Aubrey Ward III
I'm not telling you what to see. I'm not telling you what not to see. I'm just sharing my experience and opinion on the movie, tv show or play that I have seen. I'm merely an advisor. Ultimately, you will have to go with your own gut and decide if you'll buy the ticket or not.View all articles by Aubrey Ward III
The trailer alone gave me multiple “geekasms”. The complete motion picture just enthralled me and juiced up my neurons with a euphoric blast of awesomeness. In simpler terms, The Avengers was incredible. It blew away my expectations and I can't even fathom how Marvel Studios will create a sequel to this one. If you've been following the Marvel movies then you're already familiar with most of the cast: Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Thor/er, um, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow/Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson), and Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Supporting characters such as SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) return to help enhance the unique continuity established in the Marvel films Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). The “new recruits” definitely brought some extra punch to an already knock-out ensemble with Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) ratcheting up the “bad-ass” quotient, SHIELD Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) on hand as Nick Fury's no-nonsense right-hand-woman and Mark Ruffalo effortlessly taking over the movie presence of “Hulk/Bruce Banner”.
Sorry, fanpeople, but Natalie Portman was not present to reprise her role as Thor's love interest “Jane Foster”. However, she does get an honorable mention in the film and will most likely return for “Thor 2”.
The combination of Joss Whedon and Zak Penn on the script and Mr. Whedon at the helm as director is probably what helped The Avengers become much more than a mindless light-show. For those who don't know, Joss Whedon is pretty much a member of the pantheon of “Geek Gods”. His amazing talent for putting the character into characters has been remarkably evidenced in his tv shows (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse), films (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Alien Resurrection, Serenity, Cabin In The Woods) and comic books (Astonishing X-Men, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Runaways). When Whedon is involved I know I can expect some refreshing storytelling with lots of clever dialogue and incredible moments that reveal that superheroes go through some of the same crap that normal people do. Actually, the self-effacing humor that has become a staple of most comic book films ever since X-Men (2000) debuted has been a norm in the Marvel movies especially in Jon Favreau's (director/screenwriter/actor) Iron Man and Iron Man 2 films. Well, Joss is quite adept at giving the coolest and steeliest of characters at least one moment where he or she can have a well placed gag.
Zak Penn, on the other hand, has been involved in some major comic book based motion pictures including X2: X-Men United (2003), Elektra (2005) and The Incredible Hulk (2008). He also co-wrote the screenplay to X-Men: The Last Stand (2006); a film that I still bitterly rant about and will probably despise until I sleep eternally in an urn filled with my cremated ashes. Well, I guess I can forgive him, mostly, since he co-wrote The Avengers script and that turned out to be spectacular. However, neither writer could give a solid explanation for Thor's reappearance on Earth. The last time we saw Thor he was sadly looking at the demolished Bifrost Bridge, a dimensional portal that can transport travelers all over the place including Earth. With the bridge destroyed it seemed like Thor would be unable to return to Earth for a very long time but he magically appears just in time to aid SHIELD in battling his maniacal “adopted” brother, Loki. My inner geek would've liked a grander explanation instead of just “Odin The All-Father must have zapped him here” but we're talking about a movie featuring a man is revived after a lengthy slumber in a glacier and a dude who morphs into a gigantic green behemoth when someone steals his parking space. For the most part, The Avengers plot is good enough that I can easily overlook the smaller faults like Thor's easy backdoor entry to Earth.
Since The Avengers splits the spotlight between six major characters along, a few crucial supporting characters, and villains expect to be in the theater for a little over two hours. There isn't too much time spent on rehashing the origins of each principle character, thankfully. Frankly, the casual moviegoer had an ample amount of time to watch the preceding Marvel films that led to The Avengers. Of course, if you decided to skip all those flicks and just walked into The Avengers the writers did a good job of spelling out who's who, why each character is present and what his/her abilities are. If you really get lost in all that stuff about the mysterious Tesseract power source that's at the center of these catastrophic shenanigans just keep telling yourself “The Avengers are here to save the world. The Avengers are here to save the world.
