Stop! Before you mention all the damage we caused behind us, just know, we’re really sorry.
Rating: 10 out of 10
This is what we have been waiting for. The culmination of years of planning, years of filming and years of cross-pollination of characters throughout the Marvel movie universe. The bar was set unbelievably high and I did my best to temper my expectations as I walked into the theater along with the millions upon millions of moviegoers this opening weekend. When the lights dropped, I mentally wiped the slate clean and hoped beyond hope that it was good (at least better than Iron Man 2). As so many other people have said by now, I was more than pleased.
The Avengers follows the beginning of one of Marvel comics most powerful supergroups, as the world finds itself woefully unprepared for an alien onslaught led by the scorned demi-god, Loki. While the various heroes don’t play nicely together at first, they come together when the time comes and prove they are much more powerful together than apart. Together, they are unstoppable.
Many of the reviews have been focusing on Mark Ruffalo and his charismatic portrayal of Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk. Originally much of the focus was on him because he is now the third actor in as many films to play the legendary green behemoth. Yet after the release, the buzz stayed on him because he brought something to Hulk that was sorely lacking before, humanity. Arguably Ruffalo wasn’t on screen a ton and it’s hard to say whether we have been so amazed with his performance if it was ninety minutes or more, but since Marvel and company immediately signed him to a six-picture deal to continue being big, green and angry, we will all get our chance to test the theory out. I’ve always loved Ruffalo as an actor and I have all the faith in the world he can make this rage monster a dynamic character to watch, but the real gamble will come in the script. We’ve seen full movies with Eric Bana and Edward Norton already, so this next one (or two, or three) need to bring something different, not just a rehash of those before. Luckily, the Avengers phenomenon also allows the next Hulk picture to skip over the origin story, since it’s fairly unnecessary now.
While Ruffalo can rightly bask in the glow of a job exceedingly well done, the rest of the cast deserves praise as well. Everyone up and down the line brought their A-game and they played off each other incredibly well. Robert Downey Jr. can sometimes overshadow people on screen, just due to his charisma, but he did exactly what he said his character of Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, couldn’t do…play nicely with others. However, the pressure was really more on Jeremy Renner (as Hawkeye) and Scarlett Johansson (as Black Widow) since they were only side jobs in some of the previous Marvel chapters. Each did a great job, with extra credit given to Johannson (and possibly her fight double if she had one) for her intro sequence with the Russian mobsters.
I can’t close this review out without bringing up one of the real-life superheros of the story, writer/director Joss Whedon. The man is a living legend in the geek community and this film proves the accolades and unending praise are well-founded. He achieved a perfect balance of action, pace, and story all while managing to encompass the overabundance of characters. Jokes were well-timed and well-delivered and he allowed for possibly risky moments to go all out, resulting in one of the most hilarious and enjoyable scenes in Marvel movie history (you’ll know it when you see it).
Sure, there are some nit-picky moments that you can dig up if you’re so inclined. Feel free to send me what you think those might be and I’ll gladly drop in some of mine. Yet, in the end, the experience is what counts and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as I left (and not just because the final extra scene at the end of the final credits was pure genius). This movie captured absolutely every bit of the tone and energy of a comic book summer blockbuster and if Whedon was a professor, this would be his Master Class.
The End of the Page recommendation: The Avengers is everything you want it to be and more.