Posted on 9/04/12 12:26 PM
Review Number: 5
Marvel's The Avenger - Contains countless of satisfying moments in both action and dialogue in an ambitious team-up that delivers.
It's pretty much almost everything that's fun about superhero comics translated directly onto the screen. Like Serenity and the Buffy season 5 finale, it's well-structured so that everyone gets more than one moment to shine in both dialogue and action scenes; I can't think of another action movie that has so many characters and is so well-balanced between them all, and all the different combinations of arguments and team-ups between them.
There's no need to go into detail on the plot; it's a superhero flick so naturally something or someone (Loki, Thor's adopted brother in this instance), threatens the existence of mankind and the superheroes fly into action to save the day. It's formulaic but a lot of fun, if not particularly original or inspiring. It's difficult to surprise cinema-goers nowadays and plots are recycled, embellished and reimagined more often than conceived, but that needn't be a major issue in a genre film on this scale when the viewer isn't demanding any more than to be entertained.
Wittily, this is coated with a fair amount of good humor. Though some jokes could be predictable, the spontaneity of the performances makes them, unarguably, funny. For example, towards the end, when Rogers is giving orders to policemen, what follows is pretty predictable but the spontaneity of the policeman made viewers laugh despite themselves. Non-verbal humor even mounts to a point when viewers clapped hard - when Dr Banner's 'other guy'shut Loki up with a slight movement of his huge arms.
"The Avengers" doesn't transcend; it regurgitates a done-to-death plot. Unlike "The Avengers," "The Dark Knight" was more than a comic book film. It was entertaining, compelling, yet it explored complex moral ideas, and its plot went in innovative directions. Did anyone know that "The Dark Knight" would end not with a fistfight but instead with a battle between the Joker and Batman for Harvey Dent's soul, a scene that leaves it open to interpretation whether the Joker or Batman really won in the end, a scene far more compelling than any sequence of destruction could ever be? And let's not forget, did you ever worry that any of the Avengers would not survive? If not, then where was the real dramatic tension? One of the things that made "The Dark Knight" so compelling is that one of its two heroes not only dies but is also believably turned evil before he is killed. Great films--serious or fun--must make the audience feel that there is something truly at stake, not just rely on the continual spectacle of fights and explosions.
The cast is superb and, in the case of the principals, either recognizable as stars in their own right or courtesy of the roles they are reprising here. Mostly they do as you'd expect and deserve neither great plaudits nor condemnation; it's not that kind of film. However, beyond the obvious star-billed cast, there are some who delight absolutely. Tom Hiddleston (Wallander, The Deep Blue Sea), as Loki, is effortlessly compelling and avoids melodrama in his wickedness that so many villains lean towards, while Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town) is an actor who's been around for a few years and co-starred in a number of excellent, if not huge, films. As Clint Barton he again lends solid support and proves to be a most watchable and compelling actor. It's just a pity that he's given little opportunity to develop his alter ego, Hawkeye, and one can only hope the inevitable sequel will rectify that.
I grew up at a time when the technology wasn't up to the task of putting what we see in today's Avengers on the big screen. With that said, it looks like what we have here is all sizzle and no steak. The CGI and special effects components of this flick makes it an all time blockbuster spectacle, so if that's what you're all about, you won't be disappointed. However if you're looking for a story with nuanced characters and an intriguing plot, you've come to the wrong movie. This is all about wringing out as much action and adrenaline pumping machismo that any fanboy could possibly ask for. So on that score it works, but I need something more, even in a super-hero movie.
There have been lots of action films that I've enjoyed at the cinema for their sheer spectacle but then have felt little desire to re-watch because that they didn't have much else going for them (Avatar comes to mind) - but this isn't one of them. If you're looking for a story with nuanced characters and an intriguing plot, you've come to the wrong movie. This is all about wringing out as much action and adrenaline pumping machismo that any fanboy could possibly ask for.