You know those movies that show all of the best scenes and funniest lines in the trailer? The Avengers is nothing like that.
The Avengers is a funny, action-packed, cohesive love letter to the super hero genre. It also manages to convey a serious sense of danger and urgency, without becoming overwhelmingly dark.
Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and Thor must overcome their vast differences and team up to stop Loki and his invading army from conquering the world.
With five years of teasing from Marvel Studios; a huge cast of A-list talent; a collection of characters who shouldn’t be in the same room; and a story too big to tell in a movie, the opportunities for this film to suck were numerous. Fortunately, Joss Whedon & co were up to the challenge.
Badass Moments All Around!
Every single character has many moments to shine. With a cast this big, it would be easy to push many characters into the scenery. That didn’t happen. I’m hard-pressed to pick a favorite moment because there were so many great moments.
Bringing the Funny
In typical Whedon fashion, this movie is just as humorous as it is intense. In that way it reminds me of my True Lies (one of my all-time favorite action flicks).
Fun with Clichés
One of Whedon’s talents that runs throughout everything he’s ever done is his manipulation of clichés. He is a master of taking what the viewer expects, and then suddenly turning it on its side. Where lesser writers will fallback on “classic” story elements, Whedon works like a magician and always keeps you guessing. That’s one of the things that made Cabin in the Woods (2012) so exceptional.
Nothing is Wasted & Everything is Earned
This story is tight! There’s no fat on it. Every line either establishes a character, or pushes the story forward. Even the post-credit scene is a call-back joke to an earlier line that seemed like an irrelevant throwaway line.
I strongly dislike 3D, but I didn’t mind the 3D in The Avengers. For the most part it added depth like a diorama, instead of flying at the audience like a pop-up book. With the exception of one brief moment, I was cool with the 3D.
Mr. Jackson is not known for subtlety. In The Avengers his performance in remarkably understated, and I thought it was exceptional. I’m not sure who made that decision, but whomever made that call deserves a cookie. If I’m remembering correctly, his most badass moment is devoid of dialog (or pretty close to it).
Suspension of Disbelief
The best praise I can give any super hero story (comic, or movie), is that my suspension of disbelief went unbroken throughout. Will that be the case after multiple viewing? I’m not sure. But while I was watching The Avengers, I was completely invested in the story, and it never made me question the narrative.
As much as I loved The Avengers, I do have some minor gripes.
One Big Cliché
I don’t want to give anything away, but there is one big alien movie cliché that Whedon used to wrap up the film, and I found it slightly disappointing… But I also understood why it needed to be that way. I still wish it wasn’t.
3D Serpent Thingie
There was one moment in the third act where the 3D disrupted my viewing experience. That giant metal flying serpent thingie from the trailer flies into the screen (kind of over the camera), and my eyes/ brain were not ok with that at all.
Further Exploring the Idea of Freedom
Early in the film, Loki talks a bit about humans and freedom. It’s a concept that Whedon plays with a lot. In The Avengers, he starts to dig into this idea, but never really does anything with it, other than expand on Loki’s motivation. I think it was a missed opportunity to add extra meaning to the overall story.
Nothing serious to report here…
I Want More!
The DVD is going to have something like 30 minutes of extra footage, and I can’t wait for it.
If you haven’t seen it yet, just go. This is what mainstream comic heroics look like at their very best.
There are two credits scenes.
The mid-credits scene sets up the next film (if you’re interested in who that character is, click here). You have to stay to see this as it explains something that happens in the beginning of the movie.
The post-credits scene isn’t necessary to see, but it is both very funny, and delightfully Whedonesque.
Lastly, if you liked the humor and storytelling in The Avengers, you really ought to watch some of Whedon’s early work. Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible & Dollhouse are exceptional shows that are smart, moving, funny, and very entertaining.
Directed by Joe Johnston, the man behind other period pieces such as The Rocketeer (1991) and October Sky (1999), Captain America is good lighthearted fun.
Set in a fictionalized World War II, and filled with science fiction gadgets and technology, frail yet tough kid Steve Rogers is rejected from military service in spite of many attempts to join. Rogers is entered into an experimental super soldier program and becomes the project’s first and only success. From there it’s all laughs and ass-kicking.
It’s fun, dramatic, and has the balls to deviate from a lot of the typical super hero cliches. They also maintained the core who Steve Rogers is, but smartly deviated from the comic book continuity to make him fit properly in the movies.
The Rocketeer was one of my favorite movies as a child, and I still love it. This feels like The Rocketeer for a new generation, and that’s a good thing… Sadly it doesn’t have the spectacular theme song of The Rocketeer.
Captain America: The First Avenger isn’t going to change your life, but it’s a lot of fun, and it’s far more than your average comic flick.
It’s been a so-so Summer for comic book flicks, and it’s not for lack of volume. Even if you enjoyed Green Lantern, or X-Men: First Class, I doubt you left the theater proclaiming that either will be making your “bestest movies ever list.” Thor was pretty good, but it’s not exactly an instant classic.
Enter Captain America: The First Avenger.
It’s focused on one hero, the backstory is simple, and what makes the character interesting is his personality, not his powers. Plus, Joss Whedon did some script doctoring. I’m hoping that all of that adds up to a strong film.
Captain America: The First Avenger hits theaters on July 22.
Will it be good? Who knows. Hopefully it will be fun.
The trailer is pretty cool.
Here’s your Super Bowl geek wrap up.
Madden 11′s prediction of a Steelers victory proved incorrect making the distinguished game series prediction record 6 – 2.
Cap is a character who is very near and dear to me. I really want this movie to be good, and after seeing the trailer, I’m pretty hopeful. Plus I read that Joss Whedon did some script doctoring; that can’t hurt.
This movie has an all-star cast and an impressive director. At the very least it looks like it’s going to be fun.
Cowboys & Aliens
Another excellent cast, a great director, a plot that obviously won’t take itself too seriously, and Olivia Wilde naked.
I could really relate to this commercial, and that doesn’t happen too often.
My buddy Pete attended Free Comic Book Day at Upstate Comics in Lagrangeville, NY. While shopping around he got himself an excellent sketch of Captain America from artist Phil Jimenez (Wonder Woman, Infinite Crisis, Astonishing X-Men).
Nice sketch Pete. Thanks for sending it in.
Comic book fans, and fighting gamers had a collective nerdgasm this morning when Capcom officially announced Marvel s. Capcom 3.
Due out in Spring 2011, fans of the old MvC2 have been praying for this game for a decade… So it better not suck.
The graphics in the trailer look very comic booky and as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing.
There are a lot of unknowns, such as:
- Will there be two or three characters on a team?
- Who will be playable?
- How many characters will be playable (somewhere around 30)?
- How will the tag-team interactions work?
But there are a few things that are certain:
- New sound track! No more “take you for a ride” shit.
- Six characters are confirmed: Wolverine, Iron Man, Hulk, Morrigan, Ryu, and Chris Redfield of Resident Evil
- It will be 2.5D like Street Fighter IV (good news there)
- “A boss character that Marvel says fans will appreciate” (IGN)
- IGN is speculating that Felicia from Dark Stalkers, Frank West from Dead Rising, Charlie from Street Fighter, Namor, Dr. Doom, Deadpool, Magneto, Captain America and Chun-Li will be in the game based on the silhouettes in the trailer’s intro
- You can also take Spider-Man to the bank
- My guess on the final boss: The Sentry and the Void