Plays Well with Others

6 May

Summer is here!

With The Avengers now in theaters, we have our first big slam-bang, star-studded, popcorn action film of the season.

And what a good time it is.

Bringing together more than a half-dozen of the brightest stars in the Marvel universe, The Avengers is kind of like Ocean’s 11 for comic book geeks. (If you prefer Marvel, that is. Personally, I’m more a DC universe / Justice League fan. But that’s not really important here. I’m just sayin’.)

The movie begins with a portal to another universe opening (how does that keep happening?), and Loki, Thor’s megalomaniacal adoptive brother, arriving to cause mischief. After Loki tells Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, head of the peace-keeping alliance S.H.I.E.L.D., that a global war is coming, Fury assembles the Avengers to defend the planet — even though, really, it’s only the U.S. that seems to be in danger.

So Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and the Hulk (now played by Mark Ruffalo), all with their own egos and issues, are forced to work together. (Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, too, but not until he can break free from Loki’s mind control.) Of course, it doesn’t go well at first, but eventually they get their act together and they take on the Big Bad in New York City. Because if aliens descend on Earth, where else would they go?

(Seriously. Much as I don’t like New York, just once I’d like to see a more random place destroyed.)

For the past few years now, films like Iron Man (the original and the sequel), Thor, and The Incredible Hulk have been laying the groundwork for this one, with each including a short epilogue where the characters were recruited for a secret mission. That’s a lot of buildup and anticipation, and thankfully it was not entirely for naught.

Joss Whedon, who directed and cowrote The Avengers, and has earned his geek cred over the years with TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, knows his material well, and not surprisingly, he’s infused the film with wit and intelligence. But just as important, he also shows he knows his way around ass-kicking action. That climactic battle in New York alone is worth the price of admission.

No offense to Joss, though, but the real stars of this film are the stars themselves. And what a kick it is to see them all jockey for supremacy, as characters and actors. It’s really no contest — Downey can take Evans and Hemsworth any day — but all these guys bow down to the Hulk, who here is finally the likable character that he wasn’t in the Ang Lee or Edward Norton versions.

Like any comic book movie, there’s a lot of high-fallutin’ exposition (mostly having to do with the Tesseract, the blue cube that allows Loki to cross over), the plot follows a reasonably predictable arc, and the dialogue is oftentimes delivered in an overly serious manner. But all that is to be expected; it’s hard to make a comic book movie that’s rooted in fantasy without that kind of stuff (as opposed to a more realistic one, like, say, The Dark Knight).

Some might say the action scenes are a bit much, but hey, it’s summer. The action is supposed to be big, loud, and over the top. And it all looks great. The film’s a slickly made one, with impressive special effects, and while it’s being shown in 3D, those effects really don’t add too much.

There will definitely be an Avengers 2 (a coda during the final credits sets up the sequel), and based on this first go-round, there’s good reason to get excited now.

I’m giving The Avengers a B+. Happy summer, y’all.

Have you seen The Avengers? Are you a Marvel universe fan, or would you have rather seen a DC universe / Justice League movie? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.

8 Responses to “Plays Well with Others”


  1. What Makes a Man a Man? « Martin's Musings - May 21, 2012

    […] a crowded multiplex of Avengers and Battlefield and other big-budget blockbusters, Mansome is far from the must-see movie of the […]

  2. You Should Be As Afraid of Him As I Am « Martin's Musings - July 29, 2012

    […] books, The Dark Knight Rises is no ordinary summer movie. Unlike, say, The Amazing Spider-Man or The Avengers, this one features bad guys who could actually exist, and stakes that are no less than life or […]

  3. Number 5 Is Still Alive « Martin's Musings - August 9, 2012

    […] chops to carry an action film — his supporting roles in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Avengers attest to that. But in Legacy, as with those other films, he’s in someone else’s […]

  4. Welcome to Pi’s Ark « Martin's Musings - November 20, 2012

    […] to use 3D, as evidenced by the unnecessary addition of effects in so many movies in recent years (The Avengers and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, for example), and the gratuitous […]

  5. Welcome to the Planet | Martin's Musings - June 13, 2013

    […] sensibility and there’s a healthy mix of action, pathos, and humor — as there was in Whedon’s The Avengers and the three Iron Man […]

  6. "Man of Steel": Movie Review | Popblerd!! - June 14, 2013

    […] sensibility and there’s a healthy mix of action, pathos, and humor — as there was in Whedon’s The Avengers and the three Iron Man […]

  7. Local Boy Makes Good Hero | Martin's Musings - July 6, 2017

    […] years ago, Toomes and his crew were hired to clean up the mess left after the Chitauri invasion in the first Avengers movie. But then Stark decided he was gonna handle cleanup himself, and, well, Toomes got pissed. Flash […]

  8. Feast on These 12 Movies During the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend | Martin's Musings - November 20, 2017

    […] theme from the Tim Burton films into the score for this movie. No, Justice League isn’t The Avengers. But it could have been worse. A lot worse. Thank God it’s not. […]

What say you? Leave a comment here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: