Verdict: 4.5 / 5
Marvel certainly have been playing a large risk with their attempt to bring cross-movie continuity with the Marvel Universe. Introducing viewers to mythologies and facts about the given universe and crossing them over into the following movies as fact, other movies could quite easily waste hours on rehashing and spoon-feeding audiences, but this has not been the case.
Up until now, each movie making part of this continuity has been greeted with a large amount of success, but each of those movies hinted at a future movie where all these ends would be tied together into “The Avengers”, which would undoubtedly be the make or break point for Marvel’s wager.
With Joss Whedon (most notably known for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly) as director for the Avengers, a lot of pressure has been placed on both Whedon and Marvel Studios.
And now, with The Avengers having been released on the 26th of April, it is finally time to see if the gamble paid off…
And, boy, did it ever. Joss Whedon and Marvel studios have, without a doubt, delivered one of the best superhero movies that the world has ever seen. This movie will become the template, no, the benchmark, for future superhero movies. It is very difficult to not hype this movie up, but thinking back at watching it just relives the excitement of the experience. Everything that has been done in this movie has been done with a meticulous eye for detail from a crew who knew exactly what they were doing. This movie was made with the fans in mind and it delivers everything you could want from The Avengers.
Make no mistake, if you enjoy superhero movies, or even if you just enjoy fun action movies, you will fall in love with this movie. If you have not seen it, close the browser and go watch The Avengers. Right now.
The story of the Avengers was kept quite hush-hush, even with the trailers and because of that, I won’t spoil any more of the story than the trailers did.
The world is threatened by some form of evil lead by Loki, the god of mischief and Thor’s brother. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) then assembles the Avengers Initiative to counter this threat. Upon initially getting them together, some conflict takes place between the teammates before they eventually learn to live with each other and unite for the good of mankind.
The story is far from revolutionary, but not once in the movie does that become apparent, nor does it ever seem to matter. The plot may not be stellar, but what it lacks in idea, it more than makes up with in execution. Although we have probably seen this premise numerous times before, it has never been handled with this kind of finesse.
The early scenes where the teammates are wrapped in conflict with each other are done with visceral urgency, feeling a lot more three-dimensional than most ‘heroes at conflict’ scenes in movies. The parts where you see the heroes overcome their problems and work together are touching and would probably have been emotionally charged if the action scenes they were taking place in weren’t so awesome.
Naturally, the film is laden with action heavy scenes from beginning to end. Although this is true, the film never sacrifices narrative or exposition at the hand of the action. Quite contrarily, the film achieves a marvelous (pun intended) balance between action, narrative and humour. The action is never overburdening and is often broken up with brief comedic relief scenes. Comedic relief in between action often falls flat and seems forced, but not in The Avengers. There are hilarious breaks between the action, keeping a light tone to the movie which is the antithesis of DC’s prize superhero franchise, The Dark Knight.
It needs to be mentioned that if you are expecting a dark, brooding story focusing on psychological thrills and deep, tortured characters as seen in Nolan’s interpretation of Batman, you will be sorely disappointed. As with the films leading up to the Avengers, this movie avoids the dark theme and offers a much more family friendly experience to the viewer. That’s not to say that the movie is made for kids, it just means it has a far lighter tone. The lightness of tone and the masterfully executed balance between action and laughs result in a movie going experience filled with edge-of-your-seat action and good-natured laughs, letting you leave the cinema with a huge smile on your face, adrenaline pumping through your body and your ears filled with the chatter from the audience over which part was their favourite. Of which there will be many.
The cast for the movie was astounding and delivered all round. Many familiar faces return, with Robert Downing Jnr. returning as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow. Bruce Banner is now played by Mark Ruffalo, who does a tremendous job as a shy, quiet guy restraining the monstrous Hulk inside of him. Jeremy Renner also provides a solid performance as the cool, calculated Hawk Eye.
The only character that wasn’t top-notch, in my opinion, was Maria Hill, Nick Fury’s right-hand woman. She is played by Cobie Smulders, mostly known for her role as Robin in How I Met Your Mother. In this movie, she seems a bit out of her league in terms of acting and regular viewers of How I Met Your Mother will find it very hard to take her seriously. It’s not really a problem, it’s just something that some people may pick up, but will most likely be overshadowed by the performance of the rest of the cast.
Alan Silvestri is the man behind the music in the film and does a brilliant job capturing the fast paced action, emotions and drama. Though it is not the highlight of the movie, the score certainly achieves what it set out to do, with some top-notch tracks (albeit somewhat forgettable in the long run).
Overall, The Avengers is an amazing movie, a brilliant example of what action movies should be. There is never a dull moment in the movie and, despite being 142 minutes long, the movie never feels long or drawn out. It’s one of those rare movies that you wish wouldn’t end just yet because you want to have more fun with it at the end. Marvel’s “The Avengers” has set the bar for not only superhero movies, but for movies in general. It is a masterpiece that will be adored by fans of the comic books and will be loved by anyone who can appreciate light-hearted action movies.
Unless you have a chronic fear of cheerful, exciting, well-directed, perfectly executed superhero tag team extravaganzas, I recommend you book your seats for The Avengers as soon as possible. It is that good.
Other Reviewers Thoughts:
Avengers is the biggest and most relentless rollercoaster ride of a movie you’ll take this year… maybe even this decade. Rating 4.5/5 – Hein Schlebusch
The Avengers is one of the most anticipated films of the year, and Joss Whedon certainly did it justice. The individual superhero films created a rich backstory and enough depth for the Avengers to be as full of action and everything the audience wants to see. The story was woven together and easy enough for non-nerds to get into. Rating 4.5/5 – Juan Visser
Avengers set the bar really high. Only Batman can topple it as the favourite movie of 2012. Rating 4.5/5 – Evan Saunders
A true superhero extravaganza, on a level the genre has not seen before, until now. Rating 4/5 – Daniel Rom