So I just got back from seeing Marvel’s The Avengers.
Ho-lee shit. Excuse me while I reattach my face to my skull.
I’ll admit that when I first heard that they were going to put all of these big egos in one big movie, I was expecting a cinematic disaster of epic proportions– something as awful as the Transformers “films”. Something that was nothing more than Badasses on Parade. So initially, I was completely uninterested. Then I heard Joss Whedon was involved. I said to myself, “Well, it’ll at least be decent,” and decided to go see it. Boy, am I ever glad I did. It is Badasses on Parade, but it goes far, far beyond that.
Let me get it out of the way right now: I don’t know a damned thing about comic books. Luckily, familiarity with the original comics is not necessary. You can get by with just seeing the “prequel” films. I saw (and enjoyed) Iron Man and Thor, snored my way through The Incredible Hulk and skipped Captain America: The First Avenger. I did not have any trouble following what was going on in Avengers. So if you need some setup, Iron Man and Thor are the only ones that you really need to see. The other two are pretty much optional.
I didn’t give a shit about Hulk or Cap when I went into this movie, and I walked out actually liking both of them. I thought Edward Norton’s absence would leave a gaping hole. I thought wrong. Mark Ruffalo does a fine job. Also, Chris Evans is charming as hell, charming enough that I was totally sold on Cap about halfway through the film. In fact, I like him so much that I may just go back and watch Captain America after all.
Let’s talk more about actors. Specifically, let’s talk about Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki, God of Mischief in this film and in Thor. He is one of my favorite things about this movie (and was most definitely my favorite thing about Thor). I was really worried when I learned that he was going to be the main villain. I was having visions of him growing a really big mustache so he could stand around and twirl it while laughing maniacally and tying Natalie Portman to some railroad tracks. Thankfully, that is not the case at all. Both the script and Hiddleston’s acting make Loki one of the best movie villains I have ever seen in my life, and I’ve seen a lot of movie villains. He’s so good that I was almost rooting for the son of a bitch! Okay, maybe it’s partly because I also find Tom Hiddleston strangely attractive. His devilish grin chills me to the bone and gets my heart racing all at the same time. (None of you need to inform me that I’m a weirdo; I’m fully aware of it.)
Now let’s talk about action. I am not exaggerating when I say that this is one of the best damn action movies I have ever seen. Speaking strictly about ass-kicking fight sequences and city-smashing spectacle, this is right up there with movies like The Matrix and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Every hero (and villain) gets their due; they all get to show off their strong points. Therefore, they all shine. The action is well-choreographed and nicely shot– no Shaky-Cam to be found here (thank God!). Furthermore, we care about the action because we like and care about the people involved. Filmmakers take note: this is how you make an action film.
Another thing that’s great about this movie is the script. Not only did Joss Whedon direct, he also penned the screenplay. Anyone who’s familiar with his work knows he’s the master of witty dialogue and has excellent comedic timing, and he’s in top form here. In other words, this movie is funny. Really funny. There’s plenty of the razor-sharp wit we’ve come to expect from Tony Stark (played to perfection by Robert Downey Jr.), but there’s also physical comedy delivered by…well, I’ll try not to spoil it for you. You’ll know it when you see it.
Let’s talk some more about the script. The film clocks in at around 2 ½ hours, but you won’t feel it at all (unless you drank too much soda). There’s a place for everything and everything is in its place; there’s nothing extraneous and there’s nothing missing. It establishes the group dynamic and establishes the plot, and then everything pays off in a big, big way. The plot is nothing revolutionary, but it’s perfectly serviceable, and it’s really the characters who should be the main focus here in the first place.
Anyway, to sum it up: This movie delivers on just about every level. If you just want to munch some popcorn and watch some awesome action, then this movie will not disappoint you. (Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about the action sequences.) If you want a good laugh, forget the “comedy” films and just watch this. If you like hot guys in tight costumes, there are plenty of them here. If you want to see acting that ranges from good to excellent, here it is. If you want characters you can feel something for, well, it has that too. Sounds too good to be true, right? I’m probably among the most skeptical moviegoers in these United States, but this movie made a believer out of me.
I’ve been trying to find a fault in The Avengers, but there are none that present themselves upon first viewing. I guess I’ll just have to watch it a couple more times. Well, darn.
Sarcasm aside, if I had the 10 extra bucks, I’d go see it again right this minute.