Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

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I Saw Marvel’s The Avengers – Another Look

The summer movie season got its big start this weekend with the release of Marvel’s The Avengers.  I’m going to be upfront and honest: I really wasn’t “wowed” by it.  Let me make two things very clear right away before rabid fanboys jump on me like they did with Amy Nicholson or AO Scott: I didn’t dislike the film, nor am I trying to be a contrarian.

I want to start with some positivity: director Joss Whedon probably made the best Avengers movie that one could make.  The film is a novelty as it brings together several superheroes, and there is a general coolness to seeing all these characters together on the big screen in live-action.  Since something like this hasn’t been done before, there is a certain magic about it that no other superhero movie has really had.

For the most part, the characters had some zippy and breezy dialogue, and the interplay between the team during the climatic showdown was nicely handled.  As always, Robert Downey, Jr. stole the show, but Mark Ruffalo, as a more laid backDr. Banner, was really the surprise in the cast (though, I have to admit, I kind of which Ed Norton was there for strictly continuity reasons).

On a more personal level, I really enjoyed the characterization of Captain America in The Avengers than I did in his solo film.  Not that much was really all that different; there were just some subtle changes, but those subtleties made all the difference to this Cap fan.

That being said, there are many spots where this film doesn’t quite work.  It is very affable summer popcorn flick, but there really isn’t much there.  The plot is paper thin.  I’ll admit, in a film like this, perhaps it needed to be, but I really felt that nothing of any importance happened within the first hour and a half.  Then, it was followed by a somewhat dull forty-minute action sequence.  Don’t get me wrong, the action was well-done.  However, it didn’t need to be forty minutes.  It felt like padding especially since it mainly consisted of the heroes fighting the bad guy army in a rinse and repeat fashion.

However, my real big issue with the movie was that there were too many instances where our protagonists aggressively faced off against one another.  While not getting along causes drama, most of the time it came off as forced instead of natural.  It was as if the filmmakers needed to have these characters fight each other in order to satisfy the fanboy desire in all of us to see that.

For example, nearly the entire second act is complete nonsense.  Our heroes discover a secret which, naturally, they get upset about.  However, when calling out the person holding the secret, the heroes (who were united against this secret) suddenly begin turning on each other for bizarre and nonsensical reasons and are largely tangential to the topic at hand.  None of it rang true, and it hurt the overall product since their not-getting-along is the cornerstone of the film.

In the end, Marvel’s The Avengers is a quickly digestible and somewhat forgettable film.  It was fun seeing all those characters together, but it likely won’t make a lasting impression.  I didn’t say it was bad.  It was enjoyable for what it was.  That said, I can see this movie growing on me in time.  Given the effort involved in this project, it’s earned the money it’s gotten (and will continue to get).


P.S.  Stick around to the end of the credits.

P.P.S. And by “the end of the credits” I mean the end of the credits.


You can read my build-up retrospective to Marvel’s The Avengers here and Zack’s review here.


3 responses to “I Saw Marvel’s The Avengers – Another Look

  1. Justin May 15, 2012 at 12:05 am

    I somewhat agree with your opinion. I LOVED The Avengers. Just a very fun and funny movie, filled with oh, so much eye candy. Where did they get so many sexy and svelte people together in one place? Seriously, I would hit every single person in that movie, even the extras. Haha… anyway, nice blog. 🙂

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