Yesterday (well, technically today) I posted that The Avengers was one of three movies that I would see even if I had to sell my mother to the Russians, with no guilt.
Having seen it now, I completely stand by that claim. In fact, I’d consider selling her now just to see it again.
What Joss Whedon assembled here is phenomenal. Amazing. Incredible. I’m not sure I know enough superlatives to adequately capture how good this film is.
I’ve seen some really good superhero films in the last 5-6 years, but none of them elicited the same level of excited, breathless response I felt when I first saw Spider-man and it’s first sequel. Even Iron Man, which was excellent, came close, but didn’t break the mark. The Avengers did it.
There were multiple times during this movie that I almost bounced out of my seat cheering. I wanted a rewind button so bad I could taste it, just to re-experience the awesomeness I had just seen. There were scenes that surprised me, that made me laugh, and blew my action-loving mind. I haven’t so fully enjoyed a movie this much in a long time.
Now, having said that, it’s not a perfect film. Nothing is. It’s superb, not perfect. There were scenes I would have shortened or altered a bit – though not as many as most films. I do think there are one or two spots where it got slightly bogged down. The biggest problem I have with the film, however, is not really with the film at all, but the trailers. I simply can not believe that they included a completely pivotal scene meant to have one of the biggest emotional impacts so prominently in the trailer. That was the definition of a spoiler – having seen it before-hand completely drained the scene of its intended impact, and it was a really good scene. My wife, who did not remember having seen it, had an audible reaction (unusual for her in an action movie), while I saw it coming from 2 miles away and just had to wait for it to play out. So that really bugged me.
But putting that aside, Joss Whedon was hired for this film because of his facility with character stories. It’s easy to let a movie like this glide through on spectacle and lose the characters. Whedon did not let that happen. He excels at ensemble pieces and this is a big one, with at least 9 main and secondary characters to juggle. All of them got their moments. I didn’t feel like anyone was cheated. That alone is an impressive feat.
Now, I said I would do this without spoilers, and I’ll stand by that. Just let me say this: Hulk vs. Loki. Pure. Unadulterated. Awesome. I have never been so shocked by a battle in my life.
There’s a lot I could talk about in this movie at the character, writing, action, and camera levels, but I would end up getting into spoilers there, so I’ll hold off.
In short, this is, possibly, the best superhero movie ever made. Go see it. Now.
(side note: I put this in a completely different category of movie than Nolan’s Batman trilogy – they don’t compete for the same best superhero prize. I might expand on that in the future, if anyone asks about it.)