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Movie Review: The Avengers

“The Avengers”, written and directed by Joss Whedon, kicks off what is shaping up to be the year of comic book hero movies. With The Amazing Spider-man and Batman (The Dark Knight Rises) slated for release in the next several months, the special effects artists will be showcasing a tour de force of visual wizardry. Make no mistake, story is important, but what really draws millions of moviegoers to the big screen are the eye-popping, ear exploding, thrill a minute action sequences. Having just attended a screening of “The Avengers” in 3D, I can confidently claim you will be witnessing one of the most entertaining visually compelling comic book movies ever made.

How’s the Story?

The plot is straightforward and formulaic. Bad guys from another world look to conquer the earth. Outmatched by the alien invader’s advanced weaponry, The Avengers are assembled to be the earth’s champions. For the most part, this is an origin story about the creation of The Avengers which in of itself is worth the price of admission. Included are showcase battle scenes between Iron Man vs. Thor, the Hulk vs. Thor, Captain America vs. alien bad guys, and Black Widow vs. Hawkeye. Expectedly, they inevitably stop fighting one another to rally together to fight a common enemy.

The movie transcends its rather ordinary plot line by means of a fantastic cast, the witty fast paced dialogue of writer/director Joss Whedon, and the exhilarating special effects laden action sequences guaranteed to thrill kids of all ages. There’s not much in the way of depth in the story or any attempt at evoking emotional connection with the characters and that’s fine. This movie does not pretend to be an intense character study such as Chris Nolan’s vision of Batman. Instead, it embraces the concept of being a blockbuster and delivers with a heart-pounding pace that will leave you breathless for more.

How’s the Acting?

The cast fully commits to their characters. There’s no evidence of any actor walking through his or her part. Robert Downey Jr., reprising his role of Tony Stark aka Iron Man, shines in every scene never wasting an opportunity to add different colors to his performance. Mark Ruffalo, playing Bruce Banner aka The Hulk, gives a measured, thoughtful, world weary portrayal that was lacking by other actors who had previously played the part. Samuel Jackson who reprises the role of Nick Fury really under plays the part which adds a certain gravitas to his character. Chris Hemsworth, returning as Thor, continues to powerfully embody the character. Scarlett Johanssen, unlike her previous work playing Black Widow in the recent Iron Man movies, gets the opportunity to flesh out her character as well as excel on the action front with some of the movie’s most exciting fight sequences. Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, plays his part effectively but is not given too much to do compared to the other Avengers.

How are the Special Effects?

Did I mention they are amazing? This film represents a new level in the history of action movie special effects. The battle scenes in the film are plentiful and never ending. Even The Hulk, whose appearances in previous movies have been cringe worthy, has been rendered believably in “The Avengers”. If there was any disappointment with the movie I’d point to the alien invaders and the space sequences. They seem to have been an afterthought. In fact they come across as generic and inconsequential.

Can i bring my kids to see the movie?

Yes. But only if they are at least 7 or 8 years old. The violence in the film is relatively bloodless never rising above the level seen on animated series such as Ben 10 or Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Any Bathroom breaks?

For a movie that’s over 2 hours long one would assume there would be several opportunities. That’s not the case with this quickly paced movie. But if nature calls, I’d suggest to go during the scene when the S.H.E.I.L.D. flying fortress gets underway to take off.

Overall Rating: A-

Recommended for kids 7 and up with parental supervision. There are a few intense scenes of violence exceeding the comic book action fare that most likely warranted the film’s PG-13 rating. A child’s readiness to handle such scenes is relative to his or her experience being exposed to such material in the past.

Pros: Tour de force special effects. Battle scenes are plentiful. The painstaking attention to detail is evident throughout. Witty fast paced dialogue coupled with great performances makes for even more thrilling action adventure.

Cons: Loki is the only villain. The army he leads is comprised of mostly faceless alien drones. Nothing particularly memorable or scary about them.

Watch the official Movie Trailer

Iron Man Face Off with Thor

  • I can’t wait to see this!

    • cutemonster

      It’s a lot of fun Jack.  They really spared no expense getting it right on the big screen.  Completely worth buying a ticket for the 3D version and the supersize popcorn for just a quarter more. 🙂

  • Really nice review, Vincent. One question: do you have any thoughts as to why it’s rated PG-13, in terms of what could have triggered the rating? I’m interested in taking Fin, who’s 9, but the rating almost dissuaded me.

    • cutemonster

      Hi Ben.  As I mentioned in the review, parental guidance will be needed for this movie.  As for what triggered the PG-13 rating, I can only recall two particular moments in the film that might warrant it.  There’s one death scene of a secondary character that entails a stabling by Loki.  But it’s quick and not particularly gory.  There’s also an intense scene in which Loki grabs a museum official and uses an electronic extraction device off screen to forcefully remove an eye needed to open a secure location (i.e. retina scan).  I’d argue that a show like Buffy the Vampire, also a Joss Whedon project, contained more gratuitous violence in comparison to The Avengers.  But it’s all relative to what a parent feels one’s child is ready to handle.  If possible, I’d see it first with some friends before taking one’s children to confirm it’s acceptable viewing material.   

      • Vincent, this is extremely helpful. Thanks so much. Sounds like it might be good for me to see this with friends in theaters, and if it seems okay to me, rent it when it comes out on video.