Entertaining and well-crafted blockbusters are so hard to come by these days. It seems like Hollywood producers are constantly making and remaking two types of bad movies: 1) ensemble comedies (think New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day) and 2) superhero films (think Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four). It’s pretty obvious to everyone involved that these are hastily thrown together with the intention of making a dime, not making an interesting film.
Interestingly, The Avengers combines the qualities of BOTH of these types of token blockbusters – it features an ensemble cast of some of today’s hottest actors, and ties into the Marvel superhero franchise. However, it takes these elements and does them RIGHT for a change! Perhaps that’s why The Avengers is so refreshing. The ensemble cast’s interactions are actually funny! The action scenes are actually exciting! The superheroes are actually, well, kinda super!
The Avengers finds the Marvel superheroes we’ve met in previous stand-alone movies (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk) working as a team to stop the bad guy de jour from taking over the Earth. None of the story is as important as the witty dialogue, entertaining fight scenes and fun acting from the
hunky talented ensemble cast. The most notable performance comes from Mark Ruffalo, who steps in to play the role of the Bruce Banner/ The Incredible Hulk for the first time. Ruffalo far surpasses his predecessors in the role (Edward Norton and Eric Bana), playing the Hulk as a sensitive, likeable and conflicted character, cute as a button but deadly at the same time. Of course, Robert Downey Jr. is a stand-out as always as the charismatic Tony Stark/Iron Man. Our only complaint about Downey Jr. is that he has to share the screen with the whole group in this film. Can there ever be enough Robert Downey Jr.?
You don’t have to have seen all of the previous films to appreciate this one, but some background on the characters and their stories will help you appreciate the movie and allow you to be “in on the jokes” a little bit more. Iron Man and Captain America are both especially worth a look, as they are good stand-alone films in and of themselves.
So, while we ultimately liked Iron Man better, The Avengers is a great blockbuster, popcorn muncher kind of a film, and it’s our “You Gotta Check This Out” Pick of the Week!
What do you think??