“The Avengers”


“The Avengers” with Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, and Samuel Jackson

(5.4.2012)

Marvel StudiosThe Avengers is by far the best superhero movie ever created.  It perfectly straddles the line between humor, sentiment, and action.  The humor hits home for all ages and easily elicits laughter from audiences.  There are a couple of really touching moments that act as a wonderful bridge from the superhuman to the human—humbling superheroes to relate to humanity.  There is a particularly poignant scene, about mid-film, that could easily draw tears if in a sad state of mind—so be forewarned.  And, then there are the action sequences; throughout the movie they just continually build until it climaxes excellently.  With so many supernatural characters floating around the CGI was immense, but the bleeding was nonexistent and transitions were seemless.

Acting

The acting in the Avengers is phenomenal!  There have been quite a few Marvel films, so the setup and the introduction of the characters was minimal but cohesive due to the prior films.  Chris Evans as Captain America is near perfect. He is level-headed and innocent, and always fighting for a higher cause.  Evans looks a little beefier than he did in Captain America: First Avenger, and truthfully it makes more sense. Captain America has always been fit and close cut—he is a super soldier after all.  Robert Downey, Jr. is really the only actor that could play Tony Stark/Iron Man at this point.  It’s exact, and Downey brings his own charm to an already charming character.  Plot details are already trickling out about Iron Man 3, so stayed tuned for Iron Man news as it becomes available here on the Examiner.  Chris Hemsworthplays the all-powerful Thor, and follows up his performance from his own film by portraying Thor more humbly than before; which makes sense considering that the purpose behind the first film’s story arc was to ground an arrogantThor.  Mark Ruffalo was the standout of the film and should have always been the Hulk.  I honestly hope that they make more Hulk films with Ruffalo as the lead.  He played Bruce Banner superbly, and the Hulk’s part in the movie was hilarious and it would have been tarnished without him.

Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye sits comfortably in the espionage, international assassin role.  Considering that his recent break into the mainstream has begun to typecast him into the spy role.  Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, who I’ve always been ambiguous about, really stepped it up in notch in the Avengers.  Joss Whedon provided a bit more back story to her character and it translated well.  Hawkeyeand Black Widow bounce off of each other well and transform what would normally would be the weaker links of theAvengers into strong, well-rounded characters.  Sam JacksonClark Gregg, and Cobie Smulders round out the S.H.I.E.L.D team nicely.  Although I had an insanely difficult time not looking at Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) as Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother.

All-in-all, the Avengers is the Ocean’s of superhero movies, and lives up to the potential in almost every way possible.

Directing and Cinematography

The directing is excellent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if theAvengers becomes classified as Whedon’s Magnum Opus.  He managed to blend the best-of-the-best from all of the leading up Marvel films into one great movie.  The Avengershas been one of the most hyped and highly publicized movies in recent years and it easily could have bungled, but Whedonpulled out all of the stops and created his best piece of work, yet.  The shots are tight and never stagnate.  Whedon is a hero to fanboys everywhere—and, he already was.

Writing

The plot manages to assemble a team together relatively easily and quickly, and seque into the core plot with ease.  I was hesitant about Loki being the villain, but it built off the plot of Thor and worked as a great introductory story arc worthy for the Avengers to battle.  The dialogue fit the well-established characters to a ‘T,’ and one of the key aspects of the film that set it a step above the rest of the Marvel lineup was the humor.  The whole film was sprinkled with it, and pretty much every scene involving the Hulk was hilarious.  And, as always Marvel left viewers with a couple of ‘after-the-credit’ snippets to entice audiences further.  There are two additional scenes, so you might have to go back for a second viewing, or YouTube clip to get the full experience.

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All summed up, the Avengers is the best superhero movie ever created.  With an opening weekend of over $200 million the fans have already spoken and launched the Avengersinto a stratosphere of its own.  The acting, directing, cinematography, and writing all add together to make an amazing movie.  This is a must-see and easily receives a five-out-of-five star rating from this reviewer.

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13 thoughts on ““The Avengers”

  1. I liked Avengers a whole lot. And I think you’d have to be crazy not to include it on your top 10 or even top 5 super hero movie list. But it doesn’t get the top spot for me. For sentimental reasons, Superman the Movie will probably always be #1. But even if you strip away sentiment, Dark Knight was a far more complex and ambitious film than the straight-forward action movie Avengers.

    I think Avengers is the biggest super hero spectacle ever made. And it scratches an itch to see solo super heroes team up which is common in comics and unprecedentd in movies. It gets the characters right. Has the great Whedon touches, etc. etc. But as a stand alone movie, I think it’s empty calories. Great, fun entertainment. Like a Michael Bay film done right. But I can’t crown it the undisputed king of super hero movies.

