I’m not quite sure why I’m writing this review since by now most of America has seen the Avengers. Shattering box office records is a pretty big indication that this movie is pure awesomeness.
Avengers is the big payoff we have all been waiting for since the first Iron Man movie in 2008. By some miracle, Marvel and director Joss Whedon have exceeded expectations even after all the hype. Many likely expected at least good action and special effects, but the movie also has good character moments as the heroes interact with one another.
Whedon has a skill for writing and handling group dynamics ever since his run on television with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, and even Cabin in the Woods are more ensemble pieces with a diverse cast of characters. He was a natural pick to take on the challenge of balancing all the major superheroes as well as giving each their due.
The superhero character interaction, whether in dialogue or in an action scene, is what works extremely well. We see Tony Stark and Steve Rogers trade barbs at one another. Stark also has some good moments with Bruce Banner, someone who can stand toe-to-toe with Tony’s intellect. The big action sequence in the end is one geek out moment after another. When the film showed some shots of the heroes fighting back to back and working together to repel the alien force, I thought that would be it. But there’s plenty of scenes where you recognize the group as a true team.
The story is nothing special. Loki is the main villain. Aliens invade. Avengers Assemble! Keeping the story simple was likely the best approach since the primary focus had to be on the superheroes learning how to work together. With the team and character interaction more established, Marvel can gamble on a more epic and complex story for the sequel.
The movie is by no means perfect. The beginning sequence setting-up the threat is longer than it had to be. I got into this movie to see the main heroes, and it takes a while to get to them. I also wished they would have had more scenes to develop Captain America’s adjustment to the modern time period. They are probably saving that for the next Captain America film, yet it would have been nice for them to have him reflect on all that’s changed. It would have been especially nice for him to meetup with Peggy Carter as an elderly woman.
Avengers somehow surpasses all of our expectations. Even the most annoying of fanboys will be hard pressed to find something to gripe about, and that’s quite an accomplishment.
As we all know by now, you need to stay through the end credits for an extra scene. There’s two end credit sequences, so stay through to the very end. One scene hints at the big bad (to use the Whedon vernacular) for Avengers 2. And he’s definitely as big as they come. While we might look on Avengers as the end of an ambitious project from Marvel, it can also be viewed as the beginning for the next slate of Marvel movies: Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and Captain America 2. Geeks have never had it so good.