If it's crap ... We'll tell you
It's been five years in the making and it's finally here: The Avengers. It was a daunting task to say the least, to bring together some of the most iconic superheroes in one franchise, but they succeeded. And by "succeeded," I mean they did in fact make all of those movies. Unfortunately they gave the payoff to somebody completely unrelated to the project and let him do what he normally does, which in my opinion is waste my time and money.
Okay, I'm being a little harsh. The last forty-five minutes of this movie are absolutely incredible to watch. It's fan-service at its best, giving us exactly the kind of climax that we would want from a movie like this. But absolutely every second of the hour and a half leading up to this I found unbearable to watch.
Let me just get this out of the way: The movie finds Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) being forced to team up in order to stop Loki (Tom Hiddleston) from conquering the world. But they find working together to be easier said than done and it's up to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of S.H.I.E.L.D. to pull them together.
Now first off, that plot alone is both generic and forced. A lot of the tension between the heroes doesn't feel genuine, especially that between Tony Stark and Captain America. Thor makes sense because he's kind of an equal to (and related to) the villain. Bruce Banner makes sense because he is the definition of confrontation. But when it all comes to a head it feels like it was just forced there in order to get to an end. As I said, the first two-thirds of this movie were agony for me to sit through, and a lot of that had to do with the atrocious dialogue. When it's not being overly explanatory (Are you going for new watchers or people who have stuck around for 2008? You have to decide at the sixth movie.), it's being cheeky as hell and it seriously got on my nerves.
Three of the four main heroes felt completely different from they were in their previous movies throughout the first majority of the film. There are jokes made about Thor being ignorant to things on Earth, which was done so well in Thor but here it just sounded lazy and contrived. Captain America was far worse off, with a majority of his dialogue pointing out the fact that he's ignorant to modern day Earth and its customs and technology. They basically painted my favorite of the four as a dimwitted guy from another era. I would have even been okay with that if they hadn't just kept on doing it.
Worst of all is Bruce Banner. Don't get me wrong, I actually really like Mark Ruffalo's take on the character in this movie, but he is completely different from the Bruce Banner of The Incredible Hulk. He's supposed to be playing the same character, and he's not. If you're going to bring a character back, even if you change who plays him, it has to be the same basic character. Remember Rhodey in the Iron Man films? They replaced that actor but the character was able to stay the same.
I found it very interesting that they spent so much time reminding us of what happened in the previous five movies, re-explaining major events and character traits, and yet when it came to new characters like Black Widow, I still have no idea who she is. I've never read (or read up on) the comics, so I went in knowing only what little I saw in Iron Man 2. What I got here was a vague, hinted-at backstory that didn't give me any reason to care about the woman. Maybe they're setting up for a prequel but it felt like writer and director Joss Whedon cared about this character too much to realize the audience, for the most part, didn't. And as for Hawkeye, this is just personal preference, but immediately as the film begins he is made into a villain. He was one of the main reasons I was looking forward to this film, and he spends most of it fighting the good guys. Wonderful.
Well that pretty much covers everything I hated about this movie, but believe it or not I didn't hate the movie itself. The ending really is a wild ride and the moment things begin to pick up, they don't let down for a second. Suddenly it feels like the movie is being written by a completely different person. Somebody who cares more about how awesome it is that he's making an Avengers movie and less about how to get to the fun part. Every one goes in, guns blazing (literally and metaphorically, depending on the character) to fight an all-out war on New York City. It's easily worth the price of admission just to buy your ticket, go do something else for an hour and a half and then come back for the finale. Sadly, you wouldn't have missed much.
But seriously, the choreography of this final battle is astonishing to watch, with so many things happening all at once and yet at the same time it's very easy to follow what's going on. If Whedon proved anything in this film it's that he can certainly film an action sequence. Everything that was missing from the characters throughout the film are there in full force, with Captain America fighting like the Cap, Hulk smashing and Iron Man and Thor ripping through the sky, battling hordes of enemies at a time. It's extremely well-paced and the way it all ends is pure bliss. It might also be keen to advise you, as you probably already know, to stay through the credits because not only does it end with my personal favorite bit in the entire movie but there is a huge reveal that will have you shaking in your boots in excitement.
As you can see, I'm very mixed on The Avengers. There are some great moments to it but in order to get to those great moments you have to sludge through an dreadful amount of bad.