Friday, May 11, 2012

Why you should go see The Avengers

This blog does not claim any ownership of this image.  Blah, blah, blah.

The Avengers is one of the best superhero movies I have ever seen.

It outpaced other films in its genre in writing, direction, story, and special effects (really in every way that's worth talking about).  To be clear, we're talking about sharing equal status with Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and Iron Man.

Joss Whedon delivered masterfully in his first turn at the helm of a Marvel movie, and I think it's safe to assume that if any sequels in this series arent directed by him, they will be disasters (and not in the entertaining movie sense of the word).

Some quick thoughts about the movie:
1. Writing.
Joss Whedon is incredibly funny. I have thought so ever since Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but this was the ultimate confirmation. Levity helps an audience resonate with the film, which actually makes poignant moments even more meaningful.  The humor is witty and well-timed, not immature and occasionally racist (I'm looking at you, Transformers 2).

I came in with high expectations of Whedon's work, and he hit a home run. He is the dark, sarcastic Aaron Sorkin in my mind.

2. Direction.
Whedon coaxed excellent performances out of the entire cast.  In particular, Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo, who were both question marks for me before the film, pulled their weight and offered complexity to the story.  While I was disappointed that the producers wouldn't/couldn't work it out with Ed Norton, Ruffalo left behind his former-fat-friend from 13 Going on 30 days and . . . well, hulked out.

Chris Evans continued his streak away from Fantastic Four and toward greatness.  Chris Helmsworth avoided channeling his inner (and outer) Fabio.  And Robert Downey Jr. was particularly brilliant, even for RDJ.

3. Story.
For me, superhero movies fall down when they become too "super."  As budgets grow in sequels, directors and producers attempt to up the ante by increasing the size of the explosions, but true suspense comes from believing in and identifying with the characters.  The Avengers, for being a group of self-described "freakshow" outsiders, proffered a tremendous amount of humanity.  I found my heart racing at some points during the film, genuinely caring what happened to the characters.

4. Visual Effects.
I offer the most forgiveness to movies for visual effects if the other elements are present, but I think visual effects speak to a certain care taken in making the film.  Think about The Dark Knight and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  They didn't settle for cheap effects.  It creates an immersive world where one can get lost in the story.

If you stay for the credits (and you definitely should), take a moment to marvel at the sheer number of digital artists who worked on the film.  It's a small city.

After the cold fish that was Thor, the minor letdown that was Iron Man 2, and a little bit of cheesiness during the back half of Captain America, I was prepared for a giant letdown at The Avengers.  Instead, I got a smart, funny, exciting, entertaining, inspiring 2 hours and 39 minutes well worth the price of admission and then some.

1 comment:

  1. If you stay for the credits (and you definitely should), take a moment to marvel at the sheer number of digital artists who worked on the film.

    Pun intended? Either way, it is appreciated. :)

    Joss is the best & I can't wait to see what doors this opens up for him. Did you see his thank you letter to fans?


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