Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Kickoff - The Avengers

Chris Hemsworh and Chris Evans in The Avengers. Courtesy of

Film Grade: A-

Summer movie season has arrived, and looking at the lineup, it won’t disappoint. The Avengers serves a strong kickoff. The film is packed with A-listers including, but not limited to, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, and Scarlet Johansson as the comic book characters. Having so many well-known stars in one film is risky, as chemistries often don’t transfer well on-screen, but Avengers proves to be a rare exception.

The plot is a simple one. Bad guy steals valuable power, runs off, plans to take over the world, and lets his native alien family destroy Earth. Naturally, when a juggernaut of a villain like Loki arrives, Nick Fury, the creator of The Avengers, enlists the aid of Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Captain America.

Chaos and hilarity ensues, mostly from heroes, as their personalities could not be more opposite. The result is a 2.5 hour movie with more laughs than any other superhero flick I’ve seen. Where The Dark Knight movies are a serious exploration of the moral themes in Batman’s world, The Avengers provides a colorful explosion of action and fun – just like a comic book.

Besides being enjoyable, the movie is well-made. The acting and chemistry of the on-screen personalities jibe well together; none of the heroes outshine each other, and each is given his own spotlight and dialogue. The dialogue is probably the best I’ve seen in a superhero film. Rather than being predictable and cheesy, it’s clever and witty, much like the banter in Golden Age films – which is most fitting, considering Iron Man’s character. Some of the funniest scenes were when Iron Man and Captain America argued. Where Iron Man is narcissistic, egotistical, arrogant and progressive, Captain America is self-sacrificing, traditional and humble. Their interaction is a gift from filmmaker to viewer, extracting at the very least, a pleased smile.

Is there a deep, meaningful lesson to be learned in The Avengers? Not really, except that if we’re to be “good” or heroic, sacrifice is necessary, and that sometimes, we will have to work with people we'd rather not associate with in order to bring about a common good. Other than that, Avengers simply keeps you entertained the entire time. Like Captain America, which was released last summer, it is a respectable film that brings the comic book to life, with lots of action and witty banter in between. The perfect formula for a summer movie. 

1 comment:

BG45 said...

Spoiler alert for anyone reading:

I have to agree, the banter between Captain America and Iron Man, more than anything made this film as funny as it was, at least in my opinion. With lines like "I can't believe this is the guy my dad wouldn't shut up about", it was never boring when they were on screen with one another.

As for heroic sacrifices, while Phil Coulson's death shocked me entirely, I think it was Stark overcoming the massive size of his own ego to be willing to die to save New York that sold that theme to me. For three films now, if we count this one, all we establish is how much of an egotist he is...then he realizes he has to give up his own life possibly to save the city. In what he thinks are his last moments, he doesn't do the monologue one would expect, of how amazing he is, but rather, he tries to call Pepper to say "I love you" one last time.

Definitely a hard film to beat this summer.