The moment nerds the world over have been waiting for is here. Marvel Studios has gotten their shit together to get a big screen Avengers movie out the door. Many are calling it the best superhero film to date, while some are calling it over hyped garbage. So what has Joss Whedon crafted? Is it a masterpiece of filmmaking, or should it have stayed a nerd’s wet dream?
Over the past few years, Marvel Studios has really upped the superhero movie game. Starting with Iron Man and most recently Captain America, they’ve created a cohesive universe. There are crossovers, there are overlapping storylines, and they’ve done what most Marvel fans deemed impossible— create a fully formed superhero team movie. After several years of meticulously building superhero back stories with individual films, Avengers brings it all to an epic culmination. With Joss Whedon, nerd extraordinaire behind the camera, people were divided. Some people loved the idea, and some people hated it. Personally, I was on the fence. The only real works of his I’ve seen was the first season of Dollhouse, and it just didn’t grasp me. I had read a few of the story arcs he wrote for Marvel, and those were interesting, but mediocre. But unlike some, I went into this film with an open mind, and very high hopes.
Joss Whedon has made one hell of a story for this film. Without having to be bogged down with origin stories and exposition, we’re thrust into the story full force in the opening scenes. And while there’s the occasional slow dialog heavy parts, the action hardly lets up. That’s one of the nice things about just being thrown full force into the story. It’s been set up, we know the players, so we can just sit back and watch the games. If you’ve seen the trailers, you know the main idea of the story. Loki returns to earth after his exile at the end of Thor, and threatens the world with war. It’s up to SHIELD and The Avengers to stop it, if they can actually sort out their differences long enough to work together. That’s the main story. There’s other little ones in the film, but I always try to keep things spoiler free. How does the story hold up to other Marvel films? It’s incredibly simplistic, but that’s the beauty of it. With the juggling of 6 different characters in the spotlight, anything more than that would have been bogged down and made it just overly confusing. While there’s smaller arcs throughout, it’s nothing that really takes away from the main story, if anything it adds to it. The final third of the film is when everyone really gets a chance to shine. Once the invasion of Earth starts, shit hits the fan and doesn’t stop. The situation goes from bad, to worse, to completely fucked within the course of the battle, but The Avengers never miss a beat. The last third of the movie completely makes up for every other disappointment in the Marvel Studios universe up until now. The battle scenes are so well done, and the action is completely insane. All of the Avengers do a good share of ass kicking, and its shown beautifully.
Joss has really reigned in control over the characters, and balanced them perfectly. They each get a balanced amount of screen time and every character, down to Agent Coulson, has a bright time to shine without anyone’s roles or screen time feeling forced. For those of you who thought this was just going to be Iron Man and friends, it’s not. While he does play a major role, Whedon makes sure that every Avenger plays an equally important part. And yes, even the mighty Tony Stark gets knocked down a few pegs along the way. Joss really nailed the characters and the team dynamic. If this part of the film didn’t work, the whole film wouldn’t have worked. Joss has always been a character driven director, and this film is no different. He really gets the smaller parts of the characters right, from their personal ambitions to their own inner demons. The one character most people were worried about was Bruce Banner. I’d have to say without a doubt Ruffalo’s Banner is completely on par with Edward Norton’s take on the character, if not just a little bit better.
Now, onto the nitpicking. Which, these are very small nits to pick. I’ve racked my brain to try to think of serious flaws with the movie, but there is none. This paragraph is the only time I’m going to delve in spoiler territory, so be warned.
My first little problem is while they tell you how certain events happen, I would have much rather seen them. For instance, in the confrontation between Thor and Loki, Loki reveals that Thor made it back to earth due to Odin summoning massive amounts of “Dark Energy”. This is one scene that I wish they would have shown, not just told about in passing conversation. It seems as if they almost forgot about certain plot holes, and found the easiest place to insert some sort of answer into dialog. Which, at least they closed the plot holes. The answered every question I had, albeit sometimes not in a satisfactory way. The other problem I had is while the Chitauri army is threatening, and while they really make a mess of things, it just wasn’t the scale that I was expecting, or the scale that was alluded to in dialog. When talked about, it’s made to seem like a world threatening force, thousands of soldiers and vehicles and units. Then when the actual invasion happens, its a few soldiers on flying things, and after a while, a few giant flying worms. Maybe it was just me, but I was expecting thousands of troops marching through the streets, like a true invasion force. But for what it was, the force that was there made a pretty good mess of things. Those are the only two things I can really complain about. Period.
All in all, it’s an amazing entry into the Marvel universe that should leave even the most hardcore fan happy. Joss Whedon made a really smart film that is brilliantly written, considering the scope of the story and the number of A-list characters and actors. The characters are amazingly done, the story is amazing, the score is amazing and dramatic, and the script is hands down awesome. I can officially say that this is the best Marvel film to date, if not the best superhero film to date.
5 out of 5