to the longtime fans Hawkeye was first introduced as a reluctant villain in Tales of Suspense #57 which plays nicely into the first half of the movie.
The action sequences of course contained great fight choreography; but you can’t even wrap your head around how good these scenes were until you realize you realize that you have just followed 3 different fighting groups…over 40 vertical stories…on a 30 block trip thru downtown Manhattan…in 1 shot. I caught myself several times with my jaw wide open simply marveling at the pure awesomeness on display on the screen in front of me. And don’t worry, it’s not just action that makes The Avengers a great Marvel movie; plenty of fan moments (like the Firefly-esque snap zooms into digital ships, look for them mostly in end battle), the obligatory Stan Lee cameo, and all the characters taking themselves and each other with a grain of salt makes this a true Marvel film rendered with true humanity.
And like a true Marvel movie, expect them to include some nice easter eggs (yes, plural) in the credits. One a site gag to finish out the movie, the other for whatever they’re going to pitch next, in this case Avengers 2! (Seriously, lets get this
#HawkeyeBlackWidowPrequel going!). No spoiler alerts here suffice if you want to know head here. The audio was decent, realistic & well mixed, using a traditional action movie blend of corporate rock with orchestrated awesomeness; heavy on the orchestra to my liking! Visually the fights were excellently choreographed, showing with great ingenuity the way one could use their powers in a million different ways and situations, including incorporating those strengths between 2 or 3 people for great team up combos! Also I saw it in 3d and REALLY REALLY liked the added dimension in The Avengers. Not only did it add that extra depth that works so well for action movies, but it was effectively used as a tool of visual storytelling. In this comic-book movie the 3d rendering allowed for focus to be drawn to particular parts of the frame, causing several shots per scene to pop out and say ‘hey if this was a comic book i would be a frame on the page’ . I love to see homage to comic movies paneled counterpart paid proper due (might have been Watchmen’s greatest saving grace).
Threre are SO many scenes I would love to discuss with you guys, but also don’t want to spoil for you either, suffice it to say that only the harshest most arty film critics will find much fault with this flik. The pace moves quickly from set piece to set piece, the top billing acting is superb, the mid-levels are very capable (though i can’t help but think that there’s about to be some sort of voice over scene al-la How I Met Your Mother everytime Cobie Smulders comes on screen, but that was 100% my issue not her acting). The long and short of it is, we came to see heros kick ass, but we also got a movie with a lot of heart too. Be it out of nostalgia or too much testosterone or whatever, one can easily dismiss the superhero genre as a whole, especially if you can’t also understand the reasons it is popular in the first place!
When I was a kid, TV CaptAmerica drove a motorcycle & TV Hulk was painted green. Now? AVENGERS is the biggest opening of all time!
So let your NYC movie guru call it bloated and brainless. Obviously it would suck to have these heros in real life, running up $160 billion in damage to NYC (ive got an interesting article on just how much damage the Avengers did to Manhattan if you want me to dig it out) as a result of what the collateral damage of fighting fictionalized aliens would cost your average taxpayer. Superheroes do yield super villains and I would personally prefer not to be held ransom on my way home from work at night! Let the village voice say who cares about another battle; We Do! We care about heros and inspiration and final show downs between good and evil becuase at the end of the day we still like to believe in such trivial things like inspiration and the good guys saving the day and heros.
Go See the Avengers, you won’t be disappointed!
I know this blog is already running long so look forward in a day or so to my other points of my movie going experience; the trailer breakdown and re publishing some older film reviews ive done for other sites previous to PNN’s launch!
Posted on May 12, 2012, in Movies, Nerdy Shit and tagged action, avengers, batman, black widdow, captain america, characters, dc, hawkeye, hulk, iron, ironman, joss, kevin, loki, man, marvel, money, movie, popcorn, smith, stark, story, thor, tony, whedon. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.