The Avengers Review

            The Avengers is 142 minutes of fan service.  It is certainly (for the most part) well-executed fan service, but, make no mistake, it is just fan service.  The people in your theater will go crazy when the Avengers finally assemble, but there is nothing you will be remembering about this film a year from now.

            The Avengers follows Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo as Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the voice of the Hulk), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) as they battle for the survival of Earth against Thor’s brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and the alien horde he has recruited.  Joss Whedon directs and writes the film.  It is quite disappointing that Whedon couldn’t find a better story for this film as he has a great handle on many of the characters and the dialogue.  The plot is probably one of the more basic ones you will find in a blockbuster.  In fact, it is very reminiscent of the plot of Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  That probably should have been a warning sign for Whedon.  This film would have been so much better if it didn’t just follow the use of a MacGuffin to set up a large scale battle over a famous city (this time New York City).

            Another major problem is that (while Whedon has a good handle on most of the action scenes) the opening sequence is severely lacking.  It doesn’t provide a boost of momentum to get the film started and it seems like the film struggles to get going for the first thirty minutes.  Despite these faults, Joss Whedon does do a lot right.  This is easily the best incarnation we have ever seen of the Hulk.  He steals almost every scene in the final fight scene, and there should probably be a new rule that Whedon has to write every film with the Hulk in it.  The film also plays up the relationship between Hawkeye and Black Widow so well that a spinoff for those two should be mandatory.

            The film is grounded by a dynamite cast that somehow never allows one member to completely steal the show.  Robert Downey Jr. continues to impress as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Chris Hemsworth is really growing into his role as Thor.  Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner are good and are even better when they share the screen together.  Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg also give great supporting turns.  However, the best performance in the film belongs to Tom Hiddleston as the dastardly Loki.  Despite all of the charisma the Avengers have, it is no match for Hiddleston.  Every word that comes out of his mouth and every movement he makes is so fascinating.  He is the perfect comic book film villain.

            With so many actors and so much going on it did seem at times that Chris Evans got lost in the fold as Captain America.  He was a great lead for his individual film, but I don’t know if he has the ability to lead a group of characters that are portrayed by actors with much more charisma.  There also seems to be a lot of acclaim going to Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, but it seems many are mixing up what Ruffalo does and what the visual effects team/Joss Whedon’s writing/Lou Ferrigno’s voice does.  Edward Norton could have easily done this role, and it would have been much less awkward (due to the recasting).  Marvel should have just sucked it up and brought Norton back on board.  Ultimately, Mark Ruffalo offers very little to the role.
            While The Avengers is not as much fun as Iron Man nor as well balanced as Captain America: The First Avenger, it is still a solid entry into the Marvel Universe canon.


After posting this review I have learned that Mark Ruffalo performed the hulk through the motion capture process.  In that case he deserves more credit than I gave him in the review.

1 comment:

  1. Good review Ryan. Liked this one a lot and I can’t wait to see what they are able to do with the sequel. Or should I say, I can’t wait to see what Joss Whedon can do with this sequel.


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