Directed by: Joss Whedon
Written by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson
If Joss Whedon ordered his Avengers audience to kneel before him, as the supervillain Loki does to a group of innocent Germans, I would be down on the ground in a heartbeat. That’s not to say The Avengers was jaw-breakingly perfect in every green shape and form, but considering a darker Spiderman and an even darker Batman are fast approaching, Whedon has pulled off something close to heroism in giving the highly anticipated, and highly risky Avengers film a successful head start.
Six years ago “there was an idea” from Marvel Studios to assemble an all-star superhero team by joining the forces of each separate hero’s franchise into one big blockbuster mash up. With movie deals that promised actors such as Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson a role in 4 to 9 films, The Avengers has been titled one of the greatest investment gambles in movie history.
But with genre expertise tucked under his belt, Serenity attached to his name, Whedon has come to the rescue. Combining comedy with action, visual thrills with snappy dialogue, and individual superhero strengths with engaging back stories, Whedon saves The Avengers from looking like Manhattan after an alien invasion.
All the mayhem, and much of the impressive acting comes from Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) – a banished Asgardian prince who strikes a bargain with a Sith-looking alien lord to steal a cube of pure energy, called the Tesseract, and use it to take over Earth mwhahahahaha. While it’s an old-fashioned strategy, Nick Fury (Jackson) bands together a group of superheroes with a grain of optimism that they will co-operate to save the world despite their differences and issues. What ensues is a battle of egos and personal histories, which may prove to be even more challenging than fighting off evil.
Just as the heroes have more pressing issues within their group, rather than the looming invasion on the horizon, the script and the execution of The Avengers shows its strengths in the dialogue and the comic moments that punctuate the more serious and rather over-exaggerated external conflicts. While these strengths definitely make up for scenes that lag a bit in pace, and come dangerously close to mismanaging the weight given to different ideas and themes scattered throughout the film, they don’t seem to make up for the fact that the final climax of the film is actually quite flat. With one or two scenes that look like a cut and paste job in the post production process, The Avengers seemed too preoccupied in dealing with character arcs than considering something a little more exciting than aliens whizzing through New York and getting blown up or smacked down every now and then.
Nevertheless, there is always something to be gained and lost when trying to please everybody – Comic Con fans and newbies alike. And with the expectations flying high, and competition coming from all sides, Whedon’s job on The Avengers is definitely something to bow down to.