Super Types

May 7, 2012
 

Movie Mondays: The Avengers

Title: The Avengers
Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Zak Penn and Joss Whedon (created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)
Distributed By: Walt Disney Pictures
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, and Samuel L. Jackson
Release Date: April 11th, 2012 (world), May 4th, 2012 (US)
MPAA: PG-13

When Loki (Tom Hiddleston) steals the tesseract on behalf of the Chitauri and threatens to destroy the world, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), head of S.H.I.E.L.D., reactivates the Avengers Initiative. Along with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) are called upon to use their talents and powers to put a stop to Loki. However, if they’re going to save the world, The Avengers will first have to learn to put aside their considerable differences and act as a team.

It’s finally here! Four long years after Iron Man announced its arrival, The Avengers has finally arrived. Although I doubt many comic books fans questioned whether or not it would be entertaining, I’m sure everyone was wondering how entertaining The Avengers would be (and whether or not they could successfully fit everyone in without sacrificing the story). To say the very least, The Avengers has proven itself to be marvelous.

The movie starts off with a bang (literally, the S.H.I.E.L.D. compound explodes) and ends with a bang. However, it’s given that a film like this will be packed with lots of multi-million dollar action sequences. The real challenge is to have a well-written story within all of the action, which The Avengers pulls of successfully. The reason why The Avengers tells a great story is simple. They have a simple but compelling story – save the world from Loki. This might sound like a plot written by a five-year-old, but the genius behind it is that it gives plenty of room for the stars to have their own moments to shine, as well as prevent itself from getting overly ambitious or not ambitious enough.

Taken from http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/574510_10150824505799588_187569074587_9441592_1253793013_n.jpg

Speaking of the stars, The Avengers also manages to juggle all of the major characters without sacrificing any of their time or significance on the screen. Everyone has their moment, and for those who have been living under a rock, it easily catches everyone up on who these characters are and why we should care for them. Even better, is the fact that Whedon hasn’t forgotten the non-Avengers, including adorable Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and scene-stealer Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg).

Although both the story and the action are major reasons why The Avengers works, let’s be honest here. The main reason why The Avengers is so great, is the reason why any superhero comic book is great. The four Avengers are so dynamic and engaging that there are simply no dull moments whenever they’re around. Whether it be “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” Iron Man, all-American Captain America, thunder god Thor, or afraid of his own power Hulk. Ah yes, there’s also Avengers Black Widow and Hawkeye. The performances are good, and while they have their moments, neither are as captivating nor enchanting as the rest of the Avengers.

The true hero of The Avengers.

One character that’s actually improved in The Avengers is Loki. The reason why he’s much more dynamic than in Thor, is that Whedon and Penn applied the number one rule for any great villain. Give the main villain a compelling philosophy. Albeit, Loki doesn’t have the most original philosophy, but his Machiavellian philosophy does make him more than a somewhat two-dimensional character like he was in Thor. Plus, Tom Hiddleston does a terrific job portraying everyone’s favorite trickster, although I’m sure his performance will sadly be overlooked, because this is a “comic book film.”

There’s so much more to talk about why The Avengers is so great. Whether it be the final epic battle (which reminds me a bit of the final battle in Transformers: Dark of the Moon), the script’s spot on humor that works jab after jab, and just about every other aspect of the film. But what works about the film can go on and on and on. Basically, The Avengers captures everything a summer blockbuster should be. It’s not just a movie, it’s an experience that must be watched on the big screen. If you haven’t guessed it already, this film gets my rare A+ rating and is somewhere in my top 10 comic book movies. You know those films that you pick apart and dislike more and more after you leave the theater? This is one of those films that you actually like more and more once you leave the theater. If this is the sign of what’s to come in comic book films, then it’s a very good sign indeed.

Hopefully Tony Stark and Steve Rogers can keep things “civil” between each other and not start a “war.”

*****

The Avengers is an accomplishment on more than one level. It’s not just its box office records that make it a smashing success. The Avengers is also the only film I can think of that takes multiple franchises (from multiple films) and puts them into one movie. Of course, there were monster mashes such as Albert and Costello Meet Frankenstein. However, none of those were near the success of The Avengers, nor were the film franchises all building up to the one film. The Avengers isn’t simply just another sequel, it’s an event four years in the making. I doubt it will have the same impact on Hollywood studios the way Jaws and Star Wars Episode IV did, but regardless, it’s a benchmark that Marvel Studios should be proud of.

In fact, Marvel Studios can be proud of all of the films tying into The Avengers. Iron Man was a landmark in superhero films, The Incredible Hulk cemented their success, Iron Man 2 was fireworks entertainment (and over-hated), Thor was a visual feast, and Captain America: The First Avenger was one of the best films of 2011. To put it simply, Marvel Studios combines sheer popcorn entertainment with great stories that comic fans have known and loved for years. Their success is not just something comic book films should take notes on, but also just about every other blockbuster out there.

So where do they go next (aside from completing the sagas for each Avenger)? Aside from Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 being in production, I’m not sure. From the after-credit scene in The Avengers, I do know that Marvel Studios is ready to throw down the gauntlet (see what I did there?). Will round two for Marvel Studios top Iron Man through The Avengers? Again, I’m not sure. However, from what they have proven so far, I have complete faith in them, wherever they take us next.

Andrew Hudson
ahudson@comicattack.net
@Hudsonian

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