I know, week late…dollar short. But since I was on vacation, this was the first blockbuster movie I missed on opening weekend in years. You can fault my wife for that.
The Avengers was a benchpost for Marvel Comics. It has long been held as one of their most prized comic collections, and bringing it to the big screen was a major endeavor. Using virtual prequels in the likes of Iron Man and Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, as well as to a lesser extent the Incredible Hulk, Marvel has taken a decade to set up this payoff.
And it was worth the effort and wait.
Written and directed by fanboy Joss Whedon, the Avengers does a nice job of uniting the characters that we have learned backstories about in the movies listed above, as well as transitioning other important characters into the mythology.
Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, as usual, brings the dry humor. Chris Evans does a nice job as the straight laced Steve Rogers. Samuel Jackson has Nick Fury nailed down for sure. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor was brawny. However, Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki in certain scenes was fantastic. Scarlett Johanson probably did a nice acting job, but she was so gorgeous is some scenes I kind of forgot she was talking.
If I was going to pan any of the actors, it would be Mark Ruffalo. He wasn’t bad, per se…but compared to the brilliant Ed Norton, I just kept on wishing for more depth. He was adequate however. Other reviewers loved his mellow portrayal of Bruce Banner. So maybe I am wrong on this, but that was my gut reaction.
The action sequences, which basically portray an alien invasion of Midtown Manhattan, are fabulous, and everything one expects from a high grade action film. The comedy during the height of the battle is awesome, and comes from numerous characters (my favorite is a Hulk moment with Thor…which, trust me, will make you at least giggle).
In the end, this was the payoff geeks like me have wished for. The Avengers is going to print money this summer, as young teenage boys go back again and again to get their geek fix. More importantly, it shows that a major comic book series with crossover characters can be successful, which gives hope for other tentpole franchises, most specifically D.C. comics Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.).
And the end credits [minor spoiler] point to Thanos being the key villain for Avengers 2, which is freakin’ awesome.
Kudos to Joss Whedon and Marvel Comics for pulling it off. A must see to begin the Summer blockbuster season.