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Wednesday, May 23, 2012


So, by now it's safe to say that half the world (and then some) has seen The Avengers. And it is easy to see why: up until now every superhero movie has tried to bank-off audience’s inner child and repressed id. Broad emotions and large explosions are fun to watch; it is the same root emotion with which children bash action figures, have snowball fights, and play with NERF guns. However, no film has yet captured the childish enjoyment of bashing action figures against each other in the way The Avengers does. Long awaited, since Samuel L. Jackson’s cameo at the end of Iron Man, The Avengers assembles a good array of Marvel characters into one film: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Nick Fury; it gives them a worthy villain: Loki and the Chitauri, and then proceeds to wreck havoc over a CGI Midtown Manhattan. What more can we ask for?

The average Michael Bay fanboy would not ask for more, since his id and inner child are satisfied with this. But, The Avengers is a Marvel property and  Marvel is known to care, at least minimally, about character (even though they did approve two rather weak Hulk movies). It is a formula upon which they built their success since Stan Lee pitched The Fantastic Four as a family of superheroes. 

This time we have writer/director Joss Whedon at the helm, and he meets all our expectations, bringing great character development through amazing scenes filled with wit, fantastic dialogue (fans will recognize many familiar Whedonisms), and just as importantly, well choreographed, easy-to-follow action.

By now, most audiences are familiar enough with action in movies that filmmakers can cheat in the editing room by showing only a whirlwind of exploding parts and expect the audience to fill in the blanks. Michael Bay is perhaps the biggest culprit in this trend. But Whedon isn't lazy; in The Avengers he fully draws in the action. And, not surprisingly, it is actually very refreshing to know exactly what gun fired what bullet at which enemy, and who missed and who didn’t. And when somebody dies; he is not just a head count at the end of a 20 minute action sequence but a scene in-and-of itself within the action sequence.

Over all, what The Avgengers gives is everything superhero movies have given us so far, with a whole lot more piled on top of it. So, as I said before, half the world has already seen this movie and it's only been out for three weeks, so it's safe to say: you'll probably love it, too.

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