Movie Review: The Avengers

Joss Whedon’s comic book marvel flashed before our eyes in 2012 and few were disappointed. It was the first superhero bonanza to show up in theaters. It became the third-highest-grossing film of all-time. It became a legend.

The Avengers had the advantage of being the first of its kind. Never was such a big project undertaken, a money-hungry dog let loose by the leash of Marvel. This money-hungry dog was given a $220 million dollar bone and enjoyed the chainless existence of a freelancer, able to investigate what it wanted, say what it wanted and to create what it wanted.

I truly believe Whedon was given the golden goose. He directed it, he co-wrote the story and created the screenplay. The only metaphor applicable to the type of luxury and novelty that Whedon enjoyed during this production is a child on Christmas. A cast list that few can compete with, one of the largest “bones” to ever be handed out to a director and a partnership of Marvel and Disney? Joss Whedon was given the life that people can only dream of and perhaps in this case, a dream very few can dream of.

I give Whedon props for delivering a Hulk-sized trophy film, a film that made huge ripples in the world of cinema and reignited the comic book world. The Avengers served as a memento for the world and it still does today.

Robert Downey, Jr. proved to be the best of the bunch as Tony Stark. His utter disregard for others, Olympus-sized ego and flippant comedy sketches are some of the biggest highlights of the film, as well as how Stark evolves as a character. Comic book fanatics can argue who the best of the Avengers is all they want, but Downey, Jr. is evidently the most-talented, although Chris Evans isn’t too far behind.

I’m still amazed that Chris Evans is the same dweeb that acted in 2005’s Fantastic Four. He had no bravado, no genuine energy and no talent but somewhere deep, perhaps in the bowels of Mordor, Evans discovered his natural ability to draw the camera to that charming face of his. While Captain America: The First Avenger was nowhere close to where it should have been in terms of production and quality, Evans held the film together and then opened his jaws for The Winter Soldier and really showed us how far he could go. While The Avengers gets nowhere as complex as The Winter Soldier in its story, its got some seriousness to it but not so serious that the lighthearted fall out of touch with it. A lot of that seriousness is provided by Evans. Keep it up, Cap. Looking forward to Civil War.

I’ve got to give a small hand of applause to Mark Ruffalo for giving us a Hulk film that doesn’t make us want to barf all over. The Incredible Hulk has proved incredible in the past couple years, incredible at turning A-listers into actors comparable to Hayden Christensen. Edward Norton is a great actor. He did not look like a great actor in The Incredible Hulk and to my knowledge, Marvel is staying away from Hulk films for the time being. It’s a shame because there’s a great actor there now in Mark Ruffalo that finally calmed the beast down and got him to stop looking stupid and saying stupid stuff. Mostly known for rom-coms, Ruffalo showed another realm in The Avengers and also in Foxcatcher, which I read good reports on. That was my one main concern regarding The Avengers, was that the Hulk was going to destroy everything. Actually, I guess he does kinda destroy everything but I mean the film, not all the baddies that had it coming. Hulk Smash!

Finally, Chris Hemsworth. I know we’re all in love with those beautiful locks of his and are bedazzled by that bod, but to this point, the guy has demonstrated little acting ability and continues to pour me vinegar when I asked for a martini. The Thor movies are the worst of the newest Marvel films by far, especially Thor: The Dark World, my crowned champion of 2013 Worst Film of the Year. The stories are toothless and present no suspense, supporting cast, or logical story line. There might have been more plot holes in Thor: The Dark World than there are craters on the moon. All this said, the guy’s not terrible, he’s just not good. He’s satisfactory, average. He fills the role and I completely understand that it’s too late to recast, but I wish Marvel would have looked elsewhere when they decided to pick the Norse god. Brad Pitt or Ben Foster both would have worked for me. Do you guys agree with me? Who do you think would have made a great Thor? Let me know in the comments.

It’s also important to mention our lead villain, Loki. Tom Hiddleston’s performance was a few pegs higher than in Thor and provided that acidic twist a film like this needed. One of the main complaints about Guardians of the Galaxy was its underwhelming villain, a problem that The Avengers never had. Samuel L. Jackson makes everything so much better as does the beautiful Scarlett Johansson.

Jeremy Renner is probably the only outlier in this cast, but only because the development of the character is not there, mainly because of a plot point. It’s a minor thing but it’s still a thing. When a movie’s this great, you have to get picky.

My only other comment is the drag in the opening scenes. It takes a while for things to get going because we have to introduce each hero, have their little hurrah moment, and move on to the next one. It’s like going on a long vacation but before you get on the road, you have to stop at five different locations and pick all these people up. It’s a bit of a hassle. A necessary one but still a hassle.

Aside from those two things, The Avengers is all the hype. The action is state-of-the-art special effects with stunning visuals and an adrenaline booster. The characters are brought out with dashes of humor and the story is there. It’s the superhero tribute we waited for.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The BabadookInterstellarChappieAmerican BeautyGone Girl)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (EquilibriumDead Snow: Red vs. DeadSnowpiercerThe FamilyWhen the Game Stands Tall)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Black SheepTwistedParkerHouse at the End of the StreetThe Raven)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (BlitzThe PunisherDrive HardRun All NightRage)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (CrankErasedI, FrankensteinThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The ColonyIn the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege TaleThe GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (OutcastSabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafe)

My score for The Avengers: 96

Three years removed from where it all began and not even a week after its sequel released, The Avengers remains in cinema trophy cases and on millions of bookshelves for its “first shot heard ’round the world” epic. With impressive visual effects, concrete scripting and big-name cast, The Avengers has lost no spark nor has it faded into the recesses of our minds. The Avengers is very much alive.

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