Review: The Avengers

Posted May 7th, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Years of build-up in creating the “Marvel Universe” through five individual films finally culminates with The Avengers which brings together a number of popular superheroes to battle Loki and an army under his command. At times Marvel received criticism for shoehorning in elements of S.H.I.E.L.D – the organization defending the planet – or other story threads in those earlier movies that wouldn’t get their payoff until later. I always enjoyed those moments however and it was definitely worth getting invested in the bigger picture and the tie-ins it led to here.

The Avengers delivers an action packed film bursting with fun that plays off the charismatic heroes, their personality traits, and their strengths in battle brilliantly. The film isn’t without its share of flaws but it’s difficult to really come down hard on any of them given how enjoyable the total package is. 

Really The Avengers was primed for failure – in fact many were pessimistic regarding the chances that the film would actually be any good. It’s asking a lot to take characters so strong individually, with so many hands pulling the strings behind the scenes and so many egos in play – and with humongous expectations and pressures – and expect the end product to be fantastic. Despite that the reaction has been almost universally positive and though I’m not completely enthusiastic about the film it was definitely fun and admirable in many respects.

Robert Downey Jr. has such great screen presence that one concern was the film could end up essentially being another Iron Man. That wasn’t the case however and while he played a prominent role as expected it was really impressive just how well the screen time was split up between characters. While all the other actors hold their own Tom Hiddleston as Loki stood out to me as especially excellent in his portrayal despite not being the most menacing potential enemy the group could face.

It was fascinating to see the dynamics in the group – how certain characters gravitated to others or found conflict with others. How each played off each other under different circumstances or during combat. That was probably my favorite part of the movie in general. The interactions between and the meshing of the characters had a very authentic feel.

Much of the talk lately has been about the incredible reception this version of The Hulk has gotten and how it could lead to another individual property for the character. While he was great in the small doses here I actually would prefer to see a movie concentrating on the back story of Black Widow and Hawkeye. Some references are made that could set up just that and the two work together as a pair quite well. The only aspects of The Avengers that stood out as being somewhat flat were the score – which has been stronger in other Marvel films – and the cold open sequence which was probably the weakest part of the whole movie.

The Avengers turns out to be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience and that is a true accomplishment. The developments throughout the film are compelling and the final action sequence is epic. Fans of the comics and/or the films that led up to it won’t be disappointed.

Rating: ★★★★☆