"Avengers" a Marvel to Behold
Country: United States
Release Date: May 4, 2012
Distributor: Marvel Enterprises||Marvel Studios
· Joss Whedon
· Robert Downey,Jr
· Chris Evans
· Scarlett Johansson
· Mark Ruffalo
· Tom Hiddleston
Movie Review: Marvel's The Avengers
by Dennis Russo
Published: May 6, 2012
It's been a long time since I sat in a movie theater anxiously waiting for the previews to be over with and the movie to actually start. Such was the case for me this time, waiting for "Marvel's The Avengers" to start.
I have been anticipating this movie for months now, but I've been around a while and I have had more than my fair share of let downs from Hollywood movies I "couldn't wait to see," so I've learned to tame my enthusiasm. But for this movie, I just couldn't help myself. I so enjoyed all of the individual character's movies, that I was just bouncing off the walls looking forward to see how/if they would all get along and work together for the good of the world.
It was not long after the movie started that I was rewarded with justification that proved my anticipation was well warranted. "The Avengers" is simply a Marvel to behold! The premise is a simple one: Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor's (Chris Hemsworth) half brother, finds his way to the Earth via the Tesseract, a small cube of infinite energy that was last seen I believe in Marvel movie-dom's "Captain America". Loki plans on taking over the Earth, by using the Tesseract to open a portal that will allow his army to come to Earth, with the help of a superhero called Hawkeye, aka Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), and Professor Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) whom he brainwashes when he comes to Earth right in the heart of SHIELD headquarters. Loki's helpless thralls steal the Tesseract from SHIELD and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and set to work on building a machine that will open the portal.
One of SHIELD's plans to combat just such a potential threat was to create an "Avengers" team of Earth's mightiest heroes (among other things, such as creating weapons using the Tesseract's energy source). SHIELD began developing this plan ever since the Earth's first encounter with Thor (Hemsworth). With the Tesseract in Loki's hands Nick Fury begins to assemble his team of superheros: Iron Man/aka Tony Stark (Robert Downey,Jr), Captain America/aka Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), The Hulk/aka Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow/aka Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye.
One of Loki's best weapons against the "team" was something that he knew he could play against them, something that SHIELD and even The Avengers themselves were not immediatly aware of -- the fact that, except for Hawkeye and Black Widow, they were all self-centered, egotistical loners. I say except those two because it appears that they have had a thing for one another in the past.
It did not take much for Loki to start them arguing amongst themselves, which of course led to them fighting each other instead of him.
One of the many aspects of the movie that I liked was that The Avengers weren't assembled in 5 minutes after Loki stole the Tesseract. In fact, The Avengers were assembled one by one as the plot of the movie developed. It wasn't until well into the movie that all of the Avengers were together in one place. It's in this "coming together" that we are treated to not just some more wonderful action, but also some great banter and humor between the superheroes. Never too much, or over the top, but if you're a fan of our superheroes then you will enjoy the humor immensely.
In addition to the humor, and exciting visuals, there are also many lines of great dialogue, "sayings" if you will, that will have you on the edge of your "Geek seat" shouting "oh, yeah!" and cheering at the screen...as many of the audience did, including myself. You just can't help it, many of these lines will be retold around a bar, water cooler, and dinner table. Most will all be in conversations beginning with "Did you hear Hulk say..." or "What about when Iron Man said...". I am already guilty of that myself. "Superheroes in New York? Gimme' a break!" I won't tell you who said that, you'll have to watch the movie. The best lines in my opinion are credited to Iron Man. Even when we see him for the first time come to the aid of the other heroes, he arrives to the music of ACDC's "Shoot to Thrill!" In other scenes he's wearing a t-shirt of Black Sabbath... heavy metal (literally) all the way.
The Avengers movie also allows us to see into and learn more of about SHIELD, the super-secret international peacekeeping agency and its Director, Nick Fury (Jackson). For long time Marvel comics fans, this is old hat, but for the new fans, "SHIELD" is an acronym that, when originally created by Stan Lee in 1965 for "Strange Tales" #135, stood for "Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law Enforcement Division." It was changed in 1991 to "Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate" and later for the "Iron Man" and "Captain America" movies to "Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division." "The Avengers" movie helps answer some of the questions about the organization that new Marvel moviegoers might have had coming into this movie given the small snippets of exposure in the previous individual Marvel movies.
