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Critical Beat: The Avengers

Like just about everyone and their mother this weekend, I went and saw The Avengers.  With an estimated $200 million opening weekend haul, I find it hard to believe that most people didn’t see this movie.  That being said, I’m still going to take the time to give my two cents.  And no worries, if you happen to be one of the few who haven’t seen it yet I will keep this review spoiler free.

Immediately after the movie ended, a friend of mine turned to me and said it was mediocre.  I can see where he’s coming from.  This movie is far from exceptional.  But it is also far from bad.  It is a good movie.  Not great, but good.  Yet at the same time I can say I thoroughly enjoyed my experience, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

THE GOOD parts about the movie were the moments when the team was together.  The final act is one large “splash page” scene from the comics.  Watching the team do battle under the leadership of Captain America was a childhood dream of mine.  And it couldn’t have been executed any better.  There is actually a specific scene during the final battle that pans through the action and perfectly depicts this.  You’ll have to watch it to see what I mean.

The movie was also rife with classic Joss Whedon style.  I didn’t expect this movie to be as funny as it was, but it was chock full of great blink and you’ll miss it moments and lines.  One reason to see the movie twice in theaters is because the entire audience will erupt in laughter and you will miss the next line.  You can tell that Joss Whedon was trying to place the family relationship of the team in the forefront, because they fight and bicker like siblings.  And it works.  The old adage “No one picks on my little brother but me” seems to be the backbone of the movie.

And then there is the Hulk.  One of the reasons I felt that a Hulk solo movie never really succeeded (though I do like The Incredible Hulk) is that the Hulk is a supporting character at best.  It is hard for him to carry a solo movie, because at some point it will be just “Hulk smash!”  That is the same reason he is perfect for the Avenger’s movies.  Bruce Banner’s struggles parallel that of the team.   Just like the team, he is a combination of opposing ideas.  He is trying to bring two opposing sides of himself into harmony.  He shouldn’t be able to function, yet he does.  And since he doesn’t have to carry the story, he can be used to emphasize this struggle within the team.  He is very much the voice of the audience, because he sees and points out why the team shouldn’t work.  Yet they do, just like the movie.  And then when push comes to shove, the Hulk is allowed to just smash.

The final act was absolutely stunning, as I mentioned before.  After a year of “who are the aliens?” debate, it turns out it didn’t matter.  Loki was the villain, and he was perfect.  The aliens were simply his army, and nothing else.  It was really Loki and his manipulation of the team that caused the true struggle.

THE BAD has to be the first 20-30 minutes of the movie.  It takes a little while to get going.  The team has to assemble and in order to do so some things need to be set up.  The villains plot, bringing Dr. Banner in to S.H.I.E.L.D. and Thor returning to Midgard are just a few examples.  All of these things take time.  I think this is what really keeps the movie from being outstanding.  And it was something that couldn’t really be avoided.  But once they do get together, that’s when the fun begins.

I could go on about the little things in this movie that expand upon the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and probably will in a later post, but that is not the point here.  Overall this was definitely the movie we had been waiting for.  It may have not been as thought provoking as Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies that it is being compared to, but it is an exciting thrill ride that provides the goods.  So if you’re one of those few who haven’t seen it yet, find the time to.  You’ll thank me later.

4/5

J.

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  1. May 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Yes, it takes a while to get going, but I think that’s just because the main heroes hadn’t shown up yet, and we as the audience were anxious to see them.

  2. J.
    May 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    I was incredibly anxious to see them together. Maybe that’s why the beginning of the movie wasn’t my favorite part. I have a feeling that in Avengers 2 it will be much faster out of the gates and can spend more time on the team together vice bringing them together, which will be great

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