Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Avengers ★★★½

A Successful Film Largely Due To Its Director

Written by Matt Giles
Edited by Erin Accomando

Since the release of Iron Man in 2008, the setup for The Avengers has been building exponentially. Marvel was attempting to do something that hadn't been done before: bring together the super-heroes from all of their separate films to fight a common enemy. It was either going to be a complete failure or complete success. I'm happy to report that it most certainly is the latter.

The Avengers manages to pull of this complicated feat in huge part because of its writer/director, Joss Whedon. Whedon is a man who has worked in film and television since the mid-nineties with a reputation for great writing and character development. Who better suited for the job than he? Every character (with the exception of Cobie Smulders' Agent Maria Hill who, sadly, feels out of place and serves no purpose in the film) is given an equal amount of respect, screen-time and backstory. There's a lot of exposition to endure with these characters, but Whedon's script is so organic and rich that this two-and-a-half-hour film flies by before we've even had a chance to breathe. Marvel definitely made the right call in hiring Whedon. This is a man who deserves all the praise he's been given and then some.

Whedon's story focuses on the Tesseract, an item last seen in Captain America: The First Avenger that holds unspeakable power, thus catching the eye of exiled God and brother to Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Loki has come to rule Earth as a King, forcing S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to re-open The Avengers Initiative, bringing together Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Thor. These characters, all very different and all having extremely large egos, have to learn to work as a team in order to save the world. This, of course, is something easier said than done, but it works in every right way that it should.

This movie is everything I could want in a summer blockbuster: it's entertaining AND good. It's a fun time at the movies with a final climatic battle that makes up for all the mediocre confrontations at the end of almost all of the previous Marvel movies in the last four years. It's success is marked not only by its director and remarkable action sequences, but the actors as well.

Everyone in the film shines. Most notably, Robert Downey Jr. is wittier and more charming than his previous Iron Man appearances; Mark Ruffalo brings perhaps the most depth and gravity to Bruce Banner/Hulk; and Tom Hiddleston is much more of a menacing and evil Loki than he was in Thor, and it never feels over-the-top. In addition, Scarlett Johansson is given a lot more to do than she was in Iron Man 2, putting her in the spotlight (out of all of the super-heroes) of people not to piss off. This again affirms Whedon's ability to service his characters and actors in a way that the previous films didn't focus on.

This is the Marvel film I've been waiting for; the big break I've been hoping Joss Whedon would get. It makes me eager to find out where the characters will go in the next Avengers movie, assuming, of course, Whedon returns. He has proven that for a film like this to work, you need a man with immense writing talent. You've outdone yourself with this one, Mr. Whedon, and I couldn't be more excited for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment