The Avengers (2012)
Director: Joss Whedon; Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
IMDb Plot summary: Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings together a team of super humans to form The Avengers to help save the Earth from Loki and his army
I’ll be honest, I came to The Avengers with high expectations. Seeing the film’s vigorous tumblr reaction (it really is The Film That Launched A Thousand “Ships”) and the ecstatically positive critical reception, I was waiting to watch a game-changer. What I got wasn’t quite that, but it was still pretty darn satisfying.
The concept of the film itself is a tantalising one: throwing together your favourite heroes into a volatile cocktail of egos and neuroses has to invite some interesting possibilities. And Joss Whedon doesn’t waste the opportunity. The film is at its best when the heroes are engaging in Whedonian verbal sparring (I’m sure “Whedonian” is a word by now). He takes full advantage of the film’s concept to expose the various psychological wounds of the heroes, playing them off each other to witty and sometimes explosive effect. Robert Downey Jr, master of backhanded repartee, really gets to shine here, while the character insights into Captain America and Bruce Banner are particularly touching.
But once these fanboy-wish-fulfilment interactions have been played out, the movie settles into action-fuelled autopilot. As someone who is not terribly partial to ridiculously long and predictable action sequences, this is where the film faltered for me. But given the gloriously entertaining achievements of the preceding hour and a half, I felt the indulgence was kind of earned. Ultimately, it’s a popcorn movie that’s a cut well above the average. Maybe not worth the hype, but definitely worth your time and money.
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