AKA: The Avengers (2012) - Promotional Title
AKA: Group Hug (2012) - Fake Working Title
AKA: Avengers (2012) - Alternate Title
AKA: Avengers Assemble (2012) - UK Title
AKA: Marvel Avengers Assemble (2012) - UK Complete Title
AKA: The Avengers 3D (2012) - 3D Title
AKA: The Avengers: An IMAX 3D Experience (2012) - IMAX 3D Title
(Premiere Date: April 11, 2012
(Release Date: April 26, 2012
[Europe & Australia])
(USA Wide Release Date: May 04, 2012)
Earth's Mightiest Heroes... never disassemble!
It seems incredibly obvious, doesn't it? Take some kick-ass Super Heroes and wrap them all up into one incredible team to sell even more tickets and kick even more ass. Brilliant, huh?
Indeed! And nobody had every thought to do that before, ever. Well, unless you count The Fantastic Four, also created by the great Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, who reportedly created the team to compete with DC's Justice League, the 1960s update of the previously successful Justice Society from like 20 years prior. Oh, and then there was the All-Winners Squad... and then the Legion of Super-Heroes beat them by a good four years... and the Challengers of the Unknown, too. Then again, those amazing Avengers did, in fact, preceed such incredibly famous teams that they arguably helped lay the groundwork for like The Inferior Five, The Omega Men, The Zoo Crew, Stormwatch, Blood Syndicate, Jake and the Fatman, Sovereign Seven, Wild C.A.T.S. and even those adorable Adolescent Radioactive Blackbelt Hamsters, if you can believe that!
Sure, Super Hero teams are obvious and omnipresent in Comic Books (now as then), the idea of taking a kick-ass team of heroes from varied different established films and uniting them into one single movie team hasn't happened. Oh, sure, you've got Fantastic Four and X-Men flicks spinning off their own... um... spinoffs, but this is the first time in cinematic history that we get the World's Mightiest Heroes spinning... on... back into their own team for a united franchise among franchises. Throw the excellent Joss Whedon as both director and writer and bring in the super-characters established in Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger and how can the film lose?
The answer, luckily, is that it doesn't. Marvel's The Avengers far from disappoints in its bringing together of the thread that has been hinted since Iron Man! The Marvel Cinematic Universe may have been one hell of a risk but it has become one hell of a success!
Speaking of which...
That's not even to mention the kick ass team in support of the Avengers. Like Col. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, not to mention Thor's buddy Erik (Stellan Skarsgċrd), Stark Industries key players Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and JARVIS (Paul Bettany)! We also get our pre-requisite cameo from Stan "The Man" Lee and another surprising and interesting cameo from Harry Dean Stanton and Ashley Johnson as a Waitress named Beth. I have no idea who the hell she is, but the film showed her a lot and she's hot, so I'm mentioning her.
And what is a Superhero film without a Super Villain? Something of a SILLY one, I'm guessing. Reenter Thor's bitter-ass brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston)! He's back and worse than ever, with a brand new plan for spreading mischief. Yeah, if the whiny little baby can't have Asgard, then maybe he'll set his sights on Earth instead, even if he has to team up with the armies of two super-bad-ass Aliens played by Alexis Denisof and Damion Poitier. I'm not saying who they're playing... that'd be saying too much!
And this is where The Avengers becomes incredibly fun as well as really quite good. It succeeds as an exciting and often chilling Alien Invasion thriller, it's an incredibly good Superhero film, it's a fantastic special effects spectacle, it's a high-flying rip-roaring action film that could keep any self-respecting adventure fan on the edge of their seat and it works fantastically in its comedic moments. That's not even to mention the cool songs and the great score by Alan Silvestri!
The comic relief shines through in true Joss Whedon fashion just when the edge-of-darkness storyline needs it the most. Joss has always been interested in taking standard pop culture convention and turning it on its ear, while still paying tribute to the things he loves. Here, his script with Penn gives plenty of opportunities for greatly timed lines tension-breaking laughs.
Joss Whedon may well be the perfect writer and director to take on a film celebrating The Avengers (who will celebrate their fiftieth anniversary in a little over one year). With years of established canon, Joss both captures the greatness of the characters and celebrates them, but never quite lets them become constrained parodies of themselves when working in the modern age. Each of these characters has a story unique to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, yet each is given special care to respect and honor the roots of the characters. Not everything you see on screen will be a recreation of any one comic storyline, but every character is built upon elements found in their printed counterparts.
