Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Avengers: movie review

image from IMdb
My family on Father's Day took me to the movies to watch The Avengers--and it was a great gift and movie.

Here are the Marvel Studios movies I seen, based on the comic book characters:
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Captain America, the First Avenger (2011)
  • Thor (2011)
Here is the storyline: "Nick Fury is director of S.H.I.E.L.D, an international peace keeping agency. The agency is a who's who of Marvel Super Heroes, with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When global security is threatened by Loki and his cohorts, Nick Fury and his team will need all their powers to save the world from disaster." ( Written by Wellard Rockard, from IMdb

Of these, I found the first Iron Man the best, although, ironically, in 2010 I wrote two blog posts on Iron Man 2, a review and the back story to the tale. (Good news, I hope: Iron Man 3 will be out in 2013.)

The Avengers, for me, was a vindication of all the other Marvel movies that came across like . . . well, like comic book caricatures.

Probably a lot of credit goes to director Josh Whedon, who also helped pen the script. In The Avengers, the characters and their personalities and issues are not overshadowed by the plot. The plot allows the reader to connect. For instance, at one point in the movie, Tony Stark is challenged with the "Who do you think you are?" question. His response is "Genius billionaire playboy?" Right in character. At another point in the story, Iron Man is knocked flat by the antagonist, Loki. His aside is "I'm fighting a demigod," acknowledging the incredible nature of the universe and adding to the credibility of the moment. Or this (from IMdb): Steve Rogers: "Is everything a joke to you?" Tony Stark: "Funny things are." For an interview with director Josh Whedon and Tom Hiddleston (Loki), go here.

The other Avengers and supporting characters come to life in the movie:
  • Thor, who understands and cares more for humanity than is displayed in Thor
  • Captain America, whose focused sincerity is balanced with a little attitude
  • the Hulk, whose focused anger is balanced with a little humor
  • the Black Widow, a "Jason Bourne" with lipstick and leather
  • Hawkeye, whose archery skills provide some excellent moments
  • Nick Fury, larger-than-life commitment channeled with believable intensity
  • Agent Phil Coulson, the human-sized foil to all the super-heroes
  • Selvig, with a great mad, mind-controlled scientist moment
Let's personalize the story's conflict with a quote from Loki's partner-in-evil The Other: "The Tesseract has awakened. It is on a little world. A human world. They would wield its power, but our ally knows its workings as they never will. He is ready to lead. And our force, our Chitauri, will follow. The world will be his. The universe yours. And the humans, what can they do but burn?" (IMdb)

The casting for the film was excellent. Robert Downy, Jr., as usual was at his mercurial best. Scarlett Johannson carved out a physical presence yet still maintained a feminine believability. Samuel Jackson was able to make his Nick Fury persona a wonderful blend of cartoon caricature and three-dimensional patriot. Action and special effects do not overshadow the human elements of the film.

I leave you with the trailer . . . and happy, heroic trails to you.

Copyright 2012 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


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