I am at a loss for words this evening, dear readers, and I have Joss Whedon to thank for that.
Sir, I now revere to you as my own personal God. You have hit your mark on movies and television shows before (“Firefly,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Cabin in the Woods”), but words cannot describe what you have created from a series of comic books.
I apologize in advance for any profanities I may use during this upcoming post, but “The Avengers,” in my opinion, cannot be described without them.
When the world was first introduced to “Iron Man” in 2008, Marvel Studios showed what it had to offer and “The Avengers” was nothing more than an idea gleaming in the eyes of directors around the world. Though each movie released since the Jon Favreau vehicle teased at the coming release, those at home could only sit, wait and anticipate the actual film.
Since Marvel excels at character development, which is made clear through any of their movies, one of the main concerns for “The Avengers” was contemplating how the director and storytellers would fit all these big-name characters into one movie and still manage to tell a story. But they did. And it was wonderful.
Loki, evil adopted brother of Thor, somehow survives the fall witnessed toward the end of 2009’s “Thor,” and swears his vengeance on Earth, enlisting the help of an alien army (who Loki promises to hand over the Tesseract if they succeed at conquering Earth). Enter Nick Fury (Sam-mother-f**kin’-Jackson), who knows the only option to prevent global defeat is to enlist the help of the Avenger Initiative.
The Avenger Initiative, which employs individuals with unique powers to defend humanity against threats (credit to Wikipedia), calls on the support of Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. The first four have all received standalone movies, with the latter two introduced through Thor and Iron Man 2, respectively.
In order to defend the world, though, the group must first find common ground and treat each other as the same. The majority of the first half finds the group battling themselves as Fury tries to unite them to take on the impending threat. However, after a tragic event, they bond together to take down the responsible Loki.
Everything about this movie worked. Working with such big names and established characters, the director and producers of this movie found a way to make it amazing.
Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), known for his reckless playboy lifestyle and often boisterous attitude, normally commanded the screen in his two movies (aside from being the main character). This was one of my biggest worries, knowing how pompous his character is, but while still hilarious (calling other members of The Avengers clever nicknames (a la Sawyer from “Lost”) like Legolas for Hawkeye), he toned back the commanding of screentime.
And I have to call it here, but I’m naming Agent Phil Coulson as the MVP. Though not in the second half of the movie, some of the one-liners his being is able to throw out there brought down the audience with laughter.
The movie does not cater to any specific audience (though watching the previous Marvel movies would help understand the characters’ past), but if you have never read a comic in your life, fear not, because it does not rely on any single form of reference (except, well, those movies).
Humor played a huge role in this movie. While it was an action-adventure thrill ride, “laugh out loud” jokes never missed a beat (Nick Fury calling Loki’s human-turned-slaves as his “army of flying monkies,” which Captain America jumped in excitedly knowing the reference).
There’s amazing and then there’s amazing, and then there’s “The Avengers.” The CGI was amazing. The camerawork, superb. The thoroughness of the characters, plot points and storytelling, molto bene (kisses grouped together fingers like a French chef).
As producer Kevin Feige is quoted, “[Transformers: Dark of the Moon] set a standard for that level of ZOMG-awesomeness and scale. We’re working to try to outdo that.” Goal achieved, sir.
You may think differently of the movie, but during the last act, that final battle, your jaw will drop. You will stare at that screen without breaking attention. Even as the credits rolled, I couldn’t believe what I witnessed. I did not want to leave my seat and accept the fact that it was over.
Had Whedon created a 17-hour movie, I would watch it. I would watch it all, without moving, and in complete awe.
Even as I drove home, I did so in a trance (much like what any movie will depict after someone is given a life-altering piece of news (most often that they are going to die)), where sounds are drowned out, your perception of your surroundings is blurred and you forget any sort of little detail.
A movie has not made me feel this way in a long time. Not even the 3D re-release of one of my favorites, “The Lion King.” Seeing the opening credits of “The Lion King” in 3D was enough to make my jaw drop. Watching the entirety of “The Avengers” sent my jaw plummeting through the floor.
Though 2009’s “Avatar” currently holds the record for biggest box office gross (estimated at $2,782,275,172), I definitely see “The Avengers” as a contender. Watch out, James Cameron, your title is challenged. And it is a worthy contender.
Final Grade: A+