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Review: The Avengers (by Chris Bumbray)

May. 3, 2012by: Chris Bumbray


(Read JimmyO's review HERE)

PLOT: When Loki (Tom Hiddleston) escapes his exile, and steals the phenomenally powerful tesseract from S.H.I.E.L.D, it's up to Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlet Johannson), Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to get it back before he unleashes an alien invasion that will enslave mankind.

REVIEW: I'm not going to be the lone voice of dissent on THE AVENGERS. While I'm a tougher sell than many on Superhero flicks (although I've liked all the Marvel Studios films outside IRON MAN 2), I have to admit that I had an absolute blast with THE AVENGERS. From the first frame, to the very end of the closing credits, THE AVENGERS is a 142 minute roller-coaster ride that's sure to please even the most die-hard fans, and just about everyone else- judging from the screening I saw this at.

I'm really taken aback that THE AVENGERS works as well as it does, as I honestly thought grouping up all these heroes in one film was a bad idea. Sure- it works in the comics, but as a film- where would any of the franchises be able to go after this point? While that remains to be seen, mastermind Joss Whedon has proven himself to be the ideal choice to bring THE AVENGERS to the screen, with him having directed a Marvel film that surely ranks up there with the best (X2, and X-MEN: FIRST CLASS for me) they've done.

What's most impressive about Whedon's work here is that he's managed to give each character plenty to do, without making the film feel overwrought or episodic. For my money, that's an almost Herculean feat, as this could have easily just been a series of bombastic action scenes. And while yes, there's oodles of action, Whedon doesn't skimp on character development for any of them- with each having something to overcome- not to mention the fact that he provides the audience with a couple of really good belly-laughs now and then to keep things from getting too melodramatic.

Most significant are the arcs for The Hulk- with Banner being forced to confront his fear of the Hulk in order to do what he must, and Black Widow's anguish over past misdeeds- with her having lots of “red ink” to make up for. Johannson and Ruffalo really are the standouts here- and both should get spinoff flicks of their own (provided the material is a high-calliber as what Whedon gives them here). While Norton was quite good in the surprisingly strong INCREDIBLE HULK, I was really taken with Ruffalo's approach, and hopefully third time will prove to be the charm and he'll stick with it. On the CGI side of things, significantly, The Hulk- for the first time really, looks 100% convincing, as the technology seems to have finally caught up with him.

Meanwhile, all the other favourites get plenty to do, with Stark clashing badly with goody-two-shoes Captain America- and Thor battling with his own guilt over Loki's decent into madness. As for Hawkeye- Whedon does something fantastic with him early on, but I won't spoil it here. Even the lesser characters get some nice scenes, including a standout bit for Clark Gregg as the hapless Agent Coulson. I especially liked his fanboy man-crush on Captain America. Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury is probably the only one of the gang who comes off a bit one-dimensional, but then again- he's pretty much used as The Avengers' version of M, so that's not a deal breaker. HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER fans will also enjoy the fantastic Cobie Smulders as S.H.I.E.L.D agent Maria Hill. Franchise stalwarts Stellan Skarsgaard, Gwyneth Paltrow, also turn up here and there, with Natalie Portman and Don Cheadle being the only two who seem to have been sidelined.

On the villainous side, we get Tom Hiddleston as Loki- with him coming off almost as a super-powered Hannibal Lecter. Despite the fact that he's already been defeated- single-handedly at that, by Thor in the last film- he's still a credible villain, and Hiddleston is even better in the part than he was in the last go-round. As far as menace goes, it helps that he's backed up by an army of aliens- and the last half-hour ramps up the pyrotechnics to near-TRANFORMERS level, albeit a cleverer, better-written iteration.

Of course, if one were to nitpick, there are a few things about THE AVENGERS that aren't perfect. The biggest thing for me is the fact that Whedon decided to shoot this flat, in 1:85:1. Considering the epic scale, it feels like a bit of a cheat not to have it in 2:35:1 (as all the other Marvel films have been)- but at least it looks different, so I'll give him that. Perhaps in IMAX the 1:85:1 will come off better than it does on conventional screens. Also- the 3D, at least in the print I saw, is really nothing special, and if I see it again, you can bet it'll be in 2D (3D really is a gimmick that needs to go away). I also thought the score by Alan Silvestri was essentially wallpaper, which is too bad, as none of the Marvel movies thus far have had really good scores (unlike the Nolan Batman's).

Then again, this is all nitpicking, and I really did have a great time with THE AVENGERS. It really is the best possible case scenario as far as this premise goes, and an amazing (almost too good) kick off to the summer of 2012.

