The super-powered-culminating team of Marvel’s best, is based on the story written by Stan Lee himself (who makes a cameo). It is supposed to be the summer blockbuster of 2012 (aside from maybe The Dark Knight Rises) and had high hopes of delivering the goods…did it?…Well, sort of…let me explain….
The story, without giving too much away, is centred on Loki, Thor’s evil stepbrother, wanting to get a quantum-cube called the Tesseract, and return it to his masters for whatever diabolical reason. Basically, the cube (a MacGuffin plot device) is way too powerful and mysterious to be given away to aliens, especially violent ones, so a secret branch of United States military officials that form the group SHIELD, need to resort to a back-up plan called “Avengers Initiative” when the Tesseract is stolen from them.
From there the plot involves recruiting the Avengers, assembling the Avengers, multiple switches in allegiance, occasional romance, and a ton of brawling with the baddies. This works for the movie, allowing it to clip along its mostly predictable path with few hiccups, maximum speed and many deliciously explosive set pieces.
There is also surprisingly good characterization…with some of the characters. The Avengers consist of the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), and Hawk Eye (Jeremy Renner). The story really relies on the fact that the audience has seen at least 1 of the Iron Man movies, and both the Thor and Captain America movie. This being the case makes the amount of time spent with characters like the Black Widow, Hawk Eye and the Hulk much more lengthy. While its great to find out about these less broadcasted characters, if one haden’t seen the other films, one would feel completely out of the loop as to the goings on of the two major characters (Iron Man and Thor). This method of characterization does work in time slimming efforts, but makes the movie almost centered around the Hulk and the Black Widow, giving them the best lines, and the most important roles, which feels odd at times. Also, the slower, more intimate moments of the film seem forced, and predictable. Overall though, the characters are good enough, and decently acted as in previous installments of this Marvel Universe.
The Avengers is directed by Joss Whedon, a fairly amateur director who is just getting his big break this year, and is written by Zak Penn, who was previously nominated for Worst Screenplay at the 1993 Golden Raspberry awards (an anti-Oscar award show). So the hands that were guiding this story are inexperienced to say the least. But despite all of this, the movie holds its own, it is well shot, even has a few moments of intriguing dialogue. However, while Zak Penn could still learn how to tune up his writing a lot, matters concerning script quality usually have no affect on comic book films, and the Avengers is no different. Basically, the writing matches and balances out the filming quite nicely (especially the humorous scenes).
But….There is a persistent problem with the Avengers, though it’s tough to explain. The Avengers has the action, and the acting, but the characters, both in the fictional world, and on the big screen, are all leaders. What this means is that the director of the movie has to conduct a balancing act just to get the right amounts of screen time for each leading character.
The result is 4 people who are all lead roles in their own movies, now acting as supporting characters in a group of 6 equals.
Oddly enough, this is one of the tests that the Avengers have to face in the film. They must realize that the only way to defeat the enemy is to embrace the timeless cliché of “We can only do this, if we do it together” and “There is no I in team”. This results in decently good movie-to-real-life scenario, albeit an unfamiliar and unexpected one. And these cliché’s are easy to pass on because, hey, it is a comic book adaptation.
So your probably thinking, how is this a persistent problem? If they pulled it off, then isn’t it all good? Well the answer is mixed. They did pull it off, but that’s just it. Nothing about the movie was that spectacular, they never pushed the envelope, they never attempted to ask the tough questions. The movie just stuck to its linear plot, tutting along the predictable path, like super-bees on a trail of money-making-honey. The acting was decent, the action sequences admittedly good, but that’s it. The script was poor, the cinematography was alright, and the whole movie just felt way too cautious and far too routine, almost like I’ve seen this movie before.
The Avengers is propelled to greatness based on the coolness of its base concept alone. Nothing about the movie is formidable or award worthy, and as a whole, the movie seems solid, but looking back, this super-hero episode can easily be overshadowed by its current and future competition. I hope that the only reason for the movie being so 1 dimensional was to set a strong base for the sequel, which I have very high hopes for…Or had high hopes for (another let down!). After watching the “secret” scene after the end credits, I was uninspired to say the least. It was so reminiscent of the Transformers movie ending that I got a Michael-Bay-action-shiver just watching it.
The Avengers is a really well-managed considering the enormity of the cast, decently shot, and overall exciting action packed adventure. This being said, the experience is linear, unoriginal and leaves something to be desired. The first unity of the worlds biggest super heroes falls short of the greatness that it could have achieved. The Avengers sticks to what works and doesn’t push any boundaries, and while not amazing like everyone seems to think it is, it does what works, and to be honest, despite its flaws, its stil a fun movie and is just what the Marvel movie-sector needed to get back on its giant green feet.
I give the Avengers, 73 Captain America Shields out of 100 Hulk Smashes
- Lead Role(s): 15/20
- Supporting Cast: 6/10
Total = 21/30
- Pacing/Flow: 17/20
- Cinematography: 7/10
Total = 24/30
- Dialogue: 11/15
- Story: 8/15
Total = 19/30
- Special Effects/Sharpness: 4.5/5
- Soundtrack: 4/5
Total = 8.5/10
Final = 73%
Great Soundtrack! :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Esmxa3Zk7TA