Justin does The Avengers

“That’s my secret Cap, I’m always angry.”

The Scoop: 2012 PG-13, directed by Joss Whedon and starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Scarlett Johansson, Clark Gregg, Chris Hemsworth, and Samuel L. Jackson

Tagline: Assemble

Summary Capsule: Earth’s mightiest heroes must learn to get along in order to stop the world from being taken over.


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Justin’s Ratings: Movie records SMASH!

Justin’s Review: I don’t know what I loved best about The Avengers. Was it how the movie took some of the more lackluster heroes in the recent Marvel lineup (Cap’n America, Thor) and made them interesting? Was it the shout-out to Galaga? Was it the frequent and welcome humor? Was it the fact that each and every one of the superheroes got their fair share of screen time (unlike some other — X-Men — franchises)? Was it the numerous battles between various super-powered matchups? Was it the Hulk?

No, wait, I know what it was. It was the fact that I could actually follow the frantic action without a shaky-cam or Michael Bay-cam trying to give my brain seizures.

I’m not the world’s biggest Avengers fan by any means, and while I was looking forward to this film, I wasn’t shaking with nerd-sweating anticipation over it either. It just seemed like a good popcorn flick to kick of the summer 2012 season with my wife, and so it was — and much, much more. I guess I should’ve expected as much from Joss Whedon, who’s two for two this year with his recently acclaimed (and still unwatched by me) Cabin in the Woods. He injected so much of what we loved in Buffy and Firefly into a superhero setting, and it totally worked. This wasn’t Iron Man’s film or Captain America’s film or Scarlett Johansson’s outfit’s film — it was an ensemble piece that required everyone to be firing on all cylinders together or not at all. Whedon knows ensembes, and now so does the Avengers.

Never before in cinematic history have we seen the insane build-up to one movie… and I’m not just talking about hype. No, I’m talking about the Marvel franchise, which has spent years at this point establishing each one of its major Avengers characters in their own films and lightly playing with crossovers during them. With the budget, plan, and freedom to do that, all of these independent elements started weaving a framework for this one film. The only problem was that it put so much pressure on The Avengers to not just be adequate but blow-your-socks-off-your-feet incredible. This had to be the culmination that proved such a stunt was worth it.

I think it worked. And if you’ve seen it, I think you’d agree.

Evil Norse god Loki (from Thor) is finally on the march to obtain a mighty power source known as the Tesseract (from Captain America) which may require the technology of a certain Stark Industries to trigger. Opposing him is Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his team at S.H.I.E.L.D., a covert organization that is so on the down-low that they have their own giant flying aircraft carrier. But Fury and company are just people, and so to fight an invasion from another dimension, a team needs to be assembled. A team of misfits and egotists who aren’t your definition of “team players.” These include Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Scarlet Widow, Hawkeye, and Captain America. While they don’t initially play together well, events conspire to bond them into an unstoppable team that could just save the world as we know it.

Even though the movie has to have an astronomical budget, some of the best moments are (fortunately) low-tech: little snarky quips between the leads, silly gestures, and callbacks to all points of the franchise to date. I was wondering how all these actors who previously starred in their very own film would now share the screen, but it certainly didn’t feel like it was a problem for anyone. If anything, the other characters made each one of them stronger as they bounced off each other, and it was certainly awesome not to have to do yet another origin story.

Avengers: awesome. And way, way better than that other “A” movie.

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Eunice’s Rating: How do I love thee? Oh baby, let me count the ways.

Eunice’s Review: Before I get to the actual review, there’s something I have to get off my chest…

Dear Tom Hiddleston,

I have respected you as a talented actor since I first saw you on Wallander. It wasn’t until I saw you in Thor (with the dark hair, I won’t lie) that I truly noticed you. You were my favorite part of that movie, and I still feel the actors, most especially you, and the movie were done a disservice by leaving out those deleted scenes [Why can’t I have a director’s cut of that?]. My ardor may have waned for a while, but your oily serpentine revival of Loki for The Avengers has reignited the spark, and mayhaps bloomed into, dare I say, a little love (but totally not in a creepy, gonna’ show up outside your house kind of way). Your turn as F. Scott Fiztgerald in Midnight in Paris was equally captivating. The fact that you are not only an actor, but an actual movie fan in real life is also a plus. The accent does not hurt. Or the height. Or the gorgeous eyes.

There is one thing I take issue with, I am upset that I have to wait until the end of July for The Deep Blue Sea. I could be appeased, though, by an advanced copy. Autographed. And hand delivered by yourself, please.

With love, hugs and kisses,
Eunice

P.S.
Expect your official ‘Eunice’s Actor Harem’ pin and secret decoder ring soon.

So, right, a review. The Avengers.