    1. The Avengers definitely hits the top spot for me. I completely understand placing a film such as Superman: The Movie in your list, but movies based on nostalgia need to stay in a separate category, otherwise, I could pick any movie (including the worst) and assert that it is the bell winner because I have fond memories of it. Essentially, it would defeat the purpose of reviewing movies.
      The holistic grading would be proverbially thrown out the window with more than just the baby and the bath water.

      As for the Dark Knight, the plot was fairly shallow and rudimentary; it harkened back to the classic good vs. evil storyline, which is perfectly acceptable, but not thought provoking. However, that being said Nolan did a wonderful job with the character development and that is what dog ear’s the Dark Knight as an excellent film.

      I think as far as the Avengers are concerned the plot development as well as most of the character development (save for Hawkeye and Black Widow) was wrapped up and explained in the solo Marvel films–to introduce that many heavy hitters in one movie would be next to impossible! It would be several three-hour tours and even the Skipper would get antsy after that boat ride!

      All-in-all, the Avengers hits the number one spot because it takes a far better director to take almost a half dozen other film makers visions and blend them all together in one cohesive film that invokes humor, sentiment, and action while simultaneously appeasing audiences and production companies. Nolan did a great job making the best Batman film, but not the best superhero film.

      Sorry, for not replying sooner–the office has been taking the majority of my free hours as of late. Thanks for stopping by and reading! I really enjoy your film critiques and I would love to have you guest blog sometime.

      1. I completely agree with you about nostalgia. I try to divorce myself from my strong attachment to Superman: the Movie and frankly I just can’t. The best I can do is to acknowledge that I can’t view the movie objectively. When the summer is over, I do intend to revisit my Top 10 list. When I do, I intend to really scrutinize whether or not I can justify keeping my childhood favorite in the top spot.

        Having said that, I disagree with you about Dark Knight. Compared to Avengers, DK had a very complex plot full of twists and turns. Avengers was the standard “team assembles, big fight” plot. It verges on Michael Bay levels of simplicity. Nothing wrong with that. But of the two films, DK had far more going on.

        Avengers is pure spectacle and great fun. But I swear I had to reread your comments about DK to make sure you weren’t talking about Avengers. Did you really find Avengers more thought provoking than DK? I thought the character moments in Avengers shone and that was what put it a step up from Transformers. (Or several hundred steps as the case may be.)

        I do agree with you that what Whedon did logistically was to solve one hell of a complicated puzzle. In the history of super hero movies, no one has ever faced so daunting a task. Whedon pulled it off and should be commended for it (and I’m sure handsomely rewarded). Avengers is the pay-off of at least 4 previous movies. That gives it a lot of added punch.

        I’m still trying to decide where Avengers ranks for me. If I give in to my biases, I rank Superman number 1. Objectively, I find Dark Knight to the most complex super hero movie to date. Avengers is the most fun and I think the top Marvel movie. But I also find it empty calories compared to Spider-man 2.

        The Dark Knight Rises and Amazing Spider-man still to come, crafting a new list is going to be a challenge.

        I know what you mean about the office. I’ve been busy myself. No worries. I’m a big fan of your site as well and always enjoy your participation at Le Blog and read/RANT. I’d be happy to contribute sometime and I’ll extend the same invitation to you.

      2. I’m not trying to elevate the Avengers plot by any means. I do agree with you it isn’t complex by any means, but I honestly don’t think the Dark Knight is any more complicated either. I found the Dark Knight hidden beneath the guise of complexity. And, who knows maybe I’m being overly harsh upon the screenplays integrity.

        Like you pointed out with the Dark Knight Rises and Amazing Spider-Man releasing this summer odds are the tops spots are going to shuffle a bit. I did get a chance to see the first twenty minutes or so of Dark Knight Rises last December, and its impressions weren’t great but I did see a rougher cut than the final product–so we’ll see. I absolutely detested the first Spider-Man trilogy, but judging from the previews the new one looks highly promising. Finally a wise-cracking Spider-Man!

        Anyhow, I digress. Do you have any ideas for a cross blogging post? I was thinking maybe a debate-type posting where we could discuss our favorite nostalgic superhero movie, or something along those lines? Superman II is my personal favorite, so I could see a good conversation springing forth from that.

  2. I loved this movie, though because I’m more a DC Fan than a Marvel fan a small part of me wishes DC could have gotten their theatrical $#!+ together and done the same thing for the Justice League (and another small part of me prays that never happens because it will probably suck hard). But that digression aside, I thought Avengers was amazingly well done over all. I of course, being a comic book nerd, have my nitpicky issues, but Marvel really has done an amazing job finally giving us a superhero movie that is actually worth not only watching but genuinely lauding. I think the main advantage was that it wasn’t bogged down with origin stories (can you imagine doing an Avengers movie and trying to fit everyone’s origin story in there?). That was the beauty of the lead in movies…they took on that expositional weight and cleaned up Avengers to be kind of a Voltron-like sequel to several different movies.

