As a long time Comic Book collector, I’ve always been more of a Marvel Fangirl than a DC one. I own the entire run of Spider-Man, Avengers, Captain America, FF and Iron-Man books published between 1981 and 1990. Never bought X-Men, too expensive and unwieldy. This is why I have a reputation for being a lot more critical when it comes to my Marvel movies. I have a “vested” interest in seeing these characters done right. Note – My goal here is to do a spoiler free review, I may do a 2nd spoilerrific one after I watch it again in 2D.
While I liked a lot of the Marvel Movies to date, I never got overly enthused about the prospect of a big budget Avengers movie, but you have to admire the hell out of Marvel because dammit, they did it! They had a 8-year plan and they executed it almost flawlessly. Sure, I didn’t like the Captain America movie, nor Iron-Man 2, but I loved the others and the fact that they saw this ambitious plan all the way through, amazes me. Yes, there have been star studded superhero mashups like this in the past – Watchmen come to mind. But that movie had mixed results and it was a single movie, The Avengers is the fulfillment of a promise Marvel made to the audience – that they are building an interconnected world with every Marvel film and it will all lead, collectively, to this film.
I left the theater just giddy and happy. Many people wrongly assumed that because I didn’t like Cabin in the Woods that somehow I hated Joss Whedon. The opposite is true, I’m a huge Whedon fangirl. Always loved Buffy, Angel, Firefly, etc. And appreciate his dry sense of humor. He has never allows the big “action hero” moments to swallow up his characters. This could be because out of necessity since he usually doesn’t have the budget to get lost in SFX wizardry.
The primary question with an Avengers movie was always how do you juggle so many big name stars in one movie? I’m not just talking about the real life actors, but in the Marvel world, the Heroes are the stars, not the actors who play them. The Producers at Marvel Films did an amazing job assembling a group of actors who understand this.
Marvel’s The Avengers gives everyone enough character development to make you care and they all had a “oh, S, that is awesome!” moment. There is not one time in this movie where I felt Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) outshone the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), or Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was better than Captain America (Chris Evans). Everyone had equal time. They even give newcomers Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) a lot to do. Fans who watched all five of the Marvel movies that led into this one where richly rewarded with a story by Zak Pen and Whedon that does a beautiful job of tying everything together and making those movies even more “worthwhile.” Not only that but they did the delicate dance of tying everything together while making this movie accessible to those who did not watch the previous five. But really, who is going to see this without having watched at least one of the other movies?
The unsung hero (besides the awesome Agent Colson played by Clark Gregg) – of Marvel’s The Avengers is actually in the form of its Villain – Loki (Tom Hiddleston). He does an amazing job of playing evil without actually coming across as Evil. His goal is to take over Earth by creating a portal to another world by using the Tesserect (last seen in the Captain America movie). Can we please call it the Cosmic Cube? Please? Hiddleston is a perfect Loki; he uses his tongue to sway people and he plays Loki as suave, but dangerous, and somehow vulnerable. He is a child throwing a tantrum to get his father’s love. Ok, I know why he is what he is.
As a longtime reader of The Avengers this movie is peppered with great little bits of fan service. There’s a great moment at the end where Stark Towers has an A highlighted, there’s a great moment with the Helicarrier that had me laughing, we get to see all the classic intra-team battles and more. This 2 ½ hour movie is perfectly paced. I also loved Captain America here. I hated last year’s movie because the spent the first hour or so making him a joke and denigrating his character. Here, Chris Evans is absolutely flawless, we see him as a boyscout, we get a bit of his rebellious side, and we get a tiny bit of his man out of time vibe when he doesn’t get many of the modern reference. There’s a great moment where he says he understood the “Flying Monkeys’ reference. We see the respect that the rest of the team gives him and watch him become the leader by the end. Great stuff!
My only nitpick with an otherwise perfect film is once again the pointless use of 3D detracts from some of the CGI in the movie. When we first see the Helicarrier, Shield’s Battleship in the Sky, I was filled with glee, but once it took off into the sky instead of it looking huge and imposing, it looked small and a little fake. Every time Iron Man took to the skies he looked like a tiny spec on the screen. 3D always has a way of making things look smaller and ruins the whole larger than life affect that a big screen provides. Don’t get me wrong, it looked ok but could have been so much better without the 3D. I’m going to watch the movie again in 2D.
Since Best Picture Oscars are awarded to Producers then the Producers of Marvel’s The Avengers deserve a best picture Oscar just for pulling this off. The fact that Marvel Avengers turned out to be an amazing movie is just icing on the cake!
Final Grade A+