In a world where summer blockbusters are characterized by headache-inducing special effects and poor writing, it is a relief when a big-budget action film is as entertaining as it is well scripted. The Avengers does an exceptional job at being a big, dumb superhero movie without sacrificing core screenwriting elements. Thanks to highly acclaimed screenwriter and director, Joss Whedon, the story sequences and characters are given as much attention as the action sequences are. At the same time, the movie knows that it is not an artistic masterpiece that will be studied by film students decades from now. While it may not be a groundbreaking landmark for superhero movies like The Dark Knight was, it doesn't need to be. Instead, The Avengers is an example of how summer action films can be fun while still maintaining a great story and characters.
Although it is not absolutely vital that you see the movies the main heroes star in, the film assumes that you have, so it is recommended that you do. The plot involves Loki, the god of mischief who was the antagonist in Thor, wanting to basically, you guessed it, take over the world. Nick Fury, however, is not a huge fan of Loki's plan and decides to call in an elite team of superheroes who have never worked together before and probably don't have the highest opinion of one another. In order to fulfill his goal of enslaving the human race, Loki wishes to open a portal using an item known as the "Tesseract" that will unleash an army of monster-things. Since this would most likely be bad for Stark Industries, it is up to Iron Man, along with Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, and
In a film which is essentially a comic book nerd's wet dream with every major Marvel superhero, you would hope that each hero would be compelling and have a reason to be there other than just for the sake of it. Thankfully, The Avengers delivers on that front. The way these guys (and girls) interact with each other is one of the film's highlights. Each major character has their own motivations and methods of doing things, which is challenged by the other heroes. It makes sense that these characters don't exactly see eye-to-eye on everything and that their personalities clash. The thing that makes this work is that none of it feels forced. Their rationals make sense and are appropriate to their character. It also makes sense when they all put their differences aside and unite to defeat a common enemy. The way the film handles story and character progression are things future superhero movies should pay attention to.
Like I mentioned earlier, The Avengers at its core is a big summer action flick, and it handles action sequences just as well as the characters and story. Having these superheroes interact with one another is a nerdgasm in its finest form. There were times where I just sat there with a stupid grin on my face because of how awesome it was to see all of these guys together. The action is also well paced, balancing story sequences with AMAGAD EXPLOSION!!!11 These moments feel warranted and meaningful as opposed to having action for action's sake. The final battle which serves as the film's climax is one of the most entertaining and exciting moments I've seen in a while.
Despite being one of the best superhero movies to come out in a long time, it is not without a few minor faults. I didn't think Loki was a great villain in Thor, and the same can be said here. His motivation feels a bit forced and is an overall uninteresting antagonist. Another problem I had is with the amount of slap-stick humor, particularly with Tony Stark. Several moments in the film felt like there was too many jokes inserted at a rapid pace, and Tony was usually the culprit. Granted, most of the slap-stick is pretty good, and there were one or two moments where I actually burst out laughing. While I appreciate that the film does not take itself too seriously, I felt that they could have either toned down the slap-stick or spread it out a bit. Finally, Bruce Banner and The Hulk felt somewhat underutilized, with the majority of monster's screen time being towards the end. Although it makes sense from a story perspective to reserve the not-so-jolly green giant, it would have been nice to see him smash some more things.
The Avengers is not going to be nominated for best screenplay or best picture at the next Academy Awards, but that doesn't mean it isn't highly entertaining. It knows that it isn't the next Dark Knight and still manages to create a great plot and memorable characters. Whether you are a fan of these superheroes or just want to see some bad-ass action, The Avengers delivers an experience that will please movie fans and Marvel fans alike.
+ Excellent screenwriting
+ Excellent screenwriting
+ Awesome action sequences
+ Characters are compelling and well written
- Uninteresting villain
- Too much slap-stick
- Hulk could have used more screen time