Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Avengers Review

A couple weeks back I wrote about The Avengers and its potential to successfully serialize comic book movies. Now The Avengers is out and I, as well a hordes of others, have seen it. I am pleased to say that the film is not only the perfect conclusion to one of the wildest multi-film gambles in recent history, but an excellent stepping stone for a continued future.

For those who had deprived youth or are new at life, the Avengers are Marvel Comics' ultimate super hero task force. They deal with the problems that are too big for just one hero. The Avengers have quite the turnover rate in the comics, but the core group (as portrayed in the film) consists of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and The Hulk. In the film adaptation we see the formation of the Avengers, brought together by an impending intergalactic invasion of Earth.

Loki, Thor's adopted brother, acts as the harbinger of doom as well as the film's central villain. Audiences are expected to know these characters from the five cinematic outings that precede The Avengers as well as several other major portions of their stories. For fans, this is a welcome and rewarding change of pace in comic book movies and lends meaning to previous events.

The Avengers is a start to finish extravaganza of action as well as a celebration of what makes Marvel unique. When the characters are in the thick of battle the choreography and cinematography are brilliant and engaging. Watching these Marvel staples finally work together never once feels like a wasted opportunity. Iron Man using Captain America's shield to split his beam to attack two enemies simultaneously is a dream come true for any Avengers fan. The film needed these moments and it delivers them in droves. The special effects are top-tier as one might expect, but unlike other recent CGI heavy blockbusters (I think of Transformers specifically), the film does not lean on them.

I suspect this was thanks in no small part to writer/director Joss Whedon. What could have been a big, angry mess of super heroes fighting for screen time turns out to be a eloquently paced film about the super-egos of well established characters colliding and collaborating. Admittedly, Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark (Iron Man) steals the show and Hulk, when he finally arrives, will make you feel like a kid again. That said, The Avengers does a great job of not playing favorites and that is no easy feat considering you are dealing with seven headlining heros.

Loki is a surprisingly brilliant villain to pit against the Avengers on their first outing. Tom Hiddleston elevates his performance from a lackluster and whiny rendition of the character in Thor to a maniacal and ruthless symbol of power gone wrong. The scale of the threat is dire for the success of this film and Whedon and crew deliver with awe-inspiring perfection.

Bottom line: The Avengers is exactly how you kick off another big summer full of super hero blockbusters. It sets the bar high and earns its merits. This flick isn't just a must see, you should need to see it.

Image Source: Marvel

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