Monday, May 7, 2012

The Avengers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a bit of a comic book geek, so you can imagine how excited I was for the release of  The Avengers, Marvel Studio’s $200 million blockbuster that featured an ensemble cast from films such as Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.

While the idea to produce standalone titles and connect them in bigger, higher profile title has characterized the comic world for years, it is a new concept to Hollywood. Could Marvel Studio’s novel approach succeed on the big screen? There were certainly a lot of critics, but after The Avengers raked in $200.3 million in it’s first weekend, surpassing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 for the biggest three-day U.S. weekend ever, the answer is a resounding yes.

I can’t even begin to explain how thrilled I am that The Avengers proved a hit. I believe it will open the door for even more comic book adaptations, which of course I'm all for, and will lead to more Hollywood films playing into one another. What’s more, The Avengers is a legitimately great movie.

The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, and everyone who sees the films agrees that director Joss Whedon has delivered every fan boy’s dream. As one of these so-called fan boys, I was worried the film would try to tackle too much, after all it was filled with A-list stars like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, ChrisHemsworth, Tom Hiddleston and Scarlett Johansson.

Most of those actors had carried their own Marvel film, so how would they do as a team? Thanks to Whedon’s magic, he managed to make a well-balanced film where no single character is featured more, or presented as more important, than the others. Everyone had a part to play, and each played it to perfection.

Speaking of parts to play, Mark Ruffalo had the biggest shoes to fill as he was filling in for Edward Norton as Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk. He had never appeared in a Marvel film before, and naturally I was hesitant. I’m not a fan of replacing actors in franchises, but I must admit Ruffalo blew me away; in fact, I think he made a more compelling Banner than Norton ever did.

Simply put, I loved The Avengers. I went and saw a special midnight showing and it surpassed my every expectation. For two hours, I was entranced by "Earth’s Mightiest Heroes" and gave way to the humor, action and spectacle that was The Avengers.

About the only qualms I had with the movie was the absence of a few previously established Marvel Universe players. For instance, War Machine from Iron Man 2 was nowhere to be found, while any references/connections to 2008’s The Incredible Hulk were nowhere to be found (That means no Betty Ross/ Liv Tyler, Abomination/Tim Roth and General “Thunderbolt” Ross/William Hurt). Likewise, Natalie Portman’s character from Thor was briefly mentioned in the movie, but it was merely in the form of a quick explanation as to why she wasn’t in the film (protective custody). With that said, I was impressed that they included Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts.

Working in some of the abovementioned characters (maybe have Loki enlist the help of villains introduced in the other films?) is the only thing I can think of that would have made the movie better. It’s certainly being nitpicky, but that small detail was the only thing missing from what I believe is a near-perfect comic book movie.

As I said before, The Avengers exceeded my expectations in every way, and I cannot wait for Marvel Studios to build upon this franchise, I just wish they could get other licensed franchises back under their control and do the same (I.e. X-Men, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four, etc.). The idea to develop a blockbuster that connects separate films is now a proven recipe for success, especially when it comes to the comic book genre, and I’m confident we’ll see more of this in the years to come.

I highly recommend you check out The Avengers, as evidenced by the highest ranking I’ve ever assigned to a movie. Don’t get me wrong, this is not your classic masterpiece, but given the subject matter, Whedon proved a true marvel. The Avengers is the best movie experience I’ve had in years, and I can’t wait to see it again.

Final Words of Advice: If you decide to check out The Avengers, make sure to stay until the very end of the credits as there is a little bonus seen to be enjoyed.

Buddies Forever Movie Club Rating: 98%

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1 comment:

  1. With over billions and billions of comic book fans and Marvel practically breathing down his neck, Joss Whedon was given one job and one job only and that was to not screw this up. Thankfully, he doesn't even come close to screwing it up and makes this one of the funnest superhero movies in recent time. Nice write-up Chad.