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Today’s movie was a hard movie to put off for as long as I did. It came out almost a week ago now, but I didn’t have a good moment to go and see the movie with my roommate Richard until today. It was not an easy couple of days. I’ve been somewhat excited to see this movie since it was announced, and from the day it came out I’ve been beaten over the head with the fact that I need to see it. But, when someone called the movie “The Best Comic Book Movie Ever”, I found myself very skeptical. Had these people not seen the Dark Knight? Or Watchmen? Or was there a chance that this movie was that good? We’ll find out today in my review of The Avengers, written by Joss Whedon and Zak Penn, directed by Joss Whedon, and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard, Cobie Smulders, Gwyneth Paltrow, Harry Dean Stanton, and Paul Bettany.
The fallen Asgardian Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has reached a pact with an alien race known as the Chitauri. If Loki is able to capture the powerful source of energy known as the Tesseract, they will declare war on Earth for it. Armed with a fancy spear, he easily breaks into a facility of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (aka SHIELD) and takes the Tesseract, also brainwashing the physicist Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and SHIELD agent Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner). In response, SHIELD director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) activates the Avengers Initiative, compiling Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to face the threat. SHIELD agent the Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is sent to retrieve the Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is sent to retrieve Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), and Fury himself goes to retrieve Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). Iron Man and Captain America are able to capture Loki, which captures the attention of Loki’s brother, the God of Thunder, Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Can these very conflicting personalities come together to work as a team? Can they thwart Loki’s plans? And, more importantly, how many times will I masturbate during this movie?
This was the worst movie ever … for someone with a heart condition. HOLY SHIT is this a good movie! I loved the living bejesus right out of this movie. But, as much as I loved it, I don’t think I’d be willing to call it the greatest comic book movie of all time. It’s certainly the greatest of its kind, though. I would divide comic book movies in much the same way as I would regular movies. Some are really smart, and some are really fun. I wouldn’t call the Watchmen or Dark Knight particularly fun, but they’re great movies. I also wouldn’t call Avengers the smartest movie, but it’s fantastic fun pretty much from the very beginning of the movie. One thing that should be kept in mind while reading my review is that I do not have the ability to think about this movie as someone who is not a fanboy. My fanboy boner is drawing all of the blood out of the rest of my observational abilities. But fellow fanboys will have such the nerd boner throughout this entire movie. Comic book movies already get +10 love in my mind, but this movie had no use for those excess points. It’s such sweet, sweet fan service all the way through, thanks to the man at the helm, Joss Whedon. Being a nerd himself, he would not allow any one of the Avengers to not have their moment in this movie. Because of his nerdiness, this is the first Marvel movie (that wasn’t just a sequel) that took so much from what happened in the other movies into itself. Things like the Tesseract that was introduced in Captain America’s movie and some of the Asgardian stuff that was introduced in Thor helped really connect this movie as opposed to leaving it to its own devices. The introduction of each individual character in the movie was badass and usually preceded by an awesome quip that got me extra excited. Things like, “Wars are won by soldiers,” and then BOOM! Captain America punching the shit out of some heavy bags. They did something like this for almost every Avenger and I loved it every time. I was also assuming as I went into this movie that I would only be interested in the main Avengers like Thor and the Hulk, leaving me bored with the time I spent with the less spectacularly gifted Avengers like Black Widow and Hawkeye. When the gigantic battle at the end of the movie was starting, I wondered what good Widow and Hawkeye – and maybe even the Cap – would be in this fight, but every one of them had the opportunity to be awesome in it. And almost everyone on the Avengers teamed up with the other Avengers. One of my favorite moments in the movie was something I had seen in some of the Marvel video games: when Iron Man shoots at Captain America’s shield during battles and Cap swings the beam around to hit the enemies around them.
I got to thinking about something early on in the trailers leading up to this movie. I’m sure there was a time when goose bumps served a purpose like making our hair stand up because of cold in the environment or perhaps even fluffing up our hair when threatened to make us look bigger. It made me laugh that, over time, these defense mechanisms have become completely useless and goose bumps now only involve showing our excitement over movies. The trailers that preceded Avengers were for other movies I’m extremely excited for, like the new Spiderman and Dark Knight Rises, and they got my skin prepped for goose bumpage. The Avengers movie barely ever gave my skin the chance to rest. The introduction for each character caused goose bumps, each fight caused goose bumps, almost everything said by anyone in the movie, all of these things got my skin all riled up. Even for some two hours after the movie, my skin wouldn’t knock it off with every time I thought about my favorite moments. Hell, even writing this review caused me to get goose bumps. I tell you all of this to let you know that goose bumps are stupid and this movie is awesome.
