by Brandon Barb
at 12:23 PM | Permalink
Marvel’s big budget movie raises the bar high for comic book movies
If you haven’t gone to the theater to see The Avengers yet, you should go this weekend. On second thought,
you should go now — just wait until you’re done reading this.
As a long time Thor fan, this movie has been on my calendar for months.
Going into The Avengers I was excited
but tried to keep my expectations from getting out of control. Fortunately, I didn’t
need to do that because the movie is that good. A lot of that credit has to go
to writer/director Joss Whedon. Some of you might recognize the name because he
created the television shows Buffy the
Vampire Slayer and Firefly.
The movie could have fallen apart from the beginning with so many big
characters — both figurative and literally speaking — on screen at once. With Iron
Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk taking part in the story, any number of
things could have gone wrong. Characters could have been underutilized — having
four strong stand alone characters could have made them feel not like a team at
all — but in the span of just a few hours, Whedon and company have created a
giant leap for comic book fans and movies.
Whedon was the right person for the job because, based on his past work,
he knows how to generate great characterization and interaction. He knows how
to tell a story through the characters and not through the special effects,
which was needed in a situation like this. Whedon, the other writers and the
actors were able to make these comic book characters more human, so to speak.
The interactions between Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.),
Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner/Hulk
(Mark Ruffalo) were some of the best moments in the movie. Some of my favorites
were Stark poking Banner to see if he will Hulk up, Thor giving a great
one-liner about his brother Loki and Stark verbally sparing with
Loki toward the end of the movie.
The story is simple enough: Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wants to take over
and rule Earth and the Avengers have to stop him. The major battle doesn’t take
place until the end of the movie, but then again it does take up the final 30
minutes or so.
With Loki as the main villain in the movie it helps to have seen last
year’s Thor. It isn’t a must to but
it does help set up the relationship between Thor and Loki. Watching all of the
individual movies helps with understanding some of the character traits in The Avengers, though the last the two
Hulk films don’t really do much for the character except see him smash through
tanks and cities.
While Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk are the main heroes,
there is a strong supporting cast around them. Scarlett Johansson is Agent
Romanoff/Black Widow and Jeremy Renner is Agent Barton/Hawkeye, both agents for
S.H.I.E.L.D. Clark Gregg returns as S.H.I.E.L.D agent Phil Coulson, and How I Met Your Mother star Cobie
Smulders is Agent Hill. The guy who brings all of these characters together is
Nick Furry, played by Samuel L. Jackson.
Tom Hiddleston is terrific as Loki. He is sinister, brutal and
devious — after all, he is the Norse god of mischief, deceit and lies. I hope he
returns in some fashion in the next Thor movie or the next Avengers. Robert
Downey Jr. is back to his witty, sarcastic ways and he has some of the best
lines in the movie. Mark Ruffalo is able to finally bring some credit to the
Bruce Banner/Hulk character.
The Avengers is a great way
to kick off the summer movie season. It combines wonderful action sequences,
well done comedy and heartfelt drama in the span of 142 minutes. Whedon
was a perfect fit for this movie because he understands character and doesn’t
rely on flashy explosions like some directors. If you like flashy explosions
there are a decent amount in The Avengers
but there is also some of the best character development/interaction I’ve seen
in a Marvel movie.