Well, the summer movie season is finally here.
The first weekend in May traditionally kicks off with a Marvel superhero movie and, for the most part, they are pretty entertaining and well worth the time of anyone searching for a fun popcorn flick. But man, what we have this year is something special.
Marvel Studios did the unthinkable and created a crossover movie between favorites including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America, and gives them all a chance to shine in their own way. This is one of the few blockbusters I’ve seen that I have been so excited for and then blown away by how much more the film delivered.
Because the biggest selling point of the movie is the fact that these heroes come to together for the first time, I’m going to write about each character and how they contributed and gave a reason for this event to even happen in the first place. This isn’t just any superhero movie, this is THE AVENGERS!
Iron Man: The thing I appreciated the most out of how the character of Tony Stark was handled, is not really in what he did, but what he didn’t do. Robert Downey Jr. was not the scene stealer that I thought he was going to be, and that’s a good thing. He could have easily been the head guy who gives orders and has all the best lines, but they put him in the background for a decent amount of time while still putting him to good use when needed. They stayed true to his character and self absorbed nature with out giving him the reins to orchestrate everything. Some of the most entertaining scenes involving Stark are when he’s interacting with the other characters. He loves Bruce Banner and his smarts, he thinks Captain America is an outdated pretty boy and right from the get-go he and Thor don’t see eye to eye.
Thor: Now the thing about Thor is that he is an interesting mesh of every other character (because he’s, you know, a god.) In his own world it may work, but putting him among these other heroes will be a real challenge. Well, Joss Whedon accepted the challenge and nailed it. Thor kicks so much enemy butt in this movie while also having sentimental feelings toward his brother Loki (the film’s villain.) Thor is the character who understands Loki the most and still wants to help him despite his evil ways. When you look at it as brotherly love, it’s easy to respect where he’s coming from. Compared to the other heroes who had their own movies, I would say Thor is used the least, but still maintains that sense of belonging and relevance that makes you love every second he’s on screen, smashing the life out of things with his hammer.
Captain America: Captain America really stayed true to who he was despite now living in a different time period after being frozen in ice for 70 years. He was still the corny but lovable Captain that we rooted for in his first movie but now we get to see a different side of him, a side of confusion, and how he adapts to the new world. What I loved about seeing Captain America in action with all the others is he was able to give orders with being the team’s leader and, toward the end, everyone respected him for it. He stays in the lower level and helps the civilians while Hulk, Iron Man and Thor take care of the high ground, which is really awesome to see even in this movie because when it comes down to it, the Captain is a people person who loves defended their lives and freedoms.
The Hulk: Every review you read or every person you talk to you probably tells you the same thing, “Hulk steals the show, man!” (or if you are a girl, it might sound like “Hulk steals the show, girl!”) And yes, The Incredible Hulk lights up the screen in every single scene he is in. He got the biggest round of applause and laughter out of any of the characters and he was just so incredible (see what I did there?) to watch as he smashed everything in his path. In addition to having The Hulk as an awesome force of destruction (in a good way,) Mark Ruffalo is also a fantastic Bruce Banner. Edward Norton was great in the role back in 2008, but Ruffalo makes the part his own and brings more to the table for this round fun. He was much better than I expected him to be.
Black Widow/Hawkeye: The reason I’m putting these two in the same section is because they are both side characters who never got their own movie. They work for S.H.I.E.L.D and fight along side the other big time heroes. It actually impressed me how deep they got with Black Widow in developing her back story. There is still some mystery to her, but you know so much more about her from this than what Iron Man 2 told us. In that film, she was just there to say, “Hey! We have an Avengers movie coming out real soon. You can tell because of all the characters we are throwing in.” But now, she actually has a purpose and gets to show off even more of her fighting skills (and look real good while doing so.) Hawkeye, at least to me, was a bit of a letdown, but the fact that he was never a key hero in this set of stories never brought down my enjoyment of the movie. He was just kind of there as filler. When you compare him to the rest of the team, he contributed the least. Then again, maybe that’s his thing. Maybe in the comics he’s more of the “high ground, look-out guy.” But at the end of the day, I felt if they didn’t write him in the movie in the first place, nothing drastic would have changed. That having been said, when he did get action scenes, he was fun to watch.
Loki: To most, Loki seems like an interesting choice to play the villain in Marvel’s first superhero mash up, but even if you are skeptical, he will not disappoint. He’s still the same old Loki who struggles with inferiority issues and is jealous of living in the shadow on his brother Thor, but he is menacing to a dangerous degree here. The second he comes in screen for the first time and makes that evil face, you know things just got real. I had an issue at first with the alien race that he recruits to work with him in conquering Earth and that they never really got a proper back story or anything, but when I thought about it, they were essentially just bowling pins being killed every second in the fight scenes. To take time explaining them would serve no purpose because we don’t care who they are if there are thousands being killed per second. Loki is the real villain and a scary one he is.
The blending of the characters is what makes this movie work. Without the chemistry and the reason for being together the movie would have failed. But Joss Whedon brought this movie to life in ways no comic book or movie fan could have ever imagined possible.
And if that wasn’t difficult enough, the script was written with a giant helping of comedy. I laughed more in this movie than any other superhero movie thus far, and even though comedy isn’t the key to making a great superhero movie, it’s still a key ingredient to making a fun time at the movies for everyone.
So if you couldn’t tell already, I absolutely loved this movie. I can’t imagine anyone who loved the films prior to this and being a superhero fan in general being disappointed. If the rest of the summer movie releases are even a fraction as good as this one (with the exception of The Dark Knight Rises,) then we have reached summer movie heaven for the next couple months. Summer is here and The Avengers rocks!