For a long time, superhero movies have been classified as artificial and repetitive, but Marvel’s “The Avengers” successfully delivers a more enjoyable take on these movies, oh-so-despised by critics, not to mention the millions of girlfriends who’ve been dragged to them, worldwide.
“The Avengers,” for those who haven’t studied Marvel movies as thoroughly as comic book junkies have, is somewhat of a forest fire. It was first hinted at back in 2008 with the release of “Iron Man” and since then Marvel movies “Iron Man 2,” “Captain America,” “Thor” and “The Incredible Hulk” have subtly fed the flames, which have ultimately turned into this huge uncontrollable wildfire of a movie.
Walking into the movie, one should keep in mind its premise. This is a film about superheroes Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr..), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), along with Shields’, a secret superhero FBI run by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), attempt at forming a team called The Avengers. This superhero team is a result of Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston), the god of mischief and Thor’s brother, pursuit of world domination. If somebody is only expecting to see the team’s many efforts to stop this spread of evil, they should prepare themselves for a surprise, as the superheroes are more often at odds with one another. The internal conflict the team has to thwart is the main antagonistic force, and it results in many twists and turns, not to mention some of the most elaborate and grandiose fight and chase scenes ever shown on the big screen.
The movie thrives from this element of surprise, which director Joss Whedon (creator of widely acclaimed TV series “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”) perfectly accomplishes. This will be Whedon’s claim to fame in the world of movie directing and it surely is an impressive entrance. Just the plot itself is more fresh and original than expected. There are huge setpieces that transition seamlessly throughout the latter part of the movie. It is astounding that the cast will be in a crashing high-tech decoyed Shield air base one minute, and the next they’re in alien-invaded Manhattan, trying to quell the pandemonium, as wave after wave of an intergalactic army enters through an inter-dimensional portal. Whedon finds an array of methods to fill in the gaps between the action filled parts and no changeover is like the one preceding it.
Also surprising is the humor Whedon incorporated into the action-packed thriller. Iron Man serves as a one-man band for comic relief through the majority of the film, as he consistently and swiftly jabs jokes at the expense of his teammates and enemies. By the end of the movie, The Hulk is responsible for most of the outrageous and comically memorable parts of the film. Prepare for his ridiculous encounter with the condescending Loki.
Although the plot is very imaginative and illustrative, the screenplay could have been more sophisticated. A more equal distribution of screen time into action scenes and conversation scenes might have elevated the movie to a more refined status. The beginning of the movie is slow, as Whedon attempts to give the audience a bit of information on each character before throwing them into the ensuing anarchy, and there are notableclichés in the movie that take away from its originality, no one wants to hear the same line from another action movie about the fate of mankind. There also could have been more dialogue in the movie – action is good, but some deeper and more meaningful conversations between the fallible superheroes would’ve been appreciated.
There was room for worry in regards to the assortment of famous names associated with the film – these celebrities have proven themselves as actors and played lead after lead, so it was hard to imagine how they would collaborate and share screen time with one another, but those qualms never manifested themselves. Each actor, or superhero, has his or her own specific and much needed role in the movie. For example, The Black Widow constantly serves as peacemaker trying to hold and bring the group together, courageously attempting to recruit the feared Hulk and always focusing on the mission at hand. Thor brings a naivety and care for human kind that sets him apart from the others. Captain America has a soldier mentality that makes him more decisive then the others and an exceptional leader. Iron Man is a rash genius. The Hulk, in his human state as Dr. Bruce Banner, is peaceful and submissive. All the actors lend themselves perfectly to the role, and no one comes out on top as the main character or star of the movie.
In terms of special effects, the crew did a nice job at making the illustrious fight scenes and settings come to life naturally. It felt like the first time a superhero movie didn’t have a jarring special effects moment. Everything was well executed and the chaos on the streets of Manhattan felt realistic, with buildings being demolished as flying shelled mammoths crashed through skyscrapers and alien infantry bombed the streets. Attention should also be drawn to the first transformation of The Hulk and the imposing destruction he causes; it will instill fear and anxiousness in all viewers.
Before going to the movie, some preliminary research is highly advised, or at least a viewing of the movies based on the featured superheroes released prior to this epic culmination. Being able to distinguish the long-haired Adonis-like Norse gods from the gamma ray consuming bipolar forest green Hulk shouldn’t be too hard, but with the swarm of different superheroes starring in this movie, not much time is given to explain back stories and supporting characters like Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Shield agents like Agent Maria Hill (How I Met Your Mother’s Cobie Smulders). The neglect of these characters, which makes them feel unnecessary to the movies plot, and the waste of potential that these actors could brought to the table is a shame.
“The Avengers” departs from the standard superhero movie formula and raises the bar very high for the upcoming “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Amazing Spiderman,” both scheduled for a summer release. Hopefully this movie will set a new standard for the superhero movie genre, which has been widely acclaimed as sub-par. Even if superheroes aren’t someone’s thing, this movie merits a viewing. The thrilling ride that is “The Avengers” should be enjoyed after the dull AP Exams; it will reawaken the senses and bring much-needed rest to the cognitive part of the brain.
(Tip: Stay after the credits. Marvel always leaves the audience with something to look forward to.)