The Avengers Review (Courtney’s Take)

Among a bleak lineup of summer flicks rises a blockbuster action movie that is sure to be quite the buzz for months to come – that’s right, I’m talking about the next installment in the Marvel movie franchise, The Avengers. Now, I will admit, I was not one bit excited for this collaboration, though I did quite enjoy the individual predecessors quite immensely. I entered the theater with angst over the Hulk switcheroo (I really liked Edward Norton, and am frankly not a fan of Mark Ruffalo‘s acting), and I was pretty much dreading the fact that the movie was 140 minutes long. But, once I put on my swanky Captain America 3D glasses and the movie began, I knew that I was in for one heck of a good time.

The search for sustainable energy sources has S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and the entire world at odds with the formidable god Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who has enlisted the help of the Chitauri to gain ownership of the Tesseract, a powerful form of Gamma energy. After stealing the Tesseract right from under Fury’s nose (along with mind-warping S.H.I.E.L.D.’s own Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner)), Loki begins work on his scheme of harnessing the energy of the Tesseract in order to become the supreme ruler of the humans on Earth. After some convincing, and through other methods of madness, Fury manages to wrangle up the world’s (and the other world’s) best superheroes/creatures/gods to lay an epic smackdown on Loki and his evil regime. Thusly, they become to be known as The Avengers

What makes the movie so awesomely entertaining in my mind is the synchronization of every component, from the technicalities and the writing, to the acting and the action sequences. Immediately, I was hit with interesting shot angles – something which is often hard to pull off without being completely distracting or pointless. However, in this case, the shots often emphasized interesting details and non-verbal cues. In regards to the technical components, I also thoroughly enjoyed the sound editing. Every cock of the gun, fired bullet, and other additionally obscenely minute sounds were impeccably crisp and literally shook me to the core, something that is just oddly satisfying when watching multiple 15-minute action sequences.

The support for the technical components was the interesting and fairly satisfying plot. While there are definite instances where things don’t totally fit, or are unnecessary (if you ask me, about 25 minutes could have probably been cut out), everything else that is going on is so enjoyable, that it’s not really worth complaining about. Both the plot and the dialogue have a heavy presence of director and screenplay writer Joss Whedon‘s style, and it definitely worked in really great ways. Whedon‘s experience and passion in the field of comic book writing certainly has proven to be an asset in the direction in which the entire movie flows. From witty banter and subverted humor to smart, snappy references and a definitive feel and direction for the characters, the entire movie had an overall smoother and more energetic feel than most action movies. Additionally, the seamless blend of fantasy, sci-fi, lore, myth, and reality resulted in a considerably fresh and entertaining movie.

Much of the entertainment value for me was surprisingly found in the 3D and special effects. I don’t usually enjoy 3D, but in this case, every action was emphasized spectacularly, and really made for a more enjoyable experience. As well, the special effects in this movie were honestly insane. I was very impressed by the detail and effort that went in to making those effects (such as the Chitauri) really impressive.

The acting, though nothing of an award-winning caliber, was certainly more than I was expecting from most of the cast (with the obvious exception of Scarlett Johansson). In case you need a refresher:

Robert Downey Jr. – Tony Stark/Iron Man
Chris Evans – Steve Rogers/Captain America
Mark Ruffalo – Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk
Chris Hemsworth – Thor
Scarlett Johannson – Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Jeremy Renner – Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Tom Hiddleston – Loki
Samuel L. Jackson – Nick Fury
Colbie Smulders – Maria Hill
Clark Gregg – Phil Coulson
Stellan Skarsgård – Erik Selvig
Gwyneth Paltrow – Pepper Potts

While these cast members are no strangers to the characters they play, the chemistry and ability to procure both believable tension as well as respect is considerably impressive. The wrong cast can often be the Achilles heel of a potentially great movie’s success, and for me, I think that even the small adjustment of Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk really made a significant impact on the development of that character, and in turn definitely aided in my appreciation of the movie overall.

While I know that everything in this movie wasn’t perfect, it was pretty damn close, and the entertainment value is ridiculously high. The audience is given a fairly satisfying plot, outrageously well-done action sequences, and even the rare surprise (for example, Stan Lee has a cameo, and for all the Dollhouse fans out there, Enver Gjokaj also makes a brief appearance).

All in all, I would say that this movie is everything it’s cracked up to be – a true summer Hollywood hit. It’s a must-see, and in my opinion, definitely worth the splurge on 3D.

The Avengers – 9/10

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