Entertainment Magazine

Review #3451: The Avengers (2012)

Posted on the 19 April 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Bronzethumb

Directed by Joss Whedon
Written by Zak Penn and Joss Whedon

Wow. That’s really the only word for “The Avengers”. Just the concept is daunting, because even with the lead-up of films that ranged in quality from “decent” to “fantastic”, the idea of bringing Marvel’s super-team together in a single film that doesn’t fall apart in a crap-tastic mess of CGI and testosterone seemed like a pipe-dream. There are too many movie stars for a true ensemble and too many alpha personalities for a cohesive dramatic arc and too many awesome action heroes for someone to not get short-changed. There’s too much to do and not enough time. A project like this is too big for anyone to tackle and come up with a half-decent film, let alone a truly excellent one. It’s impossible, right?

Impossible, meet Joss Whedon. Joss, impossible.

Review #3451: The Avengers (2012)

As most of the promotional material has made clear, the film kicks off soon after the end of “Captain America: The First Avenger”. Loki has returned, more powerful and dangerous than ever, allied with an alien race and armed with a plan to conquer the world by stealing the Tesseract from S.H.I.E.L.D. In response to this bigger-than-usual threat, Nick Fury assembles the Avengers – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Incredible Hulk and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Black Widow and Hawkeye – and sets the team to the task of stopping Loki before his army can unleash its destructive power on the Earth. It sounds like a pretty simple set-up for a film and one would be forgiven for walking into the cinema and expecting two and a half hours of this premise being used as a backbone for balls-to-the-wall superhero action. Those people will be ever-so-slightly disappointed because this is a Joss Whedon production and he’s got a slightly different way of doing things.

It’s impossible to truly convey how perfect Joss was for this film. It’s not because of the nerd credibility he brings to the project and it’s not the fact that his last film was critically (though not financially) well-received. Joss is perfect because he can take an ensemble and make them totally, completely click, and that’s the greatest strength of “The Avengers”. Everyone is a three-dimensional character, important to the plot, and every character butts heads as much as they complement one another, and you simply can’t imagine “The Avengers” working any other way or being any more compelling.

They don’t simply rest on the laurels of their individual films; instead, all the Avengers have a chance to grow a little and peel back some layers. As many predicted, Black Widow gets more of this treatment than anyone else, a combination of Joss’ penchant for kick-ass chicks and the untapped potential of a character who was stunning yet flavourless in her first appearance. And as the trailers suggested, Hawkeye suffers most of the main ensemble when it comes to screen time and development, but suffering is relative because there’s never a moment where Hawkeye doesn’t feel as integral to the plot as every other character.

That’s not the only place where Joss has left his stamp. The script is well-structured, clever and witty: everything builds in a brilliant arc that never feels slow or boring, and despite the simplicity of the premise, the film delivers honestly surprising twists and turns right up to the final few minutes. The dialogue is as sharp as anything we’ve seen from Joss, from the wisecracks in the heat of battle to quiet, contemplative scenes that build the characters to the chaotic interplay between the entire team. And there’s genuine emotion running through every minute from the film: the simplicity of elation and fist-pumping awesomeness is just as intense as the moments of loss and desperation and triumph that the characters feel and the audience feels along with them.

It says a lot about “The Avengers” that this review can ramble on for six hundred and fifty words and mainly cover the contributions of Joss Whedon, without touching on the fantastic performances of the cast – especially Tom Hiddleston as Loki, who kicks his villainy up a dozen notches at least, and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, who brings a brilliant sense of power and pathos to the character – or the high quality of the effects work or the sheer awesomeness of seeing Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye taking on Loki and an army of aliens with the help of Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D.. There’s no moment of “The Avengers” that won’t make you want to smile or laugh or cheer or cry or take a very deep breath. It’s more than a feat of filmmaking; it’s one of the best flicks of 2012 and possibly the best superhero movie of all time.

P.S. Do we still need to say it? Don’t leave until after the end credits! You’ll regret it otherwise!

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