    Honestly my biggest issue was Black Widow. I have absolutely no qualms about watching Scarlett Johansson parade around in skin-tight leather catsuits…but seriously? You couldn’t find any number of highly attractive actual Russian actresses to play the part (or at least one that can fake the accent)? I can buy that Black Widow, as a spy, can fake an American accent, but I don’t remember anything in the comics that states that she has completely lost/abandoned her accent (but then again…like I said…more a DC fan than Marvel). This is most jarring during the scene where she is actually supposed to be engaging in a conversation with Russian mafia-types IN RUSSIAN! I’ll get this right out there…I’m a huge Russophile and I’ve long struggled with Hollywood’s history of really doing it horribly wrong. But I’ve also see them do it really right too…this just wasn’t one of those times. But hell…when that is really my biggest complaint about a movie…I think we have a winner. I’ll eventually own it I’m sure…maybe I’ll just mute the sound when our dear Natalia comes on screen and just enjoy the view.

    1. I wish DC had gotten their act together–a Justice League movie would have been epic if WB had a little more forethought and planning in place, rather than just winging it. Personally, I am more of a DC fan, than Marvel, but Marvel really got the jump on ’em on the whole movie franchise bit.

      And, out of all the casting decisions for nearly all the Marvel films (leading up to the Avengers that is) Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow was the worst. It’s as if they didn’t even try. They have vocal/accent coaches for a reason–they could have at least tried to fake her background with a choppy accent, but they dropped the ball. I felt that she redeemed herself a little in the “Avengers,” but I’m still not a big fan.

      Have you seen “The Amazing Spider-Man,” yet?

      1. I guess it would depend on whether or not they can make versions of the characters that work together. Obviously you wouldn’t be able to use the Nolen version of Batman or the Ryan Reynolds version of Green Lantern (don’t know too much about the new version of Superman since it isn’t out) and to do a good Justice League movie they’d really have to go the route Marvel did and do individual movies leading up to a Justice League movie, but then of course that would invite comparisons, and honestly the DC movies with the exception of the most recent Batman trilogy haven’t been super great. But still that would be awesome (maybe). My one concern is what they’d do for a Flash movie (and with the Flash in general). The Flash is (obviously) my favorite superhero of all time, but it has been my experience that in general no one knows how to write for him so they’d need to actually bring in a writer who has long time experience with him like Waid and keep the director/producers from messing with him. I can handle a kind of crap movie about pretty much any superhero…I couldn’t take one that screwed up or tried to mainstream the Flash.

        As for dear Ms. Johansson, if you can seperate her from the idea of Black Widow in the comics she isn’t half bad, but unfortunately I’m too much of a comic book purest for my own good.

        I unfortunately haven’t seen “The Amazing Spider-Man” yet. I’m in the middle of a weight loss attempt and unfortunately I have trouble divorcing the idea of going to the movies from the idea of getting loads of crap at the concession stand. But I will be seeing it soon for sure. May wait a little for Dark Knight Rises when it comes out because for some odd reason, despite how much I enjoyed the first two (though I thought it was stupid to kill off Two-Face), I don’t really have the driving urge to see this new one. Not sure why exactly…it just isn’t doing it for me.

      2. Ryan Reynolds’ version of Green Lantern just wouldn’t fit with Nolan’s Batman, and I doubt that it will fit with Snyder’s Superman. Nolan is producing the new Superman flick, and I have a feeling that it’ll be along the same tones as this last Batman trilogy. I love the Flash (definitely one of my favorite characters!), but I am so doubtful that they could do it right…Green Lantern is my favorite character, and I felt like they butchered it, so my hopes for a Flash film were dashed with Hal. Hal and Barry always had such a great friendship in the comics that it is easy to tie them together, so if one goes the other would in my mind. However, even though I am skeptical I could easily see me being blown away, but the perfect creative team that somehow manages to perfect the Scarlett Speedster to a ‘T.’

        I saw the “Amazing Spider-Man” on the Fourth, and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a lot better than the prior trilogy. Toby MaGuire was awful in my opinion.

        And, as far as the Dark Knight Rises is concerned I have the exact same trepidation. I’m not sure when I’ll see it, but I’m not so hot to see this one, and I don’t really have a coherent reason as to ‘Why?’.

  3. Hello this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. WordPress.com uses a WYSIWYG editor, akin to Blogger. Personally, I know some coding, but I never have the time to sit down and do hours of coding for my site. So, I keep it simple. Everything on my blog is based off a template or widget, and is already hardcoded for me. I just have to tweak it in the editor to get to look or read how I want.

      Hopefully, I answered your question. If you have anymore, just shoot me an email at: Peabody99224@Netscape.net

      Also, once you get your blog up and running send me a link; I would love to check it out.

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