May.4 2012

Matt’s Review: ‘The Avengers’ is the Epitome of Summer Blockbuster Fun

By

GRADE: A

The last couple of months Marvel has been in-your-face with The Avengers marketing team working in full force. While I had reservations about showing so much of the film in teasers, trailers, featurettes, behind-the-scenes photos, and other sorts of promotion, the marketing team effectively sold this movie without giving away too much. Only one big moment was ruined by a trailer, something that is more common these days than not. Thankfully, there was so much more to this film than what was shown in all these previews. The Avengers was a fun-filled, surprisingly funny, Summer blockbuster that will give The Dark Knight Rises a worthy foe for the crown of Summer Box Office King.

I still remember watching Iron Man for the first time and Samuel L. Jackson appearing as Nick Fury after the credits sequence teasing “The Avengers Initiative.” I had a hard time wrapping my head around how a movie like this could ever happen, much less actually work. So many big stars to put together — assembling the team alone into one film is nothing short of remarkable. The Avengers turning out this well is even more remarkable. I had many doubts about this film when it was being drawn up — how are all these alpha males going to share the screen with one another? Is there a movie long enough to tell this story? What foe could possibly hold up against a whole team of superheroes?

I mean, think about this as a sequel to four movies. That many sequels all coming together for one storyline is unheard of. With the high expectations of fans, the pressure to make this film work as a whole, the involvement of such big names, and the huge amount of money dumped into the project, The Avengers turned out as good as any comic fan and Marvel Studio Executive could ever dream. This effort should please the fans and the amount of money it’s already raking in should please the studio. With all the pressure that surrounded this project, the end result was a diamond of sorts.

Now, The Avengers isn’t the sort of movie that’s going to evoke deep thought or impress with underlying narratives, but it’s going to entertain you for over two hours. It isn’t deep and it doesn’t pretend to be. It’s fun and light-hearted for the most part. The story was slow to start, similar to a train leaving a station, but 15 minutes in the movie was running at full steam. This first portion of the film was completely necessary and worthwhile to set up the great Tom Hiddleston’s Loki as the mighty adversary for our group of heroes.

The Avengers featured some of the best action sequences ever envisioned onscreen. The way Whedon weaved the camera through the epic battles from character to character kept the audience on the edge of their seat and on the front lines of the battle. The action sequences had so much going on, but it never felt overwhelming. There was always something at stake, but it was always fun.

The show was metaphorically stolen by Robert Downey Jr. He was without a doubt the biggest presence in the film and the only superhero that actually experienced some notable development. Tony Stark is also my favorite superhero from the bunch — not to mention Iron Man is my favorite film of the ‘prequels’ that led to this alliance of superheroes.

Another thing worth noting is the 3D, which thankfully was another success of this film. I don’t usually find 3D to be rewarding — most of my many 3D experiences I’d chalk it up to distracting. But The Avengers never tried gimmicky tricks like throwing objects at the screen. The 3D added depth to the image and raised the action to another level. It was crisp and the image wasn’t too dark because of the glasses. The last film to impress me with 3D was Transformers: Dark of the Moon last Summer, so these 3D endorsements don’t come often.

The last thing I will praise is the chemistry this team of heroes oozed from their first moments together. Sure, off the bat they struggled fitting their egos into the same room, but the back half of the movie they banded together to save Earth. With this camaraderie came the usual male ego driven banter, much of if quite funny. One thing that will surprise most is how funny The Avengers is. This again was where the levity of Downey’s character dazzled.

Overall, The Avengers is the definition of a Summer movie for the masses. The film is full of excellent action, perfectly timed comedy, and plenty of eye candy for men and women alike. Joss Whedon outdid himself with this superhero mashup — few in the business could pull off a movie on this scale so well. The Avengers was as good as it could possibly be.

What Should You Do? Do yourself a favor by seeing to this fun-filled action romp on the big screen. If you aren’t impressed, you don’t like movies.

 

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @matthewdeery

 

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