Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Avengers Movie – A Review

I usually try to lower my expectations before a big film I’m eagerly anticipating comes out with the rule being that it can only go up from there.  Well, I couldn’t really do that for the Avengers.  I was buzzing all night thinking about seeing it at 0900 Friday morning.  And I’m happy to say that it was indeed EXCELLENT!  But is it the BEST Marvel film to date?   You know, that’s a really tough question.  I guess I’d say Iron Man, Captain America, and the Avengers are each just about tied for first, because I love them all, but for different reasons.  Thor is respectably in second-place with the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man II both being deeply flawed and essentially unnecessary to the overall saga. 

The Avengers wouldn’t have worked so well without the viewer having already been invested in the lives of Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, and Loki.  Each of their films was so character-driven and laid a solid foundation for their roles to build upon in this movie, which was to be expected.  (It was cool to finally get a brief glimpse of Cap on Ice right out of Avengers #4!)
However, what I didn’t anticipate was how well fleshed out Natasha Romanoff (the Black Widow) and Bruce Banner would be. 

Let’s face it, Scarlett Johansson was little more than eye-candy in Iron Man II.  She’s still pleasing to watch here (despite her shorter-hair), but she had such a prominent role too.  Think her super-power is her fighting prowess?  Think again, because this lady can talk her way out of any situation.  She’s an expert at interrogation even when she seems to be the one in the more vulnerable position.

Mark Ruffalo is now the fourth actor to play Bruce Banner and he’s the best since the late-great Bill Bixby.  Mark now owns that role.  His soft-spoken, smoldering anger was wonderful to watch.  I meant what I said about the Hulk film being unnecessary.  You didn’t need to see what went on before to understand and relate to his character.  And the Hulk…WOW!   They FINALLY got him right!   He moves and acts just like the Hulk should.   I also loved the way he maintained Mark’s “look” after the change.  I heard they weren’t going to make another Hulk film.  That’s too bad, because I think it could be great based on his performance.  I wouldn’t even mind seeing his origin again, only with Ruffalo.

Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, the wonderful thread that cemented the continuity of the series, really got to shine in this film too.

There were a few minor, minor blips (one literal) in the movie.   Jackson’s Nick Fury appeared a bit stiff to me.  And it seems to be very difficult to catch people in the throes of panic without making them look like they’re waiting a tad too long for the impending action sequence.  Also, I’m always amazed at the limited number of comic creators they acknowledge in the credits.  One thing this film didn’t lack was excellent special effects.  They were tremendous.

I’m glad that Alan Silvestri was on tap again to do the film score; I really liked what he did for Captain America.

The six films as a whole are an astounding achievement maintaining a singular vision (especially considering all the different directors).  Joss Whedon was definitely the man for the job for putting together this ensemble as both director and co-writer.  His dialogue was spot-on too (Anyone want to guess what my favorite Captain America line was?)  It really was well-balanced for all the principals and a perfect capstone to all that came before.

Be sure to stay to the very, very end for an extra, extra scene.

Don’t forget that it’s Free Comic Book Day today!!!


  1. With over billions and billions of comic book fans and Marvel practically breathing down his neck, Joss Whedon was given one job and one job only and that was to not screw this up. Thankfully, he doesn't even come close to screwing it up and makes this one of the funnest superhero movies in recent time. Nice write-up Matthew.

  2. I loved the movie and I think it is one of the best comic book movies ever made. Whedon made it work and gave every character a chance to shine. The Captain America costume looked like crap. Not a great movie like Dark Knight, but a great action film and just out and out fun. As pure entertainment Whedon did a "super" job.

  3. Yeah Hulk! He and Iron Man could have taken on the Aliens by themselves, no problem

  4. I saw it again on Saturday with most of my children and again last night with my wife. After three viewings, I'm still loving the movie.

    What's wrong with the Cap costume, Jim? Sure it looks awkward in some views, but for the most part I think it looks fine. A nice functional (bright colored) "real-life" version and a good combination of the Bond-sale suit and the combat one. I think it's great that they tried to be so faithful to the comic-book version. No matter what he looks like Chris Evans commands respect in the role.

    Pretty soon it'll be safe to really discuss all the cool details in the film.