A blockbuster worth the hype

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There has never been a movie like The Avengers ever before. Sure there have been sequels and spin-offs and even movie “events” where characters from a separate series come together for a much anticipated fan experience (ex. Freddy vs. Jason).

But no franchise has ever been built up over the course of four years, with five individual films leading up to a single blockbuster, as was the case with The Avengers. And the proof of that is in the opening weekend box-office.

I don’t think I need to get too deep into the plot of the film, as the previous entries have done a pretty good job of the that. In it’s most basic form, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) must assemble a team of “superheroes” in order to take on Loki (Tom Hiddelston), brother of Thor, and his alien army trying to take control of Earth.

The man tasked with putting all of the pieces together for this film was cult icon and self-professed comic book geek, Joss Whedon. And while some had their reservations, the man could not have created a more entertaining and satisfying movie. It is as close to being perfect as anyone else could have come.

The direction of the film was quite brilliant. It was crisp and succinct and still had the spectacle of a superhero movie. There were arguably more memorable single shots in this movie than in total from all previous Marvel entries.

What was really impressive, though, was the actual story of the film. How difficult and messy it could have been to incorporate four previously starring heroes, with a handful of other additions to the team and have a villain evil enough to take them all on at the same time, however, Whedon pulls it off beautifully.

The action is balanced between the characters. No one actor seems to outshine the other. He even gives lesser characters like Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson extremely interesting and pivotal story arcs. Even if you haven’t seen the other Marvel universe entries, you will not be lost as to what is going on. You might miss some of the subtle references, but there should be no confusion as to the main plot of this movie.

The actors themselves pick up where they each left off in their respective films. Robert Downey Jr. could probably play Tony Stark for the rest of his career and no one would complain. They really do a good job of inciting conflict between the different personalities amongst the team as well, having Steve Roger’s Captain America (Chris Evans) go head to head with the often cocky Stark, and demi-God Thor (Chris Hemsworth) taking on Bruce Banner’s Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in a rather fantastic fight sequence.

The standout amongst everyone, though, seemed to be Mark Ruffalo, being the only actor amongst the group to take on his character for the first time (Edward Norton portrayed Bruce Banner in The Incrdible Hulk). He really down plays the brilliance of Banner throughout and makes you anticipate the first appearance of his alter ego just that much more. Then, when he finally gets angry, it puts the movie into a whole other gear, which really seemed impossible even at that time. He may not be the best performance in the film, but he stands out because he still holds his own as the rookie amongst the other actors.

Another thing the movie does well is the sprinkling of humour throughout the script. There is a wittiness that further supplants The Avengers into the realm of the comic-book film. It’s not hokey humour either, but nice character moments that allow the individual personalities of the heroes to stand out amongst each other.

There are very few negatives to note about the overall movie. A couple times, scenes seem to run a tad too long, but that hardly retracts from how enjoyable the film is overall.

I could go on about the greatness of The Avengers, but the more I talk about it, the more spoiler heavy this review could get. I will stop myself here saying that this really is the best Marvel movie that has been made and outside of Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, is probably the greatest superhero film to date. Joss Whedon proved that he was the right man for the job, and if Marvel is smart, they would realize they have a nice consultant for any further entries of the series.

Go see this movie. It is an event to behold. (And make sure you stick around after the credits).

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