Review: ‘The Avengers’

Last night, I saw The Avengers, a movie that I have been waiting for since 2008 when Iron Man infamously featured Nick Fury during the end credits. Well four years and several iconic movies have gone by, and we now have this film sitting in our theaters.

I loved every minute of it. The action was thrilling, the characters were dynamic and interesting and even the acting was pretty good. Was it the greatest movie ever? No. Was it worth watching? Absolutely.

I remember watching the movie and wondering whether or not the girls that came with us were enjoying the movie as well. I mean, several parts of that movie were tough to follow, mainly the whole plot surrounding Loki and the tesseract. Even though Thor came out just a year ago, I had a difficult time remembering some of the details surrounding that guy and his problems.

Funny thing though. During our post-movie discussion, the girls commented that they followed the story alright and loved the movie. I’m getting similar feedback from a lot of people I know that went to see it even though they aren’t very big on comic book movies. So, my question is, why do these Marvel movies work so well?

D.C. movies, with the exception of the recent Batman films have been mostly hated by the general public and comic book geeks. Green Lantern was probably the biggest disappointment of last year, even though on paper, it looked about the same as any of these Marvel movies.

Well, I have a few reasons why I believe that The Avengers works so well. If you are on the fence about seeing it with someone you think will hate it, maybe this will change your (and maybe their) mind.

  1. We didn’t need an exposition.

Character-wise, we all pretty much knew who Tony Stark is. We know about Bruce Banner’s inner Hulk, and we just saw Thor and Captain America doing their thing last summer. The movie didn’t have to sweat much of an exposition getting us acquainted with who these guys are, letting the action and group dynamics take center stage. We were able to fill in the blanks, and that is probably the biggest risk this movie had to take. If Marvel had just one bad movie, like Thor for instance, then the movie would have suffered.

Instead, we saw the characters we love get acquainted with each other and get straight to the action. Though the first hour was a little slow, I found myself not complaining as all of the characters began to make their appearances.

2. It was hilarious.

I easily laughed more during this movie than I did American Reunion, or even Paranormal Activity. The timing was spot on, and these movies just have a knack for making serious situations more lighthearted and fun without ruining the sense of “holy crap the world could end” drama a comic book movie needs. The movie wasn’t afraid to be cheesy, which is something that other comic book movies could benefit from (maybe even Batman).

Let me put it this way. I have to re-watch the movie because our laughter made me miss at least a dozen quips. That’s good enough of an excuse for me!

3. We hated the villain.

Sometimes the main antagonist is barely featured in the movie, let alone alongside the protagonist throughout, constantly reminding us of the inherent struggle within the movie. Think about how intense The Departed was for example.

Loki was a great villain because he was enough of a token villain for us to hate him, but at the same time, he had enough complexity and backstory with Thor to make us desire his downfall. This movie would have been ruined if the main bad guy was that guy from the first Iron Man or even Captain America.

Plus, his 30 second scene with the Hulk was easily the best part of the movie for me.

4. Joss Whedon directed it.

Hey, it’s the guy from Firefly. He is undoubtedly a master at crafting a good screenplay. I mentioned those surreal alien scenes with Loki if you recall, and that is a tough hand to be dealt. Making a story that appeals to a wide demographic that is leaning so much on aliens, norse myth, and other “nerdy” subjects is not a simple task, but Whedon pulled it off.

The group dynamics were spot on, with each character interacting and behaving believably and realistically, even though the background and concept of this movie is utter fantasy. Good job, sir.

 

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