Saturday, April 21, 2012

Review: The Avengers (2012)

“Dr. Banner, your work is unparalleled. And I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.”

Director: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson
Writers: Joss Whedon

So somehow the nerd gods were smiling down on me and I managed to get preview tickets to The Avengers a week before it’s coming out. As I sat down and waited for the movie I couldn’t help but start to feel excited. This movie is the culmination of five movies (by my count), and is a risky venture to bring comic book continuity to films. A lot is riding on this movie as it is going to set the course for Marvel and its movie division. Boiling it all down, the question is does it live up to the hopes and dreams of nerds everywhere?

Long answer is yes, short answer is yes. Everyone behind the film should be proud of what they have managed to accomplish with this film, its impressive how many people they have in the cast and yet they manage to give everyone adequate time. Sitting down I was laughing, enthralled with the character interplay, cheering, and having a blast. This is pretty much how popcorn movies should be. It isn’t dumb enough to become insulting to the audience (I’m looking at you Tranformers 2) yet it never tries to be smarter than it is and drain all the fun away. It’s going to be interesting to see how people rate this movie alongside The Dark Knight Rises which is definitely going to be more serious fare.

Visually the movie has enough effect money shots to make anyone smile, oh and the trailer doesn’t spoil everything which is always nice. Whedon also manages to use the 3D in some interesting way, especially when it comes to mirrors. Still despite some interesting flourishes, I don’t think the 3D is necessary for the movie and if you want to save money and catch it on 2D then do so. Overall Whedon infuses the movie with a visual dynamism that really gives the movie an incredible energy. Also on the Whedon front he’s put enough of his writing touches to make the Whedonites of the world happy. Dialogue, character moments, comedy and darker tones are all there for those familiar with his work. Those that aren’t will find a light and breezy movie that does have some emotional peaks and valleys but shouldn’t expect anything too taxing.

Finally we come down to probably the biggest draw in this movie and that’s the cast. Barring maybe one or two exceptions everyone is on form and they really dig into the witty dialogue that is distinctly Whedon. I don’t think it would surprise anyone that Robert Downy Jr and Chris Evans are great in the film. For Downey he basically can just switch on Stark whenever he wants, Evans is given room to grow as he now gets to play up the fish out of water aspect of Captain America. Mark Ruffalo makes it three actors who’ve portrayed Bruce Banner in the current crop of Hulk outings, and in my opinion like Bana and Norton is great in the role. Add in Bixby and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an actor fail at playing Banner. I was also overjoyed that Clark Gregg got more play as Agent Coulson in this movie, and I loved every moment he was up on the screen. I could be going on about the actors for several pages so instead I’ll move on to the two actors I had problems with.

First actor it wasn’t actually his fault, in fact if you take him away from where he came from Tom Hiddleston was yet again fantastic as Loki. However if the script has one big flaw it has to do with the personality change of Loki. There are good reasons for the change, there is some lip service paid to his new mentality but it does feel like we’ve missed a big chapter of Loki going completely insane. Still this isn’t too much a thing as Loki is still a really fun villain for the Avengers to play off. In my opinion the weakest link in the actor chain is Samuel L Jackson. I like his brief appearances in the previous movies, I like the look of Nick Fury and how it ties into the ultimate universe, but there is just something about Jackson in this movie that just wasn’t at the same level as the other actors. Personally I think that Samuel L Jackson has got such a reputation for being a badass on and off screen that this performance is a tad phoned in. Still it’s not the biggest of problems as he’s not an Avenger, he just brings that group together and as such he never gets the spotlight like others.

Despite some small flaws the movie is still a brilliant example of a popcorn movie done right. Go in, sit down and watch the next two hours fly by. It does give me hope for the future of Marvel developments, and if anything it’s definitely a successful experiment in serialised cinema. People get out there and see this movie. Chances are it’s going to be on my top 10 at the end of the year.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent stuff. Can't wait to see it next week.