With the exception of Captain America, I have seen every Marvel movie leading up to this in theaters (Captain America I missed due to circumstances beyond my control). Waiting so many years for them to actually come together, I’ll admit I was a little leery about if they’d be able to pull it off. I’m glad that not only can I breathe a sigh of relief, but can actually smile happy with the end result.

Brought together by S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Nick Fury and Agent Coulson, you have: Steve “Captain America” Rogers who’s “old fashioned” in the right ways, but also wearied and disillusioned, and the only one who understands fighting alongside someone, but now doesn’t have a unit he trusts to back him up; Tony “Iron Man” Stark the billionaire genius with the awesome shiny suit and the mouth that doesn’t stop; Dr. Bruce “Hulk” Banner the scientist with verdigris anger issues; God of Thunder and Loki’s brother Thor. Joining them is assassins Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff and Clint “Hawkeye” Barton. When unlimited power source the Tesseract and expert Prof. Erik Selvig, first introduced in Thor, are stolen by Loki, the Avengers must assemble and figure out Loki’s larger plan.

Not being the most hardcore comic fan at MRFH, I’m not completely sure how it stacks against the comics, but it does stay true to the universe as laid out in the movies. I wasn’t sure how they’d balance all the characters, but it works. The way everyone’s personalities go in waves of coming together and clashing is what’s needed. The only one I’d say gets shorted is Thor, he comes in much later in the movie, without a ‘well this is what I’ve been doing since you last saw me in my movie’ like everyone else gets. But he gets quite an entrance.

I think that going with Loki as the main villain was a great idea (fervent Hiddleston ardor aside). Out of all the villains presented in the other movies Loki is the one I’d call most interesting (though Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull is a close second). He’s also the only one who isn’t, ya know, dead. [Belated spoiler warning for all the Avenger related Marvel movies!] But if you’re going to have Thor you need Loki to tie him in, in a plausible way. Sure you could have had other alien/gods attacking, but I think it would’ve been pushing the bounds too far even in a comic book movie.

Let’s talk fight scenes. Early on it’s established that most of the heroes are matched well between powers and fight styles, and it worked in not just a visually pleasing way, but in a character building way. And then they fight together, and it’s like ‘YES! This is how superheroes fighting back to back in a movie should be!’ During the big battle, there’s this part where Iron Man bounces a beam off of Captain America’s shield into a bad guy and I think my heart grew three sizes. That end battle is just a bowl full of joy.

But, you know, no matter how good the scenes might’ve looked, I don’t think they would’ve been anywhere near as swell if there hadn’t been the perfect mix of strong writing, directing, and acting behind them. Comedy and pathos are so well balanced on both sides of the action sequences that the movie just flows seamlessly. Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo really shine and I can’t wait for Captain America 2 and if there’s more Hulk work down the road Ruffalo has my seal of approval to come back. Robert Downey Jr. continues to be a scene stealer and Tom Hiddleston’s now darker manipulative Loki is a good first villain for The Avengers. Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, Captain America’s #1 fan apparently, and Scarlett Johansson get some really good scenes in. Joss Whedon, the cast, everybody was just on the same page, there’s harmony.

Not being a comic book expert I didn’t really feel up to being the first to review The Avengers, but I just really loved this movie. I can’t really find anything bad to say about it. I’ve seen it twice in theaters already and if I could pre-order it I would. If you have not gone to see it yet I suggest you get your rear in gear and catch it on the big screen before it’s gone. Because you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t.

I may just die from being so happy.

Intermission!

  • Is It Worth Staying Through End Credits? It’s a Marvel movie! Of course you stay through the credits! I love me some sequel bait.
  • With the use of performance motion capture technology, Mark Ruffalo is the first actor to play both Bruce Banner and The Hulk on set. Though Lou Ferrigno did the voice work for The Hulk.
  • “Avengers assemble” is not said a once.
  • Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 are set to open 2013. Captain America 2 in 2014.

Groovy Quotes

Steve Rogers: What’s the matter, scared of a little lightning?
Loki: I’m not overly fond of what follows.

Steve Rogers: Ma’am, there’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.

Tony Stark: No hard feelings Point Break, you’ve got a mean swing.

Thor: Have a care how you speak. Loki is beyond reason, but he is of Asgard. And he is my brother.
Natasha Romanoff: He killed eighty people in two days.
Thor: He’s adopted.

Tony Stark: Dr. Banner, your work is unparalleled. And I’m a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.

Nick Fury: We have no quarrel with your people.
Loki: An ant has no quarrel with a boot.

Steve Rogers: Big man in a suit of armour. Take that off, what are you?
Tony Stark: Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.
Steve Rogers: I know guys with none of that worth ten of you.

Loki: I have an army.
Tony Stark: We have a Hulk.

Tony Stark: Better clench up, Legolas.

Steve Rogers: Doc… I think now is the perfect time for you to get angry.
Bruce Banner: That’s my secret Cap, I’m always angry.

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11 Comments

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