TheAvengers2012PosterMarvel Studios / Paramount Pictures
2012
PG-13

“He’s my brother.”
“He killed eighty people in two days.”
“He’s adopted.”

Okay, allow me to explain my position on super-duper big ensemble action movies.  Usually they’re overbloated, overfunded, and handled rather shoddily.  Either you get someone who doesn’t understand the source material – be it a director, producer, writer, or all of ’em – or they could care less about the story and cram it full of ‘splosions and really tight revealing costumes, or you get the studio suits getting involved, messing with things and inevitably bringing in a “director” whose only credit previously was making sure Lady Gaga’s costume didn’t go rancid during her last video shoot.  Or something like that.

So, I’ll freely admit that, despite being a big fan of the recent Marvel movies, I still had my nagging doubts as to whether the much-anticipated Avengers movie deserved my hard-earned income on opening weekend, or if this big comic book flick was to be regulated to the “Wait Until It’s At The Second Run Theater” list that seems to grow bigger and bigger every summer, it seems.

Now, there were some factors in its favor: Written and directed by Joss Whedon (fanboy squee), the reaction overseas when it was released a week earlier was very positive…but, the deciding factor was when Nex planned the mass watching Saturday evening opening weekend here in the States.  Figured, if it sucked, I wasn’t alone.  Plus, the venue we went to featured one of those all-you-can-drink soda dispensers with the touch screens and the literally 100 different varieties going.

But, on to the actual movie…

Fortunately, the movie didn’t suck.  As a matter of fact, it did quite the opposite of sucking.  The Avengers, I am happy to say, was a movie that was way more awesome than it should have been.  Seriously, crossover events as this, at least in this kind of media, haven’t fared very well.  And yes, I am well aware that the comic book itself is a long-running favorite that is essentially a crossover of Marvel favorites.  I’m talking media-wise.  And in television and movies, super hero and comic-based stuff are generally better off solo titles.

In The Avengers, though, it worked.  That, I believe, having to do with the main characters already being established in their own solo movies.  Time wasn’t wasted trying to cram individual back stories into the thing; it was all there to build upon.  Mind you, you don’t have to watch the previous movies to enjoy this one, but it does enhance things immensely.  And as to the story itself:

Loki, still tremendously butt-hurty from the events in the movie Thor, manages to whip up an army of warlike intergalactic beings, then proceeds to open up a wormhole back to Earth, mentally enslave both Hawkeye and that old scientist guy from Thor, steals the Cosmic Cu…er, Tesseract, and turn the entire S.H.I.E.L.D. installation into a massive crater.  That last four points were all done in ten minutes, by the way.  Bad mother-shut-your-mouth Nick Fury is havin’ none of that, so he brings together the three super heroes considered for the long-dormant Avengers Initiative to bring down Loki and get back the Cosmic Cu…er, Tesseract.  Things don’t seem too positive on that end: Tony Stark / Iron Man is his usual cocky arrogant self, Steve Rogers / Captain America is broody because of that whole Man-Out-Of-Time, Stranger In A Strange Land thing going on, and Bruce Banner / The Hulk is trying really hard not to “go green”, if you get what I’m groping at.  They manage to capture Loki, and after an awesome scuffle that introduces Thor into the group, they bring Thor’s adopted brother to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s helicarrier, and proceed to brood, bicker, and get into stupid cat fight with each other.  Loki escapes, things go boom, something happens to a long-running character that I can’t say due to my pledge to keep this relatively spoiler-free but trust me you’re going to want to bring tissues, the four heroes finally put aside their differences and work together as a team, they fight a bunch of freaking aliens, more things go boom, Hulk go SMASH!, and the whole thing ends with everyone going their separate ways, but with mutual respect for each other.  Also, TWO post-credits cut scenes.

Overall, with a nearly two-and-a-half hour running time, honestly that time just flew by.  The Avengers isn’t a perfect movie, by any means.  But, as I reflected with one of the Exalted Geeks on the way out to my car, there were many, many chances for this to be messed up.  While there are a few minor slowdown spots, overall the story managed to keep my attention through the entire thing, didn’t insult my intelligence, and ended up being perhaps the first really big entertaining summer blockbusters.  For me, I never once regretted spending money to see this in the theater.  As a matter of fact, I catch myself contemplating seeing this again sometime soon.

Bottom line, I strongly encourage anyone even slightly contemplating seeing The Avengers to do so.  Don’t bother with the 3D, as I’ve heard it doesn’t do anything for it.  Go forth, grab your soda and popcorn, and enjoy yourselves immensely…