I’ve decided to go back and watch a bunch of movies based on comic books. No real reason, just something I thought would be fun. This time it was the 2012 movie The Avengers.
IMDb Rating: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes critics: 92%
Rotten Tomatoes audience: 91%
My Rating: 9/10
I was really expecting to give this movie a 10, but after watching it again, I couldn’t. It may have been because I was watching this while trying to get a toddler to stay in bed while also working on getting a baby to stay asleep, but this movie just wasn’t quite as good as I remembered it. It’s fantastic, but it has some problems.
I’ll start with the good. Joss Whedon has two main talents: he’s fantastic at writing realistic, natural sounding dialogue, and he’s great at balancing large casts. Both are on full display here. None of the characters is lacking in screen time, even those that were just introduced like Hawkeye and Maria Hill. Everyone gets to show off their strengths and weaknesses. Even the villain, Loki, gets ample development time, which is pretty rare. The dialogue is just as great. They characters bicker and complain. They tell jokes and bond, and none of it feels forced. This stands out even more in the small, simple lines, like Steve Rogers pointing out that he understood the reference to flying monkeys.
The humor in the movie is also excellent. There are a few outright jokes (like showing the airman playing Galaga) that are worthy of eye-rolling, but those are the exception. The Hulk is genuinely funny in his role, and Black Widow is also a surprising source of humor. Even the straight-laced Captain America has some amusing moments. The timing of the humor is perfect. It always comes at a time when the tension needs to break, but it’s not so overwhelming that it ruins the flow of the movie. The only other Marvel film I’ve watched so far that matches it is the original Iron Man. (I’m ignoring Guardians of the Galaxy for now, since I haven’t gotten around to rewatching it.)
There were a few issues. I wasn’t a big fan of the security council. It makes sense that there’s a governing body over SHIELD, but this movie seems a little late to introduce them. Their decisions are pretty questionable as well. The idea that they’ll just nuke New York 20 minutes after the invasion starts doesn’t make a lot of sense (outside of a way to get the Avengers a nuke to use against the aliens). There a few other ‘convenient’ moments, like the mind-controlled Selvig ensuring that the portal device has a fail-safe, or Loki’s staff not working on Tony Stark. They’re all minor, but combined they start to stretch the suspension of disbelief.
Overall, The Avengers is easily the best movie in the MCU that I’ve watched so far. I don’t know how well Marvel is going to be able to add even more characters to the universe, but this was a great start.