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The Avengers (2012)
This is what it's all about: Fun!!!
There comes a time every once in a while when a movie is released to the public that changes everything. Star Wars changed sci-fi films forever, the Lord of the Rings trilogy re-defined fantasy and made it a respectable genre, and now, we have Joss Whedon's Avengers, which I can say with assurance that is nothing short of the most entertaining comic book movie ever made, and all I can say to my fellow comic book fanboys (and girls) is this: This is the best time to be a comic book geek in history.
Let me make it clear that this is a spoiler-free review, so do not worry about reading further on in case you have not watched the film yet.
Avengers represents the culmination of more than 4 years worth of work and setting up since the release of the first Iron Man movie back in 2008. And boy, does it deliver! Whedon and co. knocked it out of the park. Without giving too much away, the story consists of Loki, the demigod we saw in last year's Thor, with Tom Hiddleston reprising the role, who has somehow attained an alien army under his command, and plans to use it to invade Earth. Obviously, S.H.I.E.L.D. and agent Nick Fury, played by the always-awesome Samuel L. Jackson, don't like that, so they now must resort to assembling the greatest team to fight this army the world had ever seen, and among these individuals are Iron Man (aka Tony Stark), played by the ever- entertaining Robert Downey Jr., the WWII-era super-soldier Captain America (aka Steve Rogers), played by Chris Evans, the god of thunder Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, and of course, everyone's favorite brute, the Hulk (aka Bruce Banner when not the green, raging monster) played by Mark Ruffalo, who I initially had doubts about his abilities to play a good Bruce Banner, but I assure you, and this is coming from a comic book geek's point of view, he does NOT disappoint. The question is, though, will this team of superheroes get along well with each other?
What I loved the most about this movie is how Whedon so masterfully gives each character enough screen time to make them feel essential to the plot, and all of them serve an important role one way or another, and they all get their own moment to shine. Even those who doubted that the "normal" S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Hawkeye and Black Widow, played by Jeremy Renner and the (oh so attractive) Scarlett Johansson respectively, would stand out among the roster of super- enhanced heroes would be proved wrong. Nobody is left out. And everybody gives an awesome performance worthy of the characters they're playing.
The screenplay itself also consisted of witty one-liners and is full of hilarious moments. I could even go on as far as saying that this movie gave me more laughs than any comedy I've seen in years. The humor has perfect timing all around, and it's used at just the right level to not make the film feel silly. The drama is still there, but the comedy adds a nice change of pace for when things might start feeling maybe too dramatic for some.
The action scenes, of course, are some of the best I've seen in years. The special effects department has really outdone itself in this movie, giving us some amazing and thrilling sequences filled with punches, explosions, arrows, bullets, laser beams, missiles, rubble, you name it! It's essentially "everything but the kitchen sink". Just the last 30 minutes alone of this film would be worth paying the (admittedly hefty) $18 IMAX-3D cost, which is the venue that I had the joy of experiencing the film in. Which brings me to my next point, the 3D. Now, I know many people are not fans of 3D, and it's understandable. The movie itself was not shot with 3D cameras such as how Avatar. But nevertheless, I never felt bothered by it during the whole film, despite it being a post-shooting conversion. Although I guess you won't still miss much of you see it in 2D. Either way, you'll enjoy any of the 2 formats.
There is also a special surprise for the audience about a quarter into the end credits which hints at what possible developments will take place for the next Marvel movies following Avengers. And there is also another scene at the very end of the credits which I also recommend that you stay tuned to watch. Without giving too much away, it is perhaps the most hilarious image of the whole film.
All in all, Marvel's The Avengers is one incredibly entertaining experience which everyone should watch in theaters. Do not be cheap and decide to watch it in your computer screen. Watch this movie in a cinema, as it is easily the best way to enjoy this wild ride of a film. I assure you, this is the movie that fans of comic books all around have been waiting their whole lives for. The 4 years of hyping up this film have easily paid off, and now, I can't wait to see what the next chapter of the Marvel Movieverse will take us.
Simply breathtaking. The King is back, baby!!!
Unfortunately, I had to watch it in 2D, but even with that, this movie was just brilliant. I think we all know the basic outline of the story by now, and I admit, some of the movie's flaws is that the plot is somewhat predictable, and that it had some cliché moments and some cheesy dialogue, but nevertheless, I thought the movie was overall fantastic. We all know the SFX are the best ever (everyone pretty much has said that, so why bother?), but what you don't know is that the way the film is executed actually carries quite an emotional punch that most people won't be expecting, and all of the performances overall are great, even Worthington's (which is the first film I've seen him in, by the way. Never got the chance to watch Terminator: Salvation, so he was a relatively new actor to me), but I can easily say that Zoe Saldaña was the best one, which brings me to my next point, and what I think is the highlight of the film: the na'vi.
If you thought Gollum in the LotR films or the prawns in District 9 were incredible in how much emotion and realism they conveyed, just you wait 'till you see this film's blue humanoids. They're, without a shadow of a doubt, the best-looking CG characters I've ever seen. Not only do they LOOK real, they FELT real, and after a few minutes in, one could easily forget they were all actors in motion-capture suits. The na'vi showed more emotion, more expression and simply just more life than what most live-action actors have today. I hope the Academy Awards consider motion-capture performances from hereon out in the Acting categories, because they were just outstanding in this movie, and WAY better than most live-action performances we get today. And the action, of course, was also fantastic. Cameron just proved to people like Michael Bay that the King is back. Not just the battle scenes, but even some parts that were just, say, some characters flying around on their banshees were just a beauty to look at, since all shots just show how amazing the incredibly deep and detailed world that Pandora is. To the senses, it's the most stunning film I've ever seen. As for story and dialogue writing, it could've been better, it's not perfect, but this movie's really about how the story is executed rather than the content.
Another highlight for me is, of course, just how deep and detailed everything in this film was, and being an artist myself, you could easily imagine just what an assault on the senses it was for me to witness such a beautifully created world that is Pandora. Ranging from its flora to its fauna, all things in this world are indeed alien, but also have a familiar sense to them from our world. One who's been watching Cameron for the past few years would know that he's always been into deep underwater exploration, and you can easily tell that a lot of what he saw down there influenced his vision for many of the things we see in this lush beauty of an ever-stretching rainforest.
As for the film's score, I really don't get why some people are getting upset about it. In my opinion, James Horner gave us a tremendous score that fit perfectly to whatever was happening during the film. And yes, I even like Leona Lewis' song in the end credits.
Many filmmakers out there think about CG effects and put no depth into the narrative or story, but that's not the case with Cameron. In this film, the special effects MAKE the story. He puts special effects and story in a blender, and meshes these elements up so well that what we get is one of the most unique films in history.
My score: 8.5/10, and I think I'd probably give it a 9.0/10 or higher if I had seen it in 3D, and definitely a perfect 10 if I had seen it in an Imax 3D screen with the best seat in the hall, but then, we wouldn't really be speaking in that case about a movie, and instead a full-on cinematic experience, which is what makes me think that Avatar will become a classic; it's more an experience than a film, it's a journey to a new world where our imaginations are tested, and has achieved perfectly what a movie is intended for in the first place, at least of this genre: pure, out-of- this-world escapism.