superhero film crowdpleaser that crashes into the halls of high art. perhaps better than any film of recent vintage, this infectious concoction elucidates the breathless thrill of running home and reading a comic book fresh from the sweet shoppe. alive as yet-to-dry ink, the smudges you see on your hands are but the remnants of a rollicking time at the cinema. a splendid time is guaranteed for all....
Of course it took Joss Whedon to realize on film the fact that superheroes are freaks with outsized personalities in tights, while maintaining a humorous seriousness. All of these things have been done before, but they come together nicely here. Whedon even manages to develop character in the midst of the apocalyptic battle finale. Oh, and the Buffy callbacks were fun too.
I've been reading Marvel Comics since I was in elementary school, but if I'm honest this movie left me strangely underwhelmed. The script was so overweighed with exposition and any moment that could have built tension was defused by a Whedon-esque quip. I want a popcorn movie to make me feel something - I don't even care if it's blatantly manipulative about it - but this was more like watching a video game cutscene.
By the end it felt like a bunch of five year old boys throwing their action figures together while making explosion sounds with their lips. Loki is not a great antagonist, his motives are cliched, his scenes are weak, and I never quite believed him. The protagonists did more posing than struggling. We could of done with a lot less exposition as well. The humor was great though.
I went in with cautiously optimistic expectations after revisiting Marvel Studios' films this week, which is a mixed bag at best. This movie does drag on with the exposition and the buildup, and it has plenty of cheese, but the payoff. . . . the last hour of this movie grabbed me and didn't let go. And I found myself getting a little misty eyed during the third act just by the pure joy and excitement of it all.
A viewing of El Dorado reinforced my feelings that The Avengers has a Hawksian tone to it. A group of people becoming a team to unite against some threat, with lighthearted exchanges and internal fights along the way. Never self serious, but touching when the final stand comes along, which isn't so much about the story, but the notion of fighting together.