Friday, May 4, 2012

Movie Review: The Avengers

I normally don't go to any movie's opening, no matter how badly I might want to see the film. In fact, I have to want to see a movie very badly to not just wait for the DVD. I have an aversion to crowds, and I just prefer watching movies in the comfort of my own home (on the couch, eating or doing email, whatever). But Collin and I have been waiting over a year for The Avengers. When our favorite cineplex announced it would be offering a Marvel Movie Marathon, Collin immediately ordered tickets--his Mother's Day gift to me. Still, I had reservations. I am not a night owl. I tire far too easily and usually end up asleep in front of the TV every evening. I figured my bum leg would give me a lot of trouble if I had to stay in one position for fourteen hours. And I hate 3D. Three of the six were 3D. Pass the barf bag, please!






But in the end, I couldn't disappoint Collin. I'm glad I didn't. I have never had so much fun at a movie! Or should I say movies?


The marathon began just after noon with Iron Man, followed by The Incredible Hulk (the one starring Edward Norton--the Ang Lee version sucked big time). After that, Iron Man 2. Then it was time to don the 3D glasses for Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and finally, the midnight premiere of The Avengers. There were brief intermissions between each film--and one that lasted way too long, due to a technical malfunction--between Captain America and The Avengers. The midnight premiere actually started at 12:30. The Ronnie's 20 Cine had a bunch of angry villagers on their hands...but management is good about keeping their customers happy, and gave everyone two free passes for IMAX films. Yay!






The package included a nice discount on concessions, and Collin had accumulated enough points to get a $4.00 off coupon on top of that. We got the jumbo refillable sodas and popcorn which came in...you guessed it: Avengers cups and popcorn tub!






This movie is going to be a monster success, if opening night is any indication. The theater was full for the marathon, and the lines for those just attending the midnight showing of The Avengers started to form around 9pm. I ran into Captain America, Thor and Black Widow in that line as I was heading toward the concession stand....






And now for my review: I've always preferred the Marvel superheroes to the DC crew for one important reason--character development. Marvel's heroes aren't just one-dimensional superheroes, they're fully-developed characters, people with personalities and histories and lives outside their hero personas. Whether it's the wisecracking playboy genius Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, who's grown up believing his father didn't love him...the arrogant prince of Asgard, Thor, whose father Odin sent him into exile to teach him a lesson and led him to love the people of Earth enough to become their protector...the troubled Bruce Banner, whose inner demons appear in the form of the angry green giant Hulk...Captain America, Steve Rogers, who emerged from a 70-year coma to find adjusting to his new life in the twenty-first century difficult enough without the added pressures of war...or the two elite assassins, Black Widow (Natasha Romanov) and Hawkeye (Clint Barton) who want to atone for the blood on their hands, each character has impressive depth.


In The Avengers, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team has been working on harnessing the power of the Cosmic Cube (now known as the Tesseract). They inadvertently open a portal that allows Thor's adopted brother Loki, until now presumed dead, to enter the SHIELD complex and take possession of Dr. Eric Selvig and Hawkeye, physically and mentally...and launch an attack on the Earth. Loki is a king without a kingdom, and he plans to make the people of Earth bow to his will. He's quickly captured, but as he's being transported to his prison, a storm erupts. His reaction surprises Black Widow, who asks if he's afraid of storms. "I'm not fond of what comes after," he grumbles.


What comes after is his brother, the God of Thunder, who has come from Asgard to take him home to face justice there. This results in a heated battle--literally--between Thor and Iron Man. Loki escapes, and the Avengers--a team of superheroes who don't even like each other (except for Black Widow and Hawkeye, who I suspect have more than a working relationship)--must learn to work together to save the Earth. Will they ever become friends? The obligatory after-end-credits scene might offer a clue.






I'm fighting the urge to go into detail here. There are so many great scenes, including the death of a long-standing character, but I don't want to be accused of being a spoiler! But one of my favorite lines comes from Captain America in response to the notion of Thor and Loki being gods: "There's only one God, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that."


Screenwriter/director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Serenity) gives The Avengers the perfect balance of heart, humor and nonstop action. The special effects are amazing but don't detract from what's most important in this film. The actors--Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg and Samuel L. Jackson--are all perfect for their roles. As Mark Ruffalo (Dr. Bruce Banner) said in an interview, there are a hundred reasons why this movie shouldn't have worked--but it does. Does it ever!


There's something in The Avengers for everyone, and I can't recommend it strongly enough. Those free tickets the theater manager gave us? Guess what we'll be seeing--again?


Seeing all six films in chronological order was a terrific experience--if you didn't attend a marathon, you really missed out! The marathon audience was great--there was wild applause whenever Avengers creator Stan Lee made each of his trademark cameos, as well as enthusiastic cheering for the many highlights of the six films. I'd see a movie with this crowd any day!


