Movie Review - Avengers
So I finally got to see the Avengers this holiday weekend. I have to say that Marvel Studios has hit another one out of the park. Even five weeks after the domestic debut, the theater was still packed. I had to sit somewhere the front and crane my neck up to watch the film up close cuz there were no seats left in the entire rear section. According to google news, the film is doing really well at the box office and in critical reviews as well.
It's harder to pin down exactly what I liked about the movie, but I'll try to put it down in words.
Pacing: I thought the pacing was very good; better than in Captain America. Everything was tightly knit and fast paced as befits an Action movie (with a capital A there). There was hardly anything in the entire film that would be considered extraneous. Some serious moments are lightened up by great bits of humor. Some really wrenching dramatic scenes interspersed among the SFX/battle-fests like Black Widow's confrontation with Loki, the Death of Coulson, Tony's attempt to call Pepper during his nuke run, etc.
Characterization: They did a pretty great job in balancing the show and tell among all of the cast, not just the big names. Although I think Tony did steal a few scenes, there were also some nice touches on the others. Nick Fury pretty much lies and manipulates his way through the entire film. Black Widow got some great development as the only major female lead (loved both of her "interrogation" scenes). Cap still makes me want to pet and cuddle him. So does Bruce, actually, the big geek. =P
Action: Okay, cuz I'm a fangirl, so I like seeing my heroes kicking all kinds of butt and being all heroic. I loved Cap's initial confrontation against Loki in Germany, with Tony swooping in for the save. Also loved their little team up in fixing the helicarrier engine. And Cap taking charge of the scene in Manhattan and ordering around beleaguered policemen in between punting the invaders. (Yeah, I think I'm seeing trend here...)
Humor: Marvel films has pretty much got this down to an artform. Yes, RDJ pioneered it in the IM movies. But everyone is in on the act in Avengers. The audience pretty much laughed, cheered, and squee'd (for the girls) throughout the entire film, which is all that a movie can ask for, really.
Honestly, to try and make a list of the film's weakness is probably the harder challenge...
Weak Villains: Loki was at least somewhat sympathetic in the Thor movie. Here, he's entirely a more 2 dimensional crazy-evil-guy. The aliens were even more 1 dimensional 'we will invade you roar' peeps that were honestly only there for the SFX spectacle in the climatic battle.
No "Avengers Assemble": I guess they're saving it for the next film.
The Scepter-o-Plot-Device: ...is the only major plot hole that kinda jarred my viewing experience. Like, what technobabble allowed them to un-brainwash Hawkeye from the magical effect of Loki's scepter? How did Loki get his hands back on the scepter after the breakout/attack on the Helicarrier? How did Black Widow get her hands on the scepter in such a short time on the Stark Towers rooftop when it was last seen being dropped by Loki at the penthouse level a long way down?
Forced Relevance: The whole 'SHIELD is building WMD's with the tesseract' argument just brings to mind some of the horrible hammy soap box moments from the Marvel Comics (and by association also the other horribly soapy crap with the Civil War and so forth). While the actual argument in the movie was much much better done by a million times (and with a much much better excuse with the influence of the magic Scepter of Plot Device), the unfortunate association is still there for me to gag at. I blame Marvel's comic publishing division for that, really.
"No Depth": I'm sure some (DC) fans out there somewhere will inevitably mention this when compared to movies like TDK, so I'll do it first. The film is pretty much straight forward in its message - bunch of freaky misfits come together as a team of Heroes to triumph over Evil blahblah. IMO there's nothing wrong with not having a "deeper theme" or whatever. *shrug*
Some other notes:
* Spoiler for anyone who didn't stick around for the credits. There are two tag scenes after the movie ends. One scene is shown after the first end credits song and shows the alien/Chitauri leader guy reporting on their utter fail at conquering Earth to their boss, saying that Earth got some great defenders called the Avengers (how they heard the name Avengers is beyond me since the team didn't really actually use the name during the fight). Then the boss guy turns around and I think it's supposed to be Thanos? Second tag scene is at the very end of the credits and it's just a minute or so of the team in grimy/sooty post-battle gear sitting around a Mexican joint after hours and just sort of staring off with a thousand-yard-stare and half falling asleep into their food. It was kinda hilarious.
* The previous trailers lied. OMG just about every trailer scene was a great big red herring. Tony & Steve's little argument was actually just one tiny round in a great big verbal free-for-all among all of the Avengers plus Nick that was being spurred on by Loki's scepter of brainwashiness. Thor's little laugh was actually in response to some other part of that verbal fight and was prelude to his own part in said fight. Also, funny enough, that scene of Iron Man flying off into the night in the trailer was actually from a non-fight scene early in the movie; most of the time in the film, the armor is pretty scratched up from all the, ah, use to it.