The Avengers (2012)
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Now isn’t this a movie filled with surprises. Who would’ve thought that of all the Avengers, The Incredible Hulk would be the one stealing the show? The beast had all but 2 lines in the movie, I think they were “grunt” and “roar” yet it was enough to make women want to have his green babies… okay maybe that’s going too far. I am going to chalk it all up to the charismatic Mark Ruffalo who takes over the role that Edward Norton left behind in that of a very likable Dr. Bruce Banner. See in the comics and animated movies that depict the wormy doctor, Banner is tolerated by the audience, not liked. He is scared, somewhat worthless and often chained up in fear of the beast getting loose; but this movie adaptation gives us a likable, witty and quick Banner who can even volley barbs back at the egotistical Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).
Speaking of the creature, those special effects and CGI on The Hulk were top notch. Though smaller than he should be, Hulk was quick, strong and damn scary. Ripping holes in buildings, vehicles, roads, hell anything within his path. It makes me excited for a sequel to his movie and I am sure that most fans will agree.
Any worry that a star spangled superhero would not work on a worldwide audience seemed unfounded as Chris Evans went beast mode in the role of Captain America. From the first hilarious scene where the Captain appeared till the very end when his exhausted body stood front and center as leader of the Avengers, he had our hearts. This was the Captain America I grew up with. All balls, chest out, taking charge and throwing that shield like a wraith. It was such a different Captain America than the origin movie that I was very happy with Evans.
Seriously, the portrayal of Steve Rogers (Captain America) was extremely well written. The sadness of a man being forced to live in a future which yields him no familiar things, family or friends is real. This point is driven home by one exchange with his fellow Avengers when a joke about flying monkeys is made and he excitedly exclaims “I understood that reference!” Another time they mention gods and he corrects them with the very American gusto of “there is only one God!” But you accept him either way because you, the audience, understand.
While it’s been established that Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark, the best scenes for the Iron Man were those coupled with The Captain. From the 2 men arguing, to teaming up to destroy bad guys, Stark and Rogers were a match made in heaven. Sure the new Mach 7 suit was amazing to behold but even Tony Stark couldn’t go it alone in this movie and the humbling of the Invincible Iron Man was very real.
Thor is toned down a tad to allow the mortals to shine but Chris Hemsworth reprises the role wonderfully, making for the ladies in the audience to feel his thunder. Scarlett Johansson does the damn thing as super spy, femme fatale Black Widow but something seemed missing with the character. I think this may be me nitpicking or Scarlett just couldn’t keep up with her powerful co-stars but I wasn’t feeling her as much as the rest – not to say she didn’t do well however. The action scenes with Black Widow were great, and most of all the chemistry between she and Jeremy Renner was something powerful and creepily real. Can I have a Hawkeye/Black Widow movie please?
Speaking of Renner as Hawkeye, what were they thinking letting a powerhouse like him play that small a role? Were it not for Hulk and Captain America people would be talking about the amazing Hawkeye. Not to sound like a fanboi but every scene the man was in commanded your attention; from the cocky way he would brandish his wicked bow to the confidence he exuded even in the most dire situations. Seeing Hawkeye and Black Widow team up in action was a treat and while they lacked any “super powers” they held their own wonderfully.
As you can tell The Avengers was firing on all cylinders. From beginning to end you are locked in to the struggle of earth to fight a supernatural power and how it takes a few “super humans” and one demi-god to defend humanity against it. For those of us who remember how terrible a job the 3rd X-men did of this, some huge appreciation was felt for this movie. As far as bad guys go you can do a lot worse than the charming Loki played by Tom Hiddleston… dare I say I was almost rooting for the horned god?
To think that keeping The Avengers as weird and nerdy as it was in the comics (with the exception of Ant-man and Wasp being in the team) would actually work as one of the highest grossing movies in American history. I hope this serves as a lesson to FOX and creators of past abortions like The Fantastic Four that audiences don’t need their comic stories pacified or watered down. The Avengers is making money beyond the wildest beliefs and it is due to the brilliant writing, the wonderful lead-up movies and the excellent direction of Joss Whedon.
Pro-tip: Stay after the credits for one scene, and stay till the credits finish for another. You will thank me later. What a wonderful day to be a comic book nerd eh?