Marvel's The Avengers (2012)

Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 10:42 AM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 9.3/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)

MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS (2012) - Joss Whedon

It was 2008 when Iron Man first hit theaters, restoring public opinion on the once renowned actor Robert Downey, Jr. At the post-credits scene, as Tony Stark enters his humble abode, he meets Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), head of the top secret agency S.H.I.E.L.D., who reveals that he (Stark) is not the only superhero in the world as well as a new operation called the "Avengers Initiative." From that point on, every Marvel film has been promoting The Avengers. Tony Stark visits the Colonel at the end of The Incredible Hulk. Agent Coulson from S.H.I.E.L.D. reveals that they have found the hammer of Thor in the end of Iron Man 2. Doctor Eric Selvig becomes possessed by Thor's evil brother Loki in the end of Thor. And finally, Captain Rogers finds himself awake several years later after WWI, meeting Nick Fury at the end of Captain America.

During my childhood, I have never read a single page of Marvel Comics. However, I have been a loyal follower to every movie adaptation of them, whether the movies themselves are good or bad. The Avengers was, without a doubt, the superhero movie that received the most hype in the history of Marvel Studios. The result can be one of two things: Either it is the greatest action movie in the world or the greatest disappointment in the world. In other words, it could possibly be another Last Airbender. Though Marvel was the source material that introduced this concept, the idea of combining every superhero together into one team is inevitably a tough task to have a good script for. I feared that the film will fall into the same problem that Spider-Man 3 fell into, jumping around each character too much, attempting to develop them all, but failing to develop anything out at the end. My greatest surprise came when The Avengers blew me away with its script.

The script is what made The Avengers work. It evenly fleshes out every superhero without emphasizing more on a specific one. We are given the advantages as well as disadvantages within each hero. In an independent hero film like Thor, we as audience members are given the impression that Thor is the most powerful superhero of them all, psychologically because Thor is the protagonist of the film as well as the only hero present. However, here in Avengers, Thor's significance and strength is up to par with Iron Man, Hulk, and the others. In a way, Thor is unable to fight alone. Truly, The Avengers stresses on the characterization of each hero, making them need each other in the end, forming a true team. Never losing their humanity, the script in this film is nothing short of the word "genius." Despite us seeing Iron Man fight, the film still maintains Tony Stark's stubbornness throughout, evident from his dialogue. Despite us seeing the Hulk smash everything in sight, the film focuses on Bruce Banner during the first half of the entire film, fighting himself to calm down, to not awaken "the other guy." As I mentioned before with the dialogue, each character's personality stays true to the film. There is no avoidance of logic here. It is all consistent. Each hero has their own personality and The Avengers successfully expresses what will possibly happen if one puts these heroes together in one room.

The second greatest strength here is the directing. Joss Whedon is probably one of the most talented writers in Hollywood today. The Avengers is his second directed film, his first being the 2005 film Serenity. Whedon is a very observant director. Like Matt Reeves, he knows what made each independent superhero film work. He took them all and applied it here. However, he also knew which elements to leave out. He knew what worked and what didn't and took only their strengths. Finally, Whedon's attention to detail enhances the visionary experience of The Avengers. Whether it is a quick line that someone says or the ticks that a certain character has, they all pave the way to make the chemistry among the heroes as realistic and engaging as possible.

As for the superheroes themselves, their humanities are stronger than their actual powers. Ever since Iron Man, I became a fan of Tony Stark and never his suit. The suit is not a character but an accessory. With his fast-paced talking and his complicated choice of words, Stark remains as one of the more intriguing characters of the bunch. In addition, Stark hilariously summarizes himself in four words: "Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist." Chris Hemsworth was always natural in his performance as Thor, the god of thunder. He is the one who takes the battle the most personally, since Loki is his brother… adopted brother. During the fights, the film stresses on the inner conflict Thor has, the decisions he must make regarding Loki. In contrast to him, Loki still has his consistent hatred and jealousy for Thor. Even though I strongly dismissed the independent superhero film Captain AmericaThe Avengers got me to like Captain America himself as a character. Although he is the least expressive of the team, his patriotism is uniform, fleshed out from the fact that he is a soldier the whole time, the only one trained in combat. Scarlett Johansson as Agent Romanoff was at her peak in this film. Although she already appeared in Iron Man 2, her full character arc was never developed. Here, her relationship with Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and her friendliness to Bruce Banner both help her nature come in full force. Even Samuel L. Jackson brought his inner Oscar-worthy performance out as Nick Fury. But the greatest performance in the entire cast, surprisingly, goes to Mark Ruffalo, the man behind the Hulk. If one has followed the Hulk movies, he/she will know that Bruce Banner was portrayed by a different actor in each film. Incredulously, Ruffalo pulled off the greatest Banner of them all. Again, with the help of Whedon writing the script, the dialogue conveys Banner's personality throughout the film. Enhanced by Ruffalo's performance, Banner's character can be completely comprehended. In the past, we always wished to see Banner transform into the green giant. However, here, the stuttering in Ruffalo's words and the looks of anxiety on his face lay the foundations for our sympathy to his character. During the first half of the film, we were always hesitant to unleash the beast and actually desired Banner to remain calm. Ruffalo is the most stirring actor of them all, vividly delivering the inner battle he has inside, attempting to calm down when clearly he is not calm. But when he finally transforms, that's another story.

Undoubtedly, the visual effects in The Avengers are compelling, making it a clear contender for the upcoming Visual Effects Oscar. However, the fight scenes alone are more powerful than the visuals. Here's why. In a mediocre climactic fight like the one in Transformers, we are given random robots fighting around in the city, breaking buildings, not to mention themselves. But in the end, we don't really know where they are or what they are shooting at. Here in The Avengers, Iron Man fights in the sky, Captain America fights on the ground, Hulk leaps around buildings, Hawkeye shoots while standing on the roof, and Thor uses his almighty hammer. There is a comprehensible geometry throughout the entire fight. It is not dizzy nor messy. From beginning to end, we completely know who's where and what is going on. In simplicity, the fight scene is entirely "mapped out." Combine that with Whedon's directing, and we are given virtual cameras that travel around the setting, delivering the greatest visual experience for a climactic fight. Whedon knows exactly what he needs to do to provide the perfect movie and is fully confident in doing so. As a whole, the filmmaking team has successfully assembled the superhero team, bringing them to life. Here, they have sincerely accomplished.

In conclusion, The Avengers is the greatest achievement Marvel Studios has ever made. The script never let down its heroes and the film itself provides a spectacular experience, from visual effects to even set pieces. The fight scenes are captivating, and the overall tone of the film is humorous, appealing, and extremely entertaining. As for the die-hard fans, the critics are right. The Avengers is indeed "a dream come true for the fans." It deserves every bit of the hype it has received ever since the implication of its release four years ago. It stands tall like Captain America, takes flight like Iron Man, casts Thor's thunder, and packs the Hulk's punch.

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