Wow. I’m not sure what to say about The Avengers movie that hasn’t already been said before. I will say this, Joss Whedon has done it. He has successfully made a kick ass blockbuster, thus proving to Hollywood that he is the A-list material we fans always knew he was. Which also makes me sad, because the guy may never return to television after this!
Some have complained that the first half of the movie is slow. Personally, I have to disagree. I will say, I wasn’t crazy about the opening sequence, it just didn’t feel as well put together as subsequent action scenes. From that point on, however, the movie shines.
The first half of the film shows off Whedon’s talent in particular with a large cast, allowing each character to have their moment- moments which are often peppered with Whedon’s trademark witty dialogue. Lets face it, when you get that many superhero egos in one room, there’s bound to be some feathers ruffled and Whedon gets it just right, as does his cast. Robert Downey Jr. was born to speak Whedonesque, and the barbs shared between him, Captain America and Thor are absolutely hilarious. Equally, there’s some nice scenes between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner as the two genius’ in the room.
There’s plenty of division amongst the Avengers, some natural, and some not so much. Buffy fans will recognize that Loki’s plan to distract the Avengers is simply to pull a Yoko. He does it fairly successfully up until the point at which they decide they need to pull together. I do think it ought to have been clearer that Loki was manipulating them into arguing. It was hinted at, but not explicit.
For those that complained about the first half, they must have loved the second part of the movie. There is plenty of action to keep the superhero team busy. In fact, much of NYC is decimated due to Loki and his alien invasion plans. The stakes are high for the team. I won’t go into the reasons why except to remind people that there’s something else that Joss Whedon is known for.
Which isn’t to say that the second half is without Whedon humour. In fact, the movie’s biggest laugh comes towards the end of the film and will no doubt spawn t-shirts and other merchandise based on just one line of dialogue. Of course, my absolute favourite scene turned out to be the secret one that was filmed right around the première. You can find it at the end-end credits. Is it necessary? No. But it is funny!
The cast as a whole gelled together really well, they played well off each other. Even the normally scenery chewing Downey Jr. didn’t steal the show entirely. As I said, thanks to Whedon, they all had their own moments in the spotlight. One character which hasn’t done so well in the movies really stood out this time and that was the Hulk. I can’t say that it would make me want to watch another Hulk movie, but I do think he had more personality in this.
I think, for me, it’s really hard to get past the general conceit of the giant green guy. In fact, in the first scene the Hulk appears in, I still couldn’t get past it. But once the Hulk actually got to do stuff aside from just “smash” he became an actual living, breathing character for me, and not just semi-decent animation.
As for Mark Ruffalo, the guy was clearly born to play Bruce Banner. He brings a great deal of depth to his performance. Even so, I still think there needed to be more sense of why he returned for the big fight in NYC. Yes, you can say it’s because in the end he’s a hero, but that seems a little too heavy handed for the complicated performance we’d seen earlier.
Every time I watch and review one of these Marvel movies, I have to ask myself was it better than Iron Man? Ultimately, I have to say no. I don’t know that it will have the same amount of re-watchability as the first Iron Man movie. However, since I haven’t exactly been a fan of the later Marvel movies, not only is The Avengers better than the others, it’s streets ahead!