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'The Avengers' Directed By Joss Whedon

A movie Directed by Joss Whedon

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Worth the assembly.

  • May 12, 2012
*** out of ****

It would appear that Marvel's "The Avengers" has a little something for every movie-goer. The Joss Whedon fan, the comic book/Marvel geek, and the action movie aficionado can all safely rejoice under the comforting roof of a single film. It's been in development for quite some time, and perhaps teased and spoken of for even longer periods of time; but it's finally here, and it pretty much kicks ass. I guess I'll begin by saying that upon first glance, I didn't have very big expectations for how this one was going to turn out. I'm not yet what they call a "Whedonite", which is to say I'm not too familiar with the man's work on both television and in films; but the fans seemed to trust him quite a bit with the material. As both a writer and a director, Whedon is known for taking conventional narratives and characters and rearranging their parts to completely recreate the sum. If you're looking for something like that, you probably won't find it in "The Avengers", but Whedon was still clearly the right choice for writer-director on Marvel's biggest project yet. When it comes to spectacle, there's no stopping his creativity and ambition; he is clearly having fun in the making of the film and lets us in on it, which is somewhat of a treat in today's world.

It would help to have seen all five of the origin stories leading up to the assembly of all five characters. There's little context to the characters if you have little experience with either the source material or the films that precede this one, even if the mass majority of them lacked much depth in the first place. Anyways, the demigod Loki (Tom Hiddleson) - who we first saw in "Thor" - has his sights set on Earth yet again, and this time he intends to wage war. How will he do this? Why, he'll steal the glowing cube of blue awesomeness known as the Tesseract - from "Captain America" - which will open a portal to another world, where an alien race known as the Chitauri is waiting to assist Loki with achieving world domination. The problem is that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and S.H.I.E.L.D (the agency that he serves as director for) have the Tesseract, but in the opening scenes, Loki finds that taking the desired object is like taking candy from a baby when you've got a staff that contains similarly awesome blue glowy stuff in the center.

Realizing that Earth is threatened, Nick Fury decides to assemble his very own league of extraordinary gentleman. They include the billionaire Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), the has-been-war-hero-who-time-traveled-to-present-day Captain America (Chris Evans), Norse God of Thunder Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), perhaps better known as The Hulk to some. Each had their own film meant to explain their character a little more in-depth; although Banner's character got two films, and neither of them quite got it right. Some new faces who also happen to be a part of the Avengers team include sexy super-spy Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) - who was in "Iron Man 2" - and expert archer Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) - who had a cameo appearance in "Thor" for like a second or something like that.

First act is devoted to the build-up of the film's central concept. The second act deals with the imprisonment of Loki; inside S.H.I.E.L.D.'s hovering battleship aircraft. It is in this particular act that much quarreling goes on between the titular Avengers, which is only appropriate, since I'm told that a big part of the comics had them duking it hero-to-hero, eventually learning that such violence wasn't getting them anywhere. And of course, there are persona allegiances created amongst the Avengers; Stark and Banner in particular seem to hit it off from the get-go, probably because they are both highly intelligent. Obviously, Loki makes an escape; and a massive yet still somewhat underwhelming action sequence involving the ship blowing up piece-by-piece must commence. When it's all over, onwards to the third act, which is my favorite out of all of them, actually. I won't spoil too much, since its pure delight for nerds of all shapes and sizes, but what I can tell you is that it's long, it's loud, and it's absolutely fucking insane. So yes, it's pretty much what I anticipated after reading all the not-so-surprisingly positive reviews.

Whedon understands that big action scenes just aren't the same without characters that we care about, so a lot of time is set on developing the characters. Here's what you get; a mixed bag. I know which "Avengers" I like and which ones I couldn't care less about, and the film does absolutely nothing to change these thoughts. On that note, a lot of the scenes taking place on the aircraft ranged from down-right boring to surprisingly stimulating; with the verbal exchanges between Stark and Banner being especially intriguing. I can say that, by the end, I knew I had felt a little something for everyone (even Loki, who Hiddleson portrays almost perfectly here). Whedon achieves success through humor and affection for his audience. Like I said, we're kind of in on the fun he's having.

This is a well-made, well-paced film that will surely be a comic book fanatic's wet dream. With a truly bad-ass third act and some nice stuff in between, it maintains a respectable internal balance. As it is a superhero movie meant to please the masses, I did not go in expecting depth and darkness, and so I did not get either. You want a comic book turned gritty crime drama, see Christopher Nolan's take on Batman. But if you want a movie that, in spite of its flaws, works; then look no further. Each member of the principal cast does their part to make it a thrilling and enjoyable experience, with Ruffalo especially surprising and embodying the best on-screen Hulk since, well, I'd have to say ever. Also, the Hulk himself looks the best he has since you first saw his big green ass on paper. With those thoughts in mind and many more as well, "The Avengers" is entertainment that gives you damn well what you want from a movie of its kind. Oh, and about those end credits; you know what to do.

