The Avengers Take Over: Barry Pearl’s Movie Review

Two reminders here: This is the Comic Book Collectors Club so my reviews are for the converted, those who read and enjoy comics, not necessarily for the general public who knows nothing of these characters.

There are no spoilers here. I will remind people, however, that many of the Super-Hero movies (Both Marvel and DC) have scenes during and after the credits and you should stay to see them. The Avengers follows that new tradition.

This is one damn good movie, I enjoyed every minute of it. From beginning to end you say “wow!” My favorite comic book movies were the Richard Donner Superman and his version of Superman II. This is up there with them. I give it an A+.

Of course, the Avengers features the super-heroes of the last few Marvel movies: Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk. Clint Barton as Hawkeye, the Black Widow and Nick Fury, are also here.

The major plot line carries over from the Thor movie. Loki comes to Earth (just as he did in Avengers #1) and causes an event so big that the heroes have to unite to save him. The event features him trying to gain custody and control of the Cosmic Cube, which is a cross-over from the plot of the Captain America movie (and several Captain America comics).

One of the strongest attractions of this movie is that you did NOT have to see these other movies to completely understand what was going on. And rather than take a huge amount of time showing the origins of all the characters, their origins and powers were just simply explained, bring everyone up to date, quickly.

Robert Downey Jr. is so perfect and appealing for the role of “leader” and Iron Man that there is a danger of this becoming Iron Man III, especially when the other heroes, so as Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth arrive a bit late. But as strong as Downey is, director Josh Whedon seems to have carefully balanced the scenes with Chris Evans (Captain America) and especially Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner and the Hulk) so well that Downey helps bring out the best, and inner truths of these characters. And boy does Evans look like Kirby’s Cap.

The Hulk is perhaps the most complex and trickiest of these characters to portray and Ruffalo is the fourth actor (or fifth if you count Bill Bixby) to play him. Ruffalo’s Hulk far exceeded my expectations for a number of reasons. The Hulk in this movie is a supporting character, while Banner is more than that. Whedon plays with the audience, he knows you know about the Hulk, so much is handled with great fun and humor. The Hulk finally looks like Banner and you can believe the two entities are the same man.

Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner play the non-super members of the Avengers. But as in the comics, their participation is essential for the team’s success.

I was surprised to discover that the beautiful and talented Gwyneth Paltrow is in the movie. She has a long scene with Tony Stark and agent Coulson who is played with great comic timing by Clark Gregg. This scene is important because it adds great depth all the characters involved. (Ms. Paltrow was in the movie Sky Captain, which copied the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and gave Angela Jolie the role of a spy leader with an eye-patch, like Nick Fury’s, in 2004.)

Samuel Jackson was wonderful and gives a strong performance. If I have one small objection to the movie it is simply that this character faces ethical choices that have become typical, if not formula, to leaders of law enforcement.

I am saving some of the best for last. Tom Hiddleston, in his second movie as Loki, just nails the character. He is delightful wonderfully cruel, devious, tricky and gives a simply powerful and memorable performance as an actor. He takes us through the entire movie.

In the past, many movies based on comics had weak writers, weak actors and weak production. Not so here. This is a grand cast, a great director, first class production, with great writing and special effects.

In the most exciting scene all the heroes line up and prepare for battle a tear came to my eyes. Really. My only thought was: “I wish Jack Kirby and Don Heck were here to see this.” Heck was responsible for Iron Man, Black Widow and Hawkeye; Kirby for Thor, Hulk, Nick Fury, Loki and, of course Captain America. I am glad that Lee and Lieber, Ayers and Sinnott, are able to see what they wrote and drew on screen.

The era of my comics is long over. The creativity and originality, the artists and writers, are forever gone, and, though I never discuss it, you don’t know how sad that makes me feel. While I can see bits and pieces of the past on the silver screen, I urge everyone one here to celebrate those who we still have left and just enjoy those comics. We shall not see their like again.

This movie will be a big hit. My theatre was swamped with people and had four rooms showing the movie, one in Imax, two in 3D and one “regular.”

I saw the movie in Imax 3D. The 3D was done right and added to the picture and did not detract in the no-action sequences. If I now have any problem with the Imax theatres is that the sound level is too high and I leave the theatres with my ears buzzing.

I want to discuss this movie more with you, but I don’t want to give anything away. So we will wait until the DVD comes out. Go, enjoy and let us know what you think.

2 thoughts on “The Avengers Take Over: Barry Pearl’s Movie Review”

  1. Loved it! I thought it was Marvel’s best movie after the first two Spider-Man movies, which I rank slightly higher mainly because of more focused characterization and pacing. Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow stole the acting category, but Hulk ended up with the funniest scenes and seemed to be the fan favorite in the crowd I was with (judging by the 5-year-old girl in the row behind me who kept a constant running commentary on the Hulk’s activities). Mark Ruffalo did as good a job as could be expected of filling in for Edward Norton. Samuel Jackson was outstanding as always. Coulson was made into a more meaningful character. Black Widow’s debut was well-done. Hawkeye didn’t get as much character development as he needed because he wasn’t really himself for the first half of the plot. Loki was a strong villain. I thought Thor needed to take a stronger role in defeating him–there were too many times Thor threatened and didn’t follow through. Hulk’s confrontation with Loki was probably the best of many highlights, along with the line, “Then, son, you have a condition.” I don’t have any major criticisms. As a minor point, I thought they slowed the action down a bit in the first half of the film while they were introducing characters and developing the plot. I’m not sure how they could have gotten around that and I don’t think it was a big problem, but if anything could be improved, I think it would be sustaining the action during the exposition. Giving the Avengers an opposing team to fight instead of an individual villain (the way the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants were used in the X-Men movies to supplement Magneto–the Chitauri don’t quite have enough personality to perform this function) would probably help address that. Overall an excellent film.

  2. Personally, I thought the film had a perfect balance of action, humor and ‘humanity’. A couple of scenes (one in particular) took me by surprise as was most of the theatre, as far as I could tell from the reaction. Possibly the one thing I might have changed, but we’ll see what happens in any future film that follows the various Avengers.

    While Downey’s Tony Stark was the center of the film, wisely so I thought, it’s the Hulk that most folks seem to be talking about. Mark Ruffalo nailed Banner and the scenes of the Hulk had just the right humor amidst the chaos. I know it has been stated that there probably would not be a third HULK film, but I think reaction to Ruffalo and the way that Weldon used him might make the studio heads think again.

    All the characters had time in the spotlight and I’m glad that Clint/Hawkeye snapped out of it in time to join the rest of the heroes. Yeah, a Hawkeye/Black Widow film might be pretty good with the right director and screenwriter. No supervillain, but some international espionage might well suit them.

    If I was a teenage boy I’d have to say that this was the best movie ever! As a sixty-one year old man I going with Damn close!

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