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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Marvel's THE AVENGERS Review

By now you've probably read a thousand reviews for this film. So what's the point of writing a review that will be positive like the rest? Every reviewer has their own personal likes with a film, so it's always good to add your say. Like many, I've been reading comics for a long time. Let's rewind time to ten years ago. I would be six, the idea of an Avengers film was nothing short of a dream. Yes, super heroes on the big screen was reality, but just the thought of seeing something such as the Avengers just wasn't possible. Fast forward six years later, with the first Iron Man film. Still, the thought of a film like this was still unbelievable. That was, of course, until the after-credits scene with Nick Fury saying "The Avenger Initiative." (I was one of the many who spoiled it by watching the leaked version online.) Imagine all the excitement after that, the possibilities were endless. Thus began the 'countdown to Avengers.' Marvel had a blast with hyping it up using the next films; Incredible Hulk, then Iron Man 2, then Thor, and finally Captain America. By then, we knew an Avengers film was imminent. Now, we had to wonder if they would get it right. A film of such magnitude could easily go the other way. Well true believer, as I'm sure you've read over a thousand times already, the Avengers is everything you want it to be, and then some. It's by far the greatest comic book movie of our generation, and probably won't be surpassed until Avengers 2.

Here's the official description, cause it'll describe it better than I could.

Marvel Studios presents in association with Paramount Pictures “Marvel’s The Avengers”–the Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson, and directed by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since. Prepare yourself for an exciting event movie, packed with action and spectacular special effects, when “Marvel’s The Avengers” assemble in summer 2012. In “Marvel’s The Avengers,” superheroes team up to pull the world back from the brink of disaster when an unexpected enemy threatens global security.
What is the main purpose of a film? Yes, there many purposes these days in the movie industry, but I think we can all agree that a film's main purpose is to entertain, to let the viewer escape reality for a bit. With that said, it's no surprise that Avengers may just be the most entertaining film since Godzilla Final Wars. There's so much action, yet a really great story is squeezed in there. There's this crazy group called the 'general audience.' What that means is that there's this very large group of people who can't accept things that don't feel 'real' or anything on the insane fantasy side. The Avengers appeases both sides, if the numbers are to be believed. This movie is bringing in the money, even on the international scale. Let's face it, the Avengers brings everything it promised. It's fun, fast-paced, and often times humorous thanks to the awesome cast.

Wow, this is probably the most diverse cast I've ever seen in a film. We've seen these people in their respective movies, but the performances by each actor here easily trump their own performances in their films. First off, Chris Evans as Captain America. I gotta say that in his solo film, he was good, but here, wow. Now I can't think of anyone else who would have done a better job. Evans did a phenomenal job as the First Avenger, he was by far my favorite character. The way Cap's portrayed was spot on, he takes charge and is established as the definitive leader. C'mon, who doesn't geek-out when he gives his fellow Avengers commands on how to handle the invasion situation. Plus, he had my favorite line of dialogue, "There's only one God ma'am, and I'm pretty sure He doesn't dress like that." Even if the mask looks a bit cheesy, Cap was truly great in this film. Of course, the 'general audience' will always be a big fan of Robert Downy Jr. as our Iron friend. I don't blame them either, he's the definitive Tony Stark, having the most witty and humorous lines of the whole thing. Seriously, one can't help but smile every time he's on screen. Not really feeling Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Not bad by any means of course, but I didn't think he was that great in the role of the Thunder God. (I'm not saying he was bad, he was good, just not great like Downy or Evans.) I gotta say that another standout role was Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow. She was good in Iron Man 2, but I thought she didn't get to showcase what she could really do in the role. Anything negative said in the past about her with the role should be put to rest, she was one of the best characters in the whole thing. The Black Widow is my favorite female superhero, and I approve her portrayal in the film. Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye was pretty good, pretty much what'd you expect from a live action Hawkeye. While he didn't get as much as a focus like the others, he still had a pretty big role for the most part. Now time for Loki. Tom Hiddleston did a FANTASTIC job as the God of Mischief, like he was pulled straight out of the comics. He brings realism into his role, something that a lot of antagonists in these films lack. (Puts Doctor Doom from both Fantastic Four movies to great shame.) Mark Ruffalo (aside from looking a tad too old for the part) was great as Bruce Banner/Hulk. He added a certain 'coolness' to his role. He's the Hulk, he's accepted that, and has moved on. At first I thought he wouldn't have anything on Edward Norton. However, after this film, I can safely say that he makes a just as good, if not better Banner. Samuel L. Jackson returns as Nick Fury once again. He was great, (naturally) but got a smaller role than I thought. He barely fought, I was expecting maybe for him to fight a little more. Also, how can one not like Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson? It's cool that the Marvel Cinematic Universe added this guy, he's a fun addition to the great cast.

Surprisingly, the whole 'invasion' part felt short.  There was a lot of buildings blown up, but I think it could have been more of a focus. A disappointing part was the Chitauri, they're nothing but mindless pharaoh looking creatures. (I think I know where Battleship got the design ideas for their aliens.) Also, the 'Leviathan' part was hugely disappointing. They (that's right, there's more than one) are finished off rather quickly by Hulk. There are however many geek-out moments here. Yes, there is a Thor vs. Hulk fight. Yes, it's satisfying and awesome. In fact, the battles are some of the greatest I've ever seen in a live action film, the choreography is amazing. We're getting fights from the comics we've always dreamed of. You can't help but cheer when Cap stepped in to battle Loki like a boss. (With some great dialogue from him to compliment the entrance.) Then the fight between Thor and Iron Man was just amazing, it's just a blast seeing these two together, let alone fighting it out! There's this really nice scene with the big three (Cap, Iron Man, and Thor) standing together. It was also a nice touch to have Thor swing his hammer just like from the comics. Comic fans will of course appreciate these little things more. (Thor's hammer banging against Cap's shield? Yes, it has that.) One thing that didn't make sense to me was when Hulk first transformed. He wanted to kill Black Widow, but later on, he seems to be in control and on the heroic side. (Even saving Iron Man from the brink of destruction.) It wasn't quite clear if Loki was controlling him or not. Besides that, I can't really name anything bad or inconsistent, because there really isn't much negative things to say. We get some great dialogue between the characters, some awesomely humorous moments, (Hulk beating around Loki like a rag doll, you would have to see the scene to get the full laugh) and it's the Avengers on the big screen. I'm almost surprised I came this far into the review without fainting from the awesomeness.

Overall, what's more to say? The Avengers is a darn fun film. The cast is top notch, and I really mean that. There's never a dull moment, the dialogue is always fun and often times with humor. The mid-credits scene is also amazing, it really makes the hardcore Marvel Comic fan's heart pound with excitement. The Avengers delivers in every category; acting, action, soundtrack, and overall fun, We get what no one thought possible in a live action film: Hulk vs. Thor. Joss Whedon has successfully done something no one ten years ago thought could happen: bring Earth Mightiest Heroes to the big screen. The only thing truly missing is the iconic battle cry, "Avengers Assemble!" But besides that, The Avengers captures everything a comic fan wants, and then some.


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