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July 11, 2012
Great write-up!
May 13, 2012
Great write up. I believe we see eye to eye on this, especially with the Nolan part. I would've rather liked this rendered as a film of its genre, rather than what is to be seen as a comic book movie. Good movie but not great.
More The Avengers (2012) reviews
review by . May 05, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Avengers Assemble! Joss Whedon Assembles Marvel's Mightiest Heroes!
With all the recent films that brought Marvel characters to life, almost every comic book fan was excited for the coming of an “Avengers” movie. I have read the “The Avengers” comic books ever since I was a very young child and even read them during this time of my adult life. I even managed to possess many of the issues that came before I was born. I guess you may say that I am an “Avengers” geek; I have seen the evolution of the team from something that leaned …
review by . May 05, 2012
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It's been four years that Marvel has been planning and building to this.  If they failed, it would be hysterical.  Such a build up, such a hype with such a failure?  Oh yeah it would be epic.  Ever since Iron Man in 2008 have seeds and build up been planned.  All the movies that followed would have something to do with this film be it plot points, characters or even sly hints for fanboys to giggle at when they wink at them across the screen.      …
review by . May 04, 2012
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The Avengers is pretty much a summer blockbuster through and through.  If there were a rule book for summer blockbusters, The Avengers would've written it.  Cheesy one liners?  Check.  Dumb plot?  Check.  Flat characters?  Sort of check (they're not that flat, but this is assuming you've seen their respective films).  Tons of stupid, mindless explosions?  Check.  Pointless strange deus ex machina that comes out of nowhere?  Check.  …
review by . May 09, 2012
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'The Avengers' Is Spectacularly Good, But Not Great
What amazes me about the latest epic 'Marvel' Comics movie is how many things go right. With the ensemble of so many superheroes placed on one screen: [Captain America, (Evans); Black Widow, (Johansson); Iron Man, (Downey, Jr.); The Incredible Hulk, (Ruffalo); Thor, (Hemsworth); and The Archer, (Renner)]; the results could have easily been a cluttered mess. Instead, nearly all the necessary elements are properly placed. First of all, the menace of Thor's brother, Loki (Hiddleston), and …
review by . May 26, 2012
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This is the best Marvel film since the first Iron Man film. Just like that film, the best part of this film was Robert Downey Jr. as the wise cracking Tony Stark. Loki has made a deal with an alien race that if he helps them get to Earth, they will conquer the planet and let Loki be the king (right). Loki must pave the way so they can get there and this involves stealing the Cosmic Cube (introduced in Captain America) and using to power a beam to open a passage through space.    To …
review by . May 15, 2012
Every bit as fun as you would expect.
From the day I walked out of that theatre after watching Captain America I was hyped, hyped for the Avengers. As much as I was hyped I got even more excited when I found out that Joss Whendon was directing.  Ever since I started watching Superhero movies I’ve been dying for a film featuring a crossover of different characters from different comic books. While the Avengers technically are their own comic book (Marvel vs. DC is what I had in mind) it’s still something I’m excited …
review by . April 29, 2012
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Something to Marvel at
Comic book movies or superhero movies or whatever you want to call them, all inherently have a very difficult task to accomplish. They all have to cater to a notoriously picky niche market, made up of detail oriented fanboys, while still remaining broad enough to appeal to the masses. They cost a fortune so they cannot afford not to attract the widest audience possible, but if they play it too broad, the fanatics will denounce the film and ruin any chance it has of making any money back. THE AVENGERS …
review by . May 03, 2012
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        For those of you who are not in the know about The Avengers where have you been?  Seriously not only have there been two recent movies featuring The Hulk and Iron Man, but last year Paramount obviously rushed through production of Thor and Captain America to get the public ready for what could be a record breaking opening.  And while these two movies were nothing all that special, they both lay the ground work and have important …
review by . May 03, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Riding a massive wave of anticipation, hype, and phenomenal fanboy expectations, the mega-budget film version of Marvel Comics’ “The Avengers”, has arrived thanks to the vision of Director Joss Whedon (who also helped craft the story), and a $220 million plus budget. The film connects previous Marvel films such as “Thor”, “Captain America: The First Avenger”, “The Hulk”, and “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2″, but can easily …
review by . May 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
The dust still hasn't settled on the excitement of the release of The Avengers.  Joss Whedon was handed over the combined stories of four of Marvel's most iconic characters (and a few others tossed in for good measure) and asked to create a film (co-written with Zak Penn) that brought all of them together on a scale that has, at least up until this point, never been achieved.  For the most part, Whedon and company do a pretty darned good job of things.      …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #3
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … 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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