The journey that started with Iron Man has come full circle and The Avengers film that has taunted us for years has finally arrived. But is all the hype surrounding this years biggest film worth your attention? For lack of more eloquent words (and to pay tribute to one Mr. Samuel L. Jackson – yes…this is the best motherf*%king superhero film ever made.
I’m keeping this as spoiler-free as possible so bear with me at the vagueness of this synopsis.
On the eve of an alien invasion led by Loki – the god of mischief – Iron Man/Tony Stark, Captain America/Steve Rogers, Thor and The Hulk/Bruce Banner, are recruited by Director Nick Fury on behalf of SHIELD to form the superhero team “The Avengers”…there’s one problem though, can all these larger than life characters function as a team to combat the impending menace that no one hero can tackle alone? Joining them are SHIELD Agents Coulson, Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff and Hawkeye/Clint Bartem (however feeble their skills may seem in comparison).
When it was announced that Joss Whedon was to direct The Avengers, fans knew what they were in for – compelling action moulded against a great character dynamic. One of the biggest challenges when looking at The Avengers though is how varied the ensemble really is – you have:
Captain America – a quiet yet strong willed soldier
Tony Stark – a suave, attention grabbing playboy who doesn’t play by the rules
Bruce Banner – a reserved geek whose volatility is a real presence
Thor – a royal warrior from another world that is used to getting his way by force
The SHIELD operatives – Nick Fury, Black Widow, Agent Coulson, Maria Hill, and Hawkeye
And the antagonist – Loki
Now that’s a lot of characters to play with but Whedon has miraculously managed to balance them all in a harmonious ballad where each role is significant and doesn’t overpower the minor roles. His experience paid off and the cast reaches perfection in their timing and balance. The film, as with most superhero flicks is quite serious on a base level but thanks to some sharp dialogue and well timed, appropriate comedy, this offesets the grim mood into a textured film performed by an all star cast who have been directed into an equilibrium of emotive variety. When you go into the theatre, you expect to see explosions…in fact that’s what you want to see – but while you’re gawking at the visual extravaganza, you’ll findyourself internally longing for the quiter moments where the character can exchange one liners back and forth so effortlessly.
That said, the battles aren’t something to sneer at either, in fact, the visual spectacle is not only jaw droppingly gorgeous but filled with edge of your seat awesomeness that I can’t possibly hope to explain in mere words. The final scene (as most of you would have seen in the trailer) is the stuff that Hollywood is made of – it is simply sublime in its execution and ranks up top with my all time favourites. It’s not just the finale that is a sight to behold – there are several battles, both short and longer (but not too long), that are all very different in scope and context but are all a pleasure to watch.
These are all elements that you’ve come to expect from a good superhero film but Joss Whedon, the crew, and cast pull it off without a second out of place. Not only that but Whedon also manages to slip in a bit of well implemented social commentary around energy consumption – it doesn’t hurt the plot and its a welcomed depth to a story that sails by smoothly, oozing class as it sees fit. This mature change in direction is little more along the lines of the first Iron Man film and it is a satisfying in the grace of the storytelling itself and the writing behind it.
Will everyone be taken by this monster of a film? No, but if you’re looking for the modern day, definitive cinema experience then you’ll find it in The Avengers. It should go without saying that superhero fans MUST see this, it is the peak of fan service and eclipses any efforts before it. While it does only have an age restriction of 10, children of that age might not respond well to the almost two and a half hour running time, the jokes are clear enough but they’ll struggle with the slightly complex dialogue at times…then again, they’re probably just going for the explosions.
If you plan on watching it in 3D, you have nothing to fear – the effects are generally seamless and unobtrusive – Marvel has left the gimmicks at home and gone for a more natural experience…in other words it pretty much disappears after a while but at least you won’t walk out with a headache.
The Bottom Line
This is the Avengers film that we’ve all been waiting for – it’s the trophy on Marvel’s mantle piece . Many will undoubtedly put this on a scale with The Dark Knight but don’t waste your time, they’re completely different films and comparing them as such is just childish and naive – it’s a great film but it is different. From the witty, well written dialogue, to the subtle (and not so subtle) character interactions, to the unimaginably well crafted battle scenes all seamlessly stung together with pitch perfect pacing – The Avengers is simply unparalleled in its genre and a satisfying culmination of Marvel’s labours.
I’ll be blunt here – without prejudice, I’ve never had so much fun at the movies in very, very long time and it was definitely worth the wait.
Oh, and as always, stay behind for the credits!