Let's take the actual organization of the team. The heroes don't just come together and bond instantly. Most of these people are meeting for the first time and personalities clash from the start. The fact that SHIELD is involved causes some would-be members to be very suspicious. Skirmishes do break out amongst the members resulting in some incredible showdowns (though I have to admit that the Thor/Iron Man tussle was a bit overdone.....probably drafted by Zak Penn, I'd presume). What the “norms” don't realize is that comic books are much more than flashy pictures and vividly illustrated action words like “BAMF!” and “WHAM!”. The most successful comics or what keeps readers (like myself) coming back are the characters. The words and thoughts of Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow and many others are intriguing and sometimes very relatable. When Hollywood puts more emphasis on the person in the suit instead of just the suit I'm usually treated to a superhero movie that is much closer to the source material instead of some tepid film that only skims the surface of what really makes the comic book character(s) amazing.
I saw the IMAX 3D version of The Avengers. Honestly, the 3D didn't really kick in until the large scale battle between the good guys and Loki's army in the finale. There are a few action sequences that occur earlier in the film that utilize the 3D but it still wasn't on the scale that I was expecting. The twist is that The Avengers visuals are so impressive anyway that it didn't matter much to me that the 3D was mostly average. So, I would say that seeing it in 2D, 3D or IMAX 3D is worth your while but the 3D is spotty at best with most of the “high-depth” occurring during the action scenes. If you're a major comic book fan then you might as well go for the IMAX 3D release but casual viewers will get just as much “bang” from the 2D release for less bucks.
Fanboys and Fangirls, I don't know what to say about the continuity. But I'll give it a whirl, anyway. My advice is to walk into The Avengers in the same way that you and I have for previous comic book film treatments: this is an adaptation and not a full-on regurgitation of the comic book lore. Actually, the film continuity has been set up is in it's own unique universe much like the Ultimate Marvel universe. It's the same characters you know and love with some tweaks here and there. If you found peace and even enjoyed the portrayals of the Marvel heroes by Hemsworth, Downey Jr., Evans, and the rest then get ready for more of that. Then, add in the fun-factor of seeing the heroes interact with each other in situations ranging from amusing, to cool, to intense, to explosive and then back to cool again. I'll share with you that I actually got very teary-eyed seeing these incredible characters fighting together to save the Earth from invasion. It was truly like seeing the comic book come to life.
Overall, The Avengers delivered on action and visual effects in abundance. The plot is simple but the real “meat” of the film is in the time and dialogue given to the actors so they could properly flesh out their respective characters resulting in a blockbuster with some genuine wit and gravitas. Just bear in mind that if you're looking for a “wham-bam” action movie then wait for Expendables 2 (2012) because The Avengers is over two hours long and some of that time is devoted to the actual utterance of several paragraphs of dialogue (gasp!). Don't bother with the extra large Pepsi unless you have a bottomless bladder. And don't even ask me how Captain America's star-spangled uniform actually blends into the picture. It just all works out. Anyway, I look forward to the day when the movie Avengers assemble again though I can't imagine how Marvel Studios will top this.
PS – There are actually two post credit scenes (Thank you, Wikipedia). The first occurs midway through the end credits as a potential villain for a potential sequel is revealed. The second “easter egg” is tucked away at the very end of the credits.
Rhymes With: X2: X-Men United (2003), Iron Man (2008), Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Spider-Man (2002), The Fantastic Four (2005), Battlefield: Los Angeles (2011), The Last Airbender (2010), John Carter (2012), Watchmen (2009)
Sorry, gang, but no new trailers attached to The Avengers. Here's a rundown of the upcoming flicks that were previewed.
The Dark Knight Rises
The Amazing Spider-Man
Spread The Word
- Movie Review - Ghost Rider: The Spirit Of Vengeance (2012)
- Movie Review--The Amazing Spider-Man
- Movie Review: Snow White And The Huntsman (2012)
- Movie Review: Battleship (2012)
- Movie Review: Girl In Progress (2012)
- TV Recap: Dancing With The Stars - Season 14, Semi-Finals (2012)
- Movie Review: Dark Shadows - 2012
- TV Recap: Dancing With The Stars - Season 14, Week 8 (2012)
- Interview: Champion martial artist Robert Parham discusses martial arts and action film roles; cast as lead villain in Waka-waka Man [Lost Brother]
- Movie Review: Bully (2011)
- Movie Review: Wrath Of The Titans (2012)
- Movie Review: The Hunger Games (2012)
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Them, Robot"