Extra Tidbit: Stay till the very end of the credits. THE VERY END!!!
Source: JoBlo.com

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+1
1:48PM on 07/31/2014

A 6 or 7 at best

This film was fun at times, and that's pretty much all it had to offer.
This film was fun at times, and that's pretty much all it had to offer.
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1:27AM on 05/07/2012

THE AVENGERS movie Review

Agreed! Full NERD review here: [link]
Agreed! Full NERD review here: [link]
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8:43PM on 05/04/2012
Very good film, but I must disagree about one thing- "Captain America" 's score is fantastic! On a sidenote- at the IMAX screening I was at the film looked very good, and the 3D was great.
Very good film, but I must disagree about one thing- "Captain America" 's score is fantastic! On a sidenote- at the IMAX screening I was at the film looked very good, and the 3D was great.
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5:21AM on 05/04/2012
It was GREAT. Definitely no thought provoker like TDK nor was it as profound as The Watchmen on deeper comicbook universe themes and concepts. What it set out to do it did very well. It was a GREAT popcorn movie. I like my dose a little more styalized and thicker in thought provoking ideas, but I had a blast none the less and sure better than the rest of Marvel's lackluster roster of films. I felt a little underwhelmed at the action choreography and the upbeat style that seemed to lack any
It was GREAT. Definitely no thought provoker like TDK nor was it as profound as The Watchmen on deeper comicbook universe themes and concepts. What it set out to do it did very well. It was a GREAT popcorn movie. I like my dose a little more styalized and thicker in thought provoking ideas, but I had a blast none the less and sure better than the rest of Marvel's lackluster roster of films. I felt a little underwhelmed at the action choreography and the upbeat style that seemed to lack any sort of dark elements the comic books shed, but as all movies are flawed, this one did better than worse so I give it a solid 8/10. Not nearly the best Comic Book movie of all time but it's up there somewhere. I still prefer Batman Begins, TDK, and Watchmen.
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12:22AM on 05/04/2012

Was great!

Thos movie was so well written, I have to see that again. Black Widow was used better than in Iron Man 2, the Hulk was awesome and looks more real, I love the character development, this was a great movie to see. Thumbs up!
Thos movie was so well written, I have to see that again. Black Widow was used better than in Iron Man 2, the Hulk was awesome and looks more real, I love the character development, this was a great movie to see. Thumbs up!
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+4
11:29AM on 05/03/2012

Finally

Only a couple hours left!
Only a couple hours left!
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+0
11:14AM on 05/03/2012

greatest comic book movie ever?

so... how does this rank with the almighty Dark Knight? midnight can't come soon enough!
so... how does this rank with the almighty Dark Knight? midnight can't come soon enough!
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10:15AM on 05/03/2012
MIDNIGHT SHOWING TONIGHT BABY!!!!
MIDNIGHT SHOWING TONIGHT BABY!!!!
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9:24AM on 05/03/2012

i disagree

I think Captain America and Thor had GREAT scores. Loved them! The rest - not so much, but those two were great scores.
I think Captain America and Thor had GREAT scores. Loved them! The rest - not so much, but those two were great scores.
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7:33AM on 05/03/2012
Already watched it and like I said: The Avengers is a historic milestone in comic book movies. This movie will be talked for generations to come. And it sure will give Warner Bros. run for its money should they decide to really go with The Justice League.
Already watched it and like I said: The Avengers is a historic milestone in comic book movies. This movie will be talked for generations to come. And it sure will give Warner Bros. run for its money should they decide to really go with The Justice League.
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6:15AM on 05/03/2012
So just a question please? Is Ruffalo's Banner the same Banner from the Norton movie or did they re-invent the character once again? Because obviously they intended for Norton's Hulk to be part of the Avenger line up with the RDJ cameo at the end so was just curious if they continued that character or made him original for Ruffalo.
So just a question please? Is Ruffalo's Banner the same Banner from the Norton movie or did they re-invent the character once again? Because obviously they intended for Norton's Hulk to be part of the Avenger line up with the RDJ cameo at the end so was just curious if they continued that character or made him original for Ruffalo.
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6:40AM on 05/03/2012
He seems a bit different. I guess we can call it an evolution from the end of the previous movie with Ed Norton. Specifically, the scene in which he ends up controlling his inner "beast".
He seems a bit different. I guess we can call it an evolution from the end of the previous movie with Ed Norton. Specifically, the scene in which he ends up controlling his inner "beast".
11:45AM on 05/03/2012
There's a short with Agent Coulson that might have come with the Thor Blu Ray disk where they explain that RDJ was sent to keep the military from using Abomination as an Avenger.
There's a short with Agent Coulson that might have come with the Thor Blu Ray disk where they explain that RDJ was sent to keep the military from using Abomination as an Avenger.
-15
5:54AM on 05/03/2012

Can't Wait to See This!!!

