Perhaps you have heard of The Avengers. This little film is breaking box office records all over the place and has reached a billion dollars in only 19 days. The superhero film is also a critical success, with 93% of critics approving of the movie.
In The Avengers, the “Earth’s mightiest heroes” must gather together to fight a villain bent on world domination. The group consists of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk, who have each had their own movie, but they are joined by Black Widow and Hawkeye, who made small appearances in Iron Man 2 and Thor. Their antagonist is Loki, Thor’s brother, who wants to use an Asgardian device called the Tesseract to rule over Earth. The Avengers was a risky experiment because no other superhero film has tried to balance such big characters in the same way, but luckily the film works.
The Avengers was written and directed by Joss Whedon, a fact that made me extremely excited right from the beginning. Whedon has never been a huge name in Hollywood, but he has a dedicated fan base due to his under-appreciated television shows: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. I have been a fan of Whedon for the past ten years, which means that I have had the frustrating experience of enjoying his works while watching others ignore them. That all changes with The Avengers, however. With the popularity of the movie, mainstream audiences finally have the opportunity to see his talent.
I wouldn’t be wrong to say that Joss Whedon is responsible for everything that works about the Avengers. Whedon has always been good when dealing with large ensemble casts, which is what the film needed. Each superhero has his or her own unique personality and whoever makes the film needs to provide equal time for each character. Whedon succeeds in this regard; each character has scenes where he or she can shine emotionally or in battle. Also, the best scenes in the movie for me were when the superheroes gathered and we could see their personalities bounce off each other.
Another one of Whedon’s skills that he brings to The Avengers is his humour. His shows and movies often make me laugh, but without reducing the serious tension that runs throughout the story. That attribute fits well in the movie, because it allows the audience to chuckle at the ridiculous parts of the story, but still care about the heroes’ fight against evil. He also inserts humour into very serious scenes, making you laugh one second but want to cry the next. One thing is certain about Joss Whedon’s works: he will defy your expectations whenever he can.
While The Avengers was not filmed in 3D (it was converted into the format later), the final product uses the technology to its full potential. The directing and cinematography complement the technology, providing visual depth to both emotional and fight scenes. As I watched the movie, I thought about how the 3D enhanced the experience and made the more expensive ticket worth it.
I noticed other Whedon trademarks in The Avengers that worked really well, but his characters and humour are the primary reasons that the movie succeeds. He makes you care about the heroic battle in which the characters find themselves, and he makes each scene so entertaining that you wish the film would never end. I have spent most of this review talking more about the director than the movie, but I really believe that his strengths and the film’s strengths are mostly the same.
I give The Avengers 5 out of 5. I recommend this to anyone who has ever enjoyed a film about superheroes, or has any interest in the genre. This film is a strong contender for the best superhero movie so far. Not only is it written very well, but it is also a spectacle with fantastic special effects. This deserves to be seen on a theatre screen, where you can get the most out of the epic and engaging fight scenes.