Meanwhile, the actors do a great job bringing the script to life. Chris Evans has proven to be a wonderful choice for Captain America. Earnest, sincere and somewhat old-fashioned, but still a bit less like your grandpa than a dude you wouldn't mind shooting pool with. Downey is cool as the arrogant billionaire but proves that he's earned his place on the team. Renner and Johansson develop their characters well among an ensemble, while Hemsworth never lets Thor (with his high-speech and pompous history) become a joke. Newcomer to the saga Mark Ruffalo steps well into the shoes of his predecessor(s) and makes the part his own. His Hulk is awesome and looks more realistic than ever, but his Bruce Banner is what sells the character. Good show! And, not to give any spoilers here, but the best part is seeing these guys work together so well as the Avengers Assemble!
In most ways The Avengers is something of a true fan's dream come true. You have continuity, buildup, payoff, true characters and pure Joss Whedon in a lot of places (without any attempt to outshine the characters he's working with). I have to restrain myself from putting on my official WorldsGreatestCritic.com Five Star ball cap and praising this film to the ultimate ends of the galaxy.
In truth, this one is worth all of that praise. However, in some areas, Joss Whedon shows that he's not only a damned fine writer and director, but is also a pretty awesome illusionist. In a few areas, Joss employs trickery, action and humor to cover up a thing or two that just doesn't quite make as much sense as other parts. Occasionally even with these excellent actors (check out how many Oscar winners and nominees are in the credits both in front of and behind the camera) and Joss' super-cool writing an over-the-top line still feels a little bit... over-the-top. That works to the extent that this is, after all, a Comic Book Movie, but Comic Book movies are no longer seen as the cheese they once were, thankfully! Therefore, when almost every frame feels so real and genre-transcendent (one tends to forget we're watching a bunch of grown adults in flashy costumes throwing things at each other) those areas that show their seams are that much more noticeable.
The same can be said for the CGI here. Many of the top names in the business worked on this flick, so virtually every unreal element from an Alien to a Hulk to a collapsing building looks gritty and realistic. Therefore when something comes off as less than perfect, it stands out like a sore Mjolnir! Films with flawed CGI throughout tend to get a pass, as the critical eye gets used to the illusion. CGI this good has to stay consistent, fairly or unfairly.
But that's the difference between The Avengers and other such big-budgeted spectacles of its kind. This film is the product of a company, a cast and a crew that truly, deeply cares about its characters, their history, their future and their stories. In SIX movies so far, Marvel Studios have brought together the best cast and crew to make the most out of their characters. When hugely budgeted adaptations of characters and ideas are used simply as investments and fodder to feed the money beast you get "products" like Transformers and Battleship, made by people who could not give less of a shit if you put superglue in their Preparation H! When you take beloved characters like these and put them in the hands of Johnston, Branagh, Favreau, Leterrier and, yes, of course, Whedon, you get something like The Avengers. Something that's worth somewhere in the neighborhood of Four and One Half Stars out of Five! The film more than does its job. It not only furthers the sagas of the films that led to it, but hypes the audience up for what is yet to come (and judging from the fact that this film made back almost three times its budget in its first ten days, there is a whole hell of a lot more to come). Stay through the credits for not one but two teasers for the future of the franchise(s). You'll be glad you did. It's a treat for movie fans, a thrill for Marvel fans and a big smile for Joss fans. So until The Marvelous ones take a strange cue from their Distinguished Competition throwing canonicity out the window, I'll see you in the next reel. Bring Pie and Burritos.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Still no RICK JONES, man!
Still no Beta Ray Bill, either, man!
Come ON, people, make with the Rick and Bill!
Until then, click HERE for more reviews!
reviewed by J.C. Maçek III
Who is solely responsible for the content of this Site
And for the fact that he actually likes
Jason of Star Command.
Seriously, that show grows on you quick.
That has nothing to do with The Avengers, but it came to mind, so I thought I'd say it!
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Okay, I'll tell you... it's THANOS! THANOS IS COMING!!!
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