Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Marvel's The Avengers (2012)

Joss Whedon’s directing is just fantastic. The Avengers clocks in at two hours and twenty-two minutes, but the lengthy run time flies by, and you can thank Whedon’s smooth style of directing for that. This film has a nice flow to it, and Whedon packed a powerful, action filled punch. The Avengers is loaded with some great eye candy, and the special effects really provided the icing on the cake. Whedon is in a real comfort zone as director throughout this film. You can really sense it, and Whedon did provide a fun ride for me.

I loved Whedon’s directing, and his screenplay is really something to admire. First of all, I hardly know anything about comic books. The tiny bits of clues featured in the mainstream Marvel films (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, etc.) are my only sources for any sort of information. I’ve never picked up an Avengers’ comic book, but Whedon’s script is SO easy to follow. It’s a real treat for outsiders like myself, and having the knowledge of a big comic book fan isn’t a requirement for this film. Whedon’s script provides an easy-to-understand guide for The Avengers, and it’s okay if you’re not familiar with the comic books. I never felt lost, and Whedon’s simplicity will appeal to the masses.

Blending so many extraordinary personalities together can be a tricky task, but Whedon pulled it off with ease. The tremendous ego of Tony Stark, Thor’s god-like powers and his personal agenda, and you can’t forget about the raging, unstoppable monster within Dr. Bruce Banner. Iron Man loves to show off his flashy gadgets, Banner is afraid of The Hulk’s inevitable emergence, and Thor wants to handle the threat on his own. Of course, Captain America wants everyone to work as a team, and eventually, he steps into the role of a leader. Black Widow/ Natasha Romanoff is a team player, and Hawkeye might be a loner, but his deadly skills as an archer are enough to earn a spot on the team. As a team, The Avengers hit a few bumps in the road. Egos and mistrust almost tear them apart, but eventually, they learned to work together and coexist. In these moments, you really get to see the human side of the main characters, as The Avengers put aside their own personal agendas to defeat a seemingly unstoppable evil power.

When I first saw Thor, I didn’t care for Tom Hiddleston as Loki. I didn’t hate his performance, and he didn’t do a bad job in that film. He was just there. But I thoroughly enjoyed Hiddleston as Loki here. Loki is more confident this time around, and Hiddleston did bring a strong sense of believable arrogance to this character. Hiddleston was an entertaining antagonist, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Loki return in the next film.

The Avengers features a good set of enjoyable performances, and when it comes to the acting department, I don’t have any complaints. Robert Downey, Jr. and Mark Ruffalo delivered high quality performances. Also, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsowrth, Jeremy Renner, and Samuel L. Jackson really pulled everything together with a good effort. Everyone understood their characters, and the entire cast delivered very convincing performances.

Picking a true star from this cast is kind of tough, but Mark Ruffalo is my #1 choice. Eric Bana was okay as Banner, Edward Norton was fantastic in The Incredible Hulk, but Mark Ruffalo surpasses Norton’s performance in the last Hulk film. Ruffalo was this nervous and soft-spoken man, who feared the devastating wrath of The Hulk. Ruffalo brought this calm sense of confidence to the Bruce Banner character. Ruffalo’s Banner has a “secret” for taming the monster inside him, and Ruffalo’s poise during one final transformation towards the end is just great.

And speaking of The Hulk….he was THE MAN in this film. Ruffalo delivered a superb performance for the Bruce Banner character, and The Hulk was just amazing. He’s an unstoppable ass-kicker/wrecking machine, and The Hulk did provide some genuine laughs for me (especially during Loki’s SMASH! Scene). Robert Downey, Jr. might be a popular choice for the true star of this cast, but The Hulk easily steals the show here.

Is this film predictable? Yep. It sure is. Can you see everything coming from a mile away? You should be able to, if you pay close attention. Sure, The Avengers might feel predictable at times, but who cares! This film will take you on an unforgettable ride to the very end, and the spectacular final battle provides some great fun and excitement. The Avengers is a thrilling and extravagant action superhero film. The Avengers lives up to the tremendous hype, but I still haven‘t seen The Dark Knight Rises yet, so I‘ll hold off on my praises for the best superhero film of 2012 for now.

Final Rating: 9/10

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