Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye; Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have all gathered together for the Avengers. Marvel has been building up to this movie since it started Marvel Pictures and they’ve put together one heck of a team to do it. Disney and Marvel spared no expense and had a clear vision for this movie. Perfection is a hard target to hit, and one must question whether or not the large egos of the Avengers are up to the task?
Amazing main cast: First off, Nick Fury, who is the leader of SHIELD, is a total badass and he has plenty of chances to show it. This is not the cheesy, funny, Jackson from modern years, for the opening of the movie alone is enough to prove that no one else could do this role. While the Nick Fury in the normal Marvel comics is good, the casting of Jackson as the Ultimate Universe version was nothing short of genius (Fun fact: Ultimate’s Nick Fury look was based off of Sam Jackson, they actually got his permission to do it).
The next part of this amazing cast are Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow. Both of these characters have appeared before; Hawkeye had a small cameo in Thor and Black Widow was a main character in Iron Man 2. Hawkeye is not the egotistical jerk from the comics. Here, he is a SHIELD agent, and despite not having any powers, Hawekeye proves that he is just as capable as heroes like Captain America.
Additionally, the Black Widow is a complex character that required Johansson to call on a wide skill set and a number of emotions which she nailed perfectly. Even when she had to speak Russian or use an accent it sounded natural.
Lastly, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, and Tim Hiddleston are as good in their roles here as they were in their own movies. The only unknown factor for the heroes going in was Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. However, he is the best Bruce Banner since Bill Bixy (Bixby was called David Banner but it’s the same role). Edward Norton’s Banner in Incredible Hulk was good, but Ruffalo nails every aspect of the character. Ruffalo may not even be a fan of the Hulk, but it feels like he studied the character and lifted the performance right from the pages of the comics. And finally, the villains of Avengers are cast spot on as well, for Tom Hiddleston role as Loki is perfect.
Incredible supporting cast: SHIELD had two great supporting cast members as part of it’s operation; the long running Agent Coulson played by Clark Gregg and Nick Fury’s right hand Maria Hill played by Cobie Summers. If you’ve seen the previous movies that precede the Avengers, then you know Coulson is great. This is due in part to Joss Whedon an Zak Penn’s spectacular writing.
Furthermore, Coulson’s role blends perfectly with these larger-than-life characters, for he has great chemistry with all of the actors. In addition, Coulson has some of the best comedy lines as well. On another note, Maria Hill is a character well known to Marvel comic readers, but she is a yet another new a new face to hit the big screen. Cobie Summers did a good job acting as Fury’s right hand coming off as intelligent, resourceful, and responsive.
Also, Stellan Skasgard’s Selvig returns from Thor and he fared much better than he did in that movie. Selvig was given a chance to act like a more fleshed out character even when you consider his role in the film. Finally, Gwyneth Paltrow steps back into the shoes of Pepper Potts, but unfortunately this was only for a few short scenes. Her delivery further proves why she was perfectly casted.
Joss Whedon: This is only Whedon’s second feature film but you could never tell. Whedon is known mostly for his work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. He is used to working with small TV budgets that are in the form of episodic content. Marvel took a huge risk offering him the job of writing and directing the Avengers, but it paid off in the end. One of Whedon’s trademarks is how he writes dialog, for it has a very unique style to it. Outside of well written characters, one of the biggest hooks for shows like Buffy was the dialog between characters, and Whedon most certainly understands how banter works and how to make it funny. A character like Tony Stark can easily be ruined by dialog that makes him sound completely unlikable. The same is true for any of the other characters.
Stark, Rogers, and Thor are three of the biggest egos in the Marvel universe and they have to clash both physically and verbally. But, underneath that clashing, it is apparent that all three of them have tremendous respect for each other by the end of the movie. Whedon doesn’t get all the credit since Zak Penn has also redeemed himself from the massive failures of Electra and X3 (Penn wrote both this and Incredible Hulk).
On the directing side, Whedon has proven he deserved that chair with his name on it. It is refreshing to see Whedon’s style of directing when compared to movies done by the likes of Micheal Bay or Zack Synder. Bay and Synder have a habit of directing action movies that feels cheap and fake. On the action front, Whedon gets it right; he shoots the action as if it were a comic book. The characters all have their moments and the view shifts around from one area to area the next. Instead of one big blurry mess, the audience can get a good feel of who is doing what. Whedon avoids the extreme use of slow motion, only using it a couple times for effect; most of the time, the slow-mo feels powerful and the characters really feel empowered. At no point does the action feel too fake and the heroes don’t feel invincible.
The Plot: The plot never feels like it has been forgotten or like the movie is being dragged out too long. In addition, every scene feels like it has it’s purpose. This comes from Whedon’s television experience, for he had to shove sometimes fairly complex plot elements into an hour, while also managing pacing and making sure every scene had a purpose. Its kind of funny that for the last few years the comic book movies have had the best plots out of all of the summer blockbusters. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the Avengers is the best of the Marvel bunch.
Nothing: Call me a Marvel fanboy or a Joss Whedon fanboy if you want, but there’s not much one could say to go and knock on this movie. One could nitpick, and say that Hawkeye’s character needs to be explored more, but it’s not worth going crazy over. There really isn’t anything major enough to talk about. All the actors were excellent, the writing was perfect, Whedon is a huge comic book fan his directing shows how much he cares about the world, and even the CG was good. I can’t even complain about the 3D.
It is pretty clear from this review that it is easy to fall in love with this movie. We have all been looking forward to The Avengers for years, and we can now enjoy this fantastic take on the Marvel universe. Also note, the the 3D version is a must see. Despite it being a post-conversion, the movie feels like it was shot in 3D. The conversion is easily better than any other conversion and it adds nice depth. When things are “shot out” towards the viewer it fits, and it definitely adds to the comic book feel of the movie. So this review is pretty clear, go see the movie, it’s one of the best to hit the theaters in a long time. In the three years I’ve been doing reviews here at Pixel Smashers I have never handed out a “perfect” score, this isn’t something I can give easily. I have no qualms about awarding Avengers our highest possible score.
The Avengers Review by Derangel