Now Playing: Marvel’s Most Fun Movie Yet

I’m not a comic book geek and I really don’t know anything about the Avengers beyond what’s been brought to the big screen so far. With that in mind, know that I am absolutely in love with ‘The Avengers’. It’s not perfect, but it’s a perfect summer blockbuster, one that raises the bar so high that I really only see one other movie matching or surpassing it by fall. Based on the reaction by the geek audience I watched the movie with, I assume that (geek or not) everyone will love this movie.

Very little has been revealed about the plot, so I’ll follow the studio’s lead and give you just enough to get excited. With the exception of Hulk, each Avenger who has already had a movie or two devoted to his character brings something to the story. Since Loki is the main villain, of course, there are more tie-ins with ‘Thor‘ than any other Marvel movie. Being the mischievous butt-hurt baddie that he is, Loki tries to bring some friends to Earth to wreak intergalactic havoc. Also in play are Tony Stark’s genius invention, the arc reactor, and the infinite possibilities of the “cosmic cube” (aka, The Tesaract) from ‘Captain America‘.

The movie starts off with a very loud bang that immediately hurls us into the story. Loki makes an immediate appearance and shows exactly what he’s capable of. After grand-scale mayhem, the big four – Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor – are slowly brought in. By the time the last one enters, you’ll be screaming, “Assemble the Avengers already!” in heightened anticipation.

The way that the story itself unfolds is very similar to ‘Transformers 3‘. Sorry to bring up that old source of contention again, but it’s worth noting. The first hour and a half of ‘The Avengers’ is set-up for a (nearly) hour-long city-under-siege battle sequence not unlike ‘Transformers’ – except that co-writer and director Joss Whedon keeps you on the edge of your seat, constantly entertained, enthralled and excited. The climax of ‘Transformers 3’ left me a spectator, passively watching the action. But the active nature of ‘The Avengers’ really got my blood flowing – especially an extremely fun single-take that sweeps across the entire city to see what each of our six Avengers is up to.

I feel that I must address the 3D aspect. I don’t really care for 3D, but unlike any 3D movie I’ve seen until now, ‘The Avengers’ never once distracted me. I may be crucified by James Cameron fanatics for saying this, but even ‘Avatar‘ took some adjusting and getting used to. With ‘The Avengers’, that never happened.

I can’t think of another summer that has started off with such a strong crowd pleaser. It’s such a great movie that it has taken away the luster that some of the other upcoming blockbusters once held. No joke, ‘Prometheus’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ are the only two summer flicks that I look forward to now. Until then, I guess I’ll have to make frequent return visits for ‘The Avengers’.

So, why four-and-a-half stars and not five? Since we already know the characters, a good chunk of the middle section of the movie is devoted to establishing their relationships. For me, this section drags on a little too long. Out of the entire 142-minute runtime, this is the only part that feels long. It slows down the overall pace of the film, but that’s my only complaint.

I enjoyed ‘The Avengers’ so much that I could easily pump out a 2,000-word review about how great it is, but doing so would spoil a lot of the fun. So, I’ll close with this: I was worried that ‘The Avengers’ would feature four major characters cock-blocking one another for screen time. I feared that the movie would house too much of too many good things to be good itself. Those fears were fortunately never realized. Iron Man/Stark, Cap/Rogers and Thor all feature about the same amount of screen time. Being a less popular member of the team, Hulk is given the least – but what he does throughout the movie is so unforgettably awesome that I’m certain Marvel will give him yet another movie of his own. Whedon and company have done a fantastic job balancing the scales. The story is great and the script is fantastic, conjuring a lot more laughs than expected. If you like even one of the Marvel movies that has led up to this giant, don’t put off seeing ‘The Avengers’. It’s completely entertaining and 100% satisfying.

Rating: ★★★★½


  1. Captain America’s costume bothers me. Is it addressed in the movie why he wears a much dorkier costume in this than he did in his own movie?

