Up front I want to say that I have been a DC over Marvel comics sort of nerd since I was a kid. Still, a nerd is a nerd and you can’t really be a nerd without wanting to check out The Avengers movie. However, as much as I may think Batman and Green Lantern are the coolest (where’s a Justice League movie already?), I have seen pretty much every Marvel movie in the theatres since they became a craze with Spiderman in 2002. I have waited until the end of the trailer each time for that wonderful little blip that inevitably came at the end of many of them, suggesting that an Avengers film was on its way. So was it worth the hype? I’m surprised to say that in my opinion, it actually was.
So, for those of you who didn’t grow up collecting stacks of comic books, let me fill you in on The Avengers. The Avengers were a comic series started in 1963 and featured a group of Marvel comics’ superheroes coming together to form a team of “Earths’ Mightiest Heroes.” Fortunately, the movie adaptation took some liberties with the original story line and we were spared some not-so-cool heroes like Ant-Man. The movie version features Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans) and of course, the dynamic Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). They are all brought together by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who began to appear after the credits in many of the Marvel films to recruit these super awesome heroes. Fury brings this team of more-than-human soldiers together to fight a force that threatens the entire Earth. Unfortunately, their egos are often also super-sized, and learning to work together becomes a problem in the race to save humanity.
I was excited to see this movie, but I was also skeptical. Besides my aforementioned bias for DC comics, I had seen this premise played out before with typically not so great results. Take for example, League of Extraordinary Gentleman. Granted, it was a weird plot bringing together random literary characters to fight evil, but it made for a really weird movie. Also there was the Fantastic Four which was a classic comic book crime fighting quad, but really kinda corny on the silver screen. Bring a bunch of quirky personalities with cheesy powers together and you’re bound to get a poor plot with a lot of bad one-liners.
I would say The Avengers was no exception to the weak plot/cheesy one-liners rule. The plot sort of dwindled at points and there was a bit that left you almost laughing upon reflection afterwards. So what made this not a flop? The all out, heart stopping action. And it didn’t hurt that the cheesy one-liners were actually quite hilarious. I was so thoroughly entertained for the full two hours and twenty-two minutes that I really didn’t care about how unfeasible most of the scenes were, or the bratty quality of the main villain.
Now this may not sound like a ringing endorsement, but would it help if I say that it was really, really cool? Now, I’m a well educated person who is well read and in my own mind I like to consider myself an intellectual. But I have no shame in saying I love a movie with awesome special effects and incredibly well choreographed action sequences and this movie had both. There were numerous laugh-out-loud scenes where the entire audience (may I add the place was jam packed) participated, and quite a few wowed gasps at some of the amazing visuals they pulled out in this film. I truly never tired of seeing the Hulk smash things to bits while Iron Man whizzed around at blurring speeds. This is what I dreamed of seeing as I read comics as a kid, and this was what made me really love the movie. They pulled out all the stops to bring comic books to life for the audience.
On top of all that, I would be amiss not to mention that the movie did dabble in some of the personal conflicts of the characters. There was Tony Stark’s cocky attitude, Captain America’s enduring code of ethics, Thor’s ongoing sibling rivalry and naturally Bruce Banner’s anger problems. With so many characters they could hardly delve deep into the hearts of each, but they were careful to touch on the human side of these super humans.
There were a lot of kids at the movie, and it seemed like a great family experience. Comic books are an American pastime, but keep in mind the movie is rated PG-13, really just for violence and some language. As we grow increasingly closer to summer I think this is a great film to kick off the start as it appeals not just to comic book nerds but to kids of all ages and to the kids within ourselves. Seeing good triumph over evil and loners learn to work together for the greater good is a theme that may be overused, but never loses its importance.
The Avengers Official Movie Trailer