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So Kev, how’s The Avengers?

April 27, 2012

Well, let me tell you about The Avengers.

The short version: If you’re there, and you know why you’re there, you will absolutely have a lot of fun with this movie.

Oh, but you need the long version, don’t you.

Over the years leading up to this film, I’ve felt a looming sense of dread and anxiety. Let’s face it, all the movies leading up to it are mediocre at best. I’ve consistently bet hard against this movie and said that it’ll take a miracle to even come close to working. You know what though? It mostly does… and I hate being wrong about this shit.

I’m not going to really spoil the plot or get into incredible detail discussing it. It’s a decent and fairly workable plot. It’s very much an origin story. All the characters get their chance to shine, with many great comedic moments and a few genuine surprises. The whole thing functions like a fast paced action extravaganza with a good sense of humour throughout.

Does it lose some of its character depth along the way? Only a little. Is the villain’s plan more of a nebulous excuse to have all the heroes get together and fight something? Yes. Does it raise philosophical questions in the first half that it is too busy blowing stuff up in the second to answer? Yup.

Wait a minute… this whole thing sounds like I’m describing the JJ Abrams Star Trek movie! Yes, exactly. It’s kinda like that.

(An easy comparison to the Star Trek film designed to piss off fans): It’s a star studded ensemble superflick that mostly serves to show us how all these characters interconnect and give them lots of action set pieces and funny scenarios to end up in. There are tons of awesome little moments and inside nerd references. For the real hardcore nerds, there will absolutely be a loss of depth and they will complain about this. Much like the Abrams Star Trek film, the sequel will most likely be way better than the original, because they’ve already established all the preliminary stuff. The bottom line is it’s just fucking FUN and it still works as a jumping on point for new viewers.

Now, when I say it loses some depth, I don’t mean that it’s a completely hollow affair. There’s no real “dumbing down” of any of the characters or plot content, it’s just that fun and crowdpleaser-ness is valued above all else. For this type of movie though, that’s absolutely fine.

The action! Let’s comment about that. Is it the slow-mo heavy Captain America movie style? The very theatrical Thor movie style? The well realized anticlimaxes of the Iron Man movie style? It’s kind of a blend of all three, minus the whole anticlimax thing. It’s closest to the Thor style overall. Rest assured though, as an action movie fan who currently hates action movies, the action is well done across the board. Yes, the laws of physics are not just stretched, but completely shattered, for both dramatic effect and convenience throughout the action sequences. I saw it in 3D, since there’s no way to not see it in 3D in this country. I’m happy to say it was pretty unobtrusive. You don’t need to go way out of your way to see it in 3D, but if you do, you’ll not be disappointed by it.

I’ve said for years that The Avengers would never work, that there was just too much to fit into one movie that will make any sense at all. I even said Mark Ruffalo would suck (he seems like every boring dad distilled down into one perfect bit of dull fatherly swill) and he ended up impressing me as David Banner. With all of the above caveats in mind, this is probably the best film that could have been produced for The Avengers. Fans will absolutely be happy and casual viewers will too.

If you haven’t seen all the films leading up to this and you’re wondering which ones are truly important… they all are. Thor is probably the most important, since the villain and one of the heroes comes from it. Captain America might actually come in second, since the major mcguffin of the film comes from his movie. Iron Man, especially Iron Man 2, is important because it introduces not only Iron Man, but Black Widow as well. Hmm, my advice is to see as many as you can, but The Incredible Hulk is pretty optional.

I had a ton of fun with this action comedy. It actually has the curious effect of making all of the other films leading up to it seem  more worthwhile. Go see it! If you’re in the right frame of mind, you’ll totally enjoy it!

Oh, and don’t sprint out of the theatre as soon as the credits start to roll, but I’m sure you know that by now…

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