“You think you’re the only superhero in the world? Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet. I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative”
These lines uttered by the incomparable Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury in Iron Man, was the seed that excited all of us, towards the Avengers project. An excitement that kept on increasing with the release of every subsequent Marvel movies, creating the concept of a shared universe & ultimately, the dream of many a fan in the form of the Avengers movie. With so much excitement & expectation riding on the movie, the overriding fear was that the movie would disappoint. However, in the capable hands of Joss Whedon, the answer is a resounding positive thumbs up & it’s a movie that not just satisfies but delivers a compelling fun filled action packed summer blockbuster movie
The Avengers movie is a strange beast. In itself, it’s the first of (hopefully) many Avengers movie while on the other hand, it is the culmination of the multifarious threads drawn from the Iron Man, Hulk, Thor & Captain America movies. It has the advantage of the stars already established with their characters but also faces the challenge of introducing new characters in this movie while also ensuring that all characters get their due & no one character runs away with the movie (RDJ as Iron Man does his best to do so)
One of the biggest fears is a movie like Avengers lies in the storyline. A dense storyline especially for the 1st movie could sink it. Whedon avoid this problem by keeping things very simple. Loki wants to use the Tesseract, a cube of enormous cosmic power, to rule the Earth with the aid of his army. The stakes are sufficiently high enough for the mightiest heroes of the world to unite against Loki to save the day
Sounds simple enough. Except that with great superpower comes great super ego. The fun in a movie like this is watching the heroes stand together & fight a common enemy. However, the real fun in the movie is watching the clashes between Iron Man, Captain America & Thor. Each of these heroes bring their own personalities quirks to the table & as Bruce Banner says “We are not a team but a time bomb”
Whedon brings his A-game to the movie. The pacing is just about perfect & the dialogs & the one-liners are snappy & humorous to keep the audience engaged. RDJ as Iron Man pretty much is the rock star of the movie. Snarky, independent, & with loads of attitude, he pretty tries to run away with the movie. Chris Evans as Captain America is solid. To be fair, his was the character that I thought would get lost in the movie but his portrayal as the man out of time & trying to do the right thing is brilliant. His standing up to RDJ & taking charge of the team comes naturally.
Marvel had tried a couple of Hulk movies before this with not that great a success. However, on the basis of Mark Ruffalo’s performance, the calls for a 3rd Hulk movie should increase. Ruffalo is included in the team primarly as a Gamma Ray expert than for Hulk but its amazing to watch him battle the beast within. His performance as Bruce Banner is brilliant as well as heart breaking when he responds on the number of ways he has tried to escape the beast. As Hulk, he provides some of the best moments on the movie. & the look on Loki’s face. You will realize what I am talking about when you see the movie. (Trust me, it is one of the scenes of the movie)
Joss Whedon’s strength in developing well rounded & strong female characters was pretty evident in Buffy as well as the ill-fated Firefly & Dollhouse & this extends to Avengers as well. Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow gets a really good character development compared to the Iron Man 2 movie. Her introduction interrogation scene as well as her interrogation with Loki are brilliant. Her interactions with Bruce Banner & Hawkeye are compelling.
The SHIELD members in the form of Nick Fury & Agent Coulson get key roles. It is great to see Nick Fury take up the leadership role compared to the small roles that he had been getting in the other movies. Agent Coulson, now a firm fan favorite, gets to play a very key role & goes further in cementing his place in everyone’s mind. We also get our first introduction to Maria Hill (Fury’s right hand). She does not have that big a role to play in this movie but might expand in the forthcoming movies.
Thor has the best introduction of the lot. He is sufficiently arrogant & physical as befitting a god. However, in the roster of actors, his is the one that gets a bit short changed & there has not been much of a difference between his role from Thor. Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye gets his first proper role in the Avengers universe & he does justice to his role & does not feel out of place for a bow & arrow guy (Jeremy Renner has now become part of several multi-starrer movies with most of them becoming good hits. His real challenge would be to prove that he can carry a movie on his own & achieve commercial success. The Bourne Legacy ought to be interesting in that regard)
Loki was probably the most conflicted character of last year based on his performance in Thor. While none of the internal conflict appears in this movie, he is still a compelling villain. He is so compelling because he is in fact weak & is driven by the need to prove himself worthy & to be better than Thor. Tom Hiddleston captures that lean hungry famished visage brilliantly.
The action sequences are suitably over the top for a summer blockbuster movie & the takedown of New York is awesome. There is so much & more packed in the 2 hours that there is no dull moment.
The only real drawback is the lack of an engaging background score. At no point in the movie did there seem a distinct background score standing out to identify it was an Avengers movie. Most superhero movies have a distinct score to help identify themselves. Superman with that regal John Williams score or Nolan’s Batman with that haunting brooding Zimmer score or Iron Man with the Rock score are clear stand outs.
The other major drawback is that only Marvel Studios knows when the next Avengers movie is going to come out. Gosh, the wait already seems unbearable.
In short, go see the Avengers. One of the best & definitely, one of the most fun superhero movies.
PS: “Hulk Smash” has to be one of the lines of the movie
PPS: The SHIELD Helicarrier did not disappoint. It performs the same role as it does in the comics. (& its not what you think)
PPPS: As is their wont, a nice after the credits scene
PPPPS: Not fair from Marvel to add another after the credits scene for the US markets & not release it for international audiences L