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'The Avengers' Directed By Joss Whedon

A movie Directed by Joss Whedon

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An Immaculate Realization of Every Childhood Dream I Had-Pure Nerdy Bliss

  • May 11, 2012

Well, they did it. They managed to pull it off. The cinematic gods have shined upon us, and after five films and billions of dollars building it up, The Avengers absolutely delivers. Joss Whedon, his beautifully talented cast and crew, and some divine combination of miracles have brought us this new benchmark in superhero spectacle. The end result we’ve gotten here really is a modern marvel (full pun intended); the fact that no character feels distinctly underplayed and that the film manages to be as hilarious and entertaining as it ends up being is, perhaps, the biggest achievement in the history of the superhero genre. The movie picks up exactly where last year’s Captain America: The First Avenger left off, with our patriotic patriarch still struggling to adapt to the new world he’s found himself in. Eventually he’s joined by the loveable narcissist Tony Stark, the god of thunder himself, and Dr. Banner, who’s managed to find his own level of peace away from his own demons. Just typing that makes me smile a huge nerd grin, one of the many reminders that I’m extremely happy that this movie just exists. The heroes are called together and, after some bickering, much confusion, and several insanely cool “Who Would Win”-style fights between our well-known heroes, they’re prepared to face off with our also familiar villain, Loki. All you really need to know is Loki’s aligned himself with an alien race in order to capture the mystical weapon known as the Tesseract and overrun the earth. No, it’s not really giving away too much to say that, but it’s enough to know that this really isn’t the most complicated plot in the history of cinema. In fact, I’d go as far to say that 2/3 of the audiences going in have a pretty rock solid idea as to how the movie will end. There’s always a place for more elaborate conflicts and super villain demands, but The Avengers’ main focus really is explaining how these heroes come together, get along with each other, and unite towards a goal together no matter how complicated that goal may be. I really dug the straightforward conflict of The Avengers, mainly because there’s really so much ground covered in the first half of the film getting all of these heroes in the same room. There are a handful of smaller action beats spread throughout the first half amidst all of the dialogue and explanation, but it’s the second half of the movie that’s teased in nearly every advertisement for the movie that really puts ties the ribbon around the whole package. Whereas with a lot of standard superhero films the exposition-heavy first and second acts are going to be a little dry, The Avengers was almost as exciting to me in these scenes simply because I’m still reeling in geek delight that Captain America and Iron Man are in the same room, talking with one another. One of the biggest thrills of the Captain America post-credits tease last year was finally seeing Stark, Rogers, Banner and Thor all “hanging out” for the first time, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I didn’t still have that sense of glee when I’d see Tony Stark swapping advice with Bruce Banner or Captain America and Thor debating about how much humanity is left in Loki. It’s really a fantasy become reality for a geek like me that only dreamed of seeing an Avengers movie in high school. It’s such a relief in that sense to know that the writer/director Joss Whedon shares that exact same enthusiasm with me about these grand, lofty characters. I’ll say this, Marvel’s snagged the cream of the crop here when it comes to writer/directors in Whedon, and they better hold on as tight as they can. Whedon’s been revered as “Lord of the Geeks” for some time, and it’s such a relief just to know from hearing the dialogue and seeing these action scenes play out how cool he must think these characters are.

There are moments in the film where wits meet their end, egos clash with egos, and our heroes begin going toe to toe with each other. On behalf of the nerd community I have to say these are some of the most awesome sequences of the superhero genre shot and placed on film. You can almost see how Whedon was planning these scenes out, thinking “Well what would happen if Thor threw his hammer at Cap’s shield?” or “How would Hulk react if he couldn’t pick up Hulk’s hammer?” and with the scale and budget of The Avengers he was able to work with, he was finally able to make those childhood wonders a reality. It’s just in the character moments that Whedon so clearly has an understanding for what makes each character who they are. It’s not just the clever stuff too like Captain America “finally getting a pop culture reference” or Tony calling Thor “Point Break”, it’s just the little things that shed so much light on their characters and make you see them in entirely new ways. Seeing Steve Rogers struggling to adapt in the new world, Tony Stark have to deal with not working alone anymore, Bruce Banner’s new outlook on “the other guy” inside of him, even Black Widow’s struggle being the lone woman in this band of macho men and Thor’s raging battle with his brother that just so happens to be tearing apart the world he loves are all little moments that aren’t delved on too long that they distract from one another or absolutely kill the momentum, but are all subtly weaved into the story in a way that makes them all the more intriguing and all the more easy to follow. Also a nice little touch in the story is the way Whedon basically takes the opportunity to explore the unsung hero of the Marvel universe, Agent Coulson, by making him a huge Avengers fanboy. Not only is it a genius direction for that character, it’s a perfect parallel for us as an audience geeking out AND a hilarious setup for some of the funniest moments in the whole film. The sidesplitting turn for Coulson is just one of the many hilarious moments. Whedon also happens to be incredibly gifted as a comedic writer, and takes the full opportunity to jab fun at how old Captain America is or basically write a few dozen one-liners for Tony Stark to riff on basically everyone in the cast. I’d feel comfortable saying it’s the funniest superhero film ever made, which is definitely an accolade I didn’t expect to be passing to The Avengers three months ago. The broad humor even finds its way into the grand action in the final act, which may be a distraction for some, but to me perfectly fit in with the lighter tone of every other Marvel film made to be and only contributed to the relaxed, “focused on fun” tone this project has. It’s also incredibly impressive that with a cast this size to me it never even felt like any one member of the team got the short end of the stick. Even with relative new comers like Black Widow and Hawkeye the script finds some unique ways to make them all feel like an equal part of the team. Even in battle there’s at least one “moment” each character gets to show how incredibly awesome they are. The Hulk is perhaps the character that gets some of the biggest “wow moments” in the final battle, but the rest of the team all prove themselves. Also, just to be clear, if you thought the dialogue scenes where we see these powerhouse characters seemed cool, the scenes where these legends are actually fighting together are pretty much some of the coolest things in the history of cinema.

