PG Cooper: The Avengers Review

Posted: May 5, 2012 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

Release date: May 4th, 2012

Running time: 2 hours and 22 minutes

Written by: Zak Penn and Joss Whedon

Based on: The comic of the same name by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Directed by: Joss Whedon

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth

“I’m here to talk to you about the Avengers initiative.” When Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury delivered that line after the credits of the first Iron Man, fan boys went nuts. An Avengers movie? Would such a feet be possible? Things seemed optimistic with the first Iron Man, but things quickly descended into mediocrity with The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2. I was worried at this point, but Thor and Captain America turned me around completely. I was pretty psyched for The Avengers. After hearing several reviews describe The Avengers as one of the best comic films of all time, expectations were high. Does the film deliver?

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has made a deal with an alien race. He will give them the Tesseract (the blue cube seen in Captain America) and in return they will help Loki conquer Earth. S.H.I.E.L.D of course can’t let that happen. S.H.I.E.L.D leader Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) needs to gather a group of, as he puts it, “remarkable people,” to help fight his threat. The team consists of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Steve Rogers), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is brought in for his scientific knowledge, but of course his big green alter ego the Hulk shows up too.

With a film of this scope, there was an expectation for lots of big and epic battles. The Avengers not only succeeds in this area, but it excels. The action scenes here are spectacular. Some of the coolest action scenes are actually the ones where the heroes fight each other, such as the fight between Thor and Iron Man as seen in the trailer. My favourite hero on hero fight I won’t give away, but damn it was cool. The final action set piece in New York was probably the action highlight. So much is going on at the end it’s tremendous. What’s also great is that throughout the climax, every character is given a lot of awesome things to do. Everyone carries their weight. The sheer spectacle of it all is truly epic. What makes these scenes so special though is that these are well-written and interesting characters. We as an audience actually care about what happens to them.

The thing I was most excited about was watching all the characters interact. Along with the action, the film’s other shining attribute is the characters. I’ve grown to really like all these characters and watching them come together is a lot of fun. The different relationships they form between each other are really interesting. The film not only captures the characters from previous Marvel films, but actually expands on them. One of my big problems with Iron Man 2 was the way that film ignored Tony’s arc from being self centered and arrogant to actually being someone with responsibility. The Avengers picks up right were Iron Man left off in that respect, as Tony’s arc comes to its natural progression. This goes for the other characters as well. Captain America comes to fully accept his role as a leader, Thor’s struggle between his loyalty to his brother and doing the right thing is tested, and Bruce Banner comes to accept he should use his gifts to help people. Even Hawkeye and Black Widow are given interesting back stories.

Before the film came out, I was thrilled that Loki would the main villain. I don’t think the other Avengers films had very good villains for the most part (maybe the Red Skull), but Loki was the golden exception. He was a villain we could sympathize with but still fear. He had great motivation, an interesting character, and was played very well by Tom Hiddleston. All of this is true here. Loki is an awesome villain in this, and has been pushed further into evil. I also like how Loki and Thor’s relationship is a big part of The Avengers. Thor was my favourite of the Avengers build up films, so I loved seeing that story continue. The alien army Loki uses are solid too. They aren’t very compelling and I don’t see them holding their own movie, but as Loki’s minions they work. While I’m on the topic of villains though, I’m sceptical about the villains in the next film. The film has a post credits scene hinting at the next big villain, and I don’t see how he could even come close to matching up to Loki.

Even at a runtime of almost two and a half hours, the film never feels slow. The film constantly moves at a fast pace, perhaps too fast. Parts of the film felt rushed and I actually think it would have benefitted from a longer running time. Apparently the original cut of the film was three hours, so I’m hoping we see a director’s cut come Blu Ray. The plus side of the overly fast pace is there’s never a dull moment, but I wish the film could have slowed down for the audience to truly absorb the film.

If The Avengers has one crucial weakness, it’s the script. Not the dialogue mind you, which was, with some exceptions, well-written and snappy throughout. The problem lies in the actual plot. The characters may all have interesting things going on, but the actual story isn’t anything special. I also found there were times when the plot would get a little messy. I realize the film was trying to handle a lot and maybe couldn’t have pulled off having a more complex story along with everything else it was doing. With all that said, I’m not saying the story to the film is bad, it’s completely passable, but something a bit deeper would have been nice.

The Avengers doesn’t have the sophistication of Chris Nolan’s Batman films, or even of the X-Men films (the good ones anyway), but the film is a ton of fun. It’s a total blast from beginning to end, and it’s executed in an exciting fashion. The action scenes are some of the best in any comic book film which alone makes it worth seeing. But it’s the characters that make The Avengers truly special. Joss Whedon has taken what Marvel has been doing up to this point and made something greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Rating: A-

  1. Ipodman says:

    Nice review! I agree that Tom Hiddleston as Loki was very good… but I do think the reveal of the next villain is interesting because that’s a big one from the comics… Which part of the plot did you find messy? (I’ve seen the movie so you can talk specifics)

  2. “If The Avengers has one crucial weakness, it’s the script.”

    Mmmm… agree to disagree? I thought it was awesome. It has just enough framework to set high stakes for the world. Its easy to follow. It gives everyone a role. Is it the Usual Suspects level complex? No. Of course not. But it doesn’t need to be, its not that kind of movie.

    I wouldnt call the plot a weakness at all. I thought it was excellent. And yes, just the plot, not the movie overall.

    They could have easily tried to do too much and lost people. Look at how many movies try to do that with two villains, etc… No, this was spot on. A bullseye.

    • pgcooper1939 says:

      Maybe you’re right. I’ve actually been thinking about the film pretty much non stop since my review and I’m thinking I may have underscored it.

  3. ianthecool says:

    I thought the plot was just what it needed to be. It was a vehicle for the characters to come together and also to work out their own issues as characters. It provides a good opportunity for these characters to really become heroic in the comic book sense.

    It doesn’t have Batman’s sophistication, true, but I have to disagree with you on X-Men. I like the x-men films and what they did with the underlying discrimination themes, but as entertainment Avengers blows them out of the water.

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