Movie of the Week: Marvel’s The Avengers

Marvel’s The Avengers was so fun and satisfying that I’m not sure if we ever need another comic book movie again.

I’ll admit, the movie starts slow and a little clunky. Writer/director Joss Whedon takes his time getting all his pieces on the chess board but once Captain America (Chris Evans) dons his new (but visually less appealing) uniform, the movie starts to take off.

The most impressive aspect of the movie is how funny it is. I think I could watch an entire movie of Captain America, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) bouncing off one another with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) riling them up. Whedon gets a lot of mileage out of their differences. He gives each hero at least one character moment (except Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye who is off the board for most of the film) so by the time the big battle starts, you are rooting for everyone.

Oh and what a battle it is. The last 30 minutes or so may be the most awesome action movie set piece ever filmed. It’s like the action in Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon except you can actually see what’s happening and care. Seeing Thor fighting alongside Captain America or Hawkeye and Black Widow showing their worth among their super-powered colleagues was like a geek dream come true. However, none of them top the Hulk. I guess third time’s a charm when it comes to cinematic interpretations of the green giant. Between Ruffalo’s humorous and controlled Banner and CGI that didn’t make him look like Shrek, Whedon finally got the Hulk right. You will cheer and laugh when you see the Hulk unleashed against Loki’s alien army.

30 minutes after the movie, I wonder if this film could be topped in terms of superhero spectacle. After one viewing, I’m ready to declare it the best superhero movie ever (I don’t count The Dark Knight. That’s more like a drama with comic book characters). I’m sure there are smaller, personal stories to be told about the various comic book properties but when we get to the big action sequence at the end, can anything possibly live up to the last 30 minutes of The Avengers? I hope I’m wrong.

Please note: there are two tags after the credits so don’t leave the theater.

 

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