  2. JM

    Captain America’s costume looks like it was sewn by Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

    But the thing that has me iffy on ‘The Avengers’ and ‘The Hobbit’ is the apparent lack of love interests.

    If you take the “kiss kiss” out of “kiss kiss, bang bang” all you have is the “bang bang.”

    And if you look at the top 100 highest grossing films of all time, they all have subplot lovin’, except for the CGI junk.

    I wonder if these little boy movies are going to explode fast and underperform.

    I also wonder if ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ will be the sleeper hit of 2012.

    • I wouldn’t hold my breath on the new Spider-Man being a sleeper hit. Reportedly, even the Sony brass think that it sucks and expect to write off a huge loss on it. They only made the movie to retain the franchise license. It’s basically a placeholder that nobody has put a whole lot of effort into.

    • There’s a hint of “love, love” between Hawkeye and Black Widow, but it is hardly discussed or examined at a great length in the movie.

      • EM

        The (comics) Avengers have a long history of romance among their ranks. The Hank and Janet I mentioned are a romantic couple who co-founded the team (as Ant-Man and the Wasp; they’ve both served with other aliases as well). From his earliest appearances, Hawkeye had a long romance with the Black Widow; he’s pursued other distaff Avengers and, when he was married, he brought his wife (Mockingbird) onto the team. Other married supercouples among the Avengers have included the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Crystal, Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman (yeah, they’re from the Fantastic Four, but they briefly served on the Avengers together), and Storm (from the X-Men) and the Black Panther (actually, they served on the FF together too). Many Avengers have had notable romances with non-Avengers too. The Hulk has had a few; however, he’s spent too little time as an Avenger for his romances to have been a notable part of Avengers history. And in Marvel parlance, Beauty and the Beast refers to the relationship between Dazzler and the sometimes Avenger the Beast—but that relationship also took place outside the context of the Avengers. The Avengers may be fighters, but they are frequently lovers too.

  3. HuskerGuy

    I’m glad Whedon has a great hit on his hands. Can’t wait to see this Friday.

  4. Jonathan Doan

    I loved it. Total crowd-pleaser. Not too cerebral or silly, not ridden with cliches or stupid dialog (it’s made by Joss Whedon – duh), and good for what it is.

    I am willing to bet (not actual money) that when Battleship gets released two weeks from now, its opening grosses won’t beat The Avengers’ second weekend’s take!

    • Luke Hickman

      IRON MAN definitely set a high bar for that summer – but The Avengers takes the cake.

  5. Darryl

    Actually Hulk has his own lead-in to this avengers movie.. with Ed Norton. There is even a cameo of RDjr as Tony Stark.

    There was also the Eric Bana movie a few years back, but its not part of this movie-verse.

    • Luke Hickman

      I think it’s funny how Bana’s Hulk is discredited as being part of this movie-verse, but there’s nothing that really erases or discredits it. It’s not like Norton’s Hulk re-established the character or world. In fact, the Norton one appears to pick up right where Bana’s leaves off – Bruce Banner is in hiding in Latin America.

  6. Whedon certainly understands the comic book world and knows how to alter a story without ruining it or pissing off the fan boys. As soon as I heard he was doing the Avengers, I was on board. It opened here in Germany last week, and I wish the internets made more sense for theaters here so I could find an English version of the film to go to.

    • I’m pretty sure you can see an English ‘Avengers’ in the bigger German cities. Just Google something among the likes of “Berlin/Frankfurt/Cologne” + “cinema” + “Avengers”.

  7. If Loki and Thor grew up together, played together, shared many memories together, how can only one of them have a British accent? Shouldn’t they both have the same accent?

  8. Good lord was this amazing, every level, total enthrallment throughout the entire film, first movie in a long time that I really wanted to go buy a ticket and just stay for another showing, if I can swing it, I’ll be paying for this again. Thank you Joss Whedon for making one of the sweetest movies I’ve ever seen!