5/16/12 ~ NOTE: I recommend you also check out other blog reviews on The Avengers. My partner in crime, William Kendall, just posted the best of the lot (in my opinion) at Speak of the Devil. We also did a joint review as our alter egos, Scarlett and James, at  Basking in the Afterglow. E.J. Wesley does a great job of analyzing the film from a writer's point of view at The Open Vein, and fellow author Mark Hunter offers his thoughts at Mark R. Hunter. Also check out Amanda Hocking's Blog for her observations on the film!







28 comments:

  1. Now that's a long day indeed!

    Terrific review, Norma! I'm glad you had fun!

    Natasha is, of course, the most dangerous woman alive....

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  2. Thank you...I can't wait to see yours!

    Natasha is also a lot of fun....

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  3. Terrific review, now I will have to see this movie.
    Sounds like fun but a long day.
    I have many of the same problems you have so I save my movie viewing for the $3 theater or netflix.
    But sometimes it is so much fun to see a movie like this on a large screen with with a group of people who will and can make the viewing so much more fun.

    When I lived in California we always saw all the Studio Ghibli Movies in Japanese with all the crazy people like us who just loved to be there ! I miss that.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Seeing it with a group of people who were enthusiastic enough to really whoop it up just added to the experience. Everybody in that theater was having a great time and it showed.

      I went to dump some trash as the end credits began. As I was coming back, I ran into two guys who were trying to determine if there would be the trademark short scene at the end of the credits as there has been in previous Marvel films. I said yes, so we all stood there near the steps, waiting.

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  4. Sounds like fun. All this time I kept thinking that this was a movie made from the British show with Emma Peel. Do I live under a rock? Love Iron Man but haven't seen the others.

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    1. You know, I'm not sure which series came first. I believe it was the Marvel superheroes (they got their start in the '60s), but I'm not as familiar with the other series, so....

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    2. Norma you must look into The Avengers it is a British TV series it stared Patrick Macnee with three different assistants... Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg ( 2nd series most famous in America) and the third series with someone that I never watched. It was quite fun.
      You might enjoy it.

      cheers, parsnip

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    3. I think I did see the movie....

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    4. I believe the television series came a handful of years after the comic book started. Not too long after.

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  5. My girlfriend went to this and really enjoyed it. I love all the super hero movies in the last 10 years. Been good times :)

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    1. I do as well, JR! Thor is my favorite, but I liked each of the superheroes for different reasons. Tony Stark is one of the best characters created. What I think Marvel does best is to create PEOPLE before heroes--flawed people who rise above their flaws. And I love the little in-jokes--like the pizza place in The Incredible Hulk. Stanley's--Stan Lee's!

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  6. Sounds like a great film! I'm sure if it's out here yet... must check!

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    1. Talli--it's, as one prominent reviewer put it, not a great comic book movie, but a great movie, period.

      I believe it was released in the UK before it was released here.

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  7. Norma, thanks for an inspiring review. I have watched the previews, and it looks fantastic. You've really encouraged me to take the kids and watch. But yes, I'm like you, I do usually prefer to watch at home over the theater, but I'll just have to go out and see this one. Take care!

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    1. Do see it, Lena! You and your kids will all enjoy it. Collin was checking the box office at our local cineplex last night, and most of their showings for this weekend were already sold out.

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  8. Yeah Hulk! He and Iron Man stole the show .. I'm planning on seeing this again once the crowds die down

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  9. I know for myself, I could never sit and watch that many movies in a row...but, if I did, I'd pick the sparkly superhero over the musclely kind...LOL :o)

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  10. How exciting! I love movies, but I'm not sure if I could sit through a marathon like that!

    I can't wait to see The Avengers! I was planning to wait for it on DVD, but after reading your review, I want to see it now:). What an awesome Mother's Day present!

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    1. I didn't think I could, either--but I'm so glad I did! There was one guy in the audience--he made a really funny comment during the first intermission. I started to laugh loudly, and everyone else joined in. From then on, ever time he had the opportunity, he'd shout out and have everybody in stitches.

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  11. The movies must have been great, wow, what a marathon. But it sounds like everyone had fun so well worth it.

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    1. I thought I'd be asleep by the third movie--but it was so much fun, I didn't want to miss a minute.

      Okay...I confess. Collin said I did nod off for a few minutes during Captain America, but when I started to snore, he gave me a nudge and woke me up!

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  12. Glad you had fun. I can't wait t see it! Especially Iron Man!!

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    1. Tony Stark's pretty hot, isn't he? And I love his snarky humor!

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  13. The one good part of the Ang Lee film: Sam Elliot as Thunderbolt Ross. He's good in anything he does.

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  14. That sounds like an epic movie day, and right up my alley, Norma! I, like you, have always been more of a Marvel fan. Thought the Avengers might be the best they've churned out so far. And I loved the first 2 Spiderman movies and all but the 3rd X-Men movies.

    Enjoyed reading your review!

    EJ

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  15. Wow I don't think I could sit through that many super hero movies but I think I will see the Avengers based on your review and the other good reviews I've read.

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