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The Avengers

by

Jeff Nelson

The Avengers isn't perfect, but it offers the explosive action that superhero fans crave along with a well-written screenplay.

The Avengers
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Every summer, the major studios release superhero films one after the other. After introducing Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, and Hawkeye in previous movies, the anticipated The Avengers has finally been released. In one weekend, the movie managed to break a bunch of different records for opening weekend. One may think that this is due to the fact that audiences heavily enjoyed the characters from the previous movies and wanted to see them fight side by side. While this is true, the biggest reason why this movie has been as successful as it has been is due to writer/director Joss Whedon. He's surely one of the more talented big name filmmakers currently making movies. After surprising me with the well-written The Cabin in the Woods, I couldn't wait to see what he would do with The Avengers. This could have been an utter disaster with somebody who couldn't handle the script, but that fortunately isn't the case.

Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings together a team of super humans to form The Avengers to help save the Earth from Loki and his army. It sounds a lot like yet another cliché superhero flick. If you have seen Iron Man 2, you should know exactly what to worry about with The Avengers. There are a lot of important characters all either speaking dialogue or fighting Loki and his army. In Iron Man 2's case, the characters appear to constantly fight for screen time and it feels like a lot is attempted to be fit into the running time. It ended up feeling like a mess. Joss Whedon has created a film that may run a bit long, at 2 hours and 22 minutes, but it flies by. There isn't any filler since the time has been provided for each superhero to get his or her own screen time. It never feels as if they're fighting for screen time and they all get an equal amount of attention. Some people may say that Hawkeye received the least amount of attention, but he has plenty of time to shine. His character has never been as interesting as the rest, but Whedon still heavily involves him in the story. Surprisingly, the dialogue is well-written. Comic book fans should be pleased to know that the conversations that take place between the characters feels very genuine. All of the characters have remained pure to the roots of his or her roles throughout. There are a couple plot holes here and there, but they're so tiny that they aren't much of an issue. The Avengers does what many superhero movies don't dare to do. They're able to mesh the action with a lot of dialogue and character development. While this movie is full of action, there's much more Whedon has to offer. The moviegoers who never read any of the comic books receive a large amount of development, which is more than sufficient for viewers to get a feel for the characters. The ending unsurprisingly sets up for the sequel, so be sure to stay through all of the credits to see the extra footage. What we ultimately have here is an intense and highly entertaining screenplay, which is surprisingly well-crafted and suitable for both newcomers and longtime fans.

The other irregular notion in a comic book superhero feature is good acting. Sometimes there are nice surprises, such as in Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr., but there are too many disappointing performances out there. The team of The Avengers is composed of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. Downey Jr. is just as great as expected. He's witty and is convincing as Iron Man, also known as Tony Stark. I'm still disappointed with the casting choice of Chris Evans as Captain America, but he proves to have a better performance here than in his own movie as the Captain. Perhaps this is because there are too many other characters to enjoy to pick on him too much. Mark Ruffalo is surprisingly very fitting as Bruce Banner, also known as The Hulk. I wasn't sure how he would be able to stand up in this role, but I walked out of the theater being rather impressed with him. Chris Hemsworth is just as suitable as Thor as he was in his own title film. Scarlett Johansson is a perfect match as Natash Romanoff, also known as Black Widow. I can't imagine a better pick for this role. Jeremy Renner connects as Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye, well. Even those outside of the team performs well. Tom Hiddleston is very believable as the antagonist, Loki. None of these performances are award-winning, but they work wonders in the superhero universe.

It shouldn't come as even slightly a surprise that the visuals are fantastic. From start to finish, this feature is absolutely filled with eye candy from head to toe. Joss Whedon does a wonderful job behind the camera. There are some breathtaking sequences with gorgeous cinematography. However, prepare for some scenes being a bit dark. I saw The Avengers in 3D. This is post-converted, so this isn't going to blow anybody away. However, it certainly enhances a few of the fighting sequences. It does absolutely nothing during the dialogue portions, which are a big part of the movie, but the extra dimension is nice during the final battle. Alien ships, rubble, fire, and everything else flies out from the screen towards the audience. With the exception of this part, the 3D is useless. Therefore, it isn't a necessity in the case of this movie. The 2D version will perfectly suffice. The audio is a very crucial element of The Avengers. The bass and the surrounds are constantly being put through a tough workout. Make sure you go to a theater with a big screen and a loud sound system to fully immerse yourself in the action.

I was excited to see The Avengers for quite some time now and became even more excited when I began to hear such good things about it. Some moviegoers were even claiming it to be the best film of 2012 so far, which I disagree with. Some audiences most certainly overhype movies. In the case of The Avengers, it's an explosively entertaining picture that I recommend everybody see. As far as action movies go, this is everything you could possibly crave. A group of likable superheroes, a lot of explosions, and enough destruction to crave even the biggest of action fans. On top of that, there's a well-crafted screenplay by Joss Whedon and great casting, for the most part. Around 35 minutes had to be removed from the movie otherwise it would have been too long, according to the distributor. However, I would have loved to see the extra footage. I definitely look forward to the Blu-ray release to check out what has been trimmed. If you're a superhero fan, then this is a must see. Even casual moviegoers should check this one out because it's the strongest Marvel feature to be released thus far. The Avengers isn't perfect, but it offers the explosive action that superhero fans crave along with a well-written screenplay.

My Rating = Four and One Half Stars

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