Marvel’s The Avengers is the best movie of 2012 and possibly the best superhero movie of all time. It is, in fact, better than Spiderman 1 and 2 and the first two Dark Knight films. Here’s a preview:
Here are the deets:
Released May 4, 2012
Written by Joss Whedon and Zak Penn, based on the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Directed by Joss Whedon
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Cobie Smulders, Robert Downey Jr., Samuel Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stellan Skarsgard, and Paul Bettany
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The Avengers picks up where Thor, Iron Man 2, and Captain America left off, weaving their individual tales into one incredibly cohesive tale.
Loki (Hiddleston), since being foiled in his bid to rule Asgard, wants to rule Earth and has an army of baddies to wage explosive war on humanity. In order to get the baddies to Earth, Loki needs the tesseract, the blue cube that played such a huge part in Thor and Captain America. Currently, however, SHIELD, run by Nick Fury (Jackson) has the tesseract and is trying to figure out how to use it as a source of perpetual energy. He has the Black Widow (Johansson) along with Hawkeye (Renner) working as agents to help protect the tesseract, and his second in command is Agent Hill (Smulders). Clark Gregg reprises his role as Agent Coulson.
Loki steals the tesseract, so Fury gathers a team of super beings, namely Black Widow, Hawkeye, Thor (Hemsworth), Iron Man (Downey Jr), Captain America (Evans), and Bruce Banner (Ruffalo). Banner is ostensibly brought on board in order to use his knowledge of gamma rays to help find the tesseract, but we all know the Hulk’s going to show up.
And boy is it great when the Hulk does finally show up. Hulk smash.
The team sort of assembles, what with individual dynamics and Loki’s machinations. The story unfolds on a truck, on a hovering and invisible battleship, in space, and mostly in characters. Everything culminates in a massive and truly awesome battle in New York City. Poor New York.
There are a lot of reasons why The Avengers is so extraordinarily successful. The first reason is probably that Whedon and Zak Penn clearly have done their homework and are sufficiently steeped in the lore of the correct marvel comics. Each character is very much an individual, with only Hawkeye turning out a little flat, and the characters pretty much travel their own road. The fact that each character comes to the team with individual and clear motivations cannot be stressed enough– this is why the film is so successfully engaging and solid.
The snappy, excellent dialogue stems from the authentic and vivid characters. Humor is a natural result of personalities and situations, rather than a forced ingredient. Of course Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark gets some of the best lines, but Hulk actually becomes the source of the biggest laugh. Don’t laugh too loud; you’ll miss the second punch line. Pun intended.
Yes, Black Widow wears rather silly clothes, and her sexiness is clearly on display, but she’s also a very good character– nearly the most developed and interesting of the bunch. The way she interacts with Loki is genius.
That’s the other thing. Nobody in this movie is stupid. Nobody makes dumb mistakes in order to move the plot forward conveniently. Everybody is smart, tough, and complex. The actors imbue each character with clear, individual, interesting motivations. It’s a wonder that Whedon not only knew how to write such a phenomenal script and direct a film with remarkable pacing, but he also knew how to let these actors turn in some very fine performances– in some cases you get the feeling that the actors wrote some of the lines, they are so natural.
Stop reading my review now and go see this movie. It is the best movie of 2012 and very close to the best superhero movie of all time.
Content warnings: Plenty of superhero violence (without blood), lots of explosions, very little language, no overt sensuality
Writing: 5 Acting: 5 Overall: 5
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