Saturday, May 5, 2012

Avengers (2012) review

Roll call: Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury! Marvel’s The Avengers is a tour de force action summer blockbuster that delivers. I’ve read a lot of reviews that seem to be written by people weary of the hype, or people over-thinking and over-judging the movie based on its impossible expectations. Make no mistake, The Avengers is an entertaining romp, taking advantage of the opportunity to examine how these characters, most stars of their own movies, interact with each other. As a result, you see Captain America’s 40’s behaviours rub Tony Stark the wrong way, Bruce Banner trying to keep his cool around the quipping Tony Stark, Thor fighting Iron Man, Thor fighting Hulk (and Hulk unable to pick up Thor’s hammer because he is unworthy to wield it), and you get the fun of learning a lot about these comic book characters come to life through the way they initially bristle at the thought of teamwork, then take to it after the sacrifice of a character that I’ll leave a surprise for fans of the pre-Avengers movies. Joss Weadon has done a fine job nailing all of these characters and making them all my favourites. You know The Avengers is well written when your favourite character shifts from scene to scene. Truth is, they’re all good, even Black Widow who was so terribly written in Iron Man 2 that I dismissed her. But her spy and interrogation techniques are done extremely well here.

I’ve read reviews that say Loki is downplayed and non-threatening as the main villain. So imagine my surprise when I actually watched the movie and saw that Loki was a threat throughout with Hiddleston playing the character with a lot of charming zeal and panache. His plan is total domination of the world under him, and he demonstrates it in an appropriately disturbing scene where he makes a city square full of innocent people bow down to him in subservience and is about to kill an old holocaust survivor for not doing so. Captain America saves the day and teams with Iron Man to fight Loki in a very cool scene.

Actually, there are a lot of terrific action scenes. That Cap and Iron Man fight against Loki is one, the aforementioned Iron Man vs. Thor and Thor vs. Hulk fights are others. The final battle is reminiscent of the final battle in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, but with characters you actually care about with their own moments that elicited laughs and applause at the screening I was at. Hulk really shines in these final scenes, and hopefully audiences’ favourable reactions to Hulk in this movie are an indicator that there will be another Hulk movie, preferably with Mark Ruffalo who’s brilliant as Dr. Banner. The alien invasion at the end is pretty threatening and looks hopeless until one Avenger makes a big move against the horde.

Full of fun character moments, inventive action scenes and moving scenes of redemption that make audiences really connect with the movie, The Avengers is the real deal. It is what summer blockbusters should be. The Avengers is not a shallow husk with lots of unemotional special effects. The Avengers is fun, spectacular and moving at times. You will not regret watching The Avengers.



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