Comics - Movies - Opinions


Review: The Avengers

Earth's mightiest heroes join forces to deal with an invasion lead by an exiled god. Can a comic book superhero team become a summer blockbuster?

Written by IsoRod, Originally Published on MAY 18, 2012

The answer is a resounding YES! This isn't just one of the best superhero movies to date and it's one of the best movies this year. There were a lot of things that could have gone wrong. Were the right actors cast? Would the characters get enough screen time? Would they get the characters correct? Will the story be any good? Will anyone but comic book fans like the film? These were legitimate concerns given the track record of movies with groups of superheroes like X-Men and Watchmen which had at least one if not more of these issues.

First off, the cast was amazing. Marvel Studios actually did something brilliant by planning for and releasing five movies (Iron-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron-Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor) before "The Avengers", that introduced the characters and universe all of this is taking place in. The only wild card was the replacement of Edward Norton with Mark Ruffalo to play the role of Bruce Banner and The Hulk. I have to say I enjoyed Ruffalo's performance as Banner and that's coming from someone who liked Norton's Hulk film. Those previous movies set the stage for Avengers beautifully, like having Tom Hiddleston from Thor reprising his role as Loki in "The Avengers" as the principal villain. Great castings from these prior films are probably one of the greatest boons of Marvel's approach to the making of superhero team film. All the groundwork laid down in those film really paid off in a big way.

From left to right: Hulk (far back), Hawkeye, Iron-Man, Nick Fury (back), Black Widow, Captain America and Thor.

Joss Whedon's screenplay for the film was a great example of balance and respect for the source material. Whedon's take on character screen time was to explain why each member was there and allowing the audience to see those moments. This worked very well because you don't leave the movie feeling like any character was shorted changed. The film was a great mix of drama, action, and humor. You can tell that Whedon is a fan of the comics the film was based on because you can see all of the attention to detail that was given. Like the scene when Thor's hammer Mjölnir strikes Captain America's shield, the results had comic fans in the theater I was watching the film in saying they got it right. Also the nuisances about character's personalities, for example, Nick Fury manipulated Iron-Man and Captain America into action with a lie about where he found the trading cards. This is classic Nick Fury, a master manipulator who's only equal maybe Black Widow. The interaction between the characters, how they relate to each other was done with a level of mastery most Whedon fans have come to expect. The tension between Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Tony Stark (Iron-Man). The interplay between Black Widow and Loki, finally one of my favorites was Nick Fury's ten-dollar bet with Steve Rogers and seeing the loser pay up. Some of these interactions are tension-filled and some are simple conversations but all help bring the characters to life and draw us into the story.

Is "The Avengers" a well-written story that will appeal to more than just comic book fans? With the film setting box office records worldwide the answer to the previous question is a definite yes. Whedon's great writing and direction shine in this movie. He has a large portfolio of work from movies to television to comics. From The Astonishing X-Men (comics) to Serenity (movies), Whedon has a knack for displaying interpersonal relationships between characters which are usually only seen in a really good novel. He makes it seems as simple as breathing is to you or I. Throughout all of Whedon's work this seems to be a prevailing theme, which is why he was the perfect choice to helm this film.

The Avengers is worth seeing. The film has a great cast, who gave outstanding performances. A solid character-driven story with drama, humor, action and pays attention to detail about characters and their lore. Hats off to Marvel/Walt Disney Films for building a strong foundation to create a film that is entertaining and so well received. The Avengers not only assemble a mighty superhero team but also powerful franchise with a bright and profitable future.

Back to Articles