Marvel’s been bragged on plenty of times before for their stellar choices in casting, and the actors use The Avengers as an opportunity to bump up their performances across the board. Chris Evans is still a pitch-perfect boy scout as Steve Rogers and brings some humongous depth to the “man out of his time” conflict; Robert Downey Jr. continues to bring the perfect blend of charisma and snark to Tony Stark, and Chris Hemsworth continues to surprise me at how well he’s defined the role of Thor. Scarlett Johansson is still doing well enough for the part, and while I still don’t think Jeremy Renner’s being given enough to do as Hawkeye, Samuel L. Jackson proves yet again he was born to play Nick Fury. Tom Hiddleston, while playing a little bit less three-dimensional of a villain this time around, still does a standout job. Mark Ruffalo taking over taking over as Bruce Banner was one of the more controversial choices when his casting was announced last year, but leave it to him to craft THE standard performance for Bruce Banner. While Norton had the dramatic heft behind the tortured geneticist, Ruffalo manages to bring the drama along with the much-needed fun to the part. Ruffalo’s clearly having fun here and he’s even able to laugh along with the part. Ruffalo approaches the part like an ex-con that just so happens to have a green monster living inside of him, and like what was stated earlier there’s a lot of destructive emphasis placed on the Hulk in the final act that finally brings the big green guy to perfection and even past it, taking that character in some brave new directions. Perhaps the biggest thing to admire in The Avengers and with this entire universe going forward (and there are PLENTY of places for it to go) is that the film from the very first frame carries a grand tone that’s only going to expand in the coming years. If you’ve been with this series all the way from Iron Man 1 you know how much this universe has grown. With the final frames of the movie (definitely stay through the credits) you can only guess what monumental places this series is going in the very near future. Seeing what this film teases in the end is comparable to seeing Nick Fury tease the very idea of The Avengers from the beginning, and the thought of where this series COULD be in a decade is mind-boggling. The movie is a reward in and of itself though still in the here and now with such a rich universe they’ve created. The great part is the movie acknowledges the fact that the world is so deep at this point with so many references and nudges that it’s in this aspect that it really pays off to have seen the other films building up to this one. I could say so many other things about this movie, from the improved costume design to the fact that the action is so incredibly well put together, including the fact that the whole movie is so darn entertaining for any person that’s interested in seeing it. It’s the closest we’ve gotten to a perfect package in an incredibly long time. It’s a modern miracle that everything came together as well as it did for this movie, from the impeccable casting to the flawless direction making the whole movie so unbelievably entertaining. It’s the perfect start to any summer movie season, and it’s going to be remembered decades from now as one of the genre’s best achievements. It took a while for us to get here, but after finally seeing it, I have to say The Avengers was worth waiting every single second for this immaculate work of film-going, nerdy bliss to assemble. 

9.5 out of 10

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May 12, 2012
very nice review!I liked this quite a bit although the story was a little too standard for my tastes. Thanks for posting it in our community!
May 12, 2012
Great write-up and pictures too!
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About the reviewer
Jake Wilbanks ()
Ranked #53
   My name's Jake, I write film reviews and the occasional music/video game/comic/tech review. I've been involved in journalism over the past 3 years, and am currently majoring in Journalism … more
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The Avengers is the title planned for an American superhero film yet to be produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It was announced in April 2005 and is to be based upon the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. The film is intended to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which crosses over several Marvel superhero films including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo are under contract to star, with Joss Whedon attached to direct a script written by Zak Penn and himself. The Avengers has an announced release date of May 4, 2012 in 3-D
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Director: Joss Whedon
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: May 4 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Joss Whedon
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios
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"Something to Marvel at"
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