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'The Avengers' Directed By Joss Whedon

A movie Directed by Joss Whedon

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Comic Book Franchises, Unite!

  • May 5, 2012
Star Rating:

Marvel’s The Avengers is the eagerly awaited convergence of the Marvel Studios superhero films, starting in 2008 with Iron Man and ending last summer with Captain America: The First Avenger. While it may not be appreciated or understood by those who have not seen the earlier films, and although it relies more on spectacle and less on plot, it’s nevertheless a fun and exciting action extravaganza – a comic book film in every sense. Having recently co-written and produced the highly overrated horror spoof The Cabin in the Woods, writer/director Joss Whedon delivers an entertaining escapist fantasy that’s just as funny as it is pulse-pounding. He also gives us plenty of eye candy, only some of which is enhanced by the film’s presentation in post-conversion 3D.
I have no baggage attached to the various characters or the comic books from which they came, so any potential observations or complaints that this movie is not faithful to its source material will fall on deaf ears. All I can respond to are the stories as they appeared on the big screen. Despite various writers, directors, and stylistic approaches, I’ve been pleased with the results. Even Thor, generally the least liked of the intertwined series, had just enough to earn my seal of approval. The standard was set with Iron Man, which remains the best of the Marvel series and still ranks as one of the greatest superhero films ever made. I think I was right in not expecting The Avengers to top it; it allowed me to enjoy the film for what it is and not for what it should be.

The plot revolves around the teaming of Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), a recently unfrozen Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Dr. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, the third actor to assume the role in the last ten years), the thunder god Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and the skilled archer Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) under the supervision of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the director of a covert government organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Essentially, the must save the world from Thor’s evil adoptive brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who plots to subjugate humanity by opening a wormhole and unleashing ruthless alien warriors. To achieve this goal, he must recapture a glowing blue cube known as the Tesseract, a powerful but potentially deadly energy source.
The rest is pretty much just window dressing. We have plenty comic book peril and violence; there’s hand-to-hand combat and laser blasts, exploding air freighters and smashing Hulks, hammering Thors and the devastation of Manhattan, which is essentially the go-to city for glorious destruction. We have floating monstrosities that look like giant eels clad in armor. We have numerous references to the previous Marvel films, including appearances by Gwyneth Paltrow, Clark Gregg, and Stellan Skarsgård (alas, Natalie Portman makes it in only as a portrait on a computer screen). We have mutual distrust amongst the Avengers and Fury’s hidden agenda. We have Loki acting like an arrogant dictator, forcing a large crowd of people to kneel before him. And yes, we even have a cameo appearance by Stan Lee.

Whedon has never been a master of dialogue, although his flippant style is perfectly suited for the Tony Stark character, who has always possessed a biting wit and a natural superiority complex. The rest of the characters sound a bit goofy, although I guess that was the intention. Consider Gregg’s character, Agent Phil Coulson; when he finally meets Steve Rogers in person, he drops his aloof mystique and becomes an excited fanboy eager to have his collection of Captain America trading cards autographed. This movie proves that visuals have always been Whedon’s strong suit. In the case of The Avengers, he uses them to evoke not only excitement but also a sense of humor; some of the funniest sight gags are reserved for the Incredible Hulk, who truly is only good for smashing things.
Movies like Marvel’s The Avengers are a unique marketing opportunity – a franchise assembled from other franchises that will itself inevitably spawn a new franchise. This is not a criticism, merely an observation. As long as I’m being entertained, it doesn’t matter to me how much a product is packaged, even if it comes within an inch of its life. I was very much entertained. Having said that, I can’t help but wonder how much mileage this series has left. Can five separate films and one convergence adequately serve as the basis for an Avengers sequel? Will the original five inspire any sequels of their own? Story wise, I find myself growing wary. The last thing I want is for all the fun to stop. One of the quickest ways to make that happen is to allow franchises to overstay their welcome.


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May 09, 2012
Great revew, I loved this flick
May 12, 2012
It was fun, although don't expect to see it on my year end best-of list.
May 07, 2012
I believe we are in almost complete agreement with this one. I do think that Spidey 2 was better than Iron Man, but hey, that is just me. I am with you, all this super hero movies are coming one after the other that they do need to come up with more ambitious scripting. Nice review.
May 12, 2012
Thanks for the comment. I've never been much of a comic book reader, but I certainly appreciate a good comic book movie.
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
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
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 12, 2012
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*** 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 …
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
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
        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 …
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Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … 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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