The movie Marvel has been building towards for years is finally here, all origin stories are out of the way, the set pieces are on the board, and we’re ready for some serious Avenging. But can a movie generations have been waiting for ever since Jack Kirby took pencil to paper in the 60s deliver on expectations of Himalayan heights like that? Find out below, but be warned, some mild spoilers follow (We’ll try our best to keep it at a minimum).
After a short villainous intro, the movie lands smack dab in the middle of the action with Loki returning to earth, a welcome side-effect from no longer having to introduce any of the characters. The script does a great job with setting up a subplot for the two most under-developed characters in the Marvel movies so far; Black Widow and Hawkeye. With Hawkeye being turned into a part of Loki’s army right away, he can be developed as bad ass, instead of just a dude with arrows. Black Widow, for her part, gets to play opposite of that as the one that wants to return him from Loki’s clutches because of a personal debt she feels she owes him. Of course Hawkeye eventually returns and becomes a part of the team, but this subplot allows a necessary bit of character background for these two without taking the focus away from any of the other players. It’s a prime example of how tightly scripted Avengers is.
For a movie that basically centers around powerful people punching aliens, there’s some great scenes that heavily relie on dialogue. In particular, the exchange between between Loki and Widow sets up Widow as a true master of interrogation while Loki gets to become more than just the jealous adopted brother with megalomaniacal tendencies. Here he becomes a genuinely twisted and demented villain, in a scene somewhat reminiscent of Silence of The Lambs, if that were set in the Marvel Universe.
Aside from visually spectacular action scenes, in which it’s nice to see the team come together in more and more ‘team moves’ as the fight scenes go on, there’s a good dose of humor as well. The jokes also add some necessary color to the characters simultaneously. Like when Nick Fury laments one of his top-men being turned into one of Loki’s “flying monkeys” and Thor doesn’t get the reference, the frozen in time Captain America happily proclaims he does, for once. It’s a funny moment in itself but it also serves to remind us of Cap being a man from another era. The movie is filled with these tiny moments functioning both as humorous asides and character bits, and they rarely fall flat.
The only thing that doesn’t really add anything to the film is the 3D. It actually actively detracts from the movie as fast-paced action has a tendency to get blurry due to the 3D effect and with so much going on, it makes it even harder to focus. It’s a minor concern though, especially once the DVD hits, and probably less annoying in the technically superior IMAX-theaters
Every character in the ensemble gets their moment, which is another example of the good scripting, the cast is great, and the action scenes phenomenal. Popcorn movies don’t get much better than this. Especially when the Hulk starts smashing in the final act of the film, it’s hard not to smile from ear to ear during any of his scenes. Together with Tony Stark’s quips they are highlights in an already greatly entertaining flick. It’s like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park, an immense crowd pleaser that’ll stick by you and make you feel like a kid again, which altogether isn’t an uncommon sensation while watching Avengers.