Review: The Avengers

The Avengers
The Avengers

The Avengers

5 Stars

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson & Tom Hiddleston

There were high expectations going into this one. It’s the culmination of 5 films over 4 years with 2 Hulks. At the same time, there was the danger of ego overflow, which could mean too much going on in a cast that features 4 Oscar nominees (and a winner in Gwyneth Paltrow). But everything comes together to make the journey we’ve gone on as an audience come to a more than pleasing climax (a dubious distinction, as we’ll see more of Earth’s mightiest heroes, both on their own and in more Avengers films).

I really admired the spectacle of the films. As terrible as Michael Bay’s films are (specifically the Transformers series), you can’t argue that they are visually stunning, with great action sequences and stunning CGI. He just sucks at plot and dialogue. Enter Joss Whedon. Whedon’s amazing at plot & dialogue, and given the right crew, can do spectacle very well. Producer Kevin Feige even stated that they based the action on Transformers (which, again, while being a terrible film, is visually amazing).

Whedon really captures the dysfunction of these individual characters, and the dysfunction of putting them together on one team, but is able to turn it into less of a “buddy cop” movie and more of a “family growth/coming-of-age” type film. It’s almost The Breakfast Club with super powers.

My eyes were on Mark Ruffalo as the Bruce Banner/Hulk. Well… when Scarlett Johansson was onscreen my eyes were on her… But I was really impressed with Ruffalo’s Banner. He really captured the inner turmoil and conflict of the character, but when he Hulked out ahead of the big fight, I almost let out an audible “Fuck yeah!” He mo-capped his work as the Hulk, rather than making it 100% CGI (think Andy Serkis as Gollum), and the jocularity of Hulk shone through throughout the fight. He wasn’t played as an irrational monster, but as another character. Joss and Mark really stepped up the representation of the Hulk.

Those little jokes from the Hulk were part of the broader interplay between the heroes. It’s something you get when you combine a supremely talented cast, a fantastic script (from both Whedon and Zack Penn), and storied characters with a rich history. The way Stark and Banner connected through science, the tension between Rogers and Stark and Thor… all because these top-notch actors brought them to life.

It may not have the gritty realism of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but The Avengers is one of the most enjoyable, most fun films you could experience on the big screen. If you even kind of liked any of the previous Avenger films, go see The Avengers, you will not be disappointed.

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