The Avengers

If you are a fan of movies, you have to be satisfied with the new phase of comic book movies that started this past decade and the numerous good films that it has produced. Sure, there were Batman and Superman movies even in the 1970’s, but there has never been such a vast collection of different heroes all getting their own feature length films. At the start of all of this was 2000’s X-Men, a film featuring many headlining actors and many big characters. After 3 successful films, they decided to try and break off and make movies for individual characters. They have only done one so far, featuring their most successful actor/character combination: Hugh Jackman‘s Wolverine. While the X-Men were starting with a group film and branching off, Marvel was making individual films for all of the members of The Avengers. It started with 2008’s Iron-Manarguably the best super-hero movie ever made for the time being. Even then, we got a hint of Iron-Man being persuaded into joining something bigger. Now, in the past couple years, we have had a second Iron-Man movie, a Captain America film, and a Thor film. Despite two different movies and two different actors, even the Incredible Hulk was known to be in the mix. With the incredible success of all of the individual films and the clear plan to eventually combine all of the forces for one giant blockbuster, it wouldn’t be enough to say that there is a lot of pressure for this film to be successful.

This is without a doubt an unprecedented, groundbreaking film and idea. If  The Avengers finds success, it gives the green-light to countless other collaborations of individual movies and characters into big summer blockbusters, and not only comic book heroes. Classic fairy tales and lore, timeless novels, historic events, all of them fair game to follow the guidelines set by the recent Marvel films. This has to be the most groundbreaking movie in a long time.

After the events of all individual Marvel hero films [Iron-Man, Iron-Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger], Loki, brother of Thor, has found his way to Earth, and has the capabilities of bringing an entire army with him. Nick Fury, leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., has no choice but to gather Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, and Thor to join his squad along with Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton [Black Widow and Hawkeye]. Only after truly coming together as a team can these heroes defeat Loki and his armies.

There was only one concern I had detracting from my utter glee when hearing the news of The Avengers being made: can all of these already well developed characters that are well learned by the viewers be packed into just one movie? Are minor characters going to be left out to make room? Are one of the heroes going to get screwed on screen time? I think it’s a question that many people will probably have coming into this movie, and luckily, someone went through and gave us these numbers:

The Avengers Character Run Times:

Hawkeye – 12:44
Thor – 25:52
Bruce Banner – 28:03
Black Widow – 33:35
Iron-Man – 37:01
Captain America – 37:42

Now, it was reveled coming in that Captain America would be a little more focused than others. He is, after all , the first Avenger and the leader in the comics. It is a little surprising that Thor, the brother of the villain of the story, comes in last place of the main 4 characters, but either way, someone was going to come in last place, and they all get a good chunk of screen time. Regardless of numbers, what’s really well done is that you get to experience each character in full; their personalities, their faults, their strengths, and especially the humor that worked so well for each of them in their own movies. You really don’t feel like any character is missing while you’re watching. The character Loki, the villain, although right in line with the character in Thor, seems to be lacking. He is not really sinister or frightening, save one scene. As Agent Phil Coulson says, he lacks conviction.

It takes more than some good characters to make a film, however. You need the context in which they occupy; you need a story. Together, the two writers of the film, Joss Whedon and Zak Penn, have a good deal of sci-fi and comic book movie writing experience. Whedon’s name alone is enough to attract all sorts of fans, being the creator of one of the most notorious sci-fi television shows of the decade, Firefly.

There is no doubt that this movie has some plot holes and problems. A lot of the science and plans behind Loki’s army, his plot for what exactly he wants to do with the world, the cube thing that is the source of all of the fighting, and other minor holes like the Hulk’s sudden ability to control himself. Looking past those, however, you get an incredible amount of really bad-ass fun and action, and the dialogue is really funny and perfect for the highest caliber super-hero film.

My Rating

3.5/4 – The Avengers is the first movie of its kind: a collaboration of four other feature film characters all packed into one movie. Although the story has its downfalls, the characters, the performances, the dialogue, the comedy, and the action are all superb and come together to make a stellar and groundbreaking film.


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