I had several reservations going into The Avengers: it’s a comic book movie, and I’m no fan of those… there’re four superheroes to deal with, will they get camera time and will that make the movie too frenetic? And, man, this movie delivered satisfying each of those concerns. In case you’ve been living as a hermit out in the Kuiper Belt, The Avengers is the big culmination of all the very popular superhero movies that Marvel has been putting out over the last few years (Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America). Without getting too spoilery, Thor’s troublesome adopted brother has set his designs on Earth, and it’s going to be bad if a team of volatile superheroes can’t sort it all out.
Since this review is going to be hugely positive, I’ll try to hit on the negatives. There’s a plot hole, and it can be sort of ignored, I think. Since I like archery (and happen to know a lot about it), some of Hawkeye’s scenes bothered me– but c’mon, man, it’s a superhero movie; we can’t let realism get in the way of fun. And that’s it, it’s a short list. I suppose if you were feeling very artsy you’d complain that it was so fun and that it didn’t brood or get particularly heavy.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about what was awesome. The fun in this movie worked extremely well. The action sequences were interesting and also something you could follow. One of the problems of technically impressive but unwatchable movies like Transformers, is that you can’t understand what you’re looking at on the screen. This is not a problem in The Avengers, as even with everything going on, I was never confused or overwhelmed. Also, Joss Whedon & company, did a great job making sure it was all actually fun. Some of the scenes are enjoyable particularly because the filmmakers realized it was going to be better to have fun with them than to stay serious.
I really can’t say enough about how impressed I am with Whedon’s direction in The Avengers. Based on his previous work, I expected this thing to be on the fun side… But what really impressed me was that with four protagonists (or seven actually, if you count Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Nick Fury), all of whom have unique powers or skills, The Avengers managed to give everybody their due and make it interesting for the audience. Black Widow, a non “super” character, has pistols and yet fits in and has something useful to do. Also, I know everybody has already said it, but The Hulk was the star of this show. Actor-wise, I thought everyone save Samuel L. Jackson did fine in this movie. I haven’t liked Jackson since he made Pulp Fiction and A Time to Kill. Maybe I can’t forgive him for Mace Windu, I dunno.
Anyway, to sum it up, this is a great movie. As far as popcorn fare goes, there isn’t much more you could ask of it. Very highly recommended for any audience.