Stoked to see this! I didn't think X2 was that great of a movie, but whatevs....
Stoked to see this! I didn't think X2 was that great of a movie, but whatevs....
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5:23AM on 05/03/2012
Great review. I've already commented many times on this movie, but I have to say again that it's a perfect comic book movie! Balance is the key to this movie, which Whedon pulled off impeccably. The sound was also VERY impressive. So should I assume that the 1:85:1 is the reason the screen I saw it on was not completely filled? There was significant unused space on the right and left side of the screen. It bothered me for the first 15 minutes, then I got used to it.
Great review. I've already commented many times on this movie, but I have to say again that it's a perfect comic book movie! Balance is the key to this movie, which Whedon pulled off impeccably. The sound was also VERY impressive. So should I assume that the 1:85:1 is the reason the screen I saw it on was not completely filled? There was significant unused space on the right and left side of the screen. It bothered me for the first 15 minutes, then I got used to it.
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4:39AM on 05/03/2012
What can I say that hasn't been said before? If you're a fan, heck, even if you're not, do yourself a favor and go watch this hell of a blockbuster in the theaters! 9/10 as well.
What can I say that hasn't been said before? If you're a fan, heck, even if you're not, do yourself a favor and go watch this hell of a blockbuster in the theaters! 9/10 as well.
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4:34AM on 05/03/2012
The Avengers is a superhero movie that'll make you remember the time when you first watched superhero movies. I remember watching X-Men (the first movie) when I was 13 and being awestruck. Avengers brought that fun, larger-than-life feeling back for the first time in a long time. Fantastic way to kick-off the summer! I've seen it FOUR times already so all I can say is, for those of you in the US, be prepared for one f**king good time at the movies!
The Avengers is a superhero movie that'll make you remember the time when you first watched superhero movies. I remember watching X-Men (the first movie) when I was 13 and being awestruck. Avengers brought that fun, larger-than-life feeling back for the first time in a long time. Fantastic way to kick-off the summer! I've seen it FOUR times already so all I can say is, for those of you in the US, be prepared for one f**king good time at the movies!
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4:28AM on 05/03/2012

great review

but disagree with your comment on the all the Marvel movie's OSTs. Thor had great score by Patrick Doyle... the rest are as you say.
but disagree with your comment on the all the Marvel movie's OSTs. Thor had great score by Patrick Doyle... the rest are as you say.
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3:28AM on 05/03/2012
Excellent review, Mr Bumbray - clap clap clap! I love all the detail you managed to go into without spoiling anything. It's a good analysis of everything that's absolutely right with this movie. Here's my full review, if you'd like to have a look. [link] Thanks - and HULK SMASH!
Excellent review, Mr Bumbray - clap clap clap! I love all the detail you managed to go into without spoiling anything. It's a good analysis of everything that's absolutely right with this movie. Here's my full review, if you'd like to have a look. [link] Thanks - and HULK SMASH!
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2:08AM on 05/03/2012
Much better review than Jimmy O's as i found his to be well a bit forced & half ass. Ya i got flack for already seeing it online but hey I said I would still pay to see it in theatres. I do feel it is Marvel's best movie to date & yes I am glad they finally got the Hulk right which to me is a better supporting character than to have a whole movie, he is just too complicated to have one movie based on him, but I did like Incredible Hulk more than Ang Lee's but still respect it. Bottom line is
Much better review than Jimmy O's as i found his to be well a bit forced & half ass. Ya i got flack for already seeing it online but hey I said I would still pay to see it in theatres. I do feel it is Marvel's best movie to date & yes I am glad they finally got the Hulk right which to me is a better supporting character than to have a whole movie, he is just too complicated to have one movie based on him, but I did like Incredible Hulk more than Ang Lee's but still respect it. Bottom line is every character is spot on & yes is so far the best comic movie in a long time. It's not fair to compare Marvel to DC or a Batman.
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2:33AM on 05/03/2012
I agree with you Philalva77. I think I tried too hard to remain spoiler free that it lacked the detail my man Bumbray gives here. Great read CBum, glad you dug it!
I agree with you Philalva77. I think I tried too hard to remain spoiler free that it lacked the detail my man Bumbray gives here. Great read CBum, glad you dug it!
1:55AM on 05/03/2012
Avengers has set the bar VERY high for the entire summer! Good, that's the way it should be.
Avengers has set the bar VERY high for the entire summer! Good, that's the way it should be.
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1:51AM on 05/03/2012
and the reviews keep coming positive! I'm excited to see it this Saturday!!!
and the reviews keep coming positive! I'm excited to see it this Saturday!!!
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