Dir: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans,
Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson,
Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, and
Samuel L. Jackson
Avengers team up for brilliance
MONTE YAZZIE ~ THE FOOTHILLS FOCUS~ 5/16/2012
While waiting at the concession stand I heard someone say, “I’ve waited for The Avengers for so long, what if it’s terrible?” From anyone else this probably wouldn’t have meant anything at all, but when it comes from costumed Captain America one should take note. For comic book fans, and film fans alike, The Avengers is a culmination of expectations and anticipation set into motion years ago, when the first after credit coda hinted at a possible film. The Avengers is a hard film to compose; there are numerous variables stacked against the film that could make it more of a meddled mess than a cohesive film. However, director Joss Whedon weaves together the Marvel Universe with crowd-pleasing effects, while sustaining a composed measure of each character in the film. It’s the kind of superhero film that needed a fanboy at the helm; one who understands and respects the world of the source material.
The film starts with the vengeful villain from Thor, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), making a deal to bring destruction and enslavement to Earth. Loki steals a powerful energy source, seen in the Captain America film, from the protective hands of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Fury, in response, begins to gather the exceptional individuals that will become The Avengers to battle an extraterrestrial nemesis. What transpires over the quick 142 minutes is fairly predictable, even Ironman explains this aspect at one point, but the film is so well written and acted that it’s hard to distinguish these moments, however they are present. The difficult task of having all of these familiar franchises converge in one film is daunting; I was unsure how all the heroes would fit together in one film. Would Ironman have a larger role than the other Avengers? How are all these personalities going to coexist properly in one film? Surprisingly, these questions are utilized in the plot of the film and are answered when all the pieces of the previous films fit together comfortably. Every hero has their fair share of screen time and is given plots that are dedicated, without feeling overly forced, to furthering the relationships of the individual and the whole of the film.
The Avengers are a group of damaged individuals dealing with the struggles of their power. This common thread offers great character analysis and Whedon does well to explore these issues with each character, which the ensemble cast is more than talented to portray. Robert Downey Jr. was made for the role of Ironman, his charisma and humor combined with his sensibilities towards being a hero add a peculiar heart to the film. Chris Evans as Captain America has an ever-constant reliability and wholesomeness to the plight of being a soldier in a foreign world. Chris Hemsworth utilizes Thor to bring an aspect of humility to a god that finds compassion in humanity, although this doesn’t prevent him from flexing some ego amongst the other heroes. What could be the best Hulk to see the screen; Mark Ruffalo is an outsider as Bruce Banner whose intelligence is mistaken for weakness even though he yields such unstable power. Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner play The Black Widow and Hawkeye and provide a dark element to the narrative. The other heroes could have easily overshadowed their roles but they actually provide the films heftiest dramatic moments. The villain of the film further accommodates these performances; Hiddleston plays Loki with teeming menace, providing more than enough swagger to match the efforts of The Avengers.
Whedon has an unmistakable brilliance when it comes to elements of dialogue and structure; moments that typically feel clichéd in super hero films have added charm and humor in his capable hands. Although Whedon’s characteristic style and humor is found throughout, there are also predictable moments that take over the film in a too familiar fashion. Perhaps more of Whedon’s methods, and less of the typical super hero structure, could have made an already good film even better. Nonetheless, The Avengers combines each character’s signature style with clever humor and surprising heart.
4.25 out of 5.0