The Avengers (2012) Movie Review #2

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Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers (2012) Movie Image

Okay, Hollywood, you can stop making superhero movies now. I’ve already seen Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers”, and honestly, I don’t know how anyone is going to top it. Maybe Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” will make a dent in the sheer fanboy awesomeness that is “The Avengers”, but I can’t possibly see how a movie with one superhero can even come close to making me forget about a movie featuring four of the do-gooders (or six, if you really want to get technical about it). So the question is: Does Whedon’s “The Avengers” live up to the hype? You’re damn skippy it does. And then some.

“The Avengers” opens with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his SHIELD boys and girls (with the assistance of Professor Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), Thor’s pal from, well, “Thor”) working on unlocking the secrets of the tesseract, aka that glowing square doohickey of unimaginable power from “Captain America: The First Avenger”. Before you know it, the mischievous Asgardian God Loki (Tom Hiddleston), last seen getting his ass handed to him by Thor and thought dead, resurfaces, very much alive and looking to do some damage. Loki trashes the SHIELD facility, turns ace SHIELD bowman Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) into a zombie henchman, and absconds with the tesseract. What’s a super secret International spy agency to do? Nick Fury decides to call in the big guns.

Tom Hiddleston in The Avengers (2012) Movie Image

Naturally, up first is Captain America (Chris Evans), still trying to make sense of the present day, and not entirely succeeding. Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) also gets the call, but Stark is reluctant, or perhaps just playing hard to get. He is a narcissistic billionaire playboy philanthropist, after all. (Stark’s business partner/love interest Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is now firmly his love interest, in case you were wondering.) Elsewhere, former Russian spy turned American SHIELD agent/the dreams of fanboys everywhere Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) gets the biggest assignment of them all — bringing in Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk. Banner is now played by Mark Ruffalo, taking over the role from Ed Norton, who took over the role from Eric Bana. I suspect that by the time an “Avengers 3″ lands in theaters, the role will have gone through two or more actors. How amusing would that be?

And where there is Loki, there is of course Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who soon shows up determined to thwart his evil brother’s plans. And what is Loki’s deal, exactly? Well, like all good Bond villains, ol Loki just wants to rule the world. (Cue Tears for Fears.) That’s pretty much it. I’ll grant you that that’s not much of a motivation, but then again, Loki is a simple God, with simple needs. In order to make his dream come true, the villainous Asgardian plans to use the tesseract’s power to open a gateway to some alien world and summon forth an alien race called the Chitauri. A bellicose bunch, the Chitauri are essentially faceless, generic alien invaders. Heck, they even resemble the invading alien robots of Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”, complete with huge, slithering/flying beast-like “leviathan” creatures. And oh yeah, there are a LOT of them.

Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans in The Avengers (2012) Movie Image

As usually happens in the comic books from which they are based, the superheroes of “The Avengers” don’t always get along in the beginning. Co-written by Whedon (with Zak Penn), the film takes its cue from the source material, and before the boys (and girl) can become friends, they must first test each other’s mettle. There are a lot of banter, bickering, and accusations. But you also get some groovy superpowered battles — Thor vs. Iron Man, The Hulk vs. Thor, and even Black Widow vs. Hawkeye. But eventually the team come together, thanks to a character’s sacrifice. Just in time, too, because Loki and his Chitauri allies have just launched a full-scale invasion of Manhattan, leading to what is essentially a 30-minute battle sequence chock full of some of the most ridiculously jaw-dropping superhero action to ever be put on celluloid.

If you were to take all the Marvel movies and edited out all the talky stuff and just kept the superhero action, I’m not sure they would rival what Joss Whedon and company have given us in one endless 30 minute finale. In a particularly noteworthy moment during the Third Act, there is a lengthy tracking shot where we follow one superhero, only to end up with another hero battling somewhere else in the battleground. The transition from one battle to the next is seamless, and Whedon earns all the praise in the world for orchestrating the brilliant mayhem. I can honestly say I had no idea the man had it in him. I don’t know how much Marvel/Disney gave Whedon to play with, but without a shadow of a doubt, he put every single penny on the screen. One of the movie’s biggest set piece is the SHIELD Helicarrier, which doesn’t just make an appearance, but becomes a major location for much of the film’s middle.

Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Iron Man and The Hulk in The Avengers (2012) Movie Image

With Whedon at the helm, it’s a given that “The Avengers” will be funny. There are lots of chuckle-worthy moments and some downright hilarious ones. Even tragedy has a tinge of humor. If you’re looking for grim and gritty, forget it, that’s not Whedon’s mission, and thank God. Of all the superheroes, the Green Goliath takes his time showing up, but when he does, he doesn’t disappoint. With two hours-plus of running time to play with, Whedon gets the time he needs to bring these very disparate personalities together, watch them clash, before finally emerging as a believable team. Robert Downey Jr. continues his winning streak as Tony Stark, and Mark Ruffalo will make you forget all about Norton and Bana. He’s that good as the (barely) in-control Banner. Hawkeye and Black Widow’s relationship is explored, and ubiquitous SHIELD agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) gets his most extensive role in a Marvel movie yet. Watching the usually very staid Coulson geek out around Captain America is an absolute blast.

Do yourself a favor, and see “The Avengers” when you get the chance. Hell, see it twice, if just to thank Marvel for finally, finally managing to accomplish what no one else has been able to. Nay, have had the balls to. To fully understand the monumental task Marvel had in front of them as they pulled this all together, you only need look at the mess that is the D.C. comic book movie properties, and just what a miserable time Warner had trying to make a Justice League film happen. Marvel succeeded where others failed, and they’ve cranked out one of the best movies of the Summer in the process. You don’t have to have read comics as a kid to fully “get” just what a seminal piece of work “The Avengers” is, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

Your turn, Christopher Nolan. Let’s see what ya got…

Joss Whedon (director) / Joss Whedon, Zak Penn (screenplay), Jack Kirby, Stan Lee (comic book)
CAST: Robert Downey Jr. … Tony Stark / Iron Man
Chris Evans … Steve Rogers / Captain America
Mark Ruffalo … Bruce Banner / The Hulk
Chris Hemsworth … Thor
Scarlett Johansson … Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Jeremy Renner … Clint Barton / Hawkeye
Tom Hiddleston … Loki
Clark Gregg … Agent Phil Coulson
Cobie Smulders … Agent Maria Hill
Stellan Skarsgård … Selvig
Samuel L. Jackson … Nick Fury

Buy The Avengers on DVD

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • edge007

    Hell, the fuck, yeah!!! Can’t wait to see this on Friday!!!

  • Tab_0r

    it is a great movie.

  • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

    Great review Nix!
    You just made me want to see this more, which I didn’t think was possible,.
    Also glad to hear a bit more on Ruffalo. If he nailed it that good, they should definitely give him a spinoff…wait they did!
    Love the last line. Let’s see what you got indeed!! Though that film will have a completely different tone.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

      You’re gonna love it, man.

  • Lexavi80

    Agree!

    I just can’t imagine someone who watch the movie, and then act as a hater. There’s no way to hate anything on this movie. If someone says otherwise, he’s just playing the interesting one.

    I would advice those who haven’t seen the movie to not see more clips nor reviews nor anything. So much information and hype might mess with your expectations of the film and hurt the experience.

    Just be patient and watch the film when is out.

  • Carlabasilio_bhw

    This is a especial effects movie, nothing more…very bad plot

    • Lexavi80

      Wrong.

      • Carlabasilio_bhw

        and i’ll say more, is a pop corn movie…will be forgotten very soon. beside the awesome special effects, and some very good jokes, there are nothing more to offer. nonetheless, will be a mind blowing to all marvel fans, this is realy a visual comic book. but, once again…stops there.
        sorry, i just like the last 20 minutes

        • Lexavi80

          Won’t be forgotten.

        • Mihos

          and I thought it was impossible for opinions to be wrong… I learn something every day

    • schnydz

      Sure, and you would expect a super hero/action/comic movie to NOT have special effects? You lost me…

  • thenewchic

    Loved it! It’s a great action-adventure with an amazing cast. Really enjoyed it, entertaining and funny!

  • clarkspark

    Hows the 3D? Should I catch a non-3D show or watch it in 3D?

    • Lexavi80

      Is actually pretty good. I was able to check it out on 3D Imax screen and it looked great… And I am NOT a fan of 3D.

  • Jdm52766

    dont need to watch on 3d…amazing movie. new batman & spiderman movie mustve 2nd thoughts of showing their new produce…at least not until the avengers fever subsides

  • seanLA

    damn, i bought tickets to this movie 2 weeks ago, taking my son and a grip of friends and their sons, 2 more days!!! can’t freakin wait!

  • Juggernaut

    I was at the Marvel Movie Marathon on Thursday and saw what is now not only my favorite comic book movie of all time but also the greatest movie of all time! It was a perfect movie. Action, comedy, drama, this had it all in droves! I was sure that the movie would be underwhelming with all of the hype and accolades but I was wrong! Deivered on every level! 10 out of 10!!!