30/04/2012

Review: Avengers


Ever since the hint at the end of the amazing Iron Man film planted the seed of a possible Avengers movie in the future, expectation has been growing greater and greater. Then the project became a reality, and the comic geeks out there rejoiced at the announcement of Joss Whedon as the director. The stakes were huge: probably the most ambitious superhero movie to the date, led by a director/writer known for his clever plots, unique vision and first hand experience in comic books. It just had to be amazing.

Fortunately for all, Mr Whedon and his team lived up to their reputations and brought us what I can only describe as the single greatest superhero movie ever made. I'll keep this 100% spoiler free, so all I'll say about the plot itself is that Loki is back, hell bent on bringing the Earth down with the help of a powerful army from another world. So S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Nick Fury gathers the titular heroes to help him deal with them. But it's not all group hugs among them: these guys have their own visions, their own interests and their own attitudes, which makes Fury's task quite a difficult one, all with the clock ticking.

So what makes this film so awesome? Visually it is impeccable. Everything a high budget action film should be: full of detail, fast paced action scenes, believable special effects. The 3D is very well done as well. Eye candy all over. But as we know well, that does not guarantee a film's success. I think it is the script and the cast that has made me want to go see it again.

The cast is amazing. Most we know from previous films: Samuel L. Jackson has kicked up Nick Fury's already considerable badassery a few notches. Robert Downey Jr excels as Tony Stark, unapologetically smart, confident and arrogant. Chris Evans gives a new meaning to Lawful Good as Captain America. As he did in his own film, he makes the character so much more than just a super soldier. You can clearly see that his main power is not whatever the serum gave him but what he had all along. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) seems to have matured a bit since the last time we saw him. He is back on Earth with a goal and he will achieve it no matter what. Mark Ruffalo plays Bruce Banner / The Hulk (or the other guy, as he refers to his greener, meaner side) in a way that makes both characters interesting. Banner is so haunted, so stressed you can tell by just looking at him. He is far from just standing there as a placeholder for the Hulk. And the Hulk, many writers make the mistake of portraying him as a dumb giant, while here he truly, really is an unstoppable rage monster.

Black Widow is back too, played by Scarlett Johanson. If you are familiar with Whedon's work you'll notice that he never fails to deliver strong female characters. She never falls into the “damsel in distress” role (that is, she needs no more rescuing than the rest of her teammates). She and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) both have no superhuman powers: they're just incredibly skilled. They share a strong bond between them, a “brothers in arms” sort of bond that works very well. He also has a very personal grudge against Loki. Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is also back, a great character. You can't help but feeling sorry for him trying to get these superpowered superstars with egos as great as the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier to work together without tearing the place apart. And then there's Loki. Tom Hiddleston gives new life to the character. If you loved him in Thor, you'll love him even more here. Stellan Skarsgård, Gwyneth Paltrow and Paul Bettany resume their roles and there is of course the ever present cameo by Stan Lee.

Ever from the moment the movie started I had the feeling I was watching a film made by one of us for the rest of us. Joss Whedon was given a great deal of creative freedom for this film, and it has worked amazingly. The whole film is full of hints at comic book culture and geek culture in general. I personally loved seeing Tony Stark wearing a Black Sabbath shirt for half the movie.

Avengers will entertain you whether you only know the characters from the previous films or you have been reading them for years. I enjoyed it from start to end. And the ending... it shall leave you breathless.

1 comment:

Vikinga said...

"Eye candy all over" All over Loki and Thor :P

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