May 5, 2012
By J.D. Cook
On May 4th at Midnight, while most of the world was still asleep, I had the distinct pleasure of viewing The Avengers with five of my closest friends. Before I get into telling you how phenomenal the movie is – and oh it is – I should detail my crew. We were lead into this screening by Nick Larsen dressed as Captain America, Oliver Layco wore Thor’s famous helmet, James West sported a Hulk shirt, and I dawned an Iron Man mask. Then there were the two master assassins Black Widow, my friend Dave…don’t ask, and Hawkeye, my friend Adam. Together we made up The Budget Avengers. Surprisingly, we were asked to take pictures with passer bys before and after the film. It was a muggy night in the city but that did not inhibit my excitement for the film as we stopped for burgers before waiting in the theater for two hours to get the best possible seats.
This was one of the few times I’ve literally seen a film bring people together. My four college friends bonded with two of my best friends from back home first. Then the row ahead of us in the theater talked nerdom with us, and before and after the film numerous people stopped us to talk about how excited they were for The Avengers or about their viewing experience. Even on the way home aboard the Staten Island Ferry, people were still talking to us about how good it was. This was a truly special film that was encapsulated in a great night with my friends.
Now onto the film itself! THIS IS THE BEST COMIC BOOK FILM MADE YET! It seems like everything since the theatrical version of Superman has been building up to this film but, in reality, it’s only everything since that 1st extra scene in Iron Man where Director Fury tells Stark he’s just become part of a bigger universe. I’ve wondered along with my friends many times since then whether The Avengers would live up to the lofty expectations the fans had. It did. I won’t even go into minor things like acting because literally every actor is without fault in this film. It is beyond A list. I would just say that Tom Hiddleston gives probably the most inspired performance as the evil Loki.
*Spoilers from here down*
Cinematically. the film opens in space which is visually breathtaking…especially in 3D. I normally don’t like anything in 3D but I was forced to get my tickets in it since my favorite theater only offered the movie in it when I got my tickets. That said this was actually very good in the format. Back to the cinematic elements! If you liked Thor’s Asgard you will be just as wowed by the realm where the Avengers enemies come from. It’s kind of like a rocky world that just floats in space. Then there is the visual of the portal from that world to Manhattan; which is amazing!
The plot feels like Joss Whedon and Zach Snyder just took the best things about big comic book events and distilled them into a perfect formula. The story revolves around the cosmic cube which has the power to open rifts in space time. A bigger baddie wants the cube and uses Loki to try and procure it from Earth. In come the Avengers to try and stop him while battling one anothers egos and the global police force S.H.I.E.L.D.’s secrets! There are so many subtle things that Whedon does to capture plot elements from the comic books while giving them a new twist. This was best illustrated by Hawkeye. In the comics Hawkeye was a bad guy turned good. In the Avengers Whedon parallels that tale by having him work with Loki for a time before joining up with the Avengers for the final beat down in Manhattan.
Oh yeah…that. There is about forty five minutes of the Avengers fighting aliens in Manhattan. This is not mindless war though. Those who have said the Avengers looks like Transformers are idiotic. The battles in this film contain so much heart and spirit! Captain America had the most emotional battle scenes as he is one of the least ‘super’ super heroes of the group. Time and again Captain America is knocked down and bloodied only to stand back up and keep fighting. You can’t help but see a metaphor between Cap and America itself.
Each character interacts with another one in at least one fairly deep scene. Stark bonds with Bruce Banner telling him that the Hulk may not be as bad as he thinks; Captain America tells Stark he needs to focus on more than himself. Black Widow helps Hawkeye deal with having been bad for a portion of the film. Fury gives the team the motivation it needs to come together and fight as a team. Thor has a hugely emotional discussion with his brother Loki before an epic battle with Iron Man. I would say Thor is probably the least focused on of the Avengers but he has a huge number of flat out great scenes! Even bit characters like Skarsgard and Paltrow are very important throughout.
By the end of the film you will be cheering; especially for the new Hulk Mark Ruffalo. I had the pleasure of meeting him at The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo premiere and he is a really nice guy on and off the screen. The Hulk has definitively the best action scenes as he smashes everything in his path…even Loki…you’ll see what I’m talking about when you see it. I’ve never walked out of a film as satisfied as after The Avengers. I have literally no complaints. My favorite Avenger and second favorite super hero right behind Cyclops, Iron Man, is given one of the best stories in the film as he shows himself to be the brains of the team time and again. Not to mention the fact that he probably has the most heroic moment of the film near the climax.
By the end of this film, the Avengers were beaten up and battered but victorious much like the fans that waited years for this film. We walked out talking about the future of Marvel’s films but not in a way that said we were instantly thinking of the next film. It was quite the opposite as we all talked about seeing this film again as soon as possible. The sheer amount of lines I will be quoting from this movie are ridiculous. The dialogue was spot on! It was witty and brilliant.
Finally, I guess I should back up my best comic movie ever claim. I would say up until last night The Dark Knight was the best comic movie out there. The cast and plot were so deep and mind blowing. This makes The Dark Knight look like a five minute short cartoon in comparison. The Avengers embraces the fact that it is a comic film while keeping it bound to reality and delving into each characters psyche; all while giving us a great and huge amount of action. It is literally the culmination of all of Marvels past films and there is a sense that everything Whedon has done was leading up to this. I literally can’t stop ranting about how good this film was. Just stop reading this madness and go see it!