I feel The Avengers flowed very smoothly (as smoothly as a roller coaster ride can travel)and cohesively as the movie progressed from them being individuals when events began, to the the time they realize they had to become a team when it was apparent Loki was going to succeed. To see them going from fighting one another to helping each other with their own "superpowers" was really "edge of the seat" exciting. When it comes down to it though, nobody smashes like the Hulk. Oh, others may hit harder and do awesome things, but when it comes to smashing... well, you'll see.
Much of why this movie appealed to me is also tied to the fact that for several of the characters: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Nick Fury and yes, even agent Phil Caulson (Clark Gregg) have been played by the same actor in more than one movie. For me, that forever links them to that character, and I am not sure if I could ever enjoy anyone else in those roles again. It certainly made it better for me, giving the movie consistency. For some roles, such as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, I did not mind that it was a different actor again since there has been a "different" Bruce Banner in the previous two Hulk movies. Since there has always been someone new, I easily accepted that. I will also say that I enjoyed and prefer Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner to the others. He seemed more believable, his character more inherently angry, and you could tell he was holding it in now instead of trying to find a cure. He has come to accept that he is the Hulk and he can't do anything about it; as he explains in the movie, he tried and "he" wouldn't let him.
It was also very rewarding to see Captain America (Evans) really start to evolve into the leader he is. As the movie progresses he goes from still being in awe of the modern world he woke up in, to becoming the tactical leader of the Avengers in the heat of the battle. I can even say that in some scenes where he is running through the city in the heat of battle with the Red, White and Blue colors and star shinning off of his shield, fighting for the USA and the world, I got goosebumps on more than one occasion and felt this swell of patriotism rush over me. You know the kind I mean, the kind that makes you... I'm going to say it... proud to be an American. There I said it.
By contrast we don't see much of the Hulk. Banner does a good job of keeping his emotions in check for much of the movie. This, of course, had me saying to myself "I can't wait to see him let loose!" Let me tell you, when he does let loose, he lets loose on everyone. He doesn't say much, he lets his fists do all the talking, and it is awesome!
During the great battle scenes between Loki's forces and the Avengers in downtown Manhattan, there is an interesting break from all the carnage that is going on -- a sort of breaking away from the heat of battle by both Loki and Stark. It is an excellent verbal sparring match that includes one of the best "Oh yeah!" lines of the movie. When Loki tells Stark they can't protect the world, Stark replies something to the effect of "If we can't defend it, we can damn sure avenge it!" How awesome is that?!
So by now you know I really, really enjoyed this movie, but is there anything about it I did not like? Yes there is, but it is not so much as in the movie, as much as it is how I saw the movie. I saw the movie in 3D, and while that may sound cool and awesome that a movie such as "The Avengers" is in 3D, after 2 1/2 hours of it, my eyes were hurting. There were also aspects of the 3D that at times actually made the characters and sets look small on the screen. When I watch movies on the "big screen" I want the characters to be big too!
While I will certainly say that some instances of the 3D aspect made me say "wow" and that the scenes of Iron Man in 3D were great and at times brilliant, for the most part, a lot of the other action was moving so fast that things became less focused, almost blurry at times. I don't mean blurry because they were traveling fast, I just mean blurry. I know that when something travels fast it will be blurry, but if it is so blurry you can't make out what you're looking at, then why see it?
In my opinion, it would have been better to film some scenes in 3D to make them "pop" and then leave the rest the scenes in good old fashioned 2D. I am definitely going to see the movie again and when I do it will definitely be in 2D.
In a nutshell, "The Avengers" is Marvel-ous fun and well worth the price of admission into the world of superheros, comic books and geekdom. I have let my suppressed geekiness out of the box, much the way Bruce Banner lets the Hulk out, and as long as they continue to make superhero movies like this, I don't know if I will ever be able to suppress it again. And why would I want to? quot;he" won't let me.