The moment comic book fans have been waiting for four years has finally arrived: “The Avengers,” Marvel’s latest film, is in theaters this Friday.
The highly anticipated film has been hinted at in short clips at the end of every Marvel movie since 2008′s “Iron Man.” Now that the main characters have been introduced in their own feature films, it’s time to see whether the Avengers can come together as a team, or if they will fall apart from within.
CUI's Avalon Jacka writes on her opinion of The Avengers. The movie features characters starring from previous Marvel movies and premiers on Friday. (Courtesy of Marvel Productions)
We last left the Marvel universe when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) threw himself in the collapsing portal opened by The Tesseract (in the possession of spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D.), to plot his revenge against his brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Now, Loki has used that same portal to come back to Earth and destroy and rule the place that his brother loves so much. In order to save Earth, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) must bring the greatest superheroes together to stop him. Even with an army of aliens by Loki’s side, it appears that the real challenge will be getting the heroes to cooperate together.
Because no audience member, whether super fan or casual moviegoer, deserves to have such a well-developed storyline spoiled for them, I won’t reveal any more details about the plot. If you want to know what happens, go see the movie. If you don’t want to see the movie, go to Wikipedia.
However, audience members should know that Joss Whedon, director, screenwriter and Marvel fan, concentrated on the small details of the story, especially because of the established characters within the plot that all have multiple, interlocking storylines.
“I am the fervent backing, so it wasn’t that hard to to key in [on the stories],” Whedon said in an interview. “Working as a script doctor, you come in after things have been established. Even if you’re the one who established them every time you write a script, you’re dealing with an established universe… It’s not hard for me to fall into the cadences of these people.”
Whedon’s fanaticism is evident in the one-on-one character interactions, witty, self-referencing dialogue and the in-depth choreography of fight scenes.
From Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) constant bickering to Thor’s condescension towards Bruce Banner (or the Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo), and even in Stark and Banner’s comradeship, it is obvious that Whedon knows every characteristic of each of the Avengers: their confidences, strengths, insecurities and flaws.
The witty one-liners sprinkled into the dialogue throughout the movie are not only well-informed about the Marvel universe and its heroes, but they are genuinely funny and even intellectual — none of that cheesy nonsense heard in so many superhero movies. This may be because, for once, the dialogue is geared more towards adults than children. That isn’t to say that the content is vulgar, but there are definitely some jokes that will go over a twelve-year-old’s head (maybe even an immature middle schooler’s head – it depends on how intelligent they are).
One striking feature of the fight scenes was the deliberateness of every shot, hit and kick — there is no such thing as gratuitous violence in “The Avengers.” Every fight is surprisingly important to the development of each character. Each character has a fighting style all their own, and they are all explored, especially in the final battle, showcasing aspects of the heroes that can’t be described with words. Some of the moves are obvious to the character; what else is the Hulk going to do besides smash? But overall, the moves that each hero uses is specific to his or her character and tell us something more about them without words. Even Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who have few revealing lines, are more easily understood after watching one of their fights.
All this attention to detail, especially during the final battle between the Avengers and Loki, backed by his army of Chitauri, is enhanced by the artful shots throughout the movie. Rather than always taking the traditional mid-and-head shots, Whedon and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey play with abstract angles throughout, such as framing Captain America’s reflection in a broken bus mirror next to a slain Chitauri’s head or a very wide shot as Thor comes crashing into the field in the middle of battle. “The Avengers” is by far Marvel’s most artistically made film, both through the actual filming process and the set design.
Although “The Avengers” became an instant favorite for me (I only needed to see it once to fall in love), there were several minor issues that got my attention.
The most glaring of these issues was Scarlett Johansson’s horrible accent when she is being interrogated by Russian mobsters. At best, she sounds like someone is holding up cue card for her with the words phonetically spelled out; at worst, it felt like I was listening to an American foreign exchange student during his or her first day in Russia. Even the “Russian” captors hardly sounded Russian. These characters are all supposed to be natives, but their accents scream “I’m American!”
Granted, I have spoken Russian for three years, learning it from two very Russian women, so I may have a leg-up on catching Russian accents. But the least Whedon could have done is rehire the vocal coach from “Iron Man 2,” in which Mickey Rourke has the same impeccable accent as Ivan Vanko. But now I’m just getting picky.
Finally, during the last battle, it is very obvious that the scene was not shot in New York City, where Loki and the Chitauri initially descend to take over Earth. How do I know this, aside from having prior knowledge that the movie was shot in Cleveland? Well, in an aerial shot of the Chrysler building, there is vast expanses of grass beyond the city. But wait, there are no vast expanses of grass beyond New York City! Those suburbs go on for miles.
This, as well as the accent dilemma are probably just issues that only a keen eye or ear would notice, but they are literally the only somewhat irritating parts of the movie. But when has a minor detail upheaved the success of an incredibly made, well-acted and downright awesome blockbuster like “The Avengers”? By my count, never.
Contact CU Independent Entertainment Editor Avalon Jacka at email@example.com.
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