Movie Review: The Avengers

Generally speaking I’m not a huge fan of comic book movies, but when I first saw the trailer for The Avengers I couldn’t help but get excited. …really excited, in fact. It’s a little hard to manage expectations when you put that many awesome characters into the same film, so for better or worse I knew I had to see it. My hot wife picked up on my enthusiasm and surprised me with tickets to the midnight showing last night.

SPOILER ALERT – I don’t think that anything I’ve written below will actually spoil the movie for you, but just to be safe you’ll have to click below to see the rest.

This movie rocked! It was masterfully well made and a pure joy to watch. I think the only other time I’ve said “wow” so much was at a Cirque Du Soleil show. If there’s one negative thing I can say it’s that the dialog was a little forced in the opening scene. It wasn’t necessarily bad; it just felt like they were trying to be too serious at first. To be fair, I think that’s a problem with nearly every comic book film…

They made a really smart move with character development. Instead of giving the usual history of each character, which is what their respective movies did already, their development centered around how they relate to each other. Trying to blend Tony Stark’s ego with Thor’s is no small task, not to mention Dr. Banner’s anger issues or how a guy with a shield is gonna be of any help to them. This relational development was not only well done, it was the crown jewel of the entire film. Not once did any of the heroes break character or do something out of line with their own personality and history.

It was a lot more down to earth than any other comic book movie I’ve seen, and that’s what made it so enjoyable. The heroes felt more like real people complete with sarcasm, imperfections, and a sense of humor. …except for Nick Fury who remains pretty monotonous.

Surprisingly the film is funnier than most comedies I’ve seen. I can hardly remember a time when I’ve laughed out loud harder at a movie. Yet the humor didn’t make the movie any less serious; in fact, it made the characters more authentic. Also the comedic timing was flawless. It never felt gimmicky or contrived.

I was surprised that there wasn’t really any romance in the film, but I’m reasonably certain it would have weakened the story. It was already long enough and had plenty of characters to keep track of. Adding a romantic sub plot would’ve pushed it over the edge. There was a suggestion of romance between Stark and Potts, as well as Hawkeye and Natasha Romanov, but I’m glad they didn’t go overboard there. It added a touch of humanity without distracting them from their goal.

The soundtrack was present, but not particularly memorable. I don’t recall the music ever catching my attention until the ending credits. However the film never felt like it was lacking.

Of course the special effects were top notch, but that probably won’t surprise anyone. My favorite scene in the movie was a long sweeping camera shot that moved the story/action from one hero to the next as they were all engaged in one epic battle. We kinda take special effects for granted now because they’ve become so common, but I really appreciated the subtle differences they made here. One of the most simple, effective things they did was show a car being flipped over from the perspective inside the car. Immediately I thought, “Wow, I’ve seen cars flip over a hundred times (in movies), but never really imagined what it would be like to be in one.”

In typical comic book fashion they left it open for a sequel, and simultaneously made it obvious who the real comic book fans in the theater are.

I’m reasonably certain this will be another blockbuster film that is largely overlooked by the Academy. I’m sure it will be nominated for those obscure categories like sound mixing and special effects, but in my book it’s definitely in consideration for best picture.

Overall it was a highly entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable 2.5 hours. I loved pretty much every minute of it. I’m grateful that they didn’t feel they needed to cheapen it with sex or harsh language. It’s a feel good movie that is just as hilarious as it is jaw-dropping. Do yourself a favor and go see it on the big screen. I don’t care how big your tv is at home, it won’t do it justice.

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