Sunday, May 6, 2012


The Avengers

Release Date: May 4, 2012 (US)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Clark Gregg, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Co-Written and Directed by Joss Whedon

This was a huge gamble. In 2008, Marvel Comics created their own in-house movie studio so that they could have different characters show up in another’s movie, such as Tony Stark appearing in The Incredible Hulk or Hawkeye making a cameo in Thor. What was the purpose of these appearances? To eventually get to a team-based movie, where Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor: God of Thunder, Clint “Hawkeye” Barton, and Natasha “Black Widow” Romanov come together to form THE AVENGERS.

If you’re wondering, I will review the other Marvel Studios films next; but in the mean-time, let’s talk about The Avengers.

When I first saw the post-credits scene in Iron Man where Nick Fury (Jackson) mentions the “Avengers Initiative”, I was both excited and nervous.   I was excited because as a comic fan, I knew that it would be a huge action movie with several of my favorite characters that may happen one day. I was nervous because having a team-based movie doesn’t always mean each character will get “their moment of glory”: then came Joss Whedon.

For those who aren’t familiar with Joss Whedon, he is the creator of the hit cult TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. He is also responsible for directing Serenity and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Whedon is also a comic book writer who has written Astonishing X-Men, Runaways, Buffy: Season 8, and Serenity. Whedon is well known for his snappy dialogue, quirky humor, and great use of both action and comedy to form great stories. For example, many of his shows revolve around multiple characters who all have a unique voice and do not overshadow one another.  In short, he was the right man to write and direct a movie where several big name comic characters come together for one team.

The Cast: Returning from their own individual movies, we have Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odiinson, and Tom Hiddleston as the villainous Loki. There were also several supporting characters who showed up in those films, now seen as SHIELD agents willing to back up our heroes: Jeremy Renner as Clint “Hawkeye” Barton, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha “Black Widow” Romanov, Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Head of Shield. Finally, we have a cast change: Dr. Bruce Banner, who was first played by Edward Norton in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, is now played by Mark Ruffalo.  So, what do I think of their portrayals as seen in The Avengers?

Not only did Whedon know how to balance each character, but made sure that every character was developed and worked well as a team. I also think that Whedon knew how to use his trademark snarky humor in small doses, such as when Iron Man calls Thor “Point Break” or when Bruce Banner dryly jokes how badly an idea it is to put him in an enclosed area in the sky. The cast works great together, particularly Downey and Ruffalo; the two of them bounce well off each other and have a lot of good jokes about Banners’ “other guy”. So yes, I like Mark Ruffalo's portrayal as Bruce Banner; it fits well in this movie, and does have a really sweet development in his relationship with the Hulk. Then, Hiddleston is slimy and cruel as Loki, making him into a better villain than  he was in Thor.

A lot of people will say ‘oh, this was my favorite scene’, but I won’t do that in fear of spoilers. I will say, however, that this film is MADE of great moments, such as epic fight scenes and character developing moments, and exposition from previous films that never feels forced or clunky.  The fights in this movie are glorious; Whedon knows how to make these characters look like Titans battling to the death, making each and fight look momentous, even before the final battle in New York.

The only thing I didn’t like: Captain America’s new battle outfit.  If you didn’t see Captain America: The First Avenger, go watch that and look and how amazing Cap’s wartime outfit looks. In that movie, the red-and-blues look like combat fatigues fit for a soldier on the battlefield.  In The Avengers, it looks too thin, too cheesy looking. If you wanted a more “comic accurate” Captain America costume, I suppose you get what you wanted. But for me, I was hoping for the WWII costume to return.

When I walked out of the movie, I truly believed this was one of the best blockbuster movies I’ve seen in the last 5 years. Simply amazing.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars 

Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2
Captain America: The First Avenger

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