Off Topic: The Avengers Is So Brilliantly Cool

The Avengers was released in the United States mid-night on Friday.  I went to see it at 11:45 AM later that morning.  To say the least, “The Avengers” is a brilliantly cool film that will resonate through the summer.  I know, this is not a movie review site and as such, I will not give away the “spoilers” that many other sites do.  What I will give you is an honest opinion from someone who is not a Marvel comic book fan.

That’s right, I don’t follow comic books.  Not the X-Men, not Marvel, not DC, are there others?  Sure I know the basics.  Who doesn’t know Captain America or Iron Man?  To be honest, when I saw Iron Man at the movies, I was pleased.  Disappointed with the rest of the world watching the two wasted attempts to make the “Hulk” come to life, found Captain America to be a good genre film, and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed “Thor“.

I like big budget motion pictures.  If I’m going to unload my wallet for over-priced stale popcorn and watered down Sprite, I want to make sure that I’m at least getting my money’s worth.  As a father of an 8 year old, most of my movie fare comes from the pictures that start out with a comic sequence by “Scrat” from the Ice Age films.  When not watching movies with my son, it’s a date night with the wife to see such resonating fare as “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight”.

When I want to see a movie, I tend to go it alone.  Which is why despite my wife’s insistence that she would “sit through ‘The Avengers with you“, I opted to go by myself and let the projected image on the screen feed my brain.  Remember, no childhood memories of pretending to be a superhero, no faded comic books in the attic or garage, just the idea that the novelty of such famous characters joining together made perfect sense for an early summer morning.

First I need to say, my impressed nature of this movie really stemmed from how director Joss Whedon managed to pull every one of these characters into the screen and give them all equal time.  How he managed the multiple ego’s of the characters with a balanced dance that left the audience appreciating the fact that if you were an Iron Man fan over say Captain America, you were never left feeling as though he was made out be a lesser character.  The same could be said about all of the characters.  How they managed to work together and apart made the movie.

The other impressive treat that Whedon gave the audience was the ability to interject the feeling that you were watching a comic book story come to life while at the same time watching the characters develop and a story to continue.  There were moments in the film where I found myself relishing the simplicity of the story and the action on the screen only to immediately find myself drawn into a more descriptive plot line that was more technical.

After seeing the film I called my brother, a big Marvel fan, he had not seen it yet.  I told him the best that I could say right then was that what I saw in the previews, thinking those would be the best parts of their scenes, actually were nothing more than a simple part of those scenes.  Almost a footnote to those scenes.

The biggest surprise for me had to be that of Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner.  The one character beyond on all others I knew about.  I did watch the old television series with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno.  I must say that aside from painting a big muscled guy green, the computer animations in the last two attempts at the “Hulk” fell very flat.  They did not in “The Avengers”.  In fact, Whedon nailed the jolly green giant so well that Ruffalo and his alter ego stole the scenes they were in.

Ruffalo played the Banner part to absolute perfection and Whedon in turn made the “other guy” a hero and the comic relief without taking the cheese route.  It worked wonderfully.

A lot has been said about the character Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston.  Many believe that simply put, he doesn’t come off as the crazed deranged character who could take down the Avengers.  I would agree with that.  It’s not the portrayal that suffers, just the character itself.  Loki should have been far more menacing and terrorizing or at the very least, more cerebral.  Instead we get parts of both with no whole.  It’s still not a bad character and truth be told, I felt more compelled to put something in the review that wasn’t 100 percent perfect.

It’s difficult to write a review without giving away parts of a film that otherwise should be experienced by the viewers.  I would point out that the combination of the characters on the screen doesn’t leave you time or room to allot for bathroom breaks so don’t bother buying that watered down Sprite.  The movie runs a cool 150 minutes but it plays out much faster.

My biggest complaint about blockbuster summer movies is they try too hard to add the comedic level.  Perhaps that is why I totally loved both of Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” features and am sitting on needles waiting for the final of his trilogy.  To me, movies, especially disaster type flicks have no business adding in cheesy dialogue to give the audience something to laugh at.  Sorry, but if the movie 2012 was real, would anyone in that film seriously be laughing?  There is a difference between cracking jokes to release stress and tension and another to simply act like fool.  The Mathew Broderick “Godzilla” movie is another perfect example of comedic stupidity.

I mention the above paragraph because it was a major worry of mine going in to see this film.  Thankfully, the comedic turns were thought out well and many of the jokes were more cerebral.  With a few that I suppose were intended for fans of the Marvel universe.  In other words there were a few that I didn’t quite grasp.

All in all, this is an absolutely brilliant kick-off film for the 2012 summer season.  It’s more than entertaining and the action is powerful and exactly the kind of action you would want from a group of egotistical superhero’s who need to walk before they can run.  Personally, I would recommend the 3D version.  The 2D version seemed a little flat visually and I found myself wanting to have the 3D glasses on more times that I said, I’m glad I don’t.  Yes, by the way, I did see the movie twice on Friday.

After I picked up the aforementioned 8 year old from school, we jumped back in the car and headed back to the theater so he could see it.  I watched that one in normal 2D.  I will say that it was much easier focusing on the body of Scarlett Johansson without the 3D glasses and yes, she looks fantastic in black.  While it’s hard to look past her beauty, and lord she is, she hits on all cylinders for her role as “Black Widow”.  I don’t believe any other actress could have hit more superbly than Johansson.  Which is a good thing because she is on screen, it seems, more than any other character in the film.

In the five years I have been writing on this site, I have never truly felt compelled to write a movie review.  I may have done one or two here or there but it’s rare when I do.  This movie made me want to write something about it.  Why?  Because I’m not a true Marvel buff.  I don’t know the universe, I don’t know the back stories of all the characters, and I don’t really have no idea who else there is outside of the six main characters in this film.  I do know that I was more than satisfyingly entertained, will own this on Blu-Ray 3D when it comes out, and will likely find a way to skip out on the wife and see it at least once more before it leaves theaters.

Yes, the movie was that good.

Topics: Captain America, Iron Man, Loki, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, The Avengers, The Avengers 2012, The Avengers Review, Thor

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