I briefly skimmed one of the very few negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes to see how someone could possibly not like this movie. It criticized the movie for being a big mess of CG action. What did you go into this movie expecting? Schindler’s List? It’s a comic book movie! It’s supposed to be like you’re watching a comic book come to life. If you saw this same movie without CG, it would be the worst movie ever. You’d have to bring Lou Ferrigno back to be the Hulk and no one could really do anything awesome. So, what I’m saying to that guy is: go fuck your own face. This movie looked epic and fantastic. Things like SHIELD’s helicarrier looked as massive and realistic as humanly possible. And, for the first time, the Hulk looked fantastic and real. Well, as real as a giant green guy can look. The other movies had the Hulk kind of stand out and not look like it was properly lit, but this movie didn’t have that problem. Even the practical things were given the weight that made them feel like superpowered individuals were doing them, like when Cap blocked Thor’s hit as they were fighting in the woods, creating a shockwave that cleared a large portion of the surrounding area.
I’ve probably already discussed every character in this movie already in their own respective movies, but that shant stop me from doing it again. But this time I’m going to discuss them in order of awesomeness. First up is the only new addition to the Avengers team: Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. Though Ruffalo was the only one in this movie to not appear as his character previously, I think he stole the show. I found him to be a combination of the most humorous and most badass characters in the movie. When he randomly, and unexpectedly, punches Thor at one point in the movie it was pure comedy enjoyment. When he lays an epic beatdown on one of the major characters in the movie, flopping them around like a ragdoll and following it up with one of his trademark “Puny …” lines, I nerdgasmed. When he fights one of the good guys in the movie, I was worried that they wouldn’t give the Hulk his proper amounts of awesomeness in order to make another character that I wasn’t that fond of look better. But when Captain America unleashes him on the enemies by commanding him to smash, he did just that. The big question would be whether or not Ruffalo set himself apart as the best version of the character, and I’m not sure I’d be willing to give him that. I would definitely allow Ruffalo to be called the actor that played the Hulk in the best movie he was in, but I didn’t think that Ruffalo had the appropriate build for Banner. He did a great job acting as the character, but he was a little more muscular than I’d think of Banner. I think Edward Norton looked the part much more, and acted the part equally as well. My next favorite would have to be Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Adding Downey’s own wit and timing to Joss Whedon’s sharp writing is a winning combination. RDJ is Tony Stark, and I don’t know how there will ever be another. He got to bust out the hero chops more than any of the Iron Man movies here, and was still really funny. Another of my favorite moments in the film was when Stark prodded Banner in the lab because he was just like a big child that just wanted to see the big, green smash machine. Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Thor had tons of awesome moments and each had a couple of comedy moments as well that I appreciated. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow sets herself up as pretty awesome right in her opening scene, and also takes part in an epic fight with Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. I was worried about Hawkeye going into the movie, thinking that a character whose only power is to be really good at firing arrows would not be super interesting. Though his parts were lighter on the awesome, he still pulled a good bit out with some sweet shots and some cool, no-look shots.
The Avengers might not be what I’d be comfortable calling the best comic book movie ever, but it’s unequivocally the most fun, most action-packed, and most exhilarating comic book movie I’ve ever watched, and I’ve seen almost all of them. The story is great, the dialogue is smart and funny, and the performances are all fantastic. But, more importantly, the action scenes are frequent, amazing, and exactly what every fan wants to see. Being a fanboy myself, I can’t really get into the mindset of someone who doesn’t like comic books. But I also can’t imagine the type of person who would not think this movie is awesome. I don’t only recommend you see this movie, I outright demand it. Go see this movie now. And, if you can, go see it in IMAX, and even in 3D. I’m normally a 3D hater, but I hear this movie is worth it. The Avengers gets “The world has changed” out of “